Frequently Asked Questions – Foreign Applicants
(Non-US Law Degree)

  1. What LL.M. programs are offered at the Law Center?
  2. Can I apply to any of these programs?

  3. Are there required courses?

    Any student who earned a law degree outside of the United States is required to take Introduction to American Law and Lawyering Skills and Strategies* during their first semester, August-December.  Students in a concentration, such as International Law, are also required to complete a certain number of concentration-specific credits. 




    Total Credits


    Required Coursework


    Energy, Environment and Natural Resources LL.M.



    15 credits of EENR coursework and two required courses*


    Health Law LL.M.




    18 credits of health coursework and two required courses*


    Intellectual Property & Information Law LL.M.




    15 credits of intellectual property and information law coursework and two required courses*


    International Law LL.M.



    15 credits of international law coursework and two required courses*


    Tax LL.M.




    18 credits of tax law courses including Federal Income Tax, Tax Ethics and Tax Research and two required courses*


    Foreign Scholars LL.M.


    Two required courses*


  4. When can I begin the LL.M. program?

    Lawyers who earned their law degree outside of the United States must begin their studies in early August.
  5. What is the length of the program?

    The LL.M. degree is a 24-credit program.  Most students attend full time and complete the program in one academic year, August-May.
  6. I’m working and cannot complete the program in two semesters.  What are my options?

    Students have the option of taking up to three years to meet all program requirements. The student must be continuously enrolled every fall and spring semester for a minimum of three credits and meet applicable visa restrictions that may require completion of the program in a shorter period of time.
  7. When do classes begin?

    Classes begin after orientation which is the first week of August.
  8. When are classes scheduled?

    Classes are typically scheduled Monday-Friday throughout the day and early evening hours.  The current schedule is available at
  9. How do I select courses?

    Each student is assigned a faculty advisor who works with the student to select courses that meet their professional and program requirements. 
  10. What are the admission requirements?

    Lawyers who earned their law degree outside of the United States must have earned the degree from an accredited university in the country in which the university is located.  Applicants must present evidence of a high grade point average or superior class standing at the school where they obtained their law degree or be eligible to practice before the highest jurisdiction in their country.
  11. Am I required to take the LSAT exam?

  12. How do I apply?

    The application and all supporting documents should be submitted through the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) at
  13. Am I required to take an English proficiency exam?

    Applicants from a country where English is not the official language are required to provide adequate proof of English proficiency.  The Law Center requires a TOEFL score of 100 iBT or 7.0 on the IELTS.  Applicants who have completed an advanced degree in the United States or have resided in an English-speaking country for a significant period of time can request a waiver of the exams.  Waiver requests should be submitted with the application.   A phone or Skype interview may be required before a waiver is approved.

    TOEFL or IELTS reports should be sent to LSAC.
  14. Do you offer conditional admission to applicants who do not meet the Law Center’s minimum TOEFL requirement?

  15. Should my transcript/academic documents be evaluated before submitting them to LSAC?

    No.  Transcripts are evaluated through LSAC’s International Transcript Authentication and Evaluation Service (ITAES).
  16. How are applications evaluated?

    Academic performance, work and professional experience, the personal statement, reference letters and the TOEFL or IELTS report (if applicable) are considered in admission decisions. 
  17. Does the application process include a personal interview?

    No.  Applicants can use the Personal Statement to write about circumstances, goals, etc. that would be discussed in an interview.
  18. Can I submit my application to LSAC before I’ve taken the TOEFL or IELTS?

  19. How many students are admitted each year?

    The size of an entering class varies from year to year and is not predetermined.  Classes typically include recent graduates and practicing lawyers.
  20. Is there an early admissions/decision process?

    Applications are reviewed upon receipt of all required application materials, but not before January 1 (for fall admission).  Applicants are encouraged to submit applications, especially academic documents, as early as possible. 
  21. Once admitted, can I change programs?

    No.  Applications and offers of admission are program-specific.
  22. I’m a permanent U.S. resident.  Am I still considered a foreign lawyer?

    For purposes of admission to the LL.M. program, a foreign lawyer is anyone, regardless of immigration status, whose law degree was earned outside of the United States.
  23. I’m a permanent U.S. resident.  Does that qualify me as a Texas resident for tuition purposes?

    U.S. residency and Texas residency are not the same.  It is possible to be a permanent U.S. resident but not a Texas resident for tuition purposes.  Details on determining Texas residency are available at or
  24. What are my housing options?

    Houston is a very large metropolitan city with limited public transportation.  Students who will not have their own transportation are encouraged to consider campus housing such as the Calhoun Lofts, which is adjacent to the Law Center.  Campus housing fills up very quickly and arrangements should be made upon admission to the program.  There are also apartment locator services that assist students in finding accessible and affordable off-campus apartments and rentals.

    Students reserving campus housing should request early check-in.  Refunds of deposits are not made after May 31, even if the reservation is made after this date.

  25. What is the cost of the program?

    Based on the 2014-2015 academic year, tuition and fees for a Texas resident are approximately $28,000 and $38,000 for a non-resident. Estimates are based on the current year and are subject to change.
  26. What expenses should I plan for in addition to tuition and fees?

    Expenses, such as housing, personal, and transportation vary depending upon individual preferences.  For example, books can be purchased new or used, online or in Houston and there is a wide variety of on and off-campus housing options.  

    Students typically budget approximately $2900 for books, $10,200 for housing and $5500 for personal expenses (such as transportation), and parking ($195/annually). Health insurance is required of all visa-holding students and is $950 for the academic year, August-May.  It can be waived for students who already have health insurance approved by the University of Houston.

    Student health insurance coverage is NOT effective until the official first day the fall semester (not orientation or the two early weeks).  Students should ensure that their current insurance remains in effect until the official first day of the semester.

  27. Are scholarships or other financial assistance options available to foreign LL.M. students?

    Foreign students who are U.S. permanent residents may qualify for student loans.  Contact our financial aid advisor at:  There are a limited number of merit-based scholarships awarded to non-US lawyers admitted to the LL.M. program.

    Visit the following websites for information on scholarships, funding and financial assistance available for studying in the United States.  Many of these have a lengthy application and review process.  Interested students should begin their research as early as possible.

    Fulbright International:
    Rotary International:
    Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program:
    LASPAU (Latin America, Caribbean):
    Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation,
    Edmund S. Muskie Fellowship,
    Association of International Petroleum Negotiators,
    American-Mideast Educational and Training Services, Inc. (AMIDEAST),

    General information on financial assistance and funding resources for study in the
    United States is available at:,  and
  28. After completion of the LL.M. program, am I eligible to take a bar examination?

    Each state determines eligibility requirements for their bar examination.  A limited number of states allow non-US educated lawyers to take the exam.  Law schools cannot confirm bar eligibility, and students planning to take a bar examination upon the completion of the LL.M. program (or for whom this may be a possibility), should research a state bar’s eligibility requirements before beginning any program.  Eligibility in some states, including Texas, may require the completion  of specific courses during the student’s LL.M. studies.  

    For information on the changes (October 1, 2014) in eligibility requirements for the Texas Bar Exam, go to

    Visit the National Conference of Bar Examiners website, for a survey of state bar eligibility requirements for foreign-trained lawyers.