Frequently Asked Questions

General Admissions

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 undergraduate and/or graduate institution.

  • Minimum scores on the TOEFL as follows: (1)TOEFL iBT  - 105 overall score, with 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 are exempt from taking the TOEFL exam.

If you have questions about whether your degree qualifies you to apply for the Executive LL.M., you should ask us prior to applying by sending an email to ExecLLM@law.columbia.edu.   

For more information on eligibility and standards please see our Eligibility and Admission Standards page.

As a general matter, applications are evaluated on a rolling basis. All applications submitted prior to the Regular Decision deadline of December 18, 2018 will be reviewed first. Typically, the Admissions Committee begins rolling out decisions in December and continues to release decisions until the end of January.

We send all admission decisions by email. Offers of admission are sent in writing also, via courier. Please make sure that you provide us with a valid email address and a physical address for the courier delivery (we do not deliver admission materials to post office boxes), and that you update that information as necessary. Many companies have put up firewalls and email messages get returned to us. Therefore, we recommend that you use a personal email account (such as Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo) or speak with your employer’s IT department to make sure that messages from Columbia Law School will not be blocked. All decisions are mailed from ExecLLM@law.columbia.edu

We take into consideration all elements of an application when making a decision on an application, and there is not one individual aspect that is more important than the others. Typically, decisions are based on review of the file as a whole, considering the applicant’s academic and professional credentials, English language skills, letters of recommendation, professional experience and goals, and the personal statement.   

Applications will be accepted on a limited space-available basis through January 18, 2019. 

After that date, prospective applicants should check back in September 2019 for the application to the 2020 program. 

No. All applicants must submit an online application through LSAC.

Applicants are welcome to visit the Law School and our office.  Please make an appointment and we will be happy to meet you and informally answer your questions, and will give you a brochure so that you can take a self-guided tour of the Law School. Unfortunately, due to the large number of applications we receive every year, we are unable to interview prospective students. For more information, please see Visiting Columbia Law School. Additionally, all information regarding our program is also available on our website.

With the exception of applications from Fulbright or other scholarship organizations, we do not accept applications submitted by third-party educational advisors or consultants. Such applications do not in any way enhance your chances for admission to the Executive LL.M. at Columbia Law School. In fact, unless they are submitted through Fulbright or another scholarship organization, they may hinder your chances or render your application incomplete, as we have no way of verifying that the application is indeed your work.  We will not report on an applicant’s status to anyone other than the applicant.

Unfortunately, it is not possible for the Executive LL.M. Office to speak with individual applicants about their applications. In the rare case the Admissions Committee feels more information is needed beyond what is included in your application, we will contact you directly.

Unfortunately, no. Because of the high volume of applications we receive, it is not logistically possible for us to provide feedback on individual applications. Admission to our program is very competitive. In general, when we deny admission to an applicant, we cannot point to one specific factor which led to the decision.  Typically, the Admissions Committee bases its decisions on a review of the file as a whole, considering the applicant’s academic and professional credentials, English language skills, letters of recommendation, professional experience and goals, and the personal statement.

Application Procedures and Instructions

The application for the 2019 Executive LL.M. Program will be available on October 15, 2018.

Applications for admission to our 2019 Executive LL.M. Program and all supporting documents must be submitted through LSAC

For additional information on applying through LSAC and other services LSAC offers, please visit LSAC. Columbia's online application through LSAC will be available in mid-September. Until then, applicants are encouraged to begin gathering (and submitting) their supporting documents for their LSAC Credential Assembly Service Report.

Contact LSAC, as they host the online application. 

The $85 application fee is rarely waived, and only waived in extenuating circumstances.  If you would like to request an application fee waiver, send a detailed email to ExecLLM@law.columbia.edu outlining your reasons for requesting the waiver. 

Financial Aid

Columbia Law School does not offer financial aid to Executive LL.M. students. Please see the Financing page for information on other financing options.

TOEFL

The minimum score for the TOEFL iBT is: 105 overall score, with 26 on Reading and Listening and 24 on the Speaking and Writing sections. For the paper-based TOEFL, the minimum score is: 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.

You must take the TOEFL test by December 18, 2018. We recognize that score reports will not arrive by that date, but all applicants should take the exam no later than December 18. Applicants should therefore schedule their exams as early as possible.

While we cannot guarantee that it will be considered with the rest of your application, all TOEFL scores sent to LSAC will be included with your application and will be available for review by the Admissions Committee. However, we will not hold your application while awaiting your new scores.

Your most recent TOEFL score must be from no more than two years before the application deadline. For the 2019 Executive LL.M. Program, you must have taken the TOEFL no earlier than December 18, 2016.

No.  All scores must be submitted through LSAC's Credential Assembly Service.  All score reports and any other application materials we receive from ETS and by mail will be discarded. 

Yes. You are exempt from taking the TOEFL exam if you completed your first degree in law at a school where the language of instruction was entirely in English in an English-speaking country.

