LL.M. Curriculum

LL.M. students in classroom

Dickinson Law offers a generalized LL.M. degree program designed to give students a high-level understanding of the U.S. legal system. Studying alongside J.D. students, LL.M. students may enroll in a wide variety of courses that allow concentration in certain types of law or law-related topics. Students may pursue specific curricular or certificate tracks.

LL.M. students must earn a minimum of 24 credits which can be taken full-time over one academic year or part-time over three to four semesters. Full-time students must enroll in at least 12 credits but no more than 17 credits per semester. Students may opt to stay for a third semester of legal study with the intent of completing an experiential learning program or preparing for a U.S. bar exam.

To earn the LL.M. degree, students must successfully complete the following courses:

  • Introduction to the U.S. Legal System (2 credits, Fall semester)
  • LL.M. Legal Research (1 credit, Fall semester)
  • LL.M. Legal Writing (2 credits, Spring semester)

Additionally, LL.M. students must successfully complete one course from the following list:

  • Civil Procedure
  • Constitutional Law I
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Property
  • Torts

For a full list of course offerings, please see Courses. Students should note that not every course is offered each semester and some courses may be scheduled in concurrent time slots. Before each semester, a detailed schedule of course offerings is made available. Courses are generally offered Monday thru Friday and very few evening courses are available.

Curricular and Certificate Tracks

The LL.M. program is generalized to allow students maximum flexibility to pursue desired coursework in specialized areas of law. In addition to completing basic degree requirements, LL.M. students may opt to pursue specific curricular tracks to fulfill prescribed course requirements associated with bar exam eligibility or complete a certificate program. Full-time students must enroll in at least 12 credits but no more than 17 credits each semester.

Standard LL.M. Track
Fall Semester Spring Semester
Introduction to the U.S. Legal System (2)
LL.M. Legal Research (1)
3-4 other elective courses
LL.M. Legal Writing (2)
4-5 other elective courses

Note: Additionally, LL.M. students must successfully complete one course from the following list: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law I, Contracts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Property or Torts.

New York Bar Exam Track (Sample)

Earning an LL.M. degree in the United States does not guarantee eligibility to sit for a bar examination. Each U.S. state sets its own eligibility requirements that should be considered. While the Dickinson Law curriculum provides all coursework necessary to sit for the New York bar examination, students must plan accordingly to ensure that appropriate coursework is completed. For more information, see The New York State Board of Law Examiners.

Fall Semester Spring Semester
Introduction to the U.S. Legal System (2)
LL.M. Legal Research (1)
Civil Procedure (4) or Torts (4)
Criminal Law (3)
Criminal Procedure (3) or Constitutional Law II (3)
Professional Responsibility (3)
LL.M. Legal Writing (2)
Evidence (3)
Constitutional Law I (3)
Contracts (4) or Property (4)
Supplemental Bar Prep Course (2)*

* New York bar applicants may not count credits in any type of bar review or preparation course, independent study, directed study, research papers or projects toward the 24 semester hours of credit required to qualify for the bar exam.

Note: As of August 2022, The New York State bar examination is administered twice per year, in February and July. Applications must be filed during the month of November for a February examination and during the month of April for a July examination.

Eligibility requirements for applicants who wish to qualify for the New York State bar examination based on the study of law in a foreign country must complete a Foreign Evaluation Form. If a deficiency in one’s foreign legal education must be “cured” by completing an LL.M. degree, one must seek an Advance Evaluation of Eligibility from the Board. It can take up to six months for an eligibility decision to be made.

The LL.M. degree program must consist of a minimum of 24 semester hours of credit. All coursework must be physically completed at the Dickinson Law campus. No credit is allowed for distance, correspondence or external study or for an on-line program or course. It is recommended that students in this track take all bar-tested courses.

Minimum Required Coursework:

  • 2 credits in professional responsibility;
  • 2 credits in legal research, writing and analysis course;
  • 2 credits in a course on American legal studies, the American legal system or a similar course designed to introduce students to U.S. law; and,
  • 6 credits in subjects tested on the New York bar examination, which are: Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Torts, Contracts, Property, Evidence, Business associations, Conflict of Laws, Criminal Law and Procedure, Family law, Trusts and Estates, Secured Transactions.

