Program of Study
The LL.M. program requires 24 credit hours of study. A minimum of 12 credits are required courses in dispute resolution and the remaining 12 credits are electives. Students choose electives according to their interests. With approval of the director of the LL.M. Program, students can apply six (6) credits of graduate-level courses outside the Law School toward the LL.M. graduation requirements.
International students often request suggestions for additional training in the U.S. legal system and English language skills. Recommended programs are listed below under Recommended Training Options for International Students.
Students studying full-time can complete degree requirements within one academic year. Part-time students in a continuous course of study can complete the program within two academic years.
See the LL.M. Course Descriptions for the required core courses with some recommended electives relevant to the dispute resolution field.
Recommended Training Options for International Students
Students who want more formal training about the U.S. legal system or English language skills have several programs to consider. Participation in any of these programs is optional and should be based on the student’s needs and abilities as well as the cost and time involved. Pay particular attention to any time constraints related to obtaining a student visa. A few U.S. law schools offer summer courses for their LL.M. students that provide an introduction to the U.S. legal system. Students from outside the LL.M. programs of these universities are welcome to attend. Full details on schedules, curriculum, costs, etc., can be found on their web sites.
- The Institute for U.S. Law, in affiliation with the George Washington University Law School-Washington, D.C., U.S. Legal English: July 20-29; U.S. Legal Methods: Introduction to U.S. Law: July 29-Aug. 12.
- The International Law Institute – Washington, D.C., Legal English & Legal Writing: July 17-28; Orientation in the U.S. Legal System, and Business Law, July 31-Aug. 11; Combined Legal English and Writing & Orientation in the U.S. Legal System: July 17-Aug. 11.
- Orientation in U.S.A. Law at the University of California, Davis, July 9-August 5.
- The University of Missouri offers options to assist students for whom English is a second language.
- LL.M. Arbitration Seminar (3):
This course would cover law, policy, and practices relating to the arbitration in the U.S. under modern arbitration statutes as well as arbitration of international commercial disputes under international conventions and arbitral rules
- LL.M. Major Research Project (3):
Development and presentation of substantial research paper on a current topic in dispute resolution.
- Dispute System Design (3):
Analysis of system design principles and basic research evaluation methodologies. An underlying theme is program quality.
- Non-Binding Methods of Dispute Resolution (3-4):
Negotiation and mediation of disputes, focusing on the theory, strategy, and skills, and public policy issues involved in using non-binding methods of dispute resolution.
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. NOTE: Some courses may not be offered in some years.
- 5450 Conflict and Conflict Management (3)
- 5485 Cross Cultural Dispute Resolution (3)
- 5537 Emotional Intelligence in Law (1-2):
Success in law requires more than substantive legal knowledge. It also requires self-awareness, or “emotional intelligence,” by the lawyer in order to be able to operate effectively in a complex and nuanced legal environment. This course is designed to help students develop their emotional intelligence by cultivating such personal and social competencies as personal and social awareness, understanding of motivation, empathy, and social skills. Please note that this course includes a contemplation component, using mindfulness meditation as a tool to develop personal awareness and skillful social interaction.
- Group Dynamics and Conflict Resolution (3):
Public Affairs course that focuses on the study of group psychology in the context of communities and organizations. It examines the emergence and resolution of conflict.
- LL.M. Externship (Credit arranged):
Students will be placed (or secure placement) with an attorney, professional mediator or arbitrator, or dispute resolution agency (government-based or private) for an externship. Students will observe and, to the extent possible, participate in dispute resolution activities of mentor. Journal entries form basis for credit. Externship placements may be local, national or international. Click on the course name for additional information about externships.
- LL.M. Independent Study (1-3):
Substantial research project on selected topic of choice. Click on the course name for additional information about independent study.
- 5770 Mediation Clinic (1-2)
- 5840 Public Policy Dispute Resolution (3)
- Organizational Analysis and Change (3):
Public Affairs course that investigates the social and psychological dynamics of intervention and change. Students study organizational life from the viewpoint of experienced organizational consultants. The predominant theoretical approach offered in this course is clinical and psychodynamic. Readings and discussions rely on case examples to ground theory in practice.
- Organizational Change in a Community and Global Context (3):
Public Affairs course that examines changing organizations in their task environments, which include communities and the global economy.
- Organizational Dynamics and Leadership (3):
Public Affairs course that focuses on understanding human action in administrative situations and on developing personal capacities for effective action in varied and difficult organizational settings.
- Practicum on Dispute Resolution Training and Education (1-2):
(for work over the entire year) Structured training experience through participation in activities such as: the first-year dispute resolution curriculum project; service as judges in J.D. student competitions, such as negotiation and client counseling; and assignment to appropriate upper division courses to assist with development of dispute resolution modules. Click on the course name for additional information about the practicum.
- Theory & Practice of Theatre of the Oppressed (3):
Theory and practice of Augusto Boal’s liberatory interactive theatre process, including application of techniques to specific social issues. Prerequisite: instructor’s consent. (cross-listed as Theatre 4240 and Peace Studies 4840/7840). Note: This course is only offered in odd-numbered years.
Tailoring the Program
In addition to the recommended electives outlined above, the MU Law School offers courses in many areas. Course descriptions are available on the J.D. Curriculum Section. Please note: Every effort is made to teach each of these courses every year, but the ability to offer them depends on faculty availability and budget constraints.
Some of the concentrated areas in the J.D. curriculum include:
- Business Planning/Corporations
- Environmental Law
- Governmental Processes
- Intellectual Property
- International Law
- Normative Theory and Diversity
- Trial Practice