Graduate Tax Program

Suggested Curricula

Students studying tax at NYU have flexibility in designing their programs, subject to the specific requirements described below. For a complete list of courses and course descriptions, please visit the Course Management System.

Required and Recommended Courses

All full-time LLM in Taxation students must take a tax procedure course for either 1 or 2 credits (students may choose from Survey of Tax Procedure, Tax Procedure, Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties and Procedures, or Civil Tax Controversies and Litigation) and a course in tax policy (These courses typically include: Tax Policy and Public Finance Colloquium, Comparative Tax Policy, International Tax Policy (not offered in the current year), Federal Budget Policy and Process Seminar (not offered in the current year), or Tax Policy Seminar).

Part-time Tax LLM, Executive LLM, and MSL students are required to take a tax procedure course for either 1 or 2 credits, but are not required to take a tax policy course.  Please review our degree requirements for more information.

International Tax Program students have very specific degree requirements.

Aside from the tax procedure (full and part-time) and tax policy (full-time only) requirements, you are free to design your program to suit your individual needs. We recommend that all students should get exposure to corporate tax, partnership tax, and international tax.

  • Students often take Corporate Tax with us, unless they have already taken a JD-level course covering Sections 304, 305, 306, 338, 351, and 368 of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • All students should consider taking Taxation of Property Transactions, as it gives you a basis in concepts that pervade the tax law and all of your classes. We should caution that while this course may cover foundational concepts, it is not an easy course. It is recommended that you take Taxation of Property Transactions if your JD courses did not cover such issues as the treatment of non-recourse debt, basic financial instruments, limitations on losses, and capital gains. Instructors in the more advanced courses assume that you have mastered this material and do not spend class time reviewing these issues and concepts. Close to the start of each academic year each full-time student in the tax program is assigned a faculty advisor, who can advise you if prior tax coursework negates the need to take/retake Taxation of Property Transactions or Corporate Tax I & II.

Because NYU has such a wide selection of tax courses, it is possible for you to design your program of study to focus on areas of particular interest. These areas include General Taxation, Business Taxation, International Taxation, Estate Planning, and Tax Policy.  Our advice may vary depending on the geographic region you wish to practice in or your preferred employer type.  Generally, in larger markets, such as DC and NYC, practitioners tend to be more narrowly specialized, while in smaller or mid-sized markets, practitioners may be expected to have a broader knowledge base. For example, students in smaller or mid-sized markets may want to take coursework in estate and gift taxation, while students looking for transactional work in NYC may not need that course.

Below, we have listed some course combinations you may want to consider, depending on the area you wish to practice in. These are just suggestions. Some of these courses are not offered in every academic year (e.g., Advanced Corporate Tax Problems: International), though most are. Students in the Executive LLM and MSL programs should note that most, but not all, of the courses listed below are offered online. Again, these are simply suggested curricula, and John Stephens or a faculty member can suggest alternative suggestions from our full course listings.

Note for foreign-trained attorneys interested in sitting for the NY bar exam:  

Students in our International Taxation LLM (ITP) and some of our students in our Taxation LLM programs have already received their first law degree outside of the U.S. These students are often interested in sitting for the New York bar exam.  The topic of bar exam eligibility is complex, and can depend on one's prior legal education. We advise you to read about the requirements online here, and that you also read about some of the specific courses students might take if they were not educated in a qualifying common law legal system here. In brief, the tax and international tax programs can be structured to satisfy the curricular requirements under section 520.6 to sit for the bar exam for many attorneys (again, this is a complex issue, so please do read our resources to see how the rules apply to your situation). ITP students receive a detailed memo during summer registration which offers suggested courses to meet both their degree requirements and those of the bar exam.  Foreign-trained attorneys in the Taxation LLM program should reach out to John Stephens to plan a set of courses that can satisfy the bar exam requirements as well as your other goals. Keep in mind that there are additional requirements after one has passed the bar exam to actually become licensed, including passing the MPRE (multistate professional responsibility exam), "character and fitness" review, the section 520.16 requirement to perform pro bono work, and the section 520.18 requirement to work in a law office or to have previously worked in a law office to satisfy the "skills competency and professional values" requirements. The bar examiners have issued an FAQ to answer some questions about the new section 520.18 skills competency requirement. Many students in our international tax program have prior legal experience in their home jurisdiction, and thus may be able to satisfy the section 520.18 requirement with this experience. Note that the coursework taken to satisfy section 520.6 does not satisfy the “pathway 1” option for section 520.18.

