LL.M. Program Handbook

This LL.M. Student Handbook reflects the current policies and procedures of the MU School of Law and the MU Graduate School. It should be used to guide your MU LL.M. program. The LL.M. Student Handbook is revised annually by the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. Provisions contained in this Handbook are subject to change. If you have questions or note errors or omissions, please contact the LL.M. Program Office. All statements in this publication concerning requirements, prerequisites, conditions or other matters are for informational purposes only, and are subject to change without notice. They are not to be regarded as offers to contract.


The LL.M. courses follow the Law School calendar. Courses taken in departments outside the Law School generally follow the MU Calendar.
Check the Law School web site for updates on the law school calendar.

Spring Semester 2015

January 15 Law School Classes Begin
January 19 MLK Day. University holiday; no classes
January 20 MU Classes begin
March 23-27 Spring Break
March 30 Classes Resume
May 1 Last Day of Law School Classes
May 4 Law School Stop Day - No Classes/Exams
May 5 Law School Exams begin
May 7 Last Day of MU Classes
May 8 MU Reading Day - No Classes/Exams
May 11 MU Exams Begin
May 15 Exams end for all
May 17 Law School Graduation

Fall Semester 2015

August 17-18 Orientation for new international students -- MU International Center
August 21 Orientation for new LL.M. students
August 24 Classes Begin
September 7 Labor Day. University holiday; no classes
November 23-27 Thanksgiving Recess
November 30 MU Classes Resume
December 4 Last Day of Law School Classes
December 7 Law School Stop Day - No Classes/Exams
December 8 Law School Exams begin
December 10 Last Day of MU Classes
December 11 MU Reading Day - No Classes/Exams
December 14 MU Exams begin
December 18 Exams end for all
December 18-19 Fall Graduation Weekend

Check the Law School web site for updates on the law school calendar.


The University will confer the Master of Laws degree upon students who successfully complete all graduation requirements and maintain a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (A=4.0) for all graduate courses taken at MU. Students must complete 24 credit hours to receive the LL.M. degree. The credit hours for the courses listed below are in parentheses. The curriculum is subject to change from year to year.

Required Courses

  • LL.M. Arbitration Seminar (3)
  • LL.M. Major Research Project (3)
  • Dispute System Design (3)
  • Non-Binding Methods of Dispute Resolution (3)

Possible Electives

Each student will be able to choose electives according to his/her interests and statement of purpose for enrolling in the LL.M. program. The following are some recommended electives because of their obvious relevance to the dispute resolution field. Some courses may not be offered in some years.

  • Conflict and Conflict Managment (3)
  • Cross Cultural Dispute Resolution (3)
  • Emotional Intelligence (3)
  • Group Dynamics and Conflict Resolution (3) **
  • LL.M. Externship (Credit arranged) *
  • LL.M. Independent Study (1-3)
  • Mediation Clinic (1-2) *
  • Public Policy Dispute Resolution (1-3)
  • Organizational Analysis and Change (3) **
  • Organizational Change in a Community and Global Context (3) **
  • Organizational Dynamics and Leadership (3) **
  • Practicum on Dispute Resolution Training and Education (1-2) *
  • Theory & Practice of Theatre of the Oppressed (3) ***

* course graded on satisfactory-unsatisfactory (S/U) basis
** courses offered by the Truman School of Public Affairs
*** course offered by the Department of Theatre in odd-numbered years

No more than nine (9) credits may be counted toward the LL.M. degree for any combination of Practicum, Externship, and Independent Study courses.

Students may apply to the LL.M. graduation requirements up to six (6) graduate credits of university or college courses from outside the MU Law School. Details on non-law courses and dual-degree programs are described below. Also, based on a student's prior course work, training, and/or experience, the Director of the LL.M. Program may waive graduation requirements. The policy is outlined below.

The faculty advisor for all LL.M. students is Prof. Paul Ladehoff, Director of the LL.M. Program. Students should consult him about any questions regarding their program or courses. Karen Neylon, the Coordinator of the Program, is especially helpful with questions about course and graduation requirements.

The current curricular requirements and a current schedule are in the Curriculum section of this web site. Please note: The curriculum and graduation requirements are subject to change.

