LL.M. Program

“I would define my year at UC Hastings as a daily journey of discoveries. I enjoyed my full days of studying in an interesting and different environment and made the most of immersing myself in the American way of life.” –Benjamin Trouille, LL.M. Class of 2018


Program Details

The UC Hastings LL.M. program offers a vibrant mix of academic coursework, professional development opportunities, and community-building social events. Our faculty nurtures students to develop their own arguments and to freely express their views in a supportive environment. All courses, with the exception of Introduction to Law and Legal Research and Writing for Masters Students, are taken together with UC Hastings Juris Doctor students. Our Advisors help students plan out their course schedules to meet their personal and professional goals. Please click here for the LL.M. program brochure.

Degree Requirements

LL.M. candidates are required to successfully complete at least 24 credit hours of classes over two semesters of study, including:

  • Introduction to Law (Fall, 3 units)
  • Legal Writing and Research for Masters Students (Fall, 2 units)
  • One of the following first-year required courses: Contracts, Torts, Criminal Law, Property, Constitutional Law, or Civil Procedure.
  • All LL.M. candidates must attend a 2 week orientation program prior to the beginning of classes.
Program Learning Outcomes

When you have completed the LL.M. in U.S. Legal Studies degree, you will be expected to have acquired and developed the following skills:

1. You will gain substantive knowledge of basic concepts and theories of law in core legal areas and in their chosen areas of focus, if applicable.

2. You will understand the function, responsibilities, and powers of federal and state political and judicial institutions.

3. You will be able to find, read, and analyze U.S. legal authority and apply common law principles to hypothetical cases.

4. You will demonstrate effective analysis and communication skills for an audience of U.S. legal professionals.


LL.M. candidates may receive a general degree in U.S. Legal Studies or they may elect to specialize in any of the following areas and receive an LL.M. and a Certificate of Specialization upon graduation. LL.M. candidates who choose to pursue a specialization must earn at least 12 credits in their chosen area.

Moot Court
Criminal Law

The Criminal Law specialization increases LL.M. students’ understanding of criminal liability and how the U.S. justice system operates. Our courses help prepare students for successful careers in the criminal justice field, including as prosecutors, defense attorneys, magistrates, and policy makers. Our Institute for Criminal Justice provides a wide variety of research and educational opportunities for students interested in local, state, national, and international criminal justice issues.

Dispute Resolution & Legal Process

The Dispute Resolution & Legal Process specialization allows LL.M. students to build and hone their dispute-resolution and other lawyering skills. The depth and breadth of the curriculum and experiential learning opportunities have made UC Hastings a leader in training lawyers for practice. LL.M. students specializing in this area benefit from working closely with our award-winning Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution which hosts and trains international visitors several times per year.

The selection of Professor Dave Owen marks the second consecutive year the Rutter Award was presented to an environmental law professor at UC Hastings.
Environmental Law

Environmental law explores issues linked to the environment, energy, and water at local, national, and international levels. Our San Francisco location is a hub for environmental law, with top private and public law firms, state and federal government offices, and non-governmental organizations just steps away from campus. LL.M. students work closely with faculty whose expertise includes water law, environmental law, land law, food law, climate change, and biodiversity.

Health Law Intro Photo (Sarah with Brains)
Health Law & Policy

The Health Law and Policy specialization allows students to focus on issues at the intersection of law, medicine, and science. As new medical technologies raise a host of ethical challenges and as scientific evidence becomes more pervasive in courtrooms, the need for lawyers trained with an understanding of the health care system is greater than ever. Students who pursue this specialization may elect to take courses offered at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine through the UCSF-UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science and Health Policy.

International Business & Trade

The International Business and Trade specialization provides students with the foundation they need to excel in an increasingly global economy. UC Hastings offers LL.M. students a broad perspective on public and private international law through a large range of courses. Our Center for Business Law is a hub of research and innovation. Our many courses in this area include international business transactions, international trade law, prosecuting international cartels, and compliance.

International Law & Human Rights

The International Law and Human Rights specialization allows students to take advantage of UC Hastings’ thriving international law community while taking courses on public international law and human rights. UC Hastings faculty are leaders in their fields, offering courses such as international human rights, transitional justice, and international environmental law. UC Hastings is home to the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, one of the nation’s leading refugee advocacy organizations engaging in national policy work and other strategies in defense of asylum seekers.

Science, Technology & Intellectual Property

The Science, Technology, & Intellectual Property (IP) specialization prepares students to practice in the intellectual property field. UC Hastings’ connections with Silicon Valley’s technology companies and San Francisco’s vibrant intellectual property firms uniquely position it to offer perspectives on all aspects of the practice. LL.M. students enjoy working closely with our Institute for Innovation Law and LexLab in addition to taking courses taught by practitioners from boutique and multi-national firms. Many students participate in the Startup Legal Garage, which has a track specially designed for LL.M. students.

Heather_Field, UC Hastings

The Tax specialization is designed to ensure that LL.M. students develop a broad understanding of key aspects of the United States system of taxation. Students learn to solve problems, and they develop an instinct for tax planning and the resolution of tax controversies. Through their courses, students solidify their knowledge of tax policy, taxation of foreign transactions, and taxation of non-profit organizations. Our Center on Tax Law allows LL.M. students to build their professional networks.

LL.M. in U.S. Legal Studies - General Degree

After successful completion of our program, UC Hastings LL.M. students will receive an LL.M. Degree in U.S. Legal Studies conferred by UC Hastings. Global Program Advisors help students individually tailor their coursework to meet their personal and professional goals. Students may choose to take a variety of courses that interest in them or prepare them for a Bar Exam, or students may choose to specialize in one of our 8 areas of specialization.