Applicants for admission to the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree program at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law must have received the first degree in law from an accredited U.S. law school or an equivalent law school from another English-speaking country that follows the common law system. Graduates from other foreign law schools will be admitted as candidates for the LL.M. degree only upon submission of evidence of knowledge of the English language and the common law system sufficient to permit the candidate to conduct advanced studies. Such students may be required to take one or two core common law courses (Contracts, Property, and/or Torts) that may be included in the credits required for the LL.M. degree.
For admission to the LL.M. program at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, an applicant must present:
- a proven record of scholastic accomplishment in legal studies
- a coherent plan of study normally including a specialized concentration in an area of the law
- a commitment to the study of law as an intellectual discipline.
When selecting students for admission, the Committee on Graduate Studies will consider:
- the applicant's past experience
- evidence of maturity and motivation
- personal recommendations
- other indices of competence such as writings and publications.
An interview may be requested by the Committee.
It is important that graduates of foreign law schools who enroll in the LL.M. program understand that earning an LL.M. does not guarantee eligibility for the Ohio, or any other state's, bar exam. Further, the Ohio Supreme Court is currently considering a proposal that would require foreign-educated lawyers seeking permission to take the Ohio bar exam to complete a course of studies in prescribed law subjects totaling 30 semester hours. Finally, it is our strong recommendation that foreign-law graduates who intend to practice law in the United States should seek admission to the J.D. program rather than the LL.M.
The Application Process
- Download an Application for Admission here. Return your completed and signed application, along with a check or money order in the amount of $40, payable to Cleveland State University, to:
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
Office of Admissions
1801 Euclid Avenue, LB 138
Cleveland, Ohio 44115-2214
- If English is not your native language and you have not received a degree from either a university in the United States or a university where English is the official language of the country and the language of instruction, then results from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are required. You can receive information about the TOEFL from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website at www.ets.org and you can receive information about the IELTS from the website at www.ielts.org. Either a TOEFL score of greater than 100 on the internet based test or an IELTS score of greater than 7 is normally required for admission to the LL.M. program.
- A letter stating your reasons for applying to our LL.M. program and how our course offerings can fulfill your expectations.
- Three personal reference letters confirming the likelihood of your success in graduate study. It is recommended that at least one letter come from a law teacher in the school awarding your first law degree. In the event you have been employed in any law related capacity, one letter should also come from your immediate supervisor.
- Official transcripts from all colleges awarding degrees.
Fall Semester: March 1
Spring Semester: October 1
For applicants seeking financial aid, loan programs are available to eligible LL.M. candidates who are enrolled for a minimum of six credit hours per semester. Interested applicants should contact the Office of Admission at 216-687-2304.
- The Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree will be awarded upon the satisfactory completion of a program of study approved by the Committee on Graduate Studies.
- Graduates of American law schools must complete a minimum of 20 semester hours of course work and a thesis reflecting a substantial degree of scholarship and original research.
- The LL.M. program for graduates of foreign law schools does not include a thesis requirement. Such students, instead, are required to complete a minimum of 24 semester hours of course credit, including at least one course for upper-level writing credit.
- The Committee on Graduate Studies shall appoint a graduate adviser for each LL.M. candidate from among the members of the law faculty. The graduate adviser shall have primary responsibility for reviewing and approving the specific course program being pursued by the candidate.
- A candidate shall maintain continuous registration in the LL.M. program by registering for at least one course in each Fall and Spring semester, commencing with the semester in which the candidate enters the program, until the candidate shall have completed the required semester hours of credit. A candidate who fails to maintain continuous registration in the program from the semester of entry shall be dismissed from the program. Exceptions to the continuous registration requirement may be granted by the committee in its discretion upon a showing of good cause in a timely petition.
- The final cumulative G.P.A. must be 3.0 or higher. "Final cumulative G.P.A." shall be calculated at the end of the semester in which the candidate accumulates 20 or 24 semester hours of course work, as appropriate, and shall include all semester hours earned up to that point.