The Director of the LL.M. Program may waive graduation requirements of taking LL.M. courses (except for the LL.M. Major Research Project) for individual students based on their prior course work, training, and/or experience. Students eligible to waive an LL.M. graduation requirement normally are encouraged to take our LL.M. course because usually there is worthwhile new material in our course. To apply for a waiver, students must provide documentation of the course work, training, or experience as appropriate. If a graduation requirement is waived, the student would not take the course in our program and would not receive credit for the required course. In other words, the student would still need to complete 24 credits but, in lieu of a required course, the student would take another course.

There are several situations where students would not be eligible to receive transfer credit but where it would be appropriate to waive a requirement. The most common situations include:

  • The student has had substantial mediation training and/or experience and would find the Non-Binding Methods of Dispute Resolution course too redundant. Similarly, a student may have had substantial arbitration training and/or experience and would find the LL.M. Arbitration Seminar course too redundant.
  • In a student’s J.D. program, the student has taken a course that substantially overlaps with one of the required courses in the LL.M. Program. Under the policy governing transfer credit, students may not receive transfer credit for courses taken in a J.D. program.
  • A student has taken a course in a non-J.D. program more than four years before that substantially overlaps with one of the required courses in the LL.M. Program. Under the policy governing transfer credit, students may not receive transfer credit for courses taken more than four years prior to initial enrollment in the LL.M. Program.

With approval of the Director of the LL.M. Program, students may apply to the LL.M. graduation requirements up to six (6) graduate credits of university or college courses from outside the MU Law School. This limit includes independent study courses supervised by faculty in units other than the MU Law School. Credit toward the LL.M. degree for a non-MU-Law School course will be granted only under the following conditions:

  • The course must be a graduate-level course and clearly marked as such on the transfer transcript complete with credit hours and a grade. If taken at the University of Missouri-Columbia, it must be numbered 5000 or above.
  • The transfer coursework is from a regionally accredited institution in the U.S. or an overseas institution that is recognized by its country’s Ministry of Education as a graduate degree-granting institution.
  • The course must involve at least 14 class-hours per credit (based on 50-minute class-hours).
  • The course must be related to the student’s program of study. Students must submit a copy of the course syllabus if possible.
  • The semester hours of the non-MU-Law School course will be counted in the student’s total number for the semester.
  • The grade must be B or higher.
  • The transfer coursework is not online, extension or correspondence credit.
Normally, the Director of the LL.M. Program must approve the course in advance of the student’s work. In unusual situations, the Director of the LL.M. Program may approve application of credits earned within four (4) years prior to initial enrollment in the LL.M. Program if the credits were for work closely related to the student’s work in the LL.M. Program and were taken for graduate credit. Credits will not be applied from the student’s J.D. degree program or equivalent. A written request must be submitted to the Director of the LL.M. Program and include the following:
(a) Institution, course name, number, and instructor;
(b) Description how the course relates to the student’s program of study.

Students may enroll in dual degree programs with the School of Journalism to obtain a M.A. or Ph.D. in journalism as well as an LL.M. in dispute resolution. These dual degree programs allow students to complete two degrees by counting some credits from one degree toward the graduation requirements of the other degree. Thus students who enroll in these degree programs concurrently may be able to complete both degrees in one or two semesters less than if they participated in the degree programs consecutively. Dual degree students must apply and be admitted independently into both programs. The applications must include a statement requesting permission to pursue the dual degree program. While applications from current students in either program will be considered, students normally should declare an intent to enter both programs before entering the University. Students interested in these dual degree programs should consult with Prof. Richard Reuben for advice.


Students must enroll in courses during the official registration or pre-registration period for each semester. After the official registration period ends, students may not enroll in a course without petitioning, or withdraw from a course without either petitioning or formally withdrawing from the University. Petitioning, more commonly referred to as Add/Drop, must be initiated by the student. Students who want to make a change in course selection, changes in status from credit to hearer or vice versa, or changes in number of credit hours for a particular course, must contact the LL.M. Program Coordinator, complete and sign the form (if necessary), and receive approval from the Director of the LL.M. Program. For information about deadlines and fees relating to enrollment changes, see the Program Coordinator or the University Registrar web site.

Students must either complete all courses for which they are registered or properly drop the course. This includes courses in which they are registered as a "hearer."

In individual cases where an admitted applicant requests deferral of enrollment, the Admissions Committee may decide to defer enrollment for a year without reviewing the application in the subsequent year. There is a presumption against deferral of enrollment. Enrollment will not be deferred for more than one year.

