Berkeley Law requires that applicants submit their application online through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) website. There are two basic steps to applying via LSAC:
- Applying online (online application form, c.v., personal statement, dissertation proposal summary, writing sample, and application fee)
- Having your supporting materials sent to LSAC (academic records, English language test scores, and letters of recommendation) and your Faculty Advisor Form submitted to Berkeley Law. [Note: Berkeley Law LL.M. students and graduates may be able to submit some supporting materials directly to Berkeley Law; see below for details.]
Click on each section below for basic information about the J.S.D. application checklist, or go to the Application Forms & Deadlines page to see full, detailed instructions for the 2023 application.
Submit the online application form via LSAC by February 1, 2023.
Register for an LSAC account here if you do not already have one.
Pay the $80 application fee by credit card while submitting online application.
The Curriculum Vitae should provide a synopsis of your educational and academic background and skills. This summary should include professional experience, research experience, publications, presentations, awards, honors, and affiliations. There are no format requirements.
Upload your C.V. to the Attachments section of the online application form.
The Personal Statement can describe your legal interests, the particular area of study you intend to undertake as a law student, the reasons you wish to study at Berkeley Law, and your professional plans or goals following completion of your degree. You may also use the statement to describe aspects of yourself that are not apparent from your other application materials. The Personal Statement should be written without assistance from others, and should be limited to three pages of double-spaced text. There are no other format requirements.
Upload your Personal Statement to the Attachments section of the online application form.
The Dissertation Proposal Summary should be a brief (one page, double-spaced) summary of the specific research project you would like to work on while at Berkeley Law. Please note that we are requesting a short synopsis, not a full proposal.
Upload your Dissertation Proposal Summary to the Attachments section of the online application form.
The Writing Sample should display your analytical and expositional skills on a legal policy or similar topic. Suitable pieces or writing include an LL.M. thesis (or portion thereof), an article written in conjunction with a class, or a similar item. There is no formal length requirement for the writing sample; it should be substantial enough to display the analytical and expositional skills relevant to scholarly work.
Upload your Writing Sample to the Attachments section of the online application form.
It is your responsibility to ensure that official copies of academic records are received by Berkeley Law. See below for specific instructions based on your status as a Berkeley Law LL.M. student or graduate, or a non-Berkeley Law LL.M. student or graduate.
Note that academic records sent to LSAC must be sent directly from each institution you attended, using LSAC’s Transcript Request Form which can be printed from the Transcripts page of your LLM CAS account. All academic records must be mailed directly to LSAC from the appropriate issuing institution in a sealed school envelope with a stamp or seal across the sealed flap of the envelope. Documents sent by the applicant or without the Transcript Request Form will not be accepted. Transcripts received by LSAC become their property and cannot be returned to the applicant or the issuing institution.
Academic records issued in a language other than English must be translated into English. The translation may be done by anyone as long as it is a literal, line-by-line, word-for-word translation in the same format as the original, and need not be certified.
Go to LSAC’s website for more information on sending academic records to LSAC’s LLM CAS, and specific document requirements by country.
Current Berkeley Law LL.M. Students: Your prior academic records will be sent by LSAC through an electronic LLM CAS report. You should also send a digital copy of your fall grades to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as they are available; your application will not be completed until we receive these grades. If you did not apply for the LL.M. program through LSAC please write to email@example.com and request assistance with adding your previous academic records to the new application.
Berkeley Law LL.M. Graduates who applied for the LL.M. program within the past five years: Your prior academic records should still be on file with LSAC and sent through an electronic LLM CAS report. You will also need to request a transcript for your LL.M. degree to be sent to the Advanced Degree Programs Office. If you did not apply for the LL.M. program through LSAC please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and request assistance with adding your previous academic records to the new application.
