LL.M. Program Frequently Asked Questions

Admission/Application Requirements

How many students are in the program?

Our on-campus cohorts are small, creating a close community among faculty and students, forming lifelong bonds for networking and future collaboration.

I have a J.D., but my law school is not ABA-accredited. Am I eligible for admission?

U.S. applicants normally must have satisfied the J.D. requirements of an ABA-accredited law school. In exceptional cases, U.S. applicants may be admitted if they have satisfied the J.D. requirements of a non-ABA-accredited law school.

Do I need to have legal experience before applying for the LL.M. program?

The Admissions Committee prefers applicants with significant prior legal experience for the dispute resolution degree. The committee gives applicants without significant prior legal experience more favorable consideration if they have other relevant experience or accomplishments.

I do not have a law degree. Can I still enroll in the LL.M. in Dispute Resolution program?

Maybe. The LL.M. in Dispute Resolution program requires students to have completed and received the first degree in law (J.D. degree or equivalent) required for practice or law teaching in the country in which law studies were pursued. In exceptional cases, applicants may be admitted without a law degree if they have a bachelor’s degree and substantial experience in dispute resolution.

I have been out of law school for a significant amount of time and I do not think anyone there remembers me. What can I do about getting an academic reference?

If you cannot get an academic reference, you can provide two professional references. Keep in mind that the persons providing a recommendation need to provide: “a candid evaluation of this applicant, with particular emphasis on his or her academic promise, ability to express self orally and in writing, initiative, perseverance, ability to work independently, interests and capabilities, judgment and maturity, and the applicant’s motivation for pursuing an LL.M.”

English is not my first language; however, my secondary and post-secondary instruction have all been in English. Do I still need to provide a TOEFL score?

The LL.M. Program Admissions Criteria read: “Applicants whose native language is not English must be able to read, write, understand, and speak English sufficiently well to participate in and contribute well to the class experience.” Also, see the English Language Proficiency Policy on the Graduate School website for more information.

What is your minimum English language score requirement?

Non-native English speakers must score at least an 80 on the internet-based TOEFL, 550 on the paper-based TOEFL or 6.5 on the Academic IELTS. Generally, the LL.M. program prefers a score of 100 on the internet-based TOEFL test (which is the preferred test). Scores from IELTS are acceptable only in those situations when the internet-based TOEFL is not administered.

It is difficult for me to get my country’s currency exchanged in order to pay the application fee. Can you waive that fee or delay payment until I come to the U.S. to enroll?

No. It is our policy and the University’s policy not to waive the application fee. You can pay the fee by credit card or have your bank send a money order or cashier’s check in U.S. dollars. Some students with friends or colleagues residing in the U.S. have asked those individuals to send the application fee to the University on their behalf.

Is it possible to enroll part-time in the LL.M. in Dispute Resolution program?

Yes. LL.M. students in dispute resolution generally must complete all graduation requirements within a period of three (3) years beginning with the first semester of enrollment in the program. Usually, students who enroll part-time take an average of six credits per semester. This enables them to complete the program in two academic years.

How difficult is it to enroll part-time in the LL.M. in Dispute Resolution program and continuing working full time?

It depends.

We offer an online LL.M. in Dispute Resolution degree program. This provides students with the flexibility to attend classes wherever and whenever works for your personal schedule.

If you prefer to take classes on campus, the law school courses generally meet more than one day per week. However, some classes meet on the same days, so that you can attend more than one class on the days you are on campus. In addition to time spent in class, LL.M. students also need to be prepared for the level of work outside of the class meeting time. Most courses require a significant amount of reading, research and writing.

Is it feasible to commute from St. Louis or Kansas City and participate in the program?

It depends. Commuting from St. Louis, Kansas City or any other distance is possible, but you need to account for travel time and possible overnight stays in addition to time spent in class and work required outside of class. Students can earn some credits without being in Columbia, including through independent study, externship, and transfer credits.

Do you offer online courses?

Yes, we have an online option for the LL.M. in Dispute Resolution degree program.

How long is the academic year?

The University of Missouri academic year includes two semesters and a summer session. The Fall semester begins in late August and ends in mid-December. The Spring semester begins in mid-January and ends in mid-May. The summer session varies depending on whether a student takes law courses or other graduate-level courses. The law school summer session starts and ends earlier than the university summer session (which usually runs from early June through early August). There are no regular LL.M. classes offered during the summer, but students may use the summer to take other courses. We encourage students to use the summer to do externships for credit.

