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Admission to LLM and SJD Programs

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:

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:

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. 

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)

New! Michigan Law Exchange Students for 2021-22 and all applicants for 2022-23 are welcome to provide Duolingo English Test reports in lieu of TOEFL or IELTS. The required minimum Duolingo score is 125.

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 institution to LSAC.

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, IELTS, or Duolingo English test scores.


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

how to apply

  • order the LLM CAS (Credential Assembly Service) including the EAPS (Electronic Application Service) and DAS (Document Assembly Service). This should also be chosen for SJD applications.
    The ITAES (International Transcript Authentication and Evaluation Service) is not required for LLM and SJD application at Michigan Law.
  • Complete the online application, following the instructions provided by LSAC
    Submit the application fee of $75 on LSAC's website
     If the application fee presents a financial hardship, applicants may request a fee waiver prior to submitting their application.