Berkeley Law LL.M. Graduates – class of 2013 or later who did not apply for the LL.M. program within the past five years: Our admissions process became paperless in 2012, so we should still have your academic records on file. After you submit the application online, please write to email@example.com and request that we add your previous academic records to the new application. You will also need to request a transcript for your LL.M. degree to be sent to the Advanced Degree Programs Office.
Berkeley Law LL.M. Graduates – before 2013: Either have your prior academic records sent to LSAC’s LLM CAS, or contact the Registrar’s Office to request copies of the transcripts in your student file that were submitted as part of your LL.M. application. You will also need to request that a transcript for your LL.M. degree be sent to the Advanced Degree Programs Office.
Non-Berkeley LL.M. Students or Graduates: Submit your academic records to LSAC’s LLM CAS as described above. Students currently enrolled in an LL.M. program should also send a digital copy of your fall grades to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as they are available; your application will not be completed until we receive these grades.
Berkeley Law requires Official Score Reports of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) before admitting an applicant whose primary language is not English. We do not accept the Cambridge English Assessment or Duolingo English Test.
Applicants whose primary language is English should submit a waiver request as instructed below; Berkeley Law will not assume English proficiency for any applicant.
The minimum score required is 100 on the internet-based TOEFL (iBT) taken at a test center or through the Home Edition, or 600 on the iBT Paper Edition. There is no subscore requirement. Information about test dates and registration procedures is available at most universities and US consulates and on the TOEFL website.
To have your TOEFL score report sent to LSAC’s LLM CAS, provide ETS with their institution code: 8395
MyBest TOEFL Scores will be accepted, but please note that these scores are not reported to Berkeley Law automatically. To submit your MyBest score for consideration, download a copy of your latest score report from ETS and email it to email@example.com as an attachment with the subject “MyBest TOEFL Score”. Note that all test scores included in the MyBest Score must have been sent to LSAC and verifiable through the LLM CAS report.
The minimum score required is 7 on a 9 point scale (overall score) on the IELTS Academic Test, taken at a test center or through IELTS Online. There is no subscore requirement. Information about test dates and registration procedures is available on the IELTS website.
To have your IELTS score sent to LSAC’s LLM CAS, you must request that your official score report be sent for electronic download using the IELTS system to Law School Admission Council LLM/JD Credential Assembly Svc.
TOEFL and IELTS scores that are more than two years old at the time of application cannot be considered; applicants must retake the test to submit a more recent score. Applicants should register for the test in time to ensure that the score report will be issued by the application deadline.
Go to LSAC’s website for more information on submitting a TOEFL or IELTS score report to LSAC’s LLM CAS.
English Language Requirement Waiver Requests
You may request an English Language Requirement Waiver if any of the following criteria apply:
- 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, OR
- You have earned a degree from a foreign university in which the sole language of instruction is English, OR
- You are a native English speaker.
To request a waiver via our online application, check the “Yes” button for Question 1 under English Requirement and choose the appropriate reason from the drop down options. If your waiver is based on education in English, you must submit official academic records through LSAC to verify your eligibility. We do not waive the English Language Requirement based on work experience in English. Please do not contact the Advanced Degree Programs Office in advance of applying if you meet the criteria above; requesting the waiver through the application will suffice.
If you have already secured a Berkeley Law faculty adviser, it is preferred that one letter be from them and that the other letter be from one of your law professors. If you have been out of school for five or more years, professional references from a current or former employer may be appropriate, in addition to the letter from your faculty supervisor or law professor.
There are two ways to submit letters of recommendation – either to LSAC’s LLM CAS or directly to the Advanced Degree Programs Office. See below for specific instructions based on your status as a Berkeley Law LL.M. student or graduate, or a non-Berkeley Law LL.M. student or graduate.
To send letters of recommendation to LSAC – Log in to your LLM CAS account and follow the instructions to add your recommenders’ names and contact information, submit requests for letters to your recommenders, and assign your letters once they are submitted. An email will be sent to each of your recommenders requesting them to complete and upload a letter for you, or you may print the required recommender forms to provide to your recommenders if they prefer to submit a letter by paper. Letters processed by LSAC become their property and cannot be returned or copied.
