Frequently Asked Questions

What is the LL.M. in International Law?

The Fletcher School’s Master of Laws (LL.M.) in International Law is a post-graduate, full-time academic degree for legal professionals who wish to obtain specialized education in a particular area of international law. Fletcher’s LL.M. in International Law is intended to provide a broader understanding of the context in which international law is made, interpreted, and applied, as well as the broader international and societal environment in which law is practiced. The Fletcher LL.M. Program does not offer courses in domestic U.S. law, except for those aspects of U.S. law that are particularly relevant to international law.

Will a Fletcher LL.M. degree qualify me to take a bar examination in the United States?

No. Some states do permit application to the bar by an applicant who does not hold a J.D., if the applicant has taken a minimum number of credit hours in courses offered in a J.D. program in an ABA-approved law school and/or is qualified for the bar in a foreign jurisdiction. Rules for bar admission vary from state to state, and applicants interested in admission to a U.S. bar should make their own enquires.  However, credit hours earned in connection with a Fletcher-granted LL.M. degree would not by themselves qualify an individual to apply for bar admission in any state of the United States.  

What are the qualifications for admission?

The LL.M. Program is limited to students who meet at least one of the following requirements: (1) have obtained a J.D. degree from an A.B.A. approved law school in the United States; (2) have completed in a foreign country the academic (university-based) legal education required to take the bar examination in that country; or (3) are qualified to practice law (admitted to the bar) in a foreign country. Applicants will be selected on the basis of law school and undergraduate grades, legal and other professional experience, exam scores, TOEFL or IELTS scores (where applicable), and recommendations. A waiver of these requirements is granted only in exceptional circumstances.

Who is likely to be admitted to the LL.M. Program?

Admission to the program is highly selective. Successful applicants generally possess strong academic credentials, a record of professional achievement, and a demonstrable interest in international issues. Our applicants include a number of Fulbright scholars, and approximately 80% of our applicants reside outside the United States. The LL.M. program is unsurpassed in the depth and breadth of its international offerings and attracts students from around the world who wish to become part of The Fletcher School’s remarkable global network. 

How do I apply for admission to the LL.M. program?
Applicants should use our online application.
What materials do I need to submit with my application?

Applicants to the LLM program must submit the following materials:

  • Application form
  • Application fee of $80
  • Official academic transcripts from all previously attended institutions
  • Two letters of recommendation (a third is optional)
  • Resume/CV
  • Personal statement
  • Supplemental essay
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS scores (if applicable)
  • Financial aid application (if applicable)
  • Evaluative interview (optional)

Additional details and instructions can be found with the online application form.

Do I need to submit test scores (LSAT, TOEFL, IELTS, etc.)?

Non-native English speakers will succeed in Fletcher's rigorous LL.M. curriculum only if they are fluent in English. If your native language is not English and you have not earned a university degree where English was the primary language of instruction, then you are required to take either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

A minimum TOEFL score of 100 (with subscores of 25 on each section) on the Internet-Based Test, or a score of 7.0 (with subscores of 7.0 on each section) on the IELTS examination, is the minimal level of English language ability required for graduate study at The Fletcher School. Proficiency in English weighs heavily in the LL.M. admissions process, and applicants whose scores are just above or below these scores may be required to take an ESL or Legal English course prior to enrolling. The LSAT is not required for admission to the LL.M. program.

When are the application deadlines?

The deadlines for the 2016-2017 academic year are as follows:

  • November 15, 2015 for Early Notification
  • January 15, 2016 for Regular Notification
  • March 1, 2016 for Late Notification
How will I be notified whether I have been accepted into the LL.M. program?

Every effort is made to notify an applicant as quickly as possible about the decision on his or her application, as well as the amount of the financial aid award, if any. You can find notification dates at  Affirmative decisions will be available through the applicant’s on-line Fletcher account. Formal letters will also be mailed out from the Admissions Office.

What is the benefit of applying for Early Notification?

Through the Early Notification process, applicants can receive an admission decision by January 1st for enrollment the following September, giving admitted applicants extra time to plan for graduate study. The LL.M. Admissions Committee uses the same criteria to evaluate applicants who meet the early and regular deadlines, and early applications that are deferred will be reconsidered after the January and March deadlines. 

Are students permitted to begin their studies in the spring semester?

No. The program is a full-time, one-year program that begins in late August.

Who makes admissions decisions?

The Fletcher international law faculty and LL.M. director decide jointly who will be admitted, taking into account recommendations from the Fletcher Admissions Office.

Are interviews required?

No. A personal interview is highly recommended, but is not a required component of the admissions process. Foreign applicants who have not completed English-language degree studies or for whom English is not their native language may be contacted at our discretion for a telephone interview. All applicants who are unable to visit Fletcher are welcome, but not required, to request a phone interview with the Program Director.

