Curriculum and Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements and Course of Study

Students earn the LL.M. in Comparative Law upon successful completion of 26 semester credit hours of work that must include:

  • Four-credit summer Introduction to the Comparative LL.M. Program that will include a two Credit Comparative Introduction to the Legal System of the United States,
  • Two-credit Comparative Legal Research and Writing course and other student-counseling units.
  • Two-credit Comparative Introduction to the Legal System of the United States Part II that spans two semesters.
  • The remaining 20 credit hours are chosen by the student with the advice and authorization of the program director from the college of law curriculum
    • These courses must be taken during the fall and spring semesters following initial enrollment.
  • Students must complete one substantial research paper, usually by choosing a college of law seminar with a research paper requirement.

More information on the LL.M. in Comparative Law Summer Program

The 26-credit obligation includes four credits for the summer Introduction to the Comparative LL.M. Program, a three-week required program that introduces students to the fundamentals of the laws and legal system of the United States, as well as to various aspects of the study of law in this country, including the Socratic method of instruction, case briefing, legal research and writing, simulation exercises, and final examinations. The purpose of the program is to prepare students to successfully engage with United States students and professors in the J.D. courses in which they will be enrolled beginning in the fall semester. The program also introduces students to legal research and writing skills that are essential for a successful U.S. law student. Lastly, the course helps students acclimate to the law school and the university community prior to the start of the regular academic year. The summer program is currently divided into two courses supplemented by special orientation sessions.

Enrollment and Early Arrival Requirement

Students must arrive at least one week prior to the start of the Introduction to the Comparative LL.M. Program courses (usually five weeks prior to the first Monday of the fall semester) in order to complete all the administrative pre-requisites for enrollment in the University of Florida and in the LL.M. Program at the Levin College of Law. This includes but is not limited to checking in with the International Center, the Graduate Admissions Office, and taking care of registration “holds.” Classes start during the summer term and students must then register for courses at the College of Law for the following fall and spring semesters.

Academic Residence Requirement

All credits counted towards completion of the LL.M. must be earned while enrolled as an LL.M. in Comparative Law student. Credits must also be earned at the Levin College of Law in courses offered at our campus in Gainesville. LL.M. students may not earn credit for courses taught by the College of Law outside Gainesville. This includes, but is not limited to, study-abroad courses. Credits earned while a student is on an exchange program cannot be counted toward the LL.M. degree either.

Graduate Catalog

The LL.M. in Comparative Law Program is part of the University of Florida Graduate School and is thus subject to the regulations published in the Graduate Catalog.

Course Work and Curriculum

LL.M. in Comparative Law students are generally required to take six credits from the LL.M.-exclusive courses listed below and the remaining 20 credits from the general curricular offerings at the Levin College of Law. Specific choices are made with the counseling and approval of the program director.

LL.M. Exclusive Courses

Four courses are only available to LL.M. in Comparative Law Students:

LAW 7906: Directed Research for LL.M. in Comparative Law (2 credits)

Legal research to be completed under the supervision of a faculty member conversant with the topic selected and culminating in a paper. Requires approval of the program director.

LAW 7932: LLM in Comparative Law Introduction to the Legal System of the United States Part I (2 credits)

Intensive 3-week introduction to the comparative method and to legal education, professionalism and the legal system of the United States. Requires approval by the program director. Usually taught during the summer program.

  • Permission to Opt out of this course: An admitted student who has completed a sufficient level of study at a university or law school in the United States may petition the program director to opt out of the Comparative Introduction to the Legal System of the United States. If granted, this waiver applies only to this course and not to the other requirements of the Program, including the rest of the Summer Program and the tutorial course taught during the spring and fall semesters. A student permitted to opt out of the course must complete two additional credits in order meet the 26-credit requirement. The director will develop specific guidelines for this process and post them in the online catalog.
  • Process: A student wishing to opt-out must petition in writing by sending a letter to the director specifying why they qualify for the exemption. The director will meet personally with the student to discuss the matter (via teleconference when necessary) and make a final decision. Petitions must be filed no later than June 30. Even if the petition is approved, LL.M. students are required to fully participate in the other parts of the summer program.

LAW 7801: LL.M. in Comparative Law Introduction to the Legal System of the United States, Part II (2 credits)

Continuing coverage of legal education, professionalism and the legal system of the United States, conducted over one or two full semesters. Typically, it will be conducted over two semesters with one teaching hour per semester week. Alternately, it will be taught as a two-credit course with two teaching hours per semester week.

LAW 7805: LL.M. Comparative Legal Writing and Research (2 credits)

Intensive three week introduction to professional legal writing in American legal English taught by a legal writing professor; supplemented by research instruction by librarians. Requires prior approval by program director.

Research Paper Component

The 26 semester hours of work also include a research paper supervised by a faculty member.

  • Research paper requirement: The 26 semester hours of work for the LL.M. in Comparative Law degree also include a significant research writing project supervised by a faculty member at the Levin College of Law while the student is registered in an appropriate class for a minimum of two credit hours and a maximum of four credit hours.
  • An LL.M. student may choose to pursue the writing project in any class offered at the College of Law that includes a letter-graded advanced research paper requirement or option.
  • When the student is enrolled in an independent study, supervised or directed research class, the supervising faculty member may require the student to audit a regular class in order to provide a classroom component as well as structure and substantive context for the research project.
  • The research paper may be produced by registering in the two-credit LAW 7906, “Directed Research for LL.M. in Comparative Law” course that is supervised by the program director. The Directed Research registration may be required by the program director when needed to meet Graduate Catalog rules.

General Course Offerings

LL.M. in Comparative Law students choose most of their credits from the general course offerings in the J.D. and Tax curriculum at the Levin College of Law with prior authorization from the Director. Florida’s comprehensive J.D. curriculum prepares students from around the world for a broad range of traditional and non-traditional legal careers. Course work develops students’ analytical ability, knowledge of the theory and practice of law, communication skills and understanding of the legal profession’s codes of responsibility, ethics and commitment to professionalism. Teaching methods include the traditional “case” and “Socratic” methods as well as problems, simulations, role-playing, and computer-assisted instruction.

You may review the listing and description of currently-offered courses in the Office of Student Affairs section of this website.

Unless otherwise expressly indicated, no deviations from this course of study are currently authorized by the College of Law Faculty or by the Graduate Council.

Grading

LL.M. students receive letter grades in accordance with University of Florida policy but the students are not counted when determining the mandatory class-mean grading policies applicable to J.D. classes. While no specific grade distribution or grading curve for LL.M. candidates is prescribed, the faculty recognizes that GPA requirements for the LL.M. differ from the requirements for a J.D. and that law graduates for whom English may be a second language may face difficulties that the typical UF law student does not. Nevertheless, LL.M. students are subject to the Graduate Catalog’s rules regarding a minimum 3.0 grade point average on the University’s 4.0 scale as detailed in the Graduate Catalog.

In addition to the overall GPA rules, LL.M. students must complete no fewer than four (4) credits in 7000-level courses with a minimum grade of 3.0 (a “B”) in order to have a “Graduate GPA” required for graduation by the University of Florida Graduate School.

The LL.M. in Comparative Law follows the grading policies as set forth in the UF Graduate Catalog.