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Tuition Fees of a US LLM

Tuition fees of LLM in USAOver the past 20 years, the cost of studying at a US law school has increased significantly. This is partly
because of the growth of technology and the need to purchase appropriate IT resources for students, and partly because the practice of law has become far more complex.

In the modern world, graduate lawyers are expected to work in a culture that looks to them for clarity on human rights, environmental issues and trade. This new diversity means universities have to respond by employing expert tutors and by creating seminar or lecture rooms to accommodate more niche topics. Nevertheless, furthering your legal studies remains a sound investment for the future and as a little research demonstrates, the cost of completing an LLM program in the US varies greatly.

Full-time LLM tuition fees at a US law school

The cost of taking an LLM at a US law school will depend on where you want to study and whether you are an international student, domestic out-of-state student or domestic in-state student. To estimate a figure more accurately you would also need to consider the costs of living in your chosen location, plus the manner in which you decide to study, be it full time, part time or long distance. A general figure could fall anywhere between
$12,000 and $70,000 for a full-time LLM program.

How will my fees be calculated?

Most US laws schools, though not all, charge different fees depending on where you come from. The most beneficial rates are reserved for domestic students who reside in the same state as the school, or close by. The next tier is applied to students coming to study from another US state, leaving international students to pick up the highest fees. However, it is worth noting that study in the US is still far cheaper than in many other countries, plus in certain states living expenses are very low.

How do the costs of Ivy League universities compare with the others?

There are eight Ivy League universities in the USA, these are the most revered and the oldest places of learning in the country, but not all teach law. Amongst those that do, Columbia charges $65,588 for a one-year LLM program but this also includes health insurance and facilities fees. If you choose to study at Yale, in Connecticut, the university estimates your fees and associated costs to reach $61,326, before living expenses are factored in. At the non-Ivy League University of Texas at Austin, the LLM course fees are $42,686 for non-residents before any other costs are added, but residents pay less at $28,746. Cleveland State University charges $12,985 to non-residents for 18 credit hours, or $6,908 for in-state residents, this amount refers to the LLM course fees alone, so there may be other costs to consider.

Is it cheaper to study for an LLM online?

There are many different LLM programs to study for as part of a long distance learning course. These online equivalents to on-campus qualifications are taught by video links and learning packs, they are also managed by excellent tutors. This is a cheaper option because you don’t have to consider moving home, travelling or paying rent in another town, the fee may also be lower depending on the school you apply to. The Florida Coastal School of Law charges a total of $19,890 for its LLM courses, whilst the University of Mississippi offers an online Master of Laws program starting at $22,500.

How will part-time fees be calculated?

Just like full-time tuition fees, part-time tuition costs vary greatly. However, in most US law schools part-time LLM students are charged fees based on the credits they decide to take, rather than per semester – and most classes offer either one or two credits. US citizens who took their JD degree at home have to take 24 credits to graduate from an LLM course. International graduates have to complete 20 credits, or 24 if they hope to qualify for the New York Bar exam, although there will also be other eligibility criteria for this. A more affordable school, like the University of Arkansas charges $556.81 per credit hour to Arkansas residents, and $1,242 per credit hour to non-residents. At the more expensive University of Georgetown in Washington DC, you can expect to pay $2,250 for each credit hour or $18,000 for an academic year.

Other costs to look out for when applying to take an LLM in the US

As well as the expected living expenses, there are other costs that you may be presented with during the application process. Universities often have an enrolment fee of around $50, possibly an e-learning fee of $25 for IT access, and they can also charge to use their campus facilities, this may be around $200 per semester at a more prestigious school.


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