For more information, see The New York State Board of Law Examiners.

Certificate in National Security Law (Sample)

To earn a certificate in a particular area of law generally requires 15 credits, including both required and elective courses. The requirement for each certificate and concentration are available upon request.

Fall Semester Spring Semester
Introduction to the U.S. Legal System (2)
LL.M. Legal Research (1)
National Security Law (3)
First Amendment Law (3)
Constitutional Law II (3)
Congressional Investigations Seminar (2)
LL.M. Legal Writing (2)
Administrative Law (3)
International Criminal Law (3)
Cyberspace Law & Policy (1)
Cybersecurity Law & Policy Seminar (2)
Evidence (3)

 

Dickinson Law Also Offers Certificates In

  • Civil Rights and Equal Protection
  • Corporate Compliance (Concentrations: General, Information Security, Health Care)
  • Cyber, Privacy and Data Security
  • Entrepreneurship (Concentrations: General, Transactional, Intellectual Property & Technology)
  • Family Law and Children’s Advocacy
  • Government Affairs (Concentrations: National Security, Federal Regulatory, State Regulatory)
  • Health Law and Policy Litigation and Dispute Resolution (Concentrations: General, Civil Litigation, Criminal Litigation)
  • Taxation

LL.M. Concentrations and Courses

As a generalized LL.M. degree program, students may enroll in a wide variety of courses that allow concentration in certain types of law or law-related topics. Consider these examples.

Arbitration, Mediation and Negotiation

Courses

  • Dispute Resolution
    • Arbitration: Domestic and International
    • Negotiation/Mediation
    • Client Counseling
    • Congressional Investigations Seminar
    • Entrepreneurship Law: Operational Issues
  • Civil Litigation in the United States
    • Civil Procedure
    • Trial Advocacy (Advocacy I)
    • Advanced Trial Advocacy (Advocacy II)
    • Federal Courts
    • Pennsylvania Practice
    • Evidence
    • Electronic Evidence Seminar
    • Remedies
  • Criminal Litigation in the United States
    • Criminal Law
    • Criminal Procedure
    • Advanced Criminal Procedure
    • Federal Criminal Practice
    • Pennsylvania Criminal Law Practice
    • Post-Conviction Process
    • Substantive Law-Specific Procedure in the United States
    • Administrative Law
Business Law

Courses

  • Business Structures
    • Business Entities I: Unincorporated Business Entities
    • Business Entities II: Corporations
    • Business Planning for Small Business Enterprises
    • Entrepreneurship Law: Company Creation
    • Entrepreneurship Law: Operational Issues
  • Substantive
    • Antitrust
    • International Business Transactions
    • International Investment Law
    • Contracts
    • Federal Securities Regulation
    • Nonprofit Organizations
    • White-Collar Crime
    • Sales
    • Secured Transactions
    • Consumer Protection
    • Bankruptcy
    • Banking Regulation
    • Payment Systems
    • Construction Law
    • Property
    • Labor Law
    • Employment Law
    • Torts
  • Practice Based
    • Accounting for Lawyers
    • Lawyering and Ethics for the Business Attorney Seminar
Constitutional and Administrative Law

Courses

  • Federal & Constitutional Law
    • Constitutional Law I
    • Constitutional Law II
    • First Amendment – Free Speech
    • Administrative Law
    • Congressional Investigations Seminar
    • Federal Courts
    • Civil Liberties Litigation
  • Substantive
    • Election Law
    • Nonprofit Organization Law
    • White Collar Crime
    • Regulatory & Legislative Practice Seminar
    • National Security Law
    • Immigration Law
    • Energy Law and Policy
    • Federal Tax Law
    • Environmental Law
    • Communication Law
    • Law and Individuals with Disabilities
  • Practice Based
    • Negotiation/Mediation
    • Strategic Legal Research
  • State Law
    • State and Local Government Law
    • State & Local Taxation
    • State Constitutions Seminar
    • Protection of Individual Rights Under State Constitutions Seminar
Criminal Law and Procedure

