LL.M.: Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the meaning of the LL.M. abbreviation?
  • The LL.M. stems from the Latin terminology, Legum Magister, which means Master of Laws.
  • What is a typical first year schedule?
  • UC Davis School of Law operates on a semester system, with 15 weeks in the Fall Semester and 15 weeks in the Spring Semester. A typical schedule includes classes five days a week, with some classes starting as early as 8:00 a.m. and finishing as late as 4:30 p.m. Some classes are held in the evening. Most classes meet two or three times a week for 50-75 minutes per class meeting. There are no classes scheduled from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. on any day of the week.  We design the schedule this way to allow you to take part in the myriad events, such as guest speakers, information sessions on special program offerings, and student organization meetings.

    Beyond your class schedule, you will need to allow time to study and prepare for class.  How much of each work day you should spend on studying is a very individualized decision.  A common guideline for the students is to plan to spend two to three hours studying outside of class for every hour spent in class. The LL.M. program offers a multitude of study skills workshops throughout the term to help you build effective and efficient study habits that work for you.  We all want you to succeed so do not hesitate to ask for help!
  • How accessible is the faculty to students, and what is the level of professional experience of the faculty?
  • In most American universities, professors and lecturers provide "office hours" in addition to their normal class lectures.  During these office hours, students can visit their professors to discuss their course or research in an informal, one-on-one setting.   The style of most instructors is very democratic and Socratic, encouraging group discussion with questions and answers from all students.  You will find the instructors at King Hall to be highly accessible.  Our LL.M. graduates have told us that their interaction with their professors was one of the most valuable aspects of their experience at King Hall.

    Our faculty members are leaders in legal thinking in specialized fields. They have shaped the law in such areas as scientific evidence, partnership law, conflict of laws, criminal sentencing, intellectual property and environmental law. Working in fields as diverse as environmental law in Washington D.C.; constitutions in Eastern Europe; commercial law in China; family law in England, Germany and the Netherlands; and arbitration and alternative dispute resolution in Indonesia they have helped shape the law around the world. On the School of Law website (http://www.law.ucdavis.edu/faculty) there is information regarding each of the faculty members, their education and their respective work.
  • I have only a limited knowledge of the laws and legal system of the United States.  Are there any workshops or fundamental courses that I could attend before commencing the LL.M. Program?
  • Yes, we suggest an excellent four-week program, Orientation in U.S.A. Law, offered every summer at UC Davis School of Law. There is a component of the program specifically designed for pre-LL.M. students. Previous participants and LL.M. graduates have said that it was an excellent preparation for their year of legal studies in the U.S.

    The Orientation in U.S.A. Law program provides students with an overview of the U.S. legal system.  This fundamental knowledge is helpful for students preparing to study in a LL.M. program, because it provides a context for their subsequent studies.  It also allows the student to obtain an early feel for the atmosphere and intellectual approach of U.S. legal education.  In addition, the nurturing academic and social environment of the Orientation in U.S.A. Law program provides students with the opportunity to form valuable relationships with other legal and business professionals and students who will also attend LL.M. programs throughout the United States.  Finally, the Orientation in U.S.A. Law Program offers specially designed workshops for LL.M. Students.
  • Do credits earned in the Orientation in U.S.A. Law program transfer to the UC Davis LL.M. Program?
  • Credits earned in the Orientation in U.S.A. Law program are not transferable to the LL.M. program.  However, students who satisfactorily complete the final examination in the UC Davis summer program, will, upon request, be excused from enrolling in the required LL.M. course Introduction to the Law of the United States.  Students in the LL.M. program must still complete 10 units per semester.  As a result, students excused from the required course will have room in their schedules to choose one other course.  To substitute the Orientation in U.S.A. Law program for Introduction to the Law of the United States, students must achieve a grade of “B” or better in the program.
  • When do I register for classes?
  • The LL.M. registration forms will be available in the spring, typically in May.  You will be notified via email by the LL.M. staff when the LL.M. registration information is ready.  The schedule of fall semester classes will be posted on the law school's website at that time.  You will then review the classes offered in the fall semester and fill out the LL.M. registration form indicating your class choices by section, date and time.  You will email the form to the LL.M. office by the deadline indicated in your registration packet.  At the mandatory “LL.M. Briefing Days” meeting in August (the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday prior to the start of classes), you will meet personally with the LL.M. Faculty Director, to discuss your course choices.  She will help you customize a curriculum that meets your needs.  You will then be registered for the selected courses.
  • How do I enroll as a law student?
  • LL.M. enrollment is simple -- we do it for you! The LL.M. Coordinator enrolls all LL.M. students after they submit their course selection and have met individually with the LL.M. Director.  
  • Must I attend the LL.M. Orientation?
  • Yes, attendance is mandatory! It will provide you with critical information and opportunities to meet your classmates and acclimate to King Hall.
  • What is the cost of attendance?
  • Final tuition and fee figures are published by the UC Davis Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis. Please note that fees are subject to gubernatorial, legislative, and Regental action and may change without notice.
  • Where, when and how can I pay my fees?
  • Fee payment is due in the Cashier's Office, Dutton Hall, by 4:00 p.m. on September 15 for fall semester and January 15 for spring semester.  You are responsible for paying your account balance by the deadline.

