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Studying for an LLM (Master of Laws) in Illinois

Studying for an LLM (Master of Laws) in Illinois

Studying an LLM in IllinoisIllinois is located in the Midwestern part of the United States and has ‘Land of Lincoln’ as its official state slogan after Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. As well as bordering Lake Michigan to the northeast, Illinois is surrounded by Wisconsin, Indiana to the east, Kentucky to the southeast, Missouri to the west, and Iowa to the northwest.

The city of Springfield is the capital of Illinois, although the largest and probably the best-known city is Chicago, aka ‘Windy City.’

Where & what to study in Illinois

Full-time and part-time taught LLMs are available and law schools that offer LLM programs in Illinois include: De Paul University; Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago Kent College of Law; John Marshall Law School; Loyola University Chicago School of Law; Northwestern University School of Law; Southern Illinois University School of Law; Southwestern Law School; University of Chicago; and University of Illinois College of Law.

There is a wide range of LLM courses available in Illinois. Some Schools of Law offer a generic LLM while others offer specialisms such as International Human Rights, Family Law, Financial Law, International Comparative Law, Business and Corporate Governance Law, Health Law, Tax Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property Law, Health Law, International Law and Taxation Law.

Law student’s perspective

“People are warm and friendly and there is always something to fact sometimes it can be difficult to decide how to pass your free time. The course is quite rigorous but I feel I have the support of the faculty.”

Illinois law school alumni

Notable alumni from law schools in Illinois include judges, journalists, Congressmen, a former Governor of Illinois and a former President of the Israeli Supreme Court. Russell Baker, founder of international law firm Baker & McKenzie which has offices in 45 countries, graduated from University of Chicago’s School of Law.

Applications & admissions

A first degree in law is required. If you studied in America, you would need to have a JD (Juris Doctor) before applying for an LLM. If you earned your first degree outside the United States then an LLB (first degree in law) or the equivalent is required.

Proficiency in English is essential and applicants are expected to include English test results as part of their application, usually TOEFL (the Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System), but it’s a good idea to find out which test your preferred institution requires and importantly, what the minimum acceptable scores are. Some institutions require students whose native language is not English to undergo an English language programme prior to starting the LLM. You’ll likely be exempt from English language requirements if your first degree was obtained in a country where the native language is English and the language of instruction at the university was English (eg the UK, Canada or Australia.)

You will be expected to submit a personal statement explaining your academic achievements and career plans, your academic transcripts and strong letters of recommendation from references that can attest to your academic achievements and potential.

Don't forget to confirm the application deadline, as it sometimes varies depending on whether you’re a US resident or international student. Also check with the institution to find out whether you’d have to take an admissions test such as the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test.) We’ve got some useful advice about applying for an LLM here.

Every state has a bar association with its own rules and guidelines so if you got your first law degree outside the US and you’re planning to take the bar exam after your LLM it’s important to find out whether you would be eligible to take the bar exam.

Tuition fees & living costs

Tuition fees for a one year full-time LLM program in Illinois start from around $35,000 and rise to up to $50,000. Factor in the cost of student activities, accommodation, medical insurance, food, transport and books could raise the total cost to more than $60,000 for the one year full-time course.

Financial aid, scholarships, grants and student loans are available for US citizens and, in some cases, private funding is available to international students. Find out from each institution what specific funding you might be eligible for. More general information on fees and funding can be found here.

Visa requirement for international students

If you’re an international student who requires a visa to study in the United States you will, as part of your visa application, need to submit a letter from the university confirming your admission to the LLM program, evidence that you have funds available to cover your tuition and living costs (or proof that your application for a grant or scholarship was successful), evidence of accommodation arrangements and health insurance. Do check with the US embassy in your country as visa requirements may vary.  

What to do when you aren’t studying

There’s a lot to see and do in Illinois. For the sporty there’s motor racing, basketball, baseball and football. The Mississippi River cuts through the state, providing the opportunity for boating and riverboat cruises. If you’re interested in cars visit the Pontiac Museum, there’s the historic Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, an observatory, theatres, cinemas, concert venues and also gardens and state parks where you can cycle, skateboard or just lie on the grass reading a book.

What other US states can you study in?

There are plenty of LLM opportunities for those interested in the living and studying in the United States and we have essential LLM study guides to over 20 US states, including:



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