- The LL.M. thesis required of graduates of American law schools must be prepared under the supervision of a thesis advisor and be approved by a thesis committee and the Committee on Graduate Studies. The Committee on Graduate Studies shall appoint the thesis advisor and shall also appoint a thesis committee to review the completed thesis. The thesis committee shall be comprised of the candidate's thesis advisor and two other members of the faculty selected by the Committee on Graduate Studies for their interest and competence in the area of the candidate's thesis research. A majority of the thesis committee shall approve the candidate's thesis before it is considered for approval by the Committee on Graduate Studies.
- All requirements for the LL.M. degree including submission of the thesis shall be completed no later than four years from the date of entrance into the program. A candidate's date of entrance is the start of the Fall or Spring semester following the candidate's acceptance into the program.
- Not more than six semester hours (nine quarter hours) of credit received from another law school or as a special student at this law school may be applied toward the LL.M. degree requirements, and the acceptance of any such credit shall be at the discretion of the Committee. No credit earned by a candidate prior to receiving the first degree in law may be applied toward the LL.M. degree requirements, except that, where a candidate has earned credit in excess of the first degree requirements before receiving that degree, the Committee may, in its discretion, accept up to six semester hours of such credit toward fulfillment of the LL.M. requirements. Such excess credit may not be applied toward the LL.M. degree requirements if earned for courses taken earlier than the semester in which the candidate completes the requirements for the first degree. Not more than a total of six hours of credit earned in any of the ways specified in this paragraph may be applied toward the LL.M. degree requirements.
- For those candidates required to write a thesis as a prerequisite to obtaining the LL.M. degree, the candidate must register for three credits of Master of Laws (LL.M.) Thesis, LAW 890, during the semester in which the candidate commences work on the LL.M. thesis. A candidate shall register for LAW 890 in the Fall or Spring semester immediately following that in which the candidate attains 20 credit hours, or in the candidate's seventh semester in the program, whichever is earlier. With the approval of the candidate's graduate advisor, a candidate may elect to register for LAW 890 earlier, concurrently with the completion of required course work. A candidate who has completed LAW 890, but who has not yet completed the thesis, shall register for one credit of LAW 890 in each succeeding Fall and Spring semester until the thesis is submitted. A grade of "T" shall be entered each semester for LAW 890 while work on the thesis is in progress. Upon acceptance or rejection of the thesis by the Graduate Studies Committee, a grade of "P" or "F" shall be entered for those credits, but such grades shall not be computed in the candidate's final G.P.A.
- It is expected that an LL.M. candidate will take at least 10 (12 for graduates of foreign law schools) semester hours of course work in an area of concentration. The area of concentration will be designated in consultation with the candidate's graduate advisor.
- When required, the master's thesis must be 60 typed pages or longer, not including footnotes.
- Completion of all degree requirements normally takes two academic years or longer.
- Credit hours for the core common law course(s) required of graduates from law schools in non-common law countries may be included in the 24 credit hours required for the degree as long as the grade(s) received is a "C" or better, in which case the grade will be included in the calculation of the student's cumulative grade point average.
- A candidate may take up to three semester hours of independent legal research under the direction of a member of the faculty, with the approval of the candidate's graduate advisor. If the candidate writes an independent study or seminar paper, the candidate's LL.M. thesis, when required, must be on a topic that is either completely different from or a very significant expansion of that paper. The LL.M. thesis is regarded as a requirement in addition to any work done toward the 20 semester hours of course credit required for the degree.
- When a thesis is required, at or near the completion of course work, and in no case later than one year prior to the four-year termination date of the candidate's program, the candidate shall locate a faculty member knowledgeable in his or her field to serve as thesis advisor. Normally, the thesis advisor will be a different person than the candidate's graduate advisor. The candidate shall inform the Committee on Graduate Studies of the name of the thesis advisor and, upon approval of the selection, the committee shall inform the faculty member in writing that he or she has been designated as the candidate's thesis advisor. The candidate shall secure the thesis advisor's approval for the proposed thesis topic at this time.
- No later than nine months prior to the four-year termination date of the candidate's program, the candidate shall present to the thesis advisor written evidence of extensive research and analysis of the subject of the thesis. Drafts of sections of the thesis should then be submitted to the advisor for criticism and advice, at the advisor's discretion. A draft of the complete thesis should be submitted to the advisor no later than three months prior to the four-year termination date of the candidate's program.
- Students studying on a student visa must take a minimum of 8 credit hours per semester.