Eligibility and Admissions Standards

We seek to admit students into the Executive LL.M. program who offer diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and interests, and who share a commitment to excellence.  We look for evidence of that commitment in areas including applicants’ academic records, their professional accomplishments, and their engagement in their community.  We place particular emphasis on those skills and qualities we believe are necessary for academic success and participation in the intellectual life at Columbia Law School.     

A successful candidate should have:

  • A first degree in law. A degree in a field other than law, even if followed by a master’s degree in law, generally does not suffice for admission. Applicants who have earned a law degree by correspondence course work or distance learning are not eligible for admission.

  • A minimum of approximately 5 years of work experience after earning the first law degree.

  • A stellar academic record from one’s post-secondary education institutions.

  • Minimum scores on the TOEFL as follows: (1)TOEFL iBT  - 105 overall score, with a minimum of 26 on Reading and Listening and 24 on the Speaking and Writing sections. (2) Paper-based TOEFL - 620 overall score, with 59/60 on the Structure/Writing and Reading sections, 60/61 on the Listening section, and 5.0 on the TWE.

Applicants who completed their first degree in law at a school where the language of instruction was entirely in English in an English-speaking country may be eligible for an exemption from taking the TOEFL exam.

Graduates of Law Schools in the United States

For graduates of U.S. law schools, admission to the Executive LL.M. Program is restricted to graduates of A.B.A.-accredited law schools who achieved honor status in their J.D. studies as evidenced by very high academic standing, by membership on their law reviews, or by outstanding work in research.

Graduates of Law Schools in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or English-speaking Caribbean Countries

Admission for these degree candidates is generally restricted to those who achieved honor status in their prior legal studies as evidenced by very high academic standing, by membership on their law reviews, or by outstanding work in research.

Graduates of All Other Law Schools

Applicants from law schools in all other jurisdictions must hold a first degree in law to be eligible for admission. A degree in a field other than law, even if followed by a master’s degree in law, generally does not suffice for admission. Applicants who have earned a law degree by correspondence course work or distance learning are not eligible for admission.

International lawyers who intend to reside and practice law in the United States permanently should apply for the J.D. degree, the first degree in law, rather than the Executive LL.M.  Completion of an Executive LL.M. degree at Columbia Law School does not guarantee admission to the J.D. Program.