Courses

LL.M. students complete mandatory coursework in Fundamentals of U.S. Law and Legal Research & Writing, and then may customize their studies by choosing courses from the law school offerings.

Students may focus their studies to earn Certificates of Specialization and/or to meet the requirements to become eligible to register for a Bar Exam; many LL.M. students pursue eligibility to sit for the California or New York Bar Examination.

Students in the LL.M. executive track study exclusively with other LL.M. students while students in the LL.M. traditional or thesis tracks may take courses with JD, JSD, or JSP students in addition to their LL.M. classmates.

Course Format

LL.M. students in regular academic-year fall and spring semesters take approximately 3-5 courses each semester (please see the academic rules for more detail). LL.M. students in the summer semester and/or part-time online semesters take 1-2 courses at a time, consecutively (please see program structure for more detail).

 

Core Curriculum*

1. Fundamentals of U.S. Law 

Students study the sources of U.S. law and the structure of the U.S. court system. Students also learn the fundamentals of the case method of legal education and statutory construction, and study how cases progress through the American court system. The course will also explore topics of judicial review, federalism, separation of powers, and the practical and political limitations of these concepts. Students will then use case analysis skills to examine landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases.

2. Legal Research & Writing 

In this class, each student researches and writes a 15- to 20-page research memorandum addressing a compelling issue in contemporary law. Through this writing exercise students learn predictive legal reasoning.  Students also complete other, shorter assignments throughout the term, including an introduction to Bluebook citation. Research instruction is integrated into the writing assignments, and includes mainly on-line but also a few traditional book-based resources. Students receive extensive written comments and attend one-on-one conferences on their papers.

3. Track-Specific Mandatory Coursework

Capstone Writing Project (Executive Track Remote + Summer ONLY)

During this 1-unit online workshop, LL.M. executive track (remote + summer) students will revise and complete the final draft of their Capstone writing project. The project will be a paper of 20-23 pages in length on an assigned topic. Students will have submitted a draft of this paper during their summer semester LL.M. Legal Research & Writing course. Students will be expected to implement the feedback that they received during the summer course and revise their paper accordingly to meet the grading criteria.

Thesis Units (Thesis Track ONLY)

LL.M. thesis track students must also complete an original thesis in the form of a substantial research and writing project that is of publishable quality and roughly 50-60 double-spaced pages. The thesis paper is due by the last day of instruction in the spring semester, and requires six units of Thesis Track Independent Study completed in one of two ways: two units in the fall semester followed by four units in the spring semester, or six units taken during the spring semester. Thesis track students choose their own thesis advisor from the tenured or tenure-track faculty at the Law School (anyone with the title of either Professor of Law or Assistant Professor of Law); you can research our faculty through their profiles on the Berkeley Law website, and approach them for their availability once you are enrolled as a student.

*Exceptions to these mandatory courses may apply for U.S.- and common law Canadian-trained LL.M. students. Please see the academic rules for more information.

 

Elective Curriculum

Visit Berkeley Law’s Schedule of Classes for a full and current listing of courses. You may navigate to other semesters using the links at the top.

Please click on the dropdown menus below for a sample list of elective coursework. Course availability is subject to change. Courses in bold (or ones similar) are regularly offered in all LL.M. tracks.