Attendance is required except when there is good cause for a student’s absence. The instructors for each course administer the attendance policy for their courses. The instructors determine the number and nature of absences from each course that may cause sanctions to be imposed, as well as the sanctions which will be imposed, up to and including dismissal from the course. If instructors intend to attach a formal sanction (grade reduction or dismissal from the course) to inadequate attendance, they must announce to the class in writing at the beginning of the course what the rules governing attendance in that course will be, with appropriate provision for notice to late enrollers. Students who are in danger of accumulating excessive absences must be given notice by the instructor in advance of the absence that will give rise to a significant sanction (major grade reduction or dismissal from the course).

Enrollment in at least nine (9) credits in the fall and winter semester and four (4) credits in the summer session is considered full-time enrollment for graduate students. The maximum number of credits permitted by the Graduate School for a semester is sixteen (16) and nine (9) for a summer session. Students normally should not take the maximum possible course load as this would be extremely demanding. In very unusual cases, students may take more than the normal maximum course load with the approval of the Director of the LL.M. Program and Vice Provost/Dean of the Graduate School.


The grades recorded at the University Registrar's Office are the official grades and the determination of grade point averages (GPA) and satisfaction of LL.M. requirements is based on these grades. Grades in all courses counting toward an advanced degree may be reported as:  A +/-, B +/-, and C +/-.  Faculty members are not required to use a plus/minus grading scale; that decision should be based on the faculty member’s evaluation of student performance. Grade point averages are calculated as:  A+ (4.0), A (4.0), A- (3.7), B+ (3.3), B (3.0), B- (2.7), C+ (2.3), C (2.0), and C- (1.7). The Graduate School considers grades of C+, C and C- as passing grades; however, grades in the C range may result in the student being unable to maintain a 3.0 cumulative average. No D grade may be awarded to a graduate student, and a grade of F means the work has not satisfied the minimum requirements of the course.  W denotes withdrawn passing and does not affect a student’s grade point average. An incomplete grade (I) may be recorded when the student's work is incomplete but otherwise worthy of credit, or when the instructor is unable to assign a grade at the end of the semester. (Note: please refer to the "Policy on Incomplete Grades" below.) Law School faculty teaching J.D. courses will be requested to submit letter grades for LL.M. students in these courses.

No more than nine (9) credits may be counted toward the LL.M. degree that are graded satisfactory-unsatisfactory. Graduate credit is given for satisfactory-unsatisfactory courses only in those courses designated as “graded on S/U basis only” in the Schedule of Courses.

No grade is assigned to a student who ceases, for any reason, to be a member of a course before the 26th day of a semester, or an equivalent period of time in a summer session. A student who officially drops a course on or after the 26th day and who is doing failing work is assigned the grade F. If the quality of the student's work is not judged to be failing at the time of the drop, the instructor may assign a grade of W (withdraw). Current regulations and time schedules for adding/dropping courses or changing status of enrollment are included in the Schedule of Courses each semester or session.

Note: If a student is enrolled in only one course and decides to drop that course, the student is withdrawing from MU for that term and will need to submit a Notice of Withdrawal form.

Students are expected to complete their coursework by the assigned deadlines. Instructors normally do not give grades of "incomplete." When students believe that there is good reason why they cannot complete the assigned work by the deadline, they must request the instructor to give an incomplete, explaining the reason. Students do not have a right to receive an incomplete. Instructors have discretion whether to grant an incomplete and, if so, in setting a revised deadline for completing the required work. When instructors grant incompletes, they must send an e-mail to the student and the LL.M. program coordinator stating the revised deadline for completion of the required work. Under University policy, the maximum time allowed for the removal of an incomplete grade is one calendar year from the date of its recording.

Students may appeal grades by using the procedures and under the standards described in the Faculty Handbook Academic Regulations.

Grade point averages are based only on Law School and graduate courses taken at MU and only upon graded courses. A GPA is obtained as follows: The “grade points” for a graded course are obtained by multiplying the numerical value of the grade for the course by the credit hours for the course. The GPA is obtained by dividing the total grade points for all graded courses by the total number of credits for all graded courses. In computing GPAs, all graded courses are included. GPAs are computed for each student by semester and cumulatively.