How large is the LL.M. class?
Class size is currently limited to no more than twenty, ensuring that students benefit from an extremely attractive faculty-to-student ratio, and are able to engage fully Fletcher's intellectual environment and academic community.
Is work experience required for admission to the LL.M. program?

Most successful applicants have at least three to five years of professional legal experience. The LL.M. Admissions Committee carefully reviews each applicant's personal and professional experience to assess readiness for graduate study at Fletcher. Voluntary positions, internships, and part- and full-time experience all play a role in preparing students for study.

Is international experience required for admission to the LL.M. Program?

There is no rigid requirement as to length or nature of international experience, but because the LL.M. is focused on international law, students should have a demonstrated interest in international issues. For some students, this could mean experience living and/or working abroad. For others, a working or research environment where international issues are the focus could be sufficient. International experience includes time spent living, studying, working, volunteering, or traveling outside the applicant’s home country. The nature of each applicant’s international experience is assessed in the context of his or her application and professional goals. 

What is the annual tuition for the LL.M. Program?

Estimated tuition for the 2016-2017 academic year is $43,712, which includes all expenses related to the LL.M. degree, including the Capstone Colloquium and High Table luncheon series. In addition, there are other education-related expenses applicants should factor into their calculations, including housing and living costs and the cost of textbooks and other materials. For further information on estimated costs, please consult the Fletcher Registrar’s Office.

Do you offer scholarships?

Yes. The Fletcher School offers scholarships to help defray tuition costs. Applicants who complete the Fletcher scholarship application are considered for scholarship aid on the basis of both need and merit. However, the pool of financial aid that we have to offer is limited, and successful applicants should assume that they may have to secure alternative sources of funding to meet all of the costs associated with the program. Accordingly, we encourage applicants to seek outside sources of funding, including scholarships and loans, as early as possible in the application process. We are unable to offer scholarships or information on scholarships to prospective applicants until they have formally applied to the Program. 

Where can I find sources of financial aid other than from Fletcher?
Many applicants have found the links on the non-Fletcher LL.M. Guide website to be a helpful resource. We recommend that you look into as many alternative sources as possible.
What are the requirements for completing the LL.M. degree?

The LL.M. Program is a residential program lasting one full academic year, with four courses each semester. No fewer than five and a maximum of six courses taken must be within the International Law and Organizations (ILO) division. At least one of the eight courses must be from the Diplomacy, History, and Politics (DHP) division in the Fletcher curriculum, and at least one course must be chosen from the Economics and International Business (EIB) division.  These courses are offered to all Fletcher students, enabling LL.M. students to gain full exposure to the multi-disciplinary approach that characterizes The Fletcher School and distinguishes our LL.M. from other U.S. LL.M. programs.

Every Fletcher student, including LL.M. students, must complete a capstone project as a requirement for graduation.  The capstone project must evidence scholarly and/or professional analysis informed by the sustained and appropriate application of analytical methodologies, and be presented as a written final product. The project may be, but is not limited to, a traditional academic research thesis, a policy paper (whether for a government, an NGO, or an international organization, whether for a real client or not), an operational plan (in development, business, public diplomacy, etc.), a case study, or a business plan.

The capstone topic and a faculty supervisor from the ILO division should be chosen no later than October 15th of the academic year, and earlier consultation and selection are very strongly recommended. The completed project is due by the last day of class for the academic year and forms the basis of a short presentation by the student at the Capstone Colloquium in May.  The topic, academic approach, and approximate length of the project must be agreed upon in advance with the faculty supervisor, who has full discretion to determine whether a proposed project or thesis is appropriate.  Not every professor will accept all of the alternatives provided in the generic description of Fletcher’s capstone requirement set out in the preceding paragraph.

LL.M. students are required to attend the High Table luncheons, which are held throughout the year.  Students also must participate in the three-day residential Capstone Colloquium at the end of the academic year, where students present summaries of their theses, reflect upon the year's studies, and engage in discussions with legal practitioners and scholars.  This colloquium is normally held outside the Tufts campus. 

If English is their primary language, LL.M. candidates are required to pass a foreign language proficiency exam.  Foreign language proficiency is not a requirement for admission, but it is a requirement for graduation from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Please note that the rigor of the Fletcher program does not allow time for meaningful second-language instruction, so applicants with weak second language skills should not expect to be able to reach the proficiency required for graduation while enrolled in the LL.M. program. Accordingly, we recommend that applicants address their foreign language proficiency before the commencement of the academic year.

Does Fletcher offer specializations with the LL.M.?

Specializations are not generally indicated on a student’s diploma or transcript in the M.A., M.A.L.D., or LL.M. programs.  However, LL.M. students may create their own programs of study to reflect a particular specialization, and examples of four optional curricular tracks are given in the description of the law curriculum.