Yes. In order to be exempt from taking the TOEFL exam, you must have completed your first degree in law at a school where the language of instruction was entirely in English in an English-speaking country.

No. All applicants who have not completed their first degree in law entirely in English in an English-speaking country must take the TOEFL, administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Visit www.toefl.org for more information. IELTS or other English proficiency exams are not accepted. 

Letters of Recommendation

No. All letters must be submitted through LSAC's Credential Assembly Service.

Please confirm the process of submitting your letters of recommendation with your recommenders. All letters that are mistakenly sent directly to the Executive LL.M. Office rather than to LSAC will be discarded.

Letters should be addressed to the Executive LL.M. Office.

We urge you to submit only two letters of recommendation.  Part of compiling a strong application for admission is determining which two recommenders are best able to evaluate your ability to pursue and succeed in the Executive LL.M. program.  In very rare circumstances, applicants may feel they have a compelling reason to submit an additional letter of recommendation. If you feel you fall into this category and would like to submit a third letter, your reasons should be obvious to the Admissions Committee and you should give a detailed explanation in the "Recommenders" section of the online application. Nevertheless, your application will be considered complete once two letters have been submitted to LSAC's Credential Assembly Service.

Ideally, one letter should come from a law school professor and one letter should come from a work supervisor. If you received your law degree more than 5 years ago, a letter from a law school professor is not necessary, but you must still submit two letters of recommendation.  Letters from family friends and letters from prominent persons who have not taught you or supervised your work are not helpful.  It is most important that your recommender know you well and be able to candidly evaluate your work and academic potential.

Your recommenders must submit their letters of recommendation directly to LSAC. They may do so either electronically via LSAC’s Electronic Recommendation system (also called E-LORs) or by mail to LSAC. If your recommender uses the E-LOR system, be sure they include a work e-mail address and contact information in their letter, so we can contact them if we have any questions about the letter or to verify the authenticity of the letter. If your recommender sends the letter by mail, it must be written on official letterhead and addressed to the Executive LL.M. Office. If your recommender is unable to print the letter on official letterhead, ask her to include an explanation as to why she is unable to do so. 

In the “Recommenders” section of the Columbia Law School online Executive LL.M. Application, you must also include a work email address for each recommender so we can contact her/him should we have questions about the letter or your candidacy (please note that we cannot accept generic email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo!, or Hotmail addresses for recommenders. If you submit a generic email address, we will request that you submit an official work email address before the Committee will review your application. If your recommender does not have an official work email address, you must explain on the online application why s/he does not have one). If your recommenders cannot write in English, please submit certified translations together with the original letters. We reserve the right to disqualify letters written or translated, in part or whole, by the applicant.

Transcripts

Your documents should be postmarked to LSAC no later than December 18.

Applications will be accepted on a limited space-available basis through January 18, 2019.

Provide a statement from your school stating that it does not rank candidates and send the statement to LSAC's Credential Assembly Service as a part of your transcripts. 

You need to submit transcripts for all post-secondary education completed, whether or not you earned a degree at a particular school. This rule applies even if the M.A. or B.A. program was not related to law.

Yes, you need to submit transcripts for all post-secondary coursework, whether or not you completed the program or earned a degree.

Yes, unless the grades are noted on your regular law school transcript, you need to submit transcripts for all post-secondary education completed, whether or not you earned a degree at a particular school.

Yes, you need to submit transcripts for all post-secondary coursework undertaken, even if it is just one course.

No. If your school provides one, however, you can submit it with your transcripts.

Yes, we require the International Transcript Authentication and Evaluation Service in addition to the basic CAS service.

No. If your institution does not provide official English translations, you must have the documents translated by an official, certified translator. We do not accept translations completed by the applicant.

Yes, we require official translations. Any time LSAC's rules differ from ours, you should default to our requirements. If your institution does not provide official English translations, you must have the documents translated by an official, certified translator. We do not accept translations completed by the applicant. 

Executive LL.M. Program—General Questions

The program begins online in mid-March. The Summer Residency period at Columbia Law School begins in late May.  Please see the Program Design page for more information.

We expect that students will continue with their regular work obligations during the on-line portions of the program.  The Summer Residency, however, is an intensive period and Executive LL.M. students should not accept or continue off-campus employment during this time.

The cost of the Executive LL.M. Program varies from year to year. Total expenses for 2019 can be found on the Tuition, Fees, and Estimated Living Expenses page. 

Yes, you are absolutely welcome to visit Columbia Law School! Applicants and prospective students are welcome to visit Columbia Law School and the Executive LL.M. Office during regular office hours, generally, Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please contact the Executive LL.M. office at ExecLLM@law.columbia.edu for an appointment. For more information, please visit the Visiting Columbia Law School page.  

There are a number of housing options for students during the Summer Residency, including off-campus sublets, campus housing sublets, and short-term corporate rentals.  Please see our Housing page for more information.

The International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) administers immigration services for all international students. You can obtain general information on immigration procedures and requirements by visiting their website. We will provide additional information on the visa application to admitted students in the spring.