2022-2023 WCL Catalog 
    Jul 21, 2024  
2022-2023 WCL Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

LL.M in International Arbitration & Business Law

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The LL.M in International Arbitration and Business Law is focuses on commercial cross-border transactions and dispute settlement through arbitration. Courses are taught by prominent arbitration practitioners from leading law firms and international arbitrators and mediators.

The core courses of this LL.M degree cover the fundamentals of international arbitration and business law, and include commercial and investment arbitration, alternative dispute resolution, international business transactions, international contracts and sales, and international investment law. The key electives complement the core courses and cover certain focus areas, such as choice of law issues in international arbitration, ICC arbitration, the calculation of damages in arbitration, mediation, negotiation, and international contract drafting.

Participants in this program have the option to take the courses:

  • fully in-residence (all 24 credits on campus in Washington, D.C.)
  • hybrid with some classes in-residence in Washington, D.C. and some online
  • fully online (an entirely virtual degree)

The fully in-residence version of this LL.M. program satisfies the educational requirements to qualify for sitting the New York Bar Exam. 

LL.M Admissions

  • Hold a JD from a U.S. law school accredited by the ABA or a first degree in law from a foreign law school with equivalent standards. 
  • Submit a completed application form along with supporting documents before the application deadline.
  • International applicants must meet the English Language Proficiency Requirement.

More information about applying is available on the Office of Graduate Admissions website.

LL.M Degree Requirements

  • Students must successfully complete 24 credit hours from the designated list of classes with a GPA of 2.0 (C) or better.
  • In the first semester, non-common law trained students must successfully complete American Legal Institutions (LAW-580-001; 2 credits) and LL.M Legal Research and Writing (LAW-580-002; 2 credits).
  • Graduation tracks:
    • Research Track: students are in this track by default. Students must successfully complete two research papers of at least 3,500 words each that demonstrate a high degree of skill in legal scholarship and writing. The legal memo written in the LL.M Legal Research and Writing class counts as one paper. 
    • Practical Skills Track: students are in this track when they register for the International Legal Studies Externship course (LAW-754). They must successfully complete an externship for credit, and complete one research paper of at least 3,500 words that demonstrates a high degree of skill in legal scholarship and writing. This legal memo written in the LL.M Legal Research and Writing class counts as one paper toward the paper requirement. 
  • The 24 credits needed for the LL.M degree can be completed part-time, or full-time (two or three regular semesters). Students on an F-1 or J-1 visa must be enrolled in at least eight credits during the fall and the spring, except for the last semester when students can take a reduced course load for one to seven credits. To take a reduced course load, the Reduced Course Load Authorization Form must be completed and submitted to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services at isss@american.edu. NOTE: International students interested in taking the New York bar exam must complete the LL.M program within 24 months of matriculation. 
  • Students may enroll in a maximum of 16 credits per semester (fall and spring), however, it is recommended that students take no more than 14 credits per semester. WCL allows up to seven credits in the summer. NOTE: International students interested in taking the New York bar exam can only be enrolled in a maximum of four credits in the summer.
  • LL.M students may complete their degree requirements entirely by traditional classroom study or by classroom study combined with no more than six semester hours of approved externship and/or independent study credits.
  • Absent extraordinary circumstances, students must complete the LL.M degree within 60 months of matriculating in a given LL.M program.

Required Courses

Complete a minimum of 12 credit hours of specialized courses approved for the LLM in International Arbitration and Business Law.

Core Courses (minimum 6 hrs.)

Key Electives (minimum 6 hrs.)

Students are also required to take at least six credits from among the following key electives:


Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)


Complete remaining 12 credit hours from the international and comparative law curriculum or courses required to qualify to sit for the New York bar exam

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