    You can send your payment via wire transfer, send a check in U.S. dollars drawn on a U.S. bank account, or send an international money order in U.S. dollars. Cash is not accepted. For a bank wire transfer, please refer to the UC Davis bank routing information provided in the LL.M. registration materials. Please make sure that your bank sends the full amount due plus an amount sufficient to cover any bank wire transfer fee.

    Students may also pay fees at the UC Davis Cashier's Office in Dutton Hall or online through the MyBill website. Please note that MyBill accepts only Discover Card and there is a fee of $12 per transaction. For more information about bill payment, visit the the Cashier's Office website. Please note the Cashier's Office is open Monday - Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. only.
  • I have my own health insurance. Will I be required to pay for the campus health insurance coverage as part of my tuition?
  • UC Davis enrolls all students automatically in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). However, students can obtain a waiver of the SHIP fee if they provide proof of comparable coverage. We will email you information, including the link to submit the waiver form, about SHIP during the summer.  Take note that the deadline to submit the waiver for law students is around August 15th each year. You can also contact Student Health and Counseling Services at http://shcs.ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-2300.
  • Does the university health plan cover dependents?
  • UC Davis requires all students to participate in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) or obtain comparable insurance coverage. SHIP does allow students to obtain coverage for dependents.  Additional information about SHIP will be emailed in June when information for the forthcoming academic year becomes available. You can access detailed information about health services offered to all students on the Student Health and Counseling Services website.
  • What is the process of obtaining a visa?
  • After being admitted to our LL.M. program, you will receive detailed information about the visa application process. Please read below for an overview of what to expect when applying for an F-1/J-1 visa.

    F-1 is the most common visa status for international students in the United States and best fits a student’s situation.  However, students who are government sponsored or who are on exchange programs may be eligible for the J-1 student status.  Please contact our office if you have questions about which status is appropriate for you. 

    If you accept UC Davis School of Law's offer of admission, the UC Davis Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) will email you instructions for applying online for an I-20 form. Along with your I-20 application, you will be required to submit electronic copies of your passport, as well as financial documentation which demonstrates that you possess the necessary funds to pay for the costs of tuition and living expenses. After receiving and processing these items, SISS will issue your I-20 form, and you can arrange for it to be shipped to you. After receiving the I-20 form, you must make an appointment at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country of residence in order to apply for an F-1 student visa to travel to the United States. Please make an appointment well in advance of the date you intend to travel to the United States, as some embassies and consulates take several weeks (or even months) to process visa requests.

    F-1/J-1 Attainment Process
    Once you have been admitted to your program and have provided the appropriate supplementary documents (I-20/DS-2019 Request form and evidence of financial support), you will receive either the I-20 or the DS-2019.  It will take approximately 3-5 days to create the certificate of eligibility, and we will send it to you.

    Once you have received the I-20 or DS-2019, you will need to acquire the F-1 or J-1 visa at a U.S. consulate.  It is best apply for a visa at a consular office having jurisdiction over your place of residence.