Formal withdrawal from MU is arranged through the Graduate School using a Notice of Withdrawal form that is signed by the Director of the LL.M. Program and the Dean of the Graduate School. If the student is making a C or better at withdrawal time, a grade of W is recorded. If the student is doing failing work at withdrawal time, a grade of F is recorded. Students are responsible for notifying their instructors of their intention to withdraw and for determining if their work qualifies for a W grade. Students who leave MU without filing a statement of formal withdrawal are given a grade of F in all courses. If the reason is so urgent that an official withdrawal cannot be obtained, the student should notify the LL.M. Program as soon as possible and officially request to be withdrawn.

Students who are called to active duty as part of a Reserve or National Guard unit call-up during an academic term and are unable to complete their work are governed by the Active Military Duty Policy.

The MU School of Law complies with all federal and state laws and regulations regarding rights to and privacy of student educational records. The Graduate School maintains the official records of LL.M. students. Students who wish to release information from the official records should contact the Graduate School. The LL.M. Program maintains unofficial records of LL.M. students. The LL.M. Program will release information about a past or present LL.M. student only in response to a written request and with the written consent of the student.

The procedures for obtaining an official transcript are described on the Registrar's web site. Students may ask the LL.M. Program Coordinator to provide an unofficial transcript.


The progress of each graduate student will be evaluated annually by the Director of the LL.M. Program.

For students who first enrolled in the LL.M. Program after January 1, 2001, the following are the standards of “satisfactory progress” in the LL.M. Program, subject to individual exceptions for good cause as approved by the Director of the LL.M. Program. Normally, students should complete all degree requirements within three (3) years of enrollment. By the end of the first year of enrollment, students must have completed at least eight (8) credits that satisfy requirements for the LL.M. degree. By the end of the second year of enrollment, students must have completed at least sixteen (16) credits that satisfy requirements for the LL.M. degree. By the end of the third year of enrollment, students must have completed at least twenty-four (24) credits that satisfy requirements for the LL.M. degree. Time spent in the armed services will not count toward the period for completing the degree requirements.

For students who first enrolled in the LL.M. Program before January 1, 2001, to achieve "satisfactory progress," students must complete an average of at least four (4) credits for every academic year since their initial enrollment in the LL.M. Program.

The Graduate School will be informed of all students who are not making satisfactory progress. When there is a question as to whether satisfactory progress is being made, the Director of the LL.M. Program will write to the student and recommend a face-to-face meeting with the student. If there is disagreement, the Director of the LL.M. Program will ask the student to submit a separate letter to him or her. Copies of both letters will be made available to the student, maintained in a departmental file, and forwarded to the Graduate School.

If difficulties persist and the Director of the LL.M. Program determines that probation is appropriate, the Director will notify the student in writing of the probationary period, which may be from 30 days to a full semester. The probation letter will state explicitly that the student is on departmental probation and state precisely what must be accomplished and by what date in order to enable the student to return to good standing in the Program and be removed from probation. Within ten (10) working days of receipt of the probation letter, the student may submit a written request for a review of this decision by the LL.M. Admissions Committee, which may affirm or revise the probation letter or determine that probation is not appropriate.

If the student does not comply with the conditions of probation, a letter signed by Director of the LL.M. Program will be sent to the student (with a copy to the Graduate School) with notification of dismissal from the LL.M. Program. Within ten (10) working days of receipt of the probation letter, the student may submit a written request for a review of this decision by the LL.M. Admissions Committee, which may affirm or revise the notification of dismissal or determine that dismissal is not appropriate (with a copy to the Graduate School). The Graduate School sends the official notice of dismissal from the Program.

A student may appeal a dismissal decision to the Graduate Faculty Senate only after completing the Program’s appeal process. The full text of the Probation and Termination Policies for Graduate Students can be found in the Graduate School Catalog on its web site.


The University makes every effort to notify students either individually or collectively of all matters pertaining to registration and pre-registration, payment of fines and fees, and other matters which affect students. In addition, offices of the deans attempt to notify students concerning graduation requirements and other matters pertinent to their progress toward graduation. Students have the responsibility to read all notices, and within a reasonable amount of time will be considered to have knowledge of all the matters contained in the notices. The University cannot assume responsibility for the non-delivery of mail or for the misplacement of written notifications in group housing. It is the policy of the University to retain, for a reasonable period, all letters returned for non-delivery by the United States Postal Service. If summoned by any University official or committee, a student must answer the summons within the time specified in the official notification. Students are responsible for promptly notifying the LL.M. Program AND the University of any changes in address and phone number.

