FAQs

 

Applying for Admission

What are the basic admissions requirements?
International applicants for the LL.M. program must hold an undergraduate or graduate law degree (LL.B., LL.M., etc.) from a foreign institution, and have an acceptable TOEFL or IELTS score if English is not your primary language. American LL.M. applicants must hold a JD degree from an accredited U.S. law school. J.S.D. applicants must hold an LL.M. degree from an accredited U.S. law school. To see a list of minimum degree requirements by country, visit http://www.lsac.org/LLM/Applying/min-degree-requirements.asp.

When is the application deadline?
Applications for both the Academic Year LL.M. and the Summer LL.M. programs must be submitted/postmarked by December 1.  This includes the online application form as well as all other materials such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal essays, etc.  Applications for the J.S.D. program must be submitted by February 1.

How much is the application fee and how do I pay it?
The application fee is $75.00 (U.S.), non-refundable. When you apply electronically through the LSAC web site, you may pay online using a credit card. Otherwise, please send payment in the form of a check from a U.S. bank, an international money order or certified bank check issued in U.S. dollars. These should be made payable to "UC Regents". Travelers checks and cash are not accepted.

Can I have the application fee waived?
Only a limited number of application fee waivers will be granted. To request a fee waiver, please submit a written request for a waiver with your application for admission. Should your request not be approved, you will have the option to either pay the fee or ask that your application be withdrawn.

Must I apply online through the LSAC website?
Yes, unless there is an extenuating circumstance such as complete lack of internet service.  There is no cost to create an LSAC account, and you will have the option of paying the application fee online by credit card.  LSAC's Credential Assembly Service (which does have a fee) is recommended, but not required.

I am still in school finishing my first law degree. Am I eligible for admission?
As long as you will have completed your degree by the time you would begin your LL.M. studies at Berkeley Law, you may be considered for conditional admission.  You must submit academic records of all law coursework completed at the time you apply; if admitted, you will be required to submit final transcripts showing your degree was awarded before starting your first semester at Berkeley Law.

What is the difference between the Personal Summary and Statement of Purpose?
Your Statement of Purpose should describe your legal interests and professional plans following completion of your study at Berkeley Law. Your Personal Summary should provide a brief account of your personal history, with emphasis on the development of your interest in law.  more about personal statements...

When will admissions decisions be made?
Decisions are made in March - April for the academic year LLM. and J.S.D. programs, and in September - December for the Summer LL.M. program.  Summer LL.M. applicants will be notified of their admission status on a rolling basis as soon as decisions are reached. Admissions decisions for the academic year LL.M. program and the J.S.D. program are made at the same time, not on a rolling basis.

How can I receive updates on my application status?
Because the review process is very thorough and time consuming, we do not always have immediate information on your application status. However, rest assured that if we discover critical information is missing from your file, we will contact you immediately. To expedite such a notification, please make sure that you keep us updated with your current email address.

If I am admitted, may I defer for one or more years?
If you are admitted but cannot accept our offer, you may request deferral for the following year only. Deferral requests will only be considered after your deposit and Statement of Intent to Register have been submitted. Deferrals are not automatically granted but reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Advanced Degrees Program Committee.  They are generally only granted in the case of extreme unforeseen circumstance.

Exams

What exams are required?
The TOEFL or IELTS is required if English is not your primary language.  The LSAT and GRE are not required. 

What is the minimum accepted TOEFL score?
The minimum score required for admission is:
100 on the internet based test (IBT), or
600 on the paper based test (PBT).
more about the TOEFL...

What is UC Berkeley School of Law's institution code (for TOEFL reports)?
The Institution Code for UC Berkeley School of Law is 4833, and the Department Code is 03.

May I take the IELTS instead of the TOEFL?
Yes. The minimum score required by the university is 7 on a 9 point scale (total score). You must provide us with an official test report form (TRF) of your IELTS. To register for the IELTS, consult the IELTS web site.

Can I waive the TOEFL?
You are eligible for a TOEFL waiver if you meet either of the following criteria:
1. If you have attended a US university for full time study for a minimum of one academic year with a 3.0/B average or higher which you can verify via official academic transcripts, or
2. If you earned a degree from a foreign university in which the sole language of instruction is English.  This must be clearly documented in your official academic records.

My TOEFL/IELTS score is below the minimum required, can I still apply? 
Yes, we accept and review applications with any score.  However, a score that meets or exceeds our minimum requirement increases your chances of admission. 