Courses

  • Foundational
    • Criminal Law
    • Criminal Procedure
    • Advanced Criminal Procedure
  • Substantive
    • International Criminal Law
    • Death Penalty Seminar
    • Post-Conviction Process
    • Juvenile Law
    • White-Collar Crime
    • Federal Criminal Practice
    • Congressional Investigations Seminar
    • National Security Law
    • Pennsylvania Criminal Law Practice
  • Practice Based
    • Trial Advocacy (Advocacy I)
    • Advanced Trial Advocacy (Advocacy II)
Cyber Law, Data Privacy and Information Security

Courses

  • Substantive
    • Information Privacy and Security Law
  • Practice Based
    • Cyberlaw in Practice
    • Cybersecurity Law & Policy Seminar
    • Electronic Evidence Seminar

Government Law and Policy

The Government Law & Policy concentration touches upon a broad range of topics, particularly given the current tensions between the federal government and state and local governments, as well as between the various branches of the government. This concentration is designed for those who work for the government or whose jobs require frequent interaction with government bodies.

Courses in Government Law & Policy include:

  • Constitutional Law I
  • Civil Liberties Litigation
  • Congressional Investigations Seminar
  • Administrative Law
  • Regulatory and Legislative Practice Seminar
  • National Security Law
  • Corporate Compliance
  • Federal Securities Regulation
  • Energy Law and Policy
  • State and Local Government
  • Public Health Law
  • Health Law and Policy
  • Child Welfare Law and Policy
  • State and Local Tax
  • Election Law
  • Education Law
  • Construction Law
  • Insurance Law
  • Protection of Individual Rights Under State Constitutions Seminar
  • Taxation of Business Entities
Health Law and Policy

Courses

    • Law and Medicine
    • Health Care Law and Policy
    • Health Care Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    • Heath Care Organizations and Finance
    • Administrative Law
    • Torts
    • Nonprofit Organizations
    • Elder Law
    • Law and Aging Policy Seminar
    • Law and Individuals with Disabilities
    • Employee Benefits Law
    • Wills, Trusts, and Estates
    • Estate Planning
    • Poverty Law
  • In-House Clinics
    • Children’s Advocacy Clinic
    • Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic
Intellectual Property and Innovation

Courses

  • Contracts
  • Introduction to Intellectual Property Law
  • Copyrights
  • Patents
  • Trademarks
  • Internet Law
  • Communications Law
  • Sports and Entertainment Law
  • Business Creation
    • Business Planning for Small Business Enterprises
    • Entrepreneurship Law: Company Creation
    • Entrepreneurship Law: Operational Issues
    • Contracts
  • Business Operations
    • Basic Federal Income Tax
    • Advanced Federal Income Tax
    • Sales
    • Secured Transactions
    • Federal Securities Regulation
    • Consumer Protection
    • Employee Benefits Law
    • Bankruptcy
    • Employment Law
    • Labor Law
    • Introduction to Intellectual Property
    • International Business Transactions
  • Practice Based
    • Accounting for Lawyers
    • Arbitration: Domestic and International
    • Lawyering and Ethics for the Business Attorney Seminar
    • Transactional Writing and Drafting
International Trial Advocacy

Courses

  • Substantive
    • International Human Rights
    • Comparative International Taxation
    • National Security Law
    • International Investment Law
    • Energy Law and Policy
    • Immigration Law
    • International Criminal Law
    • Congressional Investigations Seminar
  • Practice Based
    • Trial Advocacy (Advocacy I)
    • Advanced Trial Advocacy (Advocacy II)
    • Advanced Appellate Advocacy
    • Arbitration: Domestic and International
    • Cross-Border Legal Practice Seminar
  • Externships
    • International Justice Externship
Organizing for Social Justice

The Organizing for Social Justice concentration centers on what are commonly considered the four principles of social justice: human rights, access, participation, and equity. This track thus focuses on not just equal protection under the law but also fair and equitable distribution of wealth, opportunities for advancement, access to the political process, and maintenance and improvement of social institutions, including schools, communities, and families. The Organizing for Social Justice concentration is designed for those who work in grassroots and other social movements as well as those in government, nonprofit organizations, and public service institutions.