Am I limited to taking ONLY dispute resolution courses in the LL.M. in Dispute Resolution program?

No. The program requires a minimum of 12 credit hours of core courses in dispute resolution. The remaining credits can be taken in other areas of the law, BUT they should be relevant to the dispute resolution field. Students also can take up to six (6) credits outside the law school, but again they should be relevant to the program.

I am an international student. When I complete the LL.M. can I take the bar exam?

Although the LL.M. degree will help qualify you to take the bar exam in some states, bear in mind that you should investigate the specific requirements in the state where you intend to take the exam. In the State of Missouri, a graduate from a law school outside the United States may request permission to take the bar examination by furnishing satisfactory evidence that the person:

  1. Has been admitted to practice in the foreign country where the law degree was conferred, has been in good standing during this admission period, and has engaged in the full-time practice of law for at least three of the five years preceding the date upon which the person applies to take the bar exam; or
  2. Has been admitted to practice in the foreign country where the law degree was conferred, has been in good standing during this admission period, and has successfully completed at least 24 semester credit hours in residence at an ABA-approved law school.

Note that even with 24 semester credit hours of law school study, students taking the Missouri bar examination would also presumably take a bar preparation course offered in the summer that they take the exam.  This would be in addition to the 24 semester credit hours in the LL.M Program. For more details on the requirements for admission to the Missouri Bar, see http://www.courts.mo.gov/.

The requirements vary from state to state, so if you are interested in taking the bar examination in another state, you should check on each state’s bar requirements at http://www.abanet.org/legaled/baradmissions/bar.html.

Technical Skills

What type of computing skills do I need to participate in the LL.M. program?

LL.M. students are expected to be able to use a word processing program (Microsoft Word), e-mail, and a web browser. In addition, the many resources of the law library are online. Students should be able to conduct computer-assisted searches of legal and non-legal databases (after receiving some orientation to the library services). Librarians are available to help students learn how to use computerized resources.

Do I need to buy a computer in order to participate in the on-campus LL.M. program?

In the law library, there is a computer lab with PCs available for use by law students and law faculty. Students have 24-hour access to the law building using a card-key access system. For more details on computer resources, including information on buying a computer, visit the law library web site.

What research resources are available in the law library?

Our library is on four floors in the south wing of John K. Hulston Hall. Library services include reference and research assistance, computer-assisted searches of legal and non-legal databases, and legal research instruction. All law library operations, including acquisitions, cataloging, circulation, interlibrary loan, and serials control, are performed through the University’s integrated library system, called MERLIN. The library has a section devoted to dispute resolution materials. For full details on the law library, visit the website.

About Columbia, Mo.

What is the Columbia community like?

For lots of information on Columbia, visit the Convention and Visitors Bureau website.

I have to relocate to Columbia. What are the housing options for LL.M. students?

LL.M. students can live in any type of housing they choose. On-campus housing options are the best option for students who would not have a car for transportation to campus. More detailed information about on-campus housing is on the Residential Life website. Plenty of privately owned apartments are within walking or driving distance to campus. Students who prefer to live off-campus should try to visit Columbia before enrollment to make the best decision on living arrangements. Contact the LL.M. program for more information on privately owned rental properties.

I have a car and plan to drive to campus each day. How difficult is it to find parking?

Parking at the University can be a challenge. Visit Parking and Transportation Services for detailed information. Parking tags for a nearby parking garage or surface parking lot (depending on space availability) may be purchased at the Parking Office, which is at the Turner Avenue Garage, Level 2.

I do not have a car, what are the public transportation options in Columbia?

The Columbia Transit System provides limited bus service throughout the city. More information on the routes is on the transit system website.

Can I bring my bicycle to Columbia?

Many University students use bicycles to travel to campus. Whether you will want to use a bike on your route to campus will depend on where you choose to live. The “bike friendliness” of some roads depends on the amount of travel on the road. On campus, there are bike racks outside most classroom buildings, including the law school.

Where is the closest airport to Columbia?

Columbia Regional Airport serves the mid-Missouri region. It is located 10 miles south of Columbia. American Airlines offers daily flights between Columbia and Chicago and Dallas. United Airlines offers daily flights between Columbia and Chicago and Denver. Many travelers also choose to get to Columbia by flying into either St. Louis or Kansas City. They then take a ground shuttle service to Columbia. The St. Louis airport is a two-hour drive away; the Kansas City airport is a two-and-half-hour drive away. A ground shuttle service serves mid-Missouri: MoXpress Service (commonly known as MO-X). Click on the company name to link to their website.