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Studying for an LLM (Master of Laws) in Massachusetts


LLM in MassachusettsMassachusetts is located in New England, on the north-eastern coast of the United States, bordering the states of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire. It takes just over three hours to travel from Boston to New York City by train and is an ideal choice for international students.. It is home to a long list of universities and colleges, including well known institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston University and Harvard University. The university towns in Massachusetts are cosmopolitan and welcome a colourful and diverse mix of people who come from all over the world to study there.

Where & what to study in Massachusetts

Massachusetts provides a selection of prestigious colleges and universities that offer LLM programs, these include: Boston College Law School; Boston University; Fletcher School of Law at Tufts University; Harvard University; New England Law Boston; Suffolk University Law School, Boston; and Northeastern University.

The LLM programs available in Massachusetts include Banking and Financial Law; Intellectual Property Law; Biotechnology and Health Law; International Business Law and Taxation Law. The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (part of Tufts University) offers just the LLM in International Law, while New England Law Boston and Boston University offer an LLM in American Law, specially designed for lawyers whose first degree in law was obtained outside the United States.

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Law student's perspective

“From April when it gets warm everyone heads out sunbathe on the public lawns and the banks of the River Charles becomes crowded with cyclists, runners and people picnicking, walking their dogs and rollerblading. Harvard Square is sometimes like a mini circus with performance artists juggling, singing and playing instruments. There are also people selling flowers, crafts and delicious street food.”
Ayisha O, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Massachusetts law school alumni  

Law schools in Massachusetts have produced several notable alumni, including federal judges, members of Congress, a former Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs and the Vice President of Pepsi Co.

One of the most recognisable alumni from a law school in Massachusetts is the President of the United States, Barack Obama, who graduated from Harvard Law School.

Applications & admissions

To apply for a Master of Laws program at a law school in Massachusetts, the first requirements is a first degree in law is required. If you studied as an undergraduate 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 program 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 (e.g. the UK, Canada or Australia.)

You will have to submit transcripts, a personal statement stating why you’ve chosen to study at the particular institution, and strong letters of recommendation from referees that can attest to your academic achievements and potential.

Remember to also 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.

Please not, every state in America 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 full time LLM program in Massachusetts start at around $42,000, rising to just under $50,000 for Harvard University. Living costs could bring the total cost for the year to over $60,000. Tuition fees for part-time LLM courses may well be slightly lower.

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 requirements 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. Check with the US embassy in your country as visa requirements may vary.  

What to do when you aren't studying

Being a coastal state, Massachusetts offers lots of opportunities for water-based pursuits such as sailing, yachting and fishing. You could also go hiking or cycling, visit museums, art galleries or the theatre, go to a concert or on warm days spend time in the beautifully landscaped parks. If you’re a keen runner you might enjoy the annual Boston marathon, either as a spectator or participant.   

Many cities have interesting colonial-era architecture sitting next to modern skyscrapers and in the student towns there are pubs and coffee shops aplenty, where you can nurse a cup of coffee while people watching and enjoying free Wi-Fi.

If you are interested in sampling the local food there is a fantastic variety of restaurants serving freshly caught seafood, and whatever you do make sure you try out the famous New England clam chowder at least once.

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:



Featured institutions

Boston University School of Law

 Northeastern University School of Law

 Fletcher School of Law at Tufts University

Suffolk University Law School


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