Areas of Concentration in Taxation

General Taxation

If you are seeking a general background in taxation, we recommend a broad exposure. A typical schedule for a full-time student might include:

Corporate Taxation I & II (fall) 3 or 4 credits
Taxation of Property Transactions (fall) 3 credits
International Tax I & II (Fall)  or International Tax I (fall) and International Tax II (spring) 4 credits
Survey of Tax Procedure (fall or spring) or Tax Procedure (fall) 1-2 credits
International Tax III (spring) 2 credits
Tax Policy (fall or spring) 2 credits
Partnership Taxation (spring) 3 credits
Electives: (up to four credits can be in non-tax courses) Common choices include Taxation of Executive Compensation, Estate and Gift Tax, a course in Multistate Taxation, Accounting for Lawyers, or Taxation of Mergers and Acquisitions. 4-5 credits
Total 24 credits

Of course, your exact schedule depends on your background and interests. Your electives might include an advanced course in a particular area (e.g., Taxation of Financial Instruments, Multistate Tax, Tax Treaties, etc.)

Notes for part-time students: A part-time student takes several years to complete their program, and thus may take a course I list as a typical "fall" course in a different semester or for fewer credits. For example, instead of the four-credit Corporate Tax 1 and 2 course, a part-time student would typically take separate two-credit sections of Corporate Tax 1 and Corporate Tax 2 in the fall, spring, or summer semesters. Part-time students who have taken a course in corporate taxation at the JD level, but who would like additional coverage of taxable and tax-free corporate mergers and acquisitions should consider taking the spring semester two credit course Corporate Tax II.

Business Taxation

The core of NYU's business tax offerings consists of the following courses: Corporate Taxation I & II (3 or 4 credits), Partnership Taxation (3 credits), International Tax I & II (4 credits), Taxation of Mergers & Acquisitions (2 credits), Advanced Corporate Tax Problems (ACTP) (2 credits), Taxation of Affiliated Corporations (2 credits), Bankruptcy Taxation (2 credits), Taxation of Executive Compensation (2 credits), and Taxation of Business Conduits (2 credits). You also should consider taking one or more of our advanced offerings in international taxation, and Taxation of Financial Instruments or Taxation of Private Equity Transactions (each 2 credits). This area of concentration is designed for students who wish to concentrate in business tax. Depending on your prior scholastic or practice experience, several courses in the corporate area are also recommended for those wishing to concentrate in international taxation.

The recommended sequencing of courses in the business tax track is as follows: (1) Corporate Taxation I & II) (2) Taxation of Mergers & Acquisitions, (3) ACTP and (4) Taxation of Affiliated Corporations. Full-time students who have not already taken a course on corporate tax should take Corporate Taxation I & II in their fall semester. Students with a solid background in corporate taxation are encouraged to proceed to advanced corporate offerings. Students who have taken a JD course in corporate taxation but would like additional coverage of taxable and tax-free corporate mergers and acquisitions should take the two credit course Corporate Tax II.

