The thesis track takes place over one standard academic year, August through May. For thesis track students, 8 of the 21 units required to graduate are devoted to independent study units and represent the work they complete on their thesis. Students complete mandatory courses in Fundamentals of U.S. Law and Legal Research and Writing. With the remaining 8 elective units, thesis students can choose courses that complement their research interests from the full range of law school offerings. With careful planning, students may focus their studies to earn a Certificate of Specialization and/or to meet the requirements to become eligible to sit for the California Bar Exam. Due to the limited elective units in thesis track, students are unlikely to meet the requirements to become eligible to register for the New York Bar Examination.

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. Academic Track Legal Research & Writing

Academic Track Legal Research and Writing for LL.M. Students teaches legal analysis for academic purposes, research strategies, and effective written and oral communication methods. Students will work on a topic of their choice, developing a research plan and writing a research paper of a minimum of 15-20 pages that can serve as a capstone writing project. Additionally, students will make an oral presentation of their work at the end of the semester. Students will learn U.S. legal citation requirements and form, will attend one-on-one conferences, and develop revision and presentation skills.

*Required for international students in the traditional track. Domestic students are exempt from this course.

Elective Curriculum

Visit Berkeley Law’s Schedule of Classes for a full and current listing of courses.