The Master of Laws (LL.M.)

(with a concentration in American Jurisprudence) Program



Overview

The Master of Laws Program (with a concentration in American Jurisprudence) (hereinafter the Program) is a directed independent study program specifically designed for individuals who have earned a Juris Doctor or other law degrees from a college or university outside of the United States. Attorneys educated in the United States may be admitted only through a special petition.

This type of program is often referred to as an LL.M. (LL.M. is an abbreviation of the Latin Legum Magister which translates in English to Master of Laws.) The LL.M. is an internationally-recognized postgraduate law degree. However, in most countries lawyers are not required to hold an LL.M. degree to practice law and many choose not to devote the resources necessary to obtain this additional level of expertise. Completion of this Program is not intended to, and will not, qualify graduates to sit for any bar examination in the United States.

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Presentation

The Program is presented on a semester basis and can be completed in one year. Students are generally enrolled in a minimum of 8 units per semester. Each semester consists of a time period of 16 weeks. The Program maintains open enrollment throughout the year. Students may commence study at any time. Students may take a leave-of-absence between semesters. Most students will complete the Program within one year. However students in some circumstances can take up to 2 years.

Traditional law school programs in the United States rely heavily on casebooks and often require students to brief hundreds of cases. Although students in this Program also study cases in each course, the Program places greater emphasis on direct sources of the “black letter” law such as outlines, treatises, audio lectures and other study aids. In most courses, the casebooks are optional. When students are required to brief specific cases, those cases can be found on the University supplied Lexis Advance® legal database. (Lexis Advance® is a powerful research tool which students utilize in all courses.)

The Program places a greater emphasis on learning practical skills than the typical law school program which is designed in part to prepare students for the bar examination. In this Program students are tested in large part through objective questions and written projects rather than timed bar examination style questions.

The Program includes courses that utilize Internet technologies in the delivery of course syllabi and student work property. The Program requires no classroom attendance. Prior Taft Law students have resided in as Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America.

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Program Objectives

The legal system in the United States has an ever increasing impact on businesses from around the world. The Program is designed for attorneys and legal scholars educated outside of the United States who desire knowledge of United States’ law and its legal system to enhance their current career, to obtain a clearer understanding of the regulatory process, to increase their ability to interact with the legal system, to improve their ability to anticipate potential legal problems, or simply for personal enrichment. Graduates also benefit from increased analytical reasoning and communication skills.

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Admission Policies and Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to the Program must generally have earned a Juris Doctor degree or other law degree from an appropriately accredited institution outside of the United States which is listed in the International Handbook of Universities (or the equivalent). It may be necessary for applicants to obtain an evaluation of their education from a credential evaluation service approved by the School. Upon request, the School’s Admissions Office will provide a list of approved evaluators.

All instruction is in English. Therefore applicants whose native language is not English and who have not earned a degree from an accredited institution where English is the principal language of instruction must generally have received a minimum score of 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

The Program is not designed for individuals holding a Juris Doctor degree earned in the United States or individuals admitted to any Bar in the United States or Canada. However, the School will consider special petitions from such individuals. Interested individuals should contact the Admissions Office for detailed information on petition procedures and approval guidelines.

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Graduation Requirements

To earn the Master of Laws (with a concentration in American Jurisprudence) degree, a student must complete a minimum of 24 units including the Introduction to Law course with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00. The requirements may be completed in as little as one year (three semesters) and must be completed within two calendar years from the date of initial enrollment.

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Curriculum

The only required course is Introduction to Law (LAW 601). This course serves as the introduction to the Program and is intended to provide the student with a broad overview of the American judicial system. Candidates for this degree satisfy the balance of the course requirements by completing courses of their choice from among those offered to our law students pursuing our Juris Doctor – Executive Track Independent Study degree. (Click on the course title for full course descriptions.)

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How to Enroll

To apply for admission to the Program, an applicant must first complete the online Application for Admission Form and submit it to the Admissions Office, along with the required $75.00 application fee. It is not necessary to submit official transcripts at the time of application. However, official transcripts will be required within 45 days of enrollment. United States educated law school graduates interested in submitting a special petition for admission should contact the Admissions Office.

If the applicant is accepted for admission to the Program, enrollment materials will be prepared and e-mailed to the applicant for review and signature. All payments submitted for tuition and fees must be payable in U.S. dollars. Payments may be made by MasterCard®/Visa®/American Express®/Discover® or personal/business check as described in Section VII of the Application for Admission form.

