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Admission to LLM and SJD Programs

Application for LLM and SJD programs

You may fill out an online application and submit it electronically via, or you may download and complete the Application PDF on a computer and send it to us in hardcopy form via postal or courier services.

Michigan Law welcomes applications from around the world and from all segments of the legal profession—private practice, academia, government, NGOs, public service, and corporations. We seek to create a small graduate class of 35-45 LLMs who intermingle with our JDs to create a diverse and intellectually outstanding student body. Admission to the graduate program is thus highly competitive, resulting in a number of qualified applicants necessarily being turned away.

Clearly, a very important consideration in the selection process is the academic and professional record of applicants in their own countries. Nonetheless, looking at grades alone does not provide an adequate measure to predict the outcome of our selection procedure. Great attention is paid to all details in the application, and letters of reference are taken very seriously. Ultimately, we seek people with proven intellectual and professional abilities whose matriculation allows us to build a heterogeneous group of graduate students representing a wide array of qualities, including varied intellectual interests, different countries and traditions, diverse life and professional achievements and experience, and an ability to benefit from graduate studies.

All applicants must have completed the first degree in law required for law practice or law teaching in the country in which their law studies were pursued. U.S. applicants must have satisfied the J.D. requirements at an ABA-accredited law school. In any given year, those accepted to our graduate programs have completed their legal education with distinction, graduating at or near the very top of their classes or otherwise demonstrating exceptional academic ability.


The completed application and all supporting materials must reach us between October and January 15 preceding the academic year for which admission is sought. Applications will be reviewed only when they are complete. All applications which are ready for review by the deadline will have equal chances for admission; thereafter, admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis. Applicants can expect to be notified of decisions starting in February.

Application Materials

(Regarding the Research Scholar application process, please refer to the Research Scholar Program page.)


A. Materials from the applicants themselves:

Submit online via, or directly to the Law School:

1. The completed application form

2. A curriculum vitae (resume)

3.a) At least one essay, the Personal Statement, to supplement the resume. You may also submit one or two additional essays, on any of the 8 suggested topics indicated on the application form. All essays must be written by the applicants themselves, in English. 

 3.b) Exceptionally qualified candidates with demonstrated excellence credentials relevant to their proposed dissertation will be considered for the LL.M/S.J.D. program or directly to the S.J.D. program at Michigan Law. However, direct admission to the S.J.D. is uncommon and reserved only for the most extraordinary applicants​. (The vast majority of our doctoral students initially enrolled in the LLM program here which afforded them and the faculty the best basis for their ensuing dissertations.)

To apply to the LL.M/S.J.D. or directly to the S.J.D. program, you must submit a prospectus that you have personally written in English. Do NOT submit a version translated or edited by anyone other than yourself. Your prospectus should describe the topic in sufficient detail to indicate its significance and originality, the questions to be explored, your research methodology, and the tenured faculty member(s) whom you propose as the primary supervisor(s). The prospectus should demonstrate a readiness to begin thesis research immediately. Note that applicants should not contact professors directly to seek sponsorship; the Admissions Office will consult with relevant faculty as part of the evaluation process.

LL.M./S.J.D. applicants who include the S.J.D. thesis proposal but are not admitted directly to the doctoral program will automatically be considered for admission to the LL.M. program, and may apply for admission to the S.J.D. program upon successful completion of the LL.M.

For a detailed explanation of the application process for Michigan's S.J.D. program, please here.

B. Credentials from recommenders and institutions:

Ask the authors/institutions to submit (by mail or courier) directly tLSAC or to the Law School:

1. a) At least two letters of recommendation, on the official stationery of the recommender, written in English, or in the recommender's native language with a certified English translation. All letters of recommendation must include either LSAC's or Michigan Law's recommender form, completed by the applicant and the recommender.

At least one recommendation must be from a member of your law faculty. (If you have been or are enrolled in an LLM program at another US law school, one of the letters of recommendation must be from a faculty member at that law school.) In general, letters of recommendation should be from persons who know you well, are able to evaluate your capacity for advanced legal studies and professional success, and can comment with specificity on your intellectual accomplishments and professional promise. It is helpful if the letters also address how you compare to others in your law school or professional cohort.