Courses in Organizing for Social Justice include:

  • Civil Liberties Litigation
  • Constitutional Law I
  • First Amendment — Free Speech
  • Family Law
  • Child Welfare Law & Policy
  • Elder Law
  • Law and Individuals with Disabilities
  • Education Law Seminar
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Labor Law
  • Election Law
  • International Human Rights
  • Protection of Individual Rights Under State Constitutions Seminar
  • Race, Racism, and American Law Seminar
  • Race and Equal Protection of the Law
  • Gender and Sexuality Law
  • Immigration Law
  • National Security Law
  • Poverty Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Post-Conviction Process
  • Innocence and Wrongful Conviction
  • International Criminal Law
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Administrative Law
  • Regulatory and Legislative Practice Seminar
Public Interest Law

Courses

  • Constitutional
    • Constitutional Law II
    • First Amendment — Free Speech
    • Protection of Individual Rights Under State Constitutions Seminar
  • Federal
    • Election Law
    • Congressional Investigations Seminar
    • Federal Indian Law Seminar
    • Immigration Law
  • Human Rights
    • International Human Rights
    • Gender and Sexuality Law
    • Race, Racism, and American Law Seminar
  • Public Interest
    • Juvenile Law
    • Law and Individuals with Disabilities
    • Poverty Law
    • Nonprofit Organizations
    • Education Law
  • Criminal
    • Post-Conviction Process
    • Death Penalty Seminar
  • In-House Clinics
    • Children’s Advocacy Clinic
    • Community Law Clinic (handling cases in family, disability, housing, and public benefits law)
Security Law

Courses

  • National Security Law
  • Homeland Security Law
  • Counterterrorism
  • Military Law
  • Information Privacy & Security Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Congressional Investigations Seminar
  • Regulatory & Legislative Practice Seminar
  • Civil Liberties Litigation
  • Cyberlaw in Practice
  • Cybersecurity Law & Policy Seminar
Tax Law Concentration

Courses

  • Basic Federal Income Tax
  • Advanced Federal Income Tax
  • Corporate and Partnership Tax
  • Comparative International Taxation
  • State and Local Taxation
  • Estate Planning
  • Entrepreneurship Law: Company Creation
  • Entrepreneurship Law: Operational Issues
Trial Advocacy and Litigation

Courses

  • General Litigation
    • Evidence
    • Trial Advocacy (Advocacy I)
    • Advanced Trial Advocacy (Advocacy II)
    • Advanced Appellate Advocacy
    • Federal Courts
    • Conflict of Laws
  • Civil
    • Civil Procedure
    • Torts
    • Advanced Torts
    • Remedies
    • Insurance Law
    • Civil Liberties Litigation
    • Remedies
    • Property
  • Criminal
    • Criminal Law
    • Criminal Procedure
    • Advanced Criminal Procedure
    • Federal Criminal Practice
    • International Criminal Law
    • White-Collar Crime
    • Post-Conviction Process

Additional Curricular Considerations

With the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, LL.M. students may enroll in graduate courses offered at other Penn State campus locations, including the University’s Master of Public Administration and Master of Business Administration degree programs offered at Penn State Harrisburg and through the University’s World Campus. Additional costs may apply.

Independent Study

With the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, LL.M. students may take independent study courses for up to three credits in any one semester, and no more than a total of four credits may be counted toward fulfillment of the LL.M. degree requirements.

Experiential Learning

With the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, LL.M. students may enroll in experiential learning courses, including pro bono, clinical, and externship programs. International LL.M. students may have immigration compliance restrictions that may limit experiential learning options.

Bar Examination

Earning an LL.M. degree in the United States does not guarantee eligibility to sit for a bar examination. Each U.S. state sets its own eligibility requirements that should be considered. While the Dickinson Law curriculum provides all coursework necessary to sit for the New York bar examination, for example, students must plan accordingly to ensure that appropriate coursework is completed. For more information, see The New York State Board of Law Examiners.

Summer Enrollment

Dickinson Law does not regularly offer summer courses. An exception is a one-credit summer externship class. Enrollment in that course is limited to international J.D. students to satisfy the unique visa-related requirements for employment and Curricular Practical Training for those students.