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Studying for an LLM (Master of Laws) in Washington DC

Each city in the United States has its own has its own distinctive and unique characteristics, and none more so than Washington DC. The uniqueness of Washington DC lies in its status as the capital of the USA. Washington DC – not to be confused with the state of Washington on the west coast – is also known as the District of Columbia and was established as the capital of the USA by the Constitution in 1790. It was envisioned to be the seat of the US government and from the beginning has remained embedded in rich political history of USA.

As the capital city, it is representative of the political set up of the country, including all three branches of the federal government. As a result, the city attracts foreign delegations from across the globe as well as government workers, members of Congress and lobbyists. The Capitol Building, Supreme Court and the White House are located here which makes Washington DC very influential in the USA. These also hold special significance for law students particularly those interested in constitutional aspects of law and governance.

Nearby states include Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York.

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Washington DC: an international city

Today, Washington is a bustling cosmopolitan city with a diverse population from all socio-economic backgrounds and ethnicities. The population comprises of Latinos, a large community of African-Americans as well as immigrants from across the globe. The cultural mix and diversity makes studying in Washington DC an enriching experience and has been considered a highly weighted factor by international students in choosing to study in Washington D.C.

It goes without saying that as the capital of USA, it is highly developed and offers modern and sophisticated urban life experience. There is also an influx of capital into the city due to its status as the capital and is flourishing with economic growth and development.

Where & what to study in Washington DC

Having provided an overview of life in Washington DC, the crucial question is which universities offer an LLM in Washington DC. Some of the institutions you may wish to consider include American University Washington College of Law, George Washington University, Georgetown University and Howard University. The specialisations on offer at these institutions include law and economics, intellectual property, litigation and dispute resolution, national security and US foreign relations law, government procurement law, environmental law, international and comparative law, securities and financial regulation, global health law, international business and economic law and taxation. If you are interested in studying foreign relations law or national security law then Washington DC is the ideal location to consider as it would be highly useful to gain some hands-on work experience along with studying, if possible in the capital state.                 

Applications & admissions

Washington DC is a popular study destination for international students, and as result the universities here receive a large number of applications each year. Therefore, admissions are competitive and a high standard will be expected from your admission application and previous academic performance to gain admission into the LLM programs.

All foreign candidates must demonstrate high academic record in their first degree in law (which must be from a university recognised by the American Bar Association or its foreign equivalent) and must demonstrate proof of their English language proficiency by submitting TOEFL or IELTS scores. In terms of the application procedure your admission application should include an application form (usually completed electronically), application fee, curriculum vitae, personal statement, letters of recommendation, official transcripts and TOEFL score report.

Tuition fees & living costs

The tuition costs for your LLM program may be in between $30,000 to $50,000 depending on the institution of your choice. Your tuition fees will also be subject to annual increment therefore you are strongly advised to check the fees for your intended year of study.

Similarly living expenses vary according to the lifestyle but a student may wish to set aside an annual budget of $25,000 to $30,000 for accommodation, food, books and other personal expenses. While some institutions offer financial aid, students are expected to have sufficient funds to finance their course and to satisfy the visa clearance officer regarding proof of funding. Seeking part time work may also be a potential option but you must comply with all terms and conditions of your entry visa which only permits students to work for 20 hours a week. You may also bear in mind that the rigours of a master’s course may not leave sufficient time for working.   

What to do when you aren’t studying

There are many places to visit in Washington DC suiting everyone’s tastes, ranging from taking a walk in the halls of Cedar Hill in Anacostia, touring Capitol Hill and museums of the National Mall, browsing through the library of the Congress, revisiting history at the Emancipation Hall in Lincoln Park or Arlington National Cemetery, founded as a burial spot for civil war soldiers.

Or what about visiting the famous monuments like the Washington Monument, the Lincoln, Jefferson, World War II Memorials and Martin Luther King Memorial? There are also many fascinating exhibitions held at the city – such as the stunning exhibition held at the National Zoo called Zoo Lights which features walk-through animal light displays.Washington DC is also a great place for those addicted to shopping as well as the foodies with delicious flavours of little Ethiopia, Georgetown or higher scale eateries like CityZen and Bourbon. For the party animals the city’s nightlife is also happening with nightclubs throbbing with beats till early hours of the morning.   

Where else in the US states can you study?

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

American University Washington College of Law

George Washington University Law School


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