Other recommended courses are Taxation of Property Transactions and Timing Issues. A typical program of study might be as follows:

Taxation of Business Pass-Throughs (formerly Taxation of Business Conduits) (fall) or International Tax III (spring) 2 credits
Taxation of Property Transactions (fall) 3 credits
Survey of Tax Procedure (fall or spring) 1 credit
Corporate Tax I & II (fall) 3 or 4 credits
International Tax I & II (fall) or International Tax I (fall) and International Tax II (spring) 4 credits
Tax Policy (fall or spring) 2 credits
Partnership Taxation (fall or spring) 3 credits
Taxation of M & A (spring); or ACTP (spring); or ACTP: International (spring); or Taxation of Private Equity Transactions (spring) 2 credits
Taxation of Executive Compensation (fall or spring) or International Tax III (spring) 2 credits
Taxation of Affiliated Corporations (spring) 2 credits
Total 25 credits

If you have already taken corporate taxation in your JD program, we recommend that you proceed to more advanced courses. If you have not already taken corporate taxation in your JD program, the more advanced fall courses such as Tax of Business Pass-Throughs and Taxation of Executive Compensation may require extra work on your part, and you may want to focus on taking our foundational fall courses and wait until the spring semester to undertake more advanced coursework.


International Taxation (International Tax Program Students have different course requirements)

The core of our offerings in international taxation consists of the following courses: International Tax I & II (4 credits), International Tax III (2 credits), Tax Treaties, ACTP International, Taxation of International Business Transactions (Professor permission required for those not in the Int'l Tax LLM program), International Tax Policy, Value Added Taxation, and Comparative Tax Policy. We believe it is essential that you have taken a course in corporate taxation at the JD level or that you take Corporate Taxation I & II at NYU in your first semester for this course of study. If you have recently completed a corporate tax course, you should consider taking Taxation of Mergers & Acquisitions as part of your study of international tax.

Each year, a global visiting professor will offer courses in the international tax area. Courses taught by these professors typically include such topics as Comparative Tax Policy, European Union Taxation, International Tax Policy, and the like. Descriptions of all course offerings are available on the NYU School of Law Web site.

A typical course of study would be:

Taxation of Property Transactions (fall) 3 credits
Survey of Tax Procedure (fall or spring) 1 credit
Corporate Tax I & II (fall) 3 or 4 credits
International Tax I & II (fall) or International Tax I (fall) and International Tax II (spring) 4 credits
International or Comparative Tax Policy (*not offered in all years *only offered on campus) (spring) 2 credits
International Tax III (spring) 2 credits
Tax Treaties (*only offered on campus) (spring) 2 or 4 credits
Taxation of Mergers and Acquisitions (spring) 2 credits
Transfer Pricing (spring)

1 credit

Value Added Taxation (spring) 2 credits
Total 23-25 credits (1 credit remaining for an elective)

The instructor's permission is required to enroll in International Business Transactions, which is offered only in the spring semester and is primarily intended for students in the International Tax Program.

Estate Planning

The core of our offerings in the estate planning area consists of six courses: Estate & Gift Taxation (2 or 3 credits), Estate Planning (2 credits), Income Taxation of Trusts & Estates I (2 credits), and Income Taxation of Trusts & Estates II (2 credits). It is our experience that students who have taken estate and gift taxation at the JD level need not repeat the class at NYU School of Law. You should consider taking Tax Exempt Organizations (2 credits), Private Foundations and Their Alternatives (1 credit), and Tax Aspects of Charitable Giving (2 credits). Many practitioners in this area also find state and local tax issues to be relevant, so consider the Multistate Tax classes. To practice effectively in this area, it is important to have a good general background in taxation. Therefore, we recommend that you select from among the following courses (if you haven't taken them already): Taxation of Property Transactions, Corporate Tax I, Partnership Taxation, and Timing Issues and the Income Tax. If you can fit in International Tax III instead of one of the below courses, many practitioners find the coverage of PFICs in that course to be very useful.