Generally, applications must be approved at least 30 days before a matriculating student can commence studies. Applications are reviewed weekly.

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Financial Information

The tuition for the Master of Laws Program (with a concentration in American Jurisprudence) is $330.00 per unit. (Students must enroll in a minimum of eight units per semester.) Additional information on financial aid and tuition financing can be found under Financial Aid.

All of the fees on this schedule are non-refundable.
Fee Schedule
Application Fee $75.00
Special Petition for Admission Fee $150.00
Registration Fee
(Per Semester)
$40.00
Library Fee
(Per Semester)
$75.00
Enrollment Commitment Fee
(Matriculating Students Only)
$100.00
Non-Resident Surcharge
(Per Semester; Applies Only to Students Residing Outside of the United States)
$250.00
Administrative Accounting Fee
(Per Semester; Installment Payment Plans Only)
$50.00
Returned Check Fee $25.00
Transcript Fee
(Two Provided at No Charge)
$7.50
Graduation Check/Diploma Fee $75.00

The cost of required books and materials, other than each course’s syllabus, is not included in the tuition. The current costs for these materials is approximately $675.00 for 24 units plus shipping. Most books and materials may be purchased through any legal book store. However, students will always be provided with mail and/or online sources for obtaining any required materials. The School does not sell books or study aids.

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Faculty

The Taft University System employs faculty qualified to undertake the level of instruction or course development that they are assigned. They possess degrees or credentials appropriate to the degree program and level they teach. A complete listing of faculty and their qualifications is set forth in a separate Catalog Supplement.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Q. How long does it take to complete the Program?

    A. The Program can be completed in as little as one calendar year.

  2. Q. How many units are necessary to earn the LL.M. degree?

    A. Twenty four semester units must be completed.

  3. Q. Will you accept transfer credits from other LL.M. Programs?

    A. No, transfer credit cannot be granted.

  4. Q. Will completion of this Program qualify me for any state bar examination in the United States?

    A. No. As a distance education institution, the School is not eligible for accreditation by the American Bar Association, has not applied for such accreditation, and does not expect to apply for such accreditation in the future. The Program is not designed to qualify students to sit for the bar examination in any state.

  5. Q. Will I be able to find a job in the United States after earning your LL.M. degree?

    A. Foreign applicants should be aware that the LL.M. degree, obtained through a one-year masters program, does not serve as a substitute for the three or four year Juris Doctor degree in the U.S. job market. If you are committed to finding long-term employment as an attorney in the United States, you might consider a Juris Doctor program. Studies have shown that only approximately 16% of international LL.M. graduates from A.B.A. approved law schools find permanent employment within the United States. Many more find internships, pursue positions in their home country, or find employment in a third country.

  6. Q. I'm not sure I want to complete the entire Program, can I take just one course rather than enroll in the entire Program?

    A. No. The structure of the Program requires that students be enrolled in a minimum of 8 units per semester.

  7. Q. What financial aid and tuition financing alternatives are available?

    A. Many students are eligible for financial aid through employer tuition reimbursement programs and/or the Schools’s Partners in Professional Education (PIPE) Program. In addition, the School offers a no interest financing alternative which permits students to pay approximately 30% of tuition at the time of enrollment and the balance over a 5 month period.

  8. Q. Is there ever a need to come to California?

    A. No. Academic and administrative procedures are carefully designed so that students can complete all requirements for graduation entirely by directed independent study, without unreasonably disrupting their professional or family lives. Students may elect to take examinations at the School or at over 350 approved testing sites. If a testing site is not convenient to a student, procedures are in place for the student to nominate a proctor.

  9. Q. Is the Program accredited?

    A. Yes, Taft Law School and all of its programs are accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). DEAC is recognized by the United States Department of Education and is a member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

  10. Q. How soon can I get started?

    A. The Program maintains open enrollment allowing students to commence study at any time. Generally, applications must be approved at least 30 days before a matriculating student can commence studies. Applications are reviewed weekly. Semesters start on the 15th of each month.

  11. Q. Can I defer my existing student loans?

    A. As a result of legislation passed by Congress in 2006, Taft Law School students are now generally eligible to defer repayment of existing Federal Financial Aid (FSA) student loans during their term of enrollment in the Program. To continue the deferral, students must maintain satisfactory academic progress toward earning the degree.

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