Each LL.M. student is assigned a Mizzou e-mail account, which can be accessed through the general MU e-mail web access site. Some official notices from the LL.M. Program and Law School are delivered to students' official Mizzou e-mail accounts. Students are expected to check these accounts at least several times a week, preferably at least once each weekday when classes are in session. These notices will not be sent to students' personal or work e-mail accounts unless the students can demonstrate that they cannot reasonably access their official Mizzou e-mail accounts.

The Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution and LL.M. Program publish a newsletter with official announcements and other information of interest to LL.M. students. This newsletter is distributed by e-mail.


  • Student mail and messages from the faculty and administration are distributed to students through their mailboxes, located in the sub-plaza across from the lounge area, and through students' MU e-mail accounts.
  • Materials put on Reserve, various Hornbooks, and other frequently used books are located behind the Library Circulation Desk. They may be checked out for two (2) hours at a time.
  • Old Tests and Practice Exams previously given at MU are filed by course at the Library Circulation Desk. They may be checked out to be copied.
  • Handouts/Supplements for classes, when required, are available in the designated bin located in the sub-plaza, at no charge. Long Supplements will be available in the Brady Commons Quick Copy Center for purchase.
  • Class schedules and other information are available on the web site or by contacting Karen Neylon.
  • Course Grades in JD courses are posted 1-4 weeks after finals and also can be checked on myZou. The myZou system also enables students to access their schedule, change their address and biographic data, obtain a statement of fees via e-mail, access course availability, financial aid information, and refund status information.
  • Photocopies can be made on the first, second and third floors of the Library.
  • The Student Lounge, located in the sub-plaza, has televisions, tables for lunch or cards, coat racks, microwave ovens to heat meals and several soda and snack vending machines. The SBA maintain refrigerators and microwaves for those who bring their lunch. Lockers can be rented from the SBA. The charge is determined by the SBA. Football Tickets in one of the SBA blocks are available from the SBA early in the Fall Semester. A married student can purchase two tickets.
  • Elevators run between the sub-plaza level and the third floor in the library and on the north side of the building.
  • Parking at the University can be a challenge. We provide LL.M. students' names to the Parking and Transportation Services before the start of the fall semester. Parking tags for one of the nearby parking garages (depending on space availability) may be purchased at the Parking Office, which is at the Turner Avenue Garage, Level 2. Do not park in a lot for which you do not have a permit. University Police will ticket ($10-$50 fine) and tow ($17.50-$85). The University Police Department does tow on first violations.


The Law School encourages all students to use language, in both spoken and written communications, which includes both women and men in illustrations, examples, and hypothetical cases and which treats women and men with equal dignity and status. Today nearly half of all law students are women, and their numbers in the legal profession are growing rapidly. It is inappropriate to fall into a pattern in which only males appear in legal discussions, or in which women appear only in subordinate roles.

Here are some specific suggestions.

  1. Employ both female and male names in constructing legal arguments: For example, “Let's assume that Lucy leases an apartment in her building to Tom.” Avoid usage such as “The typical lawyer is well-trained in his use of Shepards Citations.”
  2. Avoid stereotyping of roles or occupations as exclusively male or female. Instead: “The doctor administered sodium pentothal to her patient.” “B was elected president of the corporation and assumed her duties.”
  3. (Avoid use of “he” or “his” when a generic reference to a group of mixed gender is intended. Sometimes this can be accomplished by the phrase “he or she,” but a slight rewording often produces a smoother result. For example, the singular may be changed to the plural. “The average student turns in his or her assignments on time,” might be restated as “Most students turn in their assignments on time.”
  4. Treat men and women in a parallel manner. For example, “We reviewed the opinions of Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice O'Connor,” not “We reviewed the opinions of Chief Justice Rehnquist and Mrs. O'Connor.”
  5. Avoid use of “man” as a reference to people of both genders. For example, use “a reasonable person (or 'a reasonable automobile driver') under the circumstances,” not “a reasonable man.” Use “the chair of the committee must rule on the motion,” not “the chairman of the committee must rule.”
Improving our mode of expression in these ways is not automatic; it requires thought and concentration. Accuracy of expression and fairness to others should be characteristic of every lawyer and student.