A typical program might be as follows:

Estate and Gift Taxation (fall)

2 credits

Taxation of Property Transactions (fall or spring) 3 credits
Survey of Tax Procedure (fall or spring) 1 credit
Income Tax of Trusts and Estates I (fall) 2 credits
Income Tax of Trusts and Estates II (spring) 2 credits
Estate Planning (spring) 2 credits
Partnership Taxation (fall or spring) 3 credits
Tax Aspects of Charitable Giving (spring) 2 credits
International Taxation I & II (fall) or International Tax I (fall) and International Tax II (spring)* 4 credits
Tax Policy (fall or spring) 2 credits
Private Foundations and Their Alternatives (online only, fall or spring) 1 credit
Total 24 credits


Tax Policy

If you are interested in a career in government or in teaching, you should strive to obtain a broad exposure to both tax policy and substantive tax issues. We offer a broad variety of tax policy courses. In addition, we recommend taking non-policy courses to round out your tax background. We often limit students to a single tax policy course until the first week of the course in question. Students should exercise care when bidding on more than one tax policy course and can contact the tax office closer to the start of the course to see if additional policy courses may be taken.

No Independent Writing Requirement

There is no independent writing requirement for students in the LLM in Taxation Program. With permission, you may receive up to two credits for a directed research project supervised by one of the tax faculty. No exceptions can be made to the maximum of 2 credits for directed research.


Online Courses

Some of our courses are available online to students in our part-time LLM program, executive LLM program, MSL, and certificate programs. Full-time students may only register for an online class for academic credit in very limited circumstances. However, with faculty permission, students may register to audit a course which is only offered online. This differs from auditing an on-campus course in that it appears on the transcript and incurs a tuition charge for students billed on a per-credit basis and counts towards the ceiling of 15 credits a full-time student can take each semester.

Videos are posted on a course website, and students who have access to the videos may watch and rewatch them during the semester. After the semester has ended and the exam has been given, the videos are usually removed. Online courses fall into three categories: combined, parallel, and online-only. Combined courses are on campus courses that are being currently recorded and offered online, with the videos typically posted within 24 hours. The videos feature the faculty interacting with the on campus students. All students in both sections prepare for class by completing the same problem sets, take the same exam, and are graded on the same grading curve.

There are separate sections for both the on campus and online offerings, but the professor may use a single course website for both sections, which means that all students may have access to the videos and may be able to interact if there is a discussion board for the class. On campus students must attend and cannot substitute watching a class online for appearing in class and participating. Faculty in on-campus courses do take attendance and often enforce the school's attendance rules strictly. Online students may request permission to attend on campus, depending on the faculty's wishes and space availability in the classroom. However, online students must still watch the required number of class videos by the attendance deadlines noted on the course website. Often there are two points in the semester when a student must be caught up with watching classes. Besides those two points, there is flexibility as to when you watch the class videos. As long as students in the online section meet the attendance deadlines, they can watch the videos on the weekends, at night, in the morning, a half hour at a time, an hour at a time, etc. We often film multi-hour classes in one hour segments.

Students in the part-time LLM program are limited in how many credits of online coursework they can apply towards their degree program. Part-time tax students must take 12 credits of on campus coursework, and the remaining 12 credits can be on campus, online courses, or up to four transfer credits. Please note that it is the responsibility of students taking online courses to determine whether and to what extent their decision to take such courses will impact their ability to practice in their jurisdiction of choice. This is a concern for foreign-educated students who are using their LLM program to establish eligibility to take a bar exam. Online courses will not qualify a foreign-educated student for the NY bar exam. Additionally, foreign students should consult with OISS to determine the effect of online classes on their visa status. For example, students studying on an F visa are generally allowed to take one online course per semester in order to stay in compliance. The regulations for J visa holders do not explicitly allow for any online study, however.

Transfer Credits

Transfer credits are treated as elective non-tax courses, even if they are on a tax law subject. Requests to take a course for transfer credit may be denied, for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, how long ago they were taken, format (i.e., no correspondence or undergraduate courses), etc. Up to four transfer credits may be approved by the vice dean and faculty director. We cannot award transfer credits for coursework which was already used towards another completed degree program, such as tax credits taken during a JD program. However, we can award advanced standing for tax courses taken by JD or visiting students at NYU Law, subject to restrictions.