Can I do an independent study project?

Yes. An independent study project consists of directed reading and/or research for credit and provides an opportunity for students to study particular issues within the discipline of international law and organizations, under the guidance of a member of the faculty. An independent study course may be used to write the required an LL.M. thesis or to complete any other research project agreed to by the faculty supervisor. Independent study projects require the consent of the professor and formal approval by the Registrar’s Office. 

Can I cross-register for classes at other schools?
Yes. Fletcher maintains formal cross-registration agreements with other graduate schools at Tufts and Harvard. LL.M. students are allowed to cross-register for up to two courses outside Fletcher, one of which may be taken at Harvard Law School. Since other schools’ academic calendars and schedules frequently conflict with Fletcher’s, students should confirm before cross-registering that the class and exam schedules for their proposed course(s) do not conflict with required components of the LL.M. program, Capstone or Wednesday High Tables. Furthermore, if courses are taken outside of Fletcher in the final term, the Registrar’s Office cannot always guarantee that the grades will be forwarded to Fletcher in time for the student to graduate. If a student has not met all of the degree requirements in time for graduation, he or she will be allowed to participate in Commencement but will not officially graduate until all requirements are met.
Can I pursue a joint degree in conjunction with the LL.M.?

Yes. Students can pursue a joint degree with Fletcher’s Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) program. A joint LL.M./MALD degree requires 2 ½ years (5 semesters) to complete. MALD students who wish to pursue a joint MALD/LL.M. degree must apply separately for the LL.M. program by the end of their first academic year. The five semesters of study must be consecutive. Please keep in mind that the LL.M. Program is a full academic program for a complete academic year beginning in the fall. Students may not start the program in January or during the summer. 

If I do a joint LL.M./MALD degree, will I be responsible for writing two theses?

No. A single thesis can satisfy the degree requirements, so long as the thesis meets the technical requirements of both degree programs. 

Can I switch my current program at Fletcher to the LL.M. Program?

Enrolled Fletcher students who wish to change from their current degree to the LL.M. must do so prior to Commencement. They must apply separately for the LL.M. degree and include in the application a letter explaining in detail why they wish to switch from their current degree to the LL.M. 

What resources do you offer for professional development?

The Office of Career Services has a staff with dedicated coaches who help students realize their career goals. LL.M. students have the option of participating in a ten-week Professional Development Program that helps them manage international careers during and after Fletcher. Topics covered in this interactive program include self-assessment; hiring theory; and personal marketing, including resumes and cover letters, networking, and interviewing skills. All Fletcher students can take advantage of sector-specific coaching, career trips to Washington, DC, and New York City, on-campus recruiting and employer information sessions, and a comprehensive internship database. Our vast alumni network of more than 7,000 Fletcher graduates also is an incomparable resource for contacts around the globe. 

When are classes in session?

Normally, classes begin the first week in September and end the last week in April; exams are in early December and early May. For details, please consult the academic calendar. Orientation week begins in the last week in August.

Is the LL.M. Program available part-time or during summers? Does Fletcher offer the LL.M. through long-distance learning?

No. Fletcher does offer a program through long-distance learning, which is described on the site for the Global Master of Arts Program (GMAP).

I was not admitted to the LL.M. Program. Will you provide me with feedback on my application?

We are glad to provide unsuccessful applicants who wish to reapply to Fletcher with feedback on their application. However, due to the volume of applications we receive, we will honor such requests only if made in writing after May 1st of the year of application. Please provide information on whether you are considering reapplying, what professional or academic plans you have during the period until you wish to enroll, and any specific questions you have about your application. We will provide you with a response in writing. 

I was not admitted to the LL.M. Program. May I reapply?

While admissions decisions are not subject to appeal, applicants who were not offered admission (or who declined an offer of admission) are welcome to reapply. The Admissions Office maintains applications for a period of three years, but it is advisable that earlier applications be updated. Applicants who reapply within the three-year timeframe may take advantage of a simplified reapplication process. Please consult the application policies section of the Admissions Office website for more information. 

Will reapplying for another academic year affect my chances of admission?

Each application is considered in the context of the applicant pool for that academic year, so reapplying will have no impact on the likelihood of admission. We encourage all applicants who are interested in reapplying to request feedback on their original application. Applicants have strengthened their applications for succeeding academic years through, inter alia, submitting additional transcripts of strong grades in graduate-level coursework (including Fletcher’s summer program), improving second-language or English skills, submitting higher standardized examination scores, expanding their exposure to international affairs, clarifying their post-Fletcher career goals, and/or gaining additional work experience. Reapplication is no guarantee of admission, but in some cases applicants have benefited from the additional time to become more competitive candidates. 

 Thank you for your interest in the Fletcher LL.M. program.