Graduate legal studies

Indiana Law has been granting graduate degrees to international lawyers for more than 100 years. As the leader in the United States in the study of the global legal profession, we are using this research to help students become lawyers who both know the law and are prepared to practice in a competitive, global environment.

Our program offers not only incomparable global legal expertise but also distinguished professors, staff, and student-peer advisors who will work closely with you to make sure your course of study is best suited to your needs and goals — from the day you apply until well after graduation.

Located in Bloomington, Indiana, the Law School is part of a beautiful, safe, and friendly community with all the amenities of a larger city—culture, international cuisine, and a diverse student body. The cost of living and tuition here are less than most similarly ranked US programs.

In addition, Indiana University is part of an internationally acclaimed learning community, with activities on six continents. As an Indiana Law student, you'll be able to tap into this growing network. Explore IU's global reach with this interactive map.

Law school enrollment

Each year, we enroll 65 to 75 new graduate students. Our four largest alumni groups are from China, Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. Last year, our incoming classes were made up of students from Brazil, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Iraq, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Liberia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, and others.

The Indiana Law student body is diverse in many ways. JD and graduate students take most of their classes together, which further enhances learning both in and outside of the classroom.

  • Total law school enrollment: 631
  • JD students: 538
  • Graduate students (includes students in LLM, MCL, SJD, and PhD programs): 93
  • Representing 46 US states and 25 foreign countries

Our distinguished alumni are a valuable support network for our current graduate students. These alumni have prominent positions as law professors, judges, government officials, business leaders, and practicing attorneys around the world.

Graduate programs

Indiana Law’s top-tier graduate programs—which are primarily for international students—provide many opportunities for students to work closely with distinguished professors who are experts in many domestic and transnational fields. Indiana Law offers the following graduate legal programs:

Master of Laws (LLM)

Indiana Law’s LLM degree is primarily for international students and is our most popular graduate degree option. This degree requires at least one academic year in residence. We currently offer both the standard non-thesis LLM (24 credit hours) as well as thesis (30 credit hour LLM) degree options.

LLM special programs

Summer Start

LLM applicants who need to improve their English and legal English skills prior to starting US study may be admitted to our Summer Start Program, which begins in June each year.

LLM to JD transfer option

The Law School has a process that enables our LLM students to apply to transfer to the JD program. Students may nominate themselves to take part in the special process, or faculty members may also nominate students with outstanding performance in their class (learn more).

Spring LLM Start

In addition to our traditional two-semester fall program, we offer a three-semester program that starts in January. Students will be able to complete the degree requirements at a slower pace and, in some cases, begin their studies right after the close of the school year in their home countries. With sufficient preparation, some students may even start the program in January and graduate in two semesters. (learn more).

Apply to the LLM program

Master of Comparative Law (MCL)

Our MCL is a 20-credit, two-semester program that offers foreign law students an opportunity to gain familiarity with American law and legal institutions.

MCL Special Programs

MCL applicants who need to improve their English and legal English skills prior to starting US study may be admitted to our Summer Start Program, which begins in June each year.

Apply to the MCL program

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)

Indiana Law’s SJD is for international law graduates who already hold an LLM degree and who have demonstrated exceptional analytical and research abilities.

Apply to the SJD program

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Law and Democracy

The doctoral degree is granted by the law school and is administered by the Center for Constitutional Democracy (CCD). The Law and Democracy Program allows students to learn about the role of law in new and fragile democracies through coursework and experience in the field, training in the law and the social sciences, and comparative analyses of the experience of the United States and other countries. Through the CCD, students have a unique opportunity to work directly and regularly with foreign reform leaders to support constitutional democracy.

Read more detailed information about the PhD in Law and Democracy program.

Apply to the PhD program

Doctor of Philosophy in Law and Social Science

(Not accepting applications for 2016-17 academic year)

The Doctor of Philosophy in Law and Social Science (PhD) involves interdisciplinary research and coursework in law and the social sciences. PhD candidates must complete at least one academic year in residence in both the Law School and in the collaborating IU social science department, as well as completing a course of study as specified by the candidate’s faculty advisors. Candidates take comprehensive exams and must complete a dissertation defense. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit TOEFL results. Each PhD candidate will be assigned an advisory committee consisting of at least two faculty members from the Law School and at least two faculty members from the collaborating academic department. The chairperson of the advisory committee will serve as the candidate’s primary academic advisor. When applying to the PhD program, applicants must indicate with which IU social science department they hope to collaborate. The Law School will be responsible for consulting with that department to make an admissions decision. Applicants should carefully research their options for academic collaboration and be sure to mention relevant social science faculty members and/or programs on their application. The PhD requires a minimum of three years in residence and the following:

60 credit hours divided between law courses and the collaborating department (as specified by the candidate’s academic advisory committee), no fewer than 12 of which shall satisfy the requirements of the candidate’s academic advisory committee for designation as a minor;

  • Completion of comprehensive exams;
  • 30 credit hours for dissertation research; and
  • A dissertation defense

Certificate in Legal Studies

Indiana Law’s Certificate in Legal Studies allows participants to immerse themselves in legal coursework for just one semester. The certificate is ideal for internationally trained attorneys and law graduates who seek education and experience in the American legal system but whose responsibilities prevent them from committing to a lengthier program.

Apply to the certificate program

Summer Start Program

LLM and MCL applicants who need to improve their English and legal English skills prior to starting US study may be admitted to our Summer Start Program, which begins in June of each year. The Summer Start Program includes the Legal English course instructed by the university's outstanding Intensive English Program (IEP) and the two-credit-hour Law School course, Introduction to American Law.

The Legal English course is a unique opportunity for international students to improve their English and legal English skills prior to starting a US law program. The Introduction to American Law course is one of the two required courses for completing the LLM or MCL degrees, and the summer program gives you the opportunity to complete the course early. Being able to focus on only one Law School course also offers you a more gentle introduction to US legal education system.

LLM to JD Credit Transfer Option (CTO)

Maurer School of Law has a process to permit our LLM students to apply to transfer to the JD program. Students may nominate themselves to take part in the process, and faculty members may also nominate students who perform outstandingly in their classes.

Approved LLM students who accept the CTO invitation will be graded on the same scale as the JD students for their spring courses. Otherwise, graduate students are graded separately from JD students. Selection to participate in the process does not guarantee admission to the JD program. Students will still need to follow the application procedures for admission to the JD program, but will not be required to submit LSAT scores. Transfer decisions will be based on the students’ spring semester grades and will be made by the Dean of Admissions and the Dean of Students in the summer.

If admitted to the JD program, credits for most courses taken during the spring semester could be counted towards the credits required for the JD degree (dependent upon individual course schedules). All other requirements for the JD degree remain the same. Under appropriate circumstances, this could reduce the total time for both an LLM and JD degree to 3 ½ years.

More information

Learn more about our graduate degree requirements.

To view general information about our school and its programs, or to share our program information with others, see our online brochure.