Can I be considered for conditional admission if I have not taken the TOEFL or achieved an acceptable score before the application deadline?
Applicants will not be considered for conditional admission based on the lack of an acceptable TOEFL score. In rare cases we may be able to grant a slight extension for receiving TOEFL scores, if you are scheduled to take a TOEFL exam within a couple weeks of the deadline, as long as if you have submitted all other application materials before the deadline. To inquire further, please contact the Advanced Degree Programs Office.

Transcripts and Letters of Recommendation

My transcripts and/or recommendations are not in English. Do I need to have them translated?
Yes. While all official academic records must be issued in their original language, if they are not in English they must be accompanied by certified English translations. Translations should be made and certified by an official translator. You must submit both the original and the translated versions. more about transcripts...

Should my transcripts and recommendations be sent together with my application forms, or may they be sent separately?
If you have subscribed to LSAC's Crediential Assembly Service, you need to send your transcripts and TOEFL scores to LSAC, not Berkeley Law.  If you are not using the Credential Assembly service, your transcripts and TOEFL scores must be sent  to Berkeley Law directly from the issuing institutions.  Your c.v., Statement of Purpose and Personal Summary may be uploaded when you submit your electronic application online.  All other supplementary application materials (certification letter, letters of recommendation, etc.) should be sent directly to Berkeley Law.  more about applying...

Finances

How much is tuition?
For the LL.M. program, tuition and fees for the 2010-2011 academic year are approximately $49,000. Tuition for the summer LL.M. program is roughly the same as the Academic Year tuition.  Please note, however, that precise fee levels change each year, and are subject to change at any time.   Discounted tuition for California residents is not available for either the Academic Year or Summer LL.M. program.  For the J.S.D. program, in-state students currently pay approximately $13,000 while out-of-state students pay approximately $28,000. Just as with the LL.M. program, fees for the 2011-2012 year have not yet been set and may increase.  more about tuition and fees...

How much money should I budget for living expenses while studying at UC Berkeley?
Based on self-reported student costs, you should plan to spend a minimum of $1,500 per month on living expenses. The Berkeley International Office recommends adding $583 per month for an accompanying spouse, and $333 per month for each dependent child accompanying the student. These amounts are in addition to student tuition and fees. more about living expenses in Berkeley...

Does the law school offer financial aid?
University and law school financial aid funds are extremely limited, and only partial scholarships (in the form of grants or tuition waivers) can be offered to a few outstanding LL.M. students each year. Financial aid through the Advanced Degree Programs Office is not currently available to J.S.D. students, although FAFSA-eligible students may qualify for certain loans and scholarships. more about financial aid...

Is a deposit required from admitted students? 
If admitted, you will be asked to submit a nonrefundable $1000 deposit to reserve your place in the incoming class. Applicants admitted to both the Summer LL.M. and the Academic Year LL.M. program may transfer their deposit for the Summer program to the Academic Year program without penalty. The deposit will be credited toward your first term tuition fee. All other questions regarding deposits, fees or refunds should be directed to the Advanced Degree Programs Office.

Academics

Is it possible to specialize within the LL.M. program?
The LL.M. degree at UC Berkeley School of Law is generalized, although students may select classes according to particular areas of interest. Academic year LL.M. students may now earn Certificates of Specialization in either Energy & Clean TechnologyBusiness LawEnvironmental Law, Law & Technology, or International Law.

Are there restrictions on courses that academic year LL.M. students may take?
With a few exceptions, academic year LL.M. students may take any law courses they wish to fulfill their unit requirements.  Certain courses that are part of the JD program curriculum are restricted to JD students, including first-year skills, certain clinics and the field placement program.  LL.M. students are generally not permitted to take classes outside the law school.  For details on specific course restrictions, email the Advanced Degree Programs Office at LLM@law.berkeley.edu.

If accepted to the LL.M. program, would I automatically be admitted to the J.S.D. program after completing the LL.M.?
Candidacy for the J.S.D. degree is very restricted, and does not follow automatically from admission to the LL.M. program. It is normally open only to those who have completed the requirements for the LL.M. degree and are engaged in or planning careers in academic or other work that emphasizes legal scholarship.  more about the J.S.D...

Can I transfer to the J.D. program from the LL.M. program ?
No.  Admission to the J.D. program requires meeting specific J.D. admission requirements. For more information on these requirements, see the J.D. admissions web page or contact the J.D. admissions office at admissions@law.berkeley.edu.