Admission to Graduate Degree Programs
Application for Graduate Admissions
You may fill out an online application and submit it electronically at CollegeNet (recommended) or LSAC.org, or you may download and complete the Application PDF on a computer.
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.
Applicants to the graduate degree programs at the University of Michigan Law School must submit their completed application including the essays (and the optional CV) to the Graduate Admissions Office. Credentials such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and English test scores must be sent directly to LSAC or to the Law School. (Regarding the Research Scholar application process, please refer to the Research Scholar Program page.)
The completed application and all supporting materials must reach us between October and the end of January preceding the academic year for which admission is sought.
A. Submit (online or in hardcopy form by mail or courier) directly to the Law School:
1. The completed application form
2. A curriculum vitae (résumé)
3.a) Two essays to supplement the résumé: a personal statement and a statement of purpose written by the applicant in English as further described on the application form
b) If you wish to apply for the SJD program, you must also submit a prospectus of your proposed thesis topic in sufficient detail to indicate its significance and originality. Your prospectus should describe the nature of the topic, the questions to be explored, the research methodology, and at least one faculty member in your field of interest (see faculty by expertise). In the absence of these materials, applicants to the S.J.D. program will be considered only for admission to the LL.M. program.
B. Submit (by mail or courier) directly from the issuing institutions or authors to LSAC or to the Law School:
1. a) At least two letters of recommendation, on the official stationary of the recommender whenever possible, written in English, or in the recommender's native language with a certified English translation. All letters of recommendation must include the 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.
b) For SJD applicants: your letters of recommendation must address your demonstrated capacity for advanced legal scholarship and prospects for an academic career.
NB: (for all applicants) If a recommender cannot mail the letter for you, you may send such letters to the University of Michigan Law School yourself as long as they are in a sealed envelope bearing the signature of the recommender across the seal.
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 TOEFL or IELTS scores unless both of the following are true: (1) the applicant is a native speaker of English, and (2) the university education was conducted primarily in English. Students in our graduate degree programs must have a high level of English proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The minimum required scores are: 600 (PBT), 250 (CBT) and a TWE of 4.0, or 98 (iBT), or 7.0 on the academic IELTS test. Most admitted students have higher scores. The English tests must be taken before January 1, and must be sent directly from the institutions to the Law School or to LSAC. Applications cannot be reviewed without valid TOEFL or IELTS scores. If an applicant has taken multiple tests, photocopies of all results must be submitted with the application. The University of Michigan Law School's TOEFL institution code is 1839 03.
Detailed information about the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and IELTS (International English Testing System) can be obtained through their respective websites at www.ets.org/toefl and http://www.ielts.org/test_takers_information.aspx
Optional An excellent new service available to 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 English language proficiency. 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 www.initialview.com.
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 this amount, in U.S. Dollars, 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 represents a financial hardship, applicants may submit an application fee waiver request [PDF] prior to submitting the application form for the program.
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 use one of the online application options.
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), or our fee waiver approval, as the case may be.
Online Applications can be submitted via CollegeNet or 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 to http://lsac.org/llm/default.asp.
The completed application and all supporting materials must reach us between October and the end of January preceding the academic year for which admission is sought. Applications will be reviewed only when they are complete. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the application is complete. All applications which are ready for review by the end of January will have equal chances for admission; thereafter, admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis. Applicants will receive notice of decision by late March or early April.
All correspondence should be submitted to:
The University of Michigan Law School
701 South State Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-3091, U.S.A.
Telephone: 734.764.0537, Fax: 734.647.3218