MSU College of Law

Admission Requirements & Application Process

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How long will it take to find out if I am admitted?

Once your application is complete, you should receive an admissions decision within 6 to 8 weeks, barring any unforeseen or exceptional circumstances. If your application is incomplete, the process will take longer, as we do not review files until we have all of the required documents from you.

Can I talk with current LL.M. and M.J. students who are from my country?

If you would like to chat or e-mail with a student from your home country, please e-mail us at

How long will it take to complete the degree?

To graduate, LL.M. students must complete 24 credits, while M.J. students must take 26. Some students wish to complete their degree in one academic year (2 semesters), while others wish to take the program over a longer period, generally 1.5 or 2 years. Students in the Legal English for Academic Preparation (LEAP) Program will need additional time (at least one additional semester) to complete their English classes.

How much does it cost to get an LL.M. or M.J.?

Tuition per credit hour for the 2015-16 academic year is $1350 for both the M.J. and LL.M. programs. Additionally, students must have money to cover living expenses such as rent, food, books, health insurance, and other costs, and fund their travel to Michigan. We recommend that students budget $50,000 if they wish to complete the program in one academic year.

How do I apply for scholarships?

All students will be evaluated on the basis of merit and need for scholarships from the College of Law. We do offer tuition scholarships on a limited basis to qualified candidates, but these do NOT cover the costs of housing, transportation, books, travel or other expenses.

Students should check with the scholarship and other resources in their home countries for available funding for study in the United States. The best place to start is by contacting the office of EducationUSA in their home country. EducationUSA is a part of the U.S. State Department, and assists students in finding, applying for, and finding funding for their studies in the United States. For more information, visit EducationUSA's web site at

What if my TOEFL/IELTS score isn't good enough to meet your admission requirements, but I am otherwise admissable?

The MSU College of Law will consider applicants for conditional admission to our graduate programs if they meet all requirements for admission except for the required level of English proficiency. Our conditional admission program is called the Legal English for Academic Preparation (LEAP) Program. To be considered for admission to the LEAP Program, a student must submit a TOEFL, IELTS or PASSWORD English test score and provide all necessary application documentation. The LEAP Program should take a student between 1-3 years to complete, total, depending upon their English proficiency level when they begin the program.

The LEAP Program has two parts: Part I is basic and intermediate English as a Second Language (ESL) Instruction (at the MSU English Language Center), and Part II, the Law Institute (at the Law College), includes specifically-designed course work to prepare students for the graduate law programs. Examples of Law Institute course work include Civil Litigation for Foreign Lawyers, Legal English, Reading Comprehension for Foreign Lawyers, and Oral Advocacy. Students are placed into the appropriate part of the LEAP Program after taking the Michigan State University English Language Test, or MSUELT, upon arrival. Students who test at or below Level 3 on the test will enroll in LEAP Part I, while students who test at Level 4 will join LEAP Part II, or the Law Institute.

Students in the LEAP Program are expected to maintain the same academic and conduct standards as students in the graduate programs. Students who do not maintain these standards will not be allowed to continue in the LEAP program or move to the graduate programs. The same plagiarism and other conduct codes apply to LEAP students as to other law students.

All applicants to the LEAP Program will be asked to do an informal interview in person, via skype, FaceTime or  phone.

Admission to the Law College does not become final until a LEAP student successfully completes all levels of the LEAP Program, pursuant to Law College academic and other standards. To start the LL.M. program, students must score above Level 4. Students who fail to reach this minimum standard will not be permitted to start their graduate program until this level is reached.

How and when will I get my visa to study in the U.S.?

The two most common types of visa for MSU Law students from abroad are the F-1 Student Visa and the J-1 Scholar Visa. The vast majority of students study on an F-1 visa, issued by MSU Law. J-1 visas for law students are issued by Michigan State University, but students apply through the College of Law.

To get your F-1 visa, you will need to fill out the visa forms sent to you upon your admission, and return them to the Office of Graduate and International Programs promptly. You will also need to provide proof that you can fund your studies for the term of your program. Proof might include bank statements, a financial guarantee letter from your government, corporate or agency sponsor, or an affidavit of sponsorship from a parent, relative or friend.

After we have received all of the necessary information from you, the I-20 will be processed and sent to you - at most within six to eight weeks, but generally sooner. Please keep in mind that the sooner you send us your documents, the sooner you will get your I-20. We do our best to accommodate late applicants, but cannot promise to provide late applicants with their I-20s in time for last-minute embassy appointments.

After you receive your I-20, you will need to make an appointment at the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy and there, you will obtain your visa. 

If you need a J-1 visa, you will get a DS-2019 rather than an I-20, and will also need to go to the U.S. consulate or embassy nearest you to obtain your visa.

Please e-mail all questions to