If your goals include an academic career, the recommendation(s) should specifically address your prospects for an academic career. It is most helpful if such a letter is from the dean of the law faculty where you have studied, are working, or hope to work in the future, although a letter from another law faculty member will also be accepted.

1. b) For SJD applicants: your letters of recommendation must address your demonstrated capacity for advanced legal scholarship and prospects for an academic career.

2. Official transcripts and degree confirmations from all tertiary and post-graduate programs attended (e.g. undergraduate, graduate, law schools, and professional law institutes).

All transcripts must bear the registrar's signature or the institution's seal. Official academic records must give results of all coursework taken as well as results of yearly or comprehensive exams. Transcripts must be in English or accompanied by a certified English translation. Whenever available, transcripts must include official certification of your rank in class (for example, 4th in a class of 123 students), your cumulative average grade, and receipt of honors. It is very helpful to receive a description of each institution's grading system, including an indication of normal length of the degree program and whether failing grades show on the transcript.

3. Current official score reports from TOEFL (at least 100 iBT) or IELTS (at least  7.0)

Students in our graduate degree programs must have a high level of English proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Most admitted students have scores above the required minimum. The English tests must be taken before January 15, and must be sent directly from the institutions to the Law School or to LSAC. If an applicant has taken multiple tests, photocopies of all results must be submitted with the application. 

Detailed information about the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Testing System) can be obtained on their respective websites at and

Temporarily, where testing centers are closed as a result of the pandemic, we are also happy to accept the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test or the TOEFL ITP Plus, as well as the IELTS Indicator.

Unless both of the exceptions listed below apply, applicants must submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores (the UMLS institution code for TOEFL is 1839 03; the UMLS address for IELTS reports is indicated at the bottom of this page).


Only applicants who (i) are residents of Australia, Canada (other than Quebec), New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, or the United States (other than Puerto Rico) AND
(ii) who have completed a rigorous full-time program of at least three (3) years of post-secondary education in one of these countries are not required to submit English test scores.


For law school applicants who wish to supplement their standardized English test scores: InitialView offers unscripted interviews with native English speakers who completed their university education in the United States. This allows applicants to converse in a live setting about their unique backgrounds and goals, and to further demonstrate their listening and speaking skills in English​. InitialView will send a recording of the interview to the participating law schools indicated by the applicants, as additional material for review. For further information, please contact InitialView at

Application Fee

4. The application fee is $75. If you are applying online, this fee must be paid by credit card before submitting the application unless you received an application fee waiver. If you prefer to submit a hardcopy application, please make the exact amount, payable to the University of Michigan Law School by travelers check, personal check drawn on a U.S. bank account, or international money order. If paying the application fee presents a financial hardship, applicants may submit an application fee waiver request [PDF] prior to submitting the application form for the program.

Application Methods

We're pleased to accept applications prepared in any of the formats described below.  Applicants should use the method most convenient for them. However, applicants who wish to use a credit card to pay for the application fee must apply via LSAC.

Hardcopy Applications are available by request or by downloading the application in pdf format. You will need Acrobat Reader (Version 6.0 or higher will work best). The application fee must be included in the form of a check or money order (see above), unless the fee was waived.

Online Applications can be submitted via LSAC in combination with LSAC's Credential Assembly Service.

The Credential Assembly Service of LSAC is intended to save you time and money if you wish to apply to a number of U.S.,  Canadian or Australian graduate law degree programs. You will only need to obtain your transcripts and other required credentials once in order to make them available for all of your applications. For a registration fee of $75 (U.S.) plus $25 per law school, LSAC will collect and distribute your university records and TOEFL scores. You may additionally choose to have your non-American university credentials evaluated and authenticated by LSAC. You will be able to use these services to apply to participating U.S. and Canadian law schools for a period of five years. For additional information about this service, go here here.

Contact information for direct correspondence with UMLS:

The University of Michigan Law School
Graduate Admissions
701 South State Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-3091, U.S.A.
Telephone: 734.764.0537, Fax: 734.647.3218