Go to LSAC’s website for more information on submitting letters of recommendation to LSAC’s LLM CAS.
To send Letters of Recommendation to the Advanced Degree Programs Office – The Letter of Recommendation Waiver Form (also found in the Forms section of the online application) includes submission instructions. If you choose to waive your right to inspect your letters, sign the form and provide it to your recommenders. By agreeing to waive your right to inspect the letters, your recommenders are free to write candidly; as a result, letters with enclosed waiver forms are generally viewed with greater credibility than those without waivers. Your recommenders may submit their letters directly to the Advanced Degree Programs Office, or they may return them to you in a sealed envelope for forwarding.
Current Berkeley Law LL.M. Students: Your letters of recommendation may be submitted to LSAC’s LLM CAS OR sent directly to the Advanced Degree Programs Office.
Berkeley Law LL.M. Graduates who applied for the LL.M. program within the past five years: Your letters of recommendation may be submitted to LSAC’s LLM CAS OR sent directly to the Advanced Degree Programs Office.
Berkeley Law LL.M. Graduates – class of 2013 or later who did not apply for the LL.M. program within the past five years: Your letters of recommendation should be sent directly to the Advanced Degree Programs Office.
Berkeley Law LL.M. Graduates before 2013: If your academic records are being sent to LSAC’s LLM CAS, your Letters of Recommendation may also be submitted to LSAC OR sent directly to the Advanced Degree Programs Office; if you are requesting copies of the transcripts in your student file, your Letters of Recommendation should be sent directly to the Advanced Degree Programs Office.
Non-Berkeley Law LL.M. Students or Graduates: Submit your Letters of Recommendation to LSAC’s LLM CAS.
The Faculty Advisor Agreement Form (also found in the Forms section of the online application) is required to complete the J.S.D. application. Your prospective faculty advisor must sign this form, acknowledging their understanding of J.S.D. program requirements and their role as advisor, acknowledging that they have read your Dissertation Proposal Summary, and confirming their commitment to working with you for the duration of the program, if admission is granted. The form should be submitted directly to the Advanced Degree Programs Office by the faculty member. Instructions are included on the form.
Tips on how to search for a J.S.D. faculty advisor
- Remember that only tenure/tenure-track faculty are eligible to be J.S.D faculty advisors. They will have the title of either Professor of Law or Assistant Professor of Law. Anyone whose title is Lecturer or Adjunct Professor may not serve as an advisor.
- Do some homework first before reaching out. Review faculty profiles on the Berkeley Law website, or look up faculty experts to find faculty working in your area(s) of interest. Review their c.v., read something they’ve recently written, and find out what courses they teach. This will help you learn about them and allow you to demonstrate that you are familiar with and interested in their work.
- When you are ready to reach out to a professor, be prepared to clearly and concisely articulate your topic of interest, and why you think they would be a good fit to supervise your research and writing. A short introductory email is appropriate. If you do not receive a response after a few days, follow up with a polite reminder. Our faculty are incredibly busy and it may take some time for them to respond.
- If you are a current LL.M. student taking a class with the professor, a simple and natural way to start the conversation is during their office hours.
- If a professor agrees to be your J.S.D advisor, make it official by having them sign off on your Advisor Agreement form to include in your application for admission. If they decline, thank them for their time and ask if they can suggest any other faculty members for you to speak to.
We strongly advise applicants to register for the LLM Credential Assembly Service and submit their supporting materials well in advance of the application deadline. LSAC recommends applicants register at least six weeks before their first application deadline.
Applicants will not be considered for admission until all required application materials are received by Berkeley Law’s Advanced Degree Programs Office. All applications and supporting documents become the property of Berkeley Law and will not be returned. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all items are submitted before the deadline.