LLM in International Legal Studies Requirements 2024-25

Credit Requirement

All law school classes are associated with one or more “course topics.” International Legal Studies LLM students must complete at least 14 credits in classes designated by the “course topics” of International Law, Comparative and Foreign Law, and/or International Litigation and Arbitration, or on the list of Related Courses below. Click on these links to see the classes listed under each course topic related to the International Legal Studies LLM degree:

While reviewing the comprehensive Fall 2024 Class Schedule and the Spring 2025 Class Schedule, you may encounter a class that relates to one of the course topics listed above but lacks the designation; in that instance, please write to the Office of Graduate Affairs to inquire whether it can count toward the 14-credit requirement. You must make the inquiry at the moment of registration. This cannot be done retroactively.

Related Courses

The following are related courses for the International Legal Studies degree (this preliminary list is subject to revision if course offerings change):

  • Admiralty (LW.10946)
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (LW.11368)
  • Asian American Jurisprudence Seminar (LW.10603)
  • Colloquium on Law and Security (LW.11698)
  • Graduate Lawyering I (LW.12373 or LW.12375)
  • Human Dignity Seminar (LW.11797)

Please note that non-tax students may not register for more than eight credits in Taxation courses.


There are a limited number of spots in clinics. Students may not be registered in a clinic without first applying for and being accepted into it by the instructor. The clinic application period for LLM students is May 20 through May 30. You will find further information about clinics online.

The following clinics may interest students in the ILS program. 

IMPORTANT: To maximize flexibility, several policies that have in the past been requirements are now framed as strong recommendations. All students in the International Legal Studies specialization are required to meet NYU Law School’s overarching LLM requirements as well as the specific requirement to complete 14 credits in the field (see below). The recommendations below are guidelines to consider in shaping a comprehensive course of study.

Basic Courses and Distribution Recommendation

Students are strongly advised to build expertise in several different areas of international, comparative, and global law. This will help equip students with the legal awareness and flexibility of thought to deal with cross-cutting issues that call for innovative approaches and pose some of the most exciting challenges in many careers. Unless students have considerable academic background in the particular area, they are advised to take at least one basic course in Public International Law, one in International Economic Law, and one in Comparative or Global Law. Students who have taken basic courses such as International Law as part of their first law degree sometimes choose not to take them in the LLM. However, the intellectual approach and material covered are likely to be different from similarly titled courses in other countries so many students find it valuable to take these courses at NYU.

Exam Courses Recommendation

Students are advised to complete at least eight credits of the LLM degree in courses that are graded on the basis of examinations. Many prospective employers take a particular interest in proven examination ability.

Writing Recommendation

Students are strongly advised to take at least two credits in a seminar, course, or Directed Research, which would require a paper of substantial length. A single seminar paper (at least 20 pages) should be a minimum objective. This provides valuable experience in research and in developing one’s own argument, as well as in building expertise. This objective cannot adequately be met by writing a series of shorter papers. Please note that some seminars offer the opportunity to register for an additional credit; if students choose to do so, they will be required to write a longer paper (10,000 to 12,000 thousand words) or (if the seminar requires reaction papers) a regular research paper (of at least 20 pages) to earn that additional credit. If possible, students are urged to develop their paper for eventual publication.

Four Credit Thesis Option

This option offers students enrolled in the full-time LLM in International Legal Studies who are seriously interested in academic careers in international law an opportunity to write a substantial high-quality thesis (24,000-32,000 words) on an international law topic. The number of students who will be permitted to undertake the thesis option is strictly limited. Students will be selected by a committee after filing an application during the fall term consisting of an outline of the proposed thesis, along with a bibliography. (The deadline for this application will be announced at the beginning of the fall term.) Students who are selected will be matched with an appropriate faculty supervisor or supervisors with whom they will be expected to meet periodically to present drafts of their work. This option does not count toward the limit on the number of credits that students may otherwise take as Directed Research. (Additional note: LLM candidates have a number of other options for writing research papers intended for publication, including writing produced in the course of seminars and as an additional credit option in some classes (with the permission of the instructor). The thesis option is best suited to those candidates who have, prior to their arrival at NYU, undertaken considerable work on a project whose completion could usefully draw on the expertise of an NYU faculty member.)

Special Requirements for the JD-LLM Program

NYU Law School’s Institute for International Law and Justice (IILJ) runs a unique four-year JD-LLM program in international law. Students specially admitted to this program who have completed the NYU JD have special requirements for the LLM in International Legal Studies, which will be communicated to them separately. For detailed information, please visit the IILJ website.

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NYU Law Classes that meet the 520.6 NY bar foreign-trained eligibility requirements

Contact Information

Prospective students should direct their inquiries to the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Admitted and current students should direct their inquiries to the Office of Graduate Affairs.