2022-2023 WCL Catalog 
    Apr 13, 2024  
2022-2023 WCL Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

LL.M in Legislation

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Programs

The LL.M in Legislation offers a unique experience as a specialized degree focusing on the policy skills and legal knowledge seen in legislative practice. Students will be equipped with the tools, skills and credentials they need to work in the fields of legislation, administrative and regulatory law. Students will study the various bodies and elements that shape legislative law, such as negotiation, drafting, statutory interpretation, election law, campaign finance, and government oversight, investigation and accountability. The program is geared to prepare students with knowledge and experience for careers in legislation, producing graduates committed to leading policy change in their local, national, and global communities. Students take advantage of the many professional opportunities available by being in Washington, D.C., with access to Congress, policy centers, the courts, federal and local agencies and more. 

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

The curriculum for the LL.M program in Legislation consists of in-residence courses that already exist as part of AUWCL’s curriculum and that will be open to JD and LL.M students alike.

Core Legislation Courses (7 credits)

Legislation Electives (5 credits)


General Electives 

Any remaining credits may be chosen from among the wide variety of courses that are open to LL.M students. Students seeking experiential learning opportunities will be encouraged and assisted to seek externships for credit with appropriate employers in fields related to legislation.


Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Programs