    You will need the following to support your application for the F-1 or J-1 visa:
    • Form I-20 or Form DS-2019.  You and the UC Davis school official must sign the I-20 or DS-2019 form.
    • Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160. Visit the Department of State DS-160 webpage to learn more about the DS-160 online process:    http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/forms/ds-160--online-nonimmigrant-visa-application.html
    • A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements   provide exemptions.)
    • One (1) 2x2 photograph.
    • A fee receipt to show payment of the visa application fee.
    • The SEVIS I-901 fee receipt.  This fee can be paid online here once you have received your I-20 or DS-2019: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/ Please make sure to pay the SEVIS (I-901) fee at https://www.fmjfee.com/ at least three days BEFORE your visa appointment
    • Financial evidence that shows you or your sponsor has sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study.

      Typically, a visa can be issued no more than 120 days before the reporting date listed on Form I-20 or DS-2019.  Apply as early as possible to account for processing delays.

      You may wish to refer to the following webpage, which provides tips on what to do and expect during your visa interview: http://nafsa.org/resourcelibrary/default.aspx?id=9546
  • What technology is in the classroom?
  • As part of King Hall's recently renovated state-of-the-art facility, all teaching rooms at the Law School now have the latest in Audio/Visual equipment, including ceiling-mounted projectors, in-room computers, CD, and DVD players. Each classroom has Ethernet and wireless Internet access, electrical outlets for individual student use.  In addition, some classrooms have recording technology that allows us to capture events and simulcast speakers to other rooms in the Law School.
  • Do I need to purchase a computer? What Laptop should I purchase? Does the Law School provide computers for me to use?
  • While many students find it more convenient to purchase their own laptop, students are not required to own a laptop to attend UC Davis. Students who own a laptop can install Examsoft, computerized exam software, for all required exams. However, students who opt not to have a computer will be able to handwrite their exams.

    Although there is no one-size-fits-all computer, and the computing environment at UC Davis School of Law generally supports any brand of laptop, the IT Department is happy to provide you with some general guidelines to aid you in your purchase. Please note that the IT Department does not offer repair service for personal computers (and laptops tend to take a good amount of wear and tear in the daily law life of a law student) and we recommend that you consider purchasing an extended warranty that will cover repairs for your full three years of study. 

    The Law School has a student computer lab in the Lower Level of King Hall. The Instructional Computing Center (ICC) is open to law students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The ICC contains 36 PC Workstations and 2 Macintosh computers, all with the latest versions the Microsoft Office suite, access to Lexis, Westlaw, and numerous databases for legal research. All workstations have connectivity to the Internet for legal research, web browsing, and email. In addition, a dedicated member of the IT staff is present to provide assistance to students Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Additional help is available via email for non-business hours.
  • Will taking the UC Davis LL.M. Program allow me to take the California and/or the New York State Bar exam?
  • The United States legal process operates under a federalist system. As a result, each state bar determines who and under what conditions a person may sit for its state bar exam.

    We recommend that you contact the bar associations in the states where you think you may eventually want to apply. The Web site of the California Bar is http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Admissions/Requirements/Education/Legal-Education/Foreign-Education and the Web site of the New York bar is http://www.nybarexam.org.

    We should note that our LL.M. students have qualified for and passed the Bar in both California and New York!
  • Are there any bar preparation courses available at King Hall or in Davis?
  • Yes, they are typically offered in the summertime in King Hall.  We will provide you with information on bar preparation programs.
  • Can I work while I attend your LL.M. Program?
  • Very rarely are students allowed to work during their study time here, and only with the special permission of the Program Director.  This is because the LL.M. Program is a very difficult and rigorous academic study program.  Student off-hours are usually spent in individual study, study groups and attending social functions.  Each of these maximizes the value of the program to participating students.
  • If I have to take a leave or withdraw from the law school, will any of my tuition and fees be refunded?
  • Yes, UC Davis is required to calculate a Refund of Fees and Return of Title IV Funds to all students who withdraw, are dismissed, or who take a Planned Educational Leave (PELP) during a quarter/semester. Detailed information about this process, including the calculation process, is on the Financial Aid website. You may also contact the LL.M. Admissions Office at llm@ucdavis.edu or 530.752.6081.
  • When will I get my regular course schedule and when can I buy books?
  • The LL.M. Coordinator will process your registration. During the LL.M. Orientation week, you will receive your course schedule and information how to view your schedule online. You will also be added to Canvas and the intranet, where you will be able to access each professor's reading assignments for the first day of class and determine which textbooks you will need.  You can purchase books at the Campus Bookstore (just a quick five to ten minute walk from King Hall).