LLM in Legal Theory Requirements 2024-25

Course Requirements

Students must successfully complete 24 credits in fall and spring to earn the LLM degree. Students will participate in the compulsory Legal Theory Thesis seminar. They will also choose, in their first semester in the program a seminar that offers an additional writing credit in which to write and submit a substantial paper.  Students will enroll in the one-credit Legal Theory Thesis Workshop in which students will further develop and workshop their paper.

Students must also register for at least one colloquium during the academic year and choose (subject to the approval of the faculty director) 4-6 additional credits from the list of Legal Theory classes below. All students will design their course of study in close consultation with the faculty director. This is intended to ensure that students craft a program of study that is both relevant and valuable to the student’s background, interests, and professional goals.

Substantial Paper

In conjunction with a seminar (with a writing credit) in their first semester in the program, and under the supervision of the faculty teaching the seminar, students will write an original scholarly work on a particular topic in legal theory of at least 40 pages in length exclusive of footnotes. The paper should demonstrate mastery of a particular area of legal theory by mounting an original argument.

Legal Theory Classes

  • Advanced Administrative Law Seminar (LW.10090)
  • Advanced Contracts Seminar (LW.11529)
  • America’s Penal State Seminar (LW.12251)
  • Animal Law Seminar (LW.11551)
  • Animals and Climate Change Seminar (LW.12827)
  • Asian American Jurisprudence Seminar (LW.10603)
  • Chinese Attitudes Toward International Law Seminar (LW.10070)
  • Cities Seminar (LW.12771)
  • Class Actions Seminar (LW.12721)
  • Classical Liberalism: History, Theory and Contemporary Jurisprudence Seminar (LW.11195)
  • Climate Change Law and Policy Seminar (LW.10006)
  • Constitutional Litigation Seminar (LW.10202)
  • Contract Theory Seminar: History, Race and Pedagogy (LW.10345)
  • Creation of the Constitution Seminar (LW.12140)
  • Decision-Making in the Federal Courts (LW.11836)
  • Democratic Theory Seminar (LW.11867)
  • Education Policy Seminar (LW.11448)
  • Empirical Research on Inequality and Discrimination Seminar (LW.12913)
  • Environmental Justice Seminar (LW.10424)
  • Examining Disability Rights and centering Disability Justice Seminar (LW.10983)
  • Food Law and Policy Seminar (LW.12154)
  • Foreign Relations Law of the United States Seminar (LW.10235)
  • Free Speech, Ethical Transformation, and Social Change: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation Seminar (LW.12402)
  • History and Theory of International Law Seminar (LW.10997)
  • Gender Violence Seminar (LW.12879)
  • Global China and its legal Footprint Seminar (LW.12343)
  • Global Data Law: I (LW.12755)
  • Global Infrastructure and Tech Law (LW.12666)
  • Human Dignity Seminar (LW.11797)
  • Human Rights at Home: Advancing U.S. Social Justice Seminar (LW.12786)
  • Human Trafficking Seminar (LW.12785)
  • Intellectual Property and Globalization Seminar (LW.10934)
  • Intelligence: Law, Strategy, Ethics Seminar (LW.10934)
  • International Environmental Law Seminar (LW.10065)
  • International Human Rights and Digital Governance Seminar (LW.12788)
  • Introduction to Law and Society Seminar (LW.12927)
  • Issues in SEC Enforcement Seminar (LW.10386)
  • Judicial Decisionmaking (LW.12250)
  • Law and Complexity Seminar (LW.12925)
  • Law and Development (LW.10295)
  • Law Film and Culture Seminar (LW.11457)
  • Law, Gender and Political Economy Seminar (LW.12928)
  • Law and Literature Seminar (LW.10357)
  • Law and Society in China Seminar (LW.10871)
  • Law and Society in Japan Seminar (LW.10562)
  • Law and Tradition in China: Change and Continuity (LW.11156)
  • Law, Film, and Culture Seminar (LW.11457)
  • Law of the Welfare State Seminar (LW.11846)
  • Legal and Moral Theory of Territorial Borders, Immigration, and National Identity Seminar
  • Mental Disability Law Seminar (LW.11545)
  • Political Economy of Criminal Law Seminar (LW.10178)
  • Problems in Jurisprudence (LW.11225)
  • Property Theory Seminar (LW.10863)
  • Psychological Dimensions of Criminal Law Seminar ((LW.11376)
  • Psychological Insights for Commercial Law and Consumer Protection Seminar (LW.12912)
  • Readings in American Legal History Seminar (LW.10201)
  • Resisting Injustice Seminar (LW.10310)
  • Retribution in Criminal Justice: Violence and its Relation to Manhood (Shakespeare) Seminar (LW.10447)
  • Rule of Law (LW.10342)
  • Science and the Courts Seminar (LW.12668)
  • Sentencing Seminar (LW.10016)
  • Sex Discrimination Law (LW.12271)
  • Sexuality, Gender and the Law Seminar (LW.10529)
  • Sovereign Finance, Capital Markets and Global Regulatory Challenges Seminar (LW.12643)
  • The Executive Branch in Theory and Practice Seminar (LW.12989)
  • The Law of Democracy (LW.10170)
  • The People’s Welfare Seminar (LW.12689)
  • Theories of Discrimination Law Seminar (LW.12699)
  • Urban Environmental Law and Policy Seminar (LW.12603)
  • What We Owe to Others: The Ethics Obligation in Jewish Law (LW.11119)
  • Writing Critical Histories of International Law and Decolonization Seminar (LW.12930)
  • Any of the Law School Colloquia in addition to the one required for the Legal Theory program.


The following is a listing of colloquia offered by the Law School:

  • Alternatives to the Prison System Colloquium (LW.12887)
  • Colloquium on Constitutional Theory (LW.10031)
  • Colloquium on Culture and Law (LW.10650)
  • Colloquium in Legal, Political and Social Philosophy and Seminar (LW.10596)
  • Colloquium on Law and Security (LW.11698)
  • Environmental and Energy Law Colloquium (LW.12882)
  • Global and Comparative Public Law Colloquium (LW.12039)
  • Guarini Colloquium: Regulating Global Digital Corporations (LW.12657)
  • Hauser Colloquium: The Beautiful Game: Football, FIFA and the Governance of Transnational Sport (LW.10127)
  • IILJ Colloquium: Space and Planetary Law & Governance (LW.10520)
  • Innovation Policy Colloquium (LW.10930)
  • Law and Development (LW.10295)
  • Legal History Colloquium (LW.11160)
  • Public Law Colloquium (LW.12923)
  • Race and Inequality Colloquium (LW.10540)
  • Tax Policy and Public Finance Colloquium (LW.10787)
  • US Asia Law Institute Colloquium: Globalization, International Law and East Asia Law (LW.12761)

Additional Courses

Through consultation with the program Director, students will be guided toward a course structure emphasizing theoretical understanding. The consultation will also ensure that the course of study is appropriately specialized or broad, depending on the student’s background and interests. Students will be able to choose courses both from NYU’s regular faculty and from Global Visiting Professors of Law who may be in residence.

Courses Outside the Law School

Students are permitted to take up to six credits in law-related classes that count toward the LLM degree of courses in other graduate divisions of the University. Such courses require the approval of the program director and the Vice Dean.

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.

Faculty advisement can be arranged by contacting Professor Kornhauser’s assistant, Monica Millay:
Telephone: (212) 992-8811