JD/LLM in International & Comparative Law

Since 1985, Duke has offered select JD students the opportunity to pursue a dual degree in international and comparative law in three years. THe duke law jd/llm prepares students for the increasingly global practice of law by combining a rigorous legal curriculum with opportunities to work and study abroad, develop foreign language fluency, and network with duke's vibrant international llm student and alumni community.

Students in the JD/LLM program commence their studies in the summer, undertaking part of the regular first-year curriculum with other dual-degree students. During the remaining six semesters of law study and in a four-week period at one of Duke's summer programs, JD/LLM students complete requirements for both degrees, which includes twenty credit hours of approved classes specifically for the LLM degree. These courses must include International Law, Comparative Law, Research Methodology in International, Foreign, and Comparative Law, and course work or an independent study for which a significant piece of writing is required.

The courses may also include up to six hours taken in the Graduate School or in an upper-level undergraduate class, including advanced language study. The Duke University Area Studies Program is particularly rich in courses dealing with Canada, China, Germany, and Japan, and the Political Science Department provides one of the world’s strongest programs in international relations. Candidates must maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.5 in these courses and must also show competency in at least one foreign language.

To apply for the JD/LLM program, candidates complete the regular JD application and indicate their intent to enroll in the JD/LLM program.

Additional information

Summer Institute

Following the first full year of law school, JD/LLM students attend one of Duke's Institutes in Transnational Law, either in Geneva or Hong Kong. Duke faculty and guest faculty from around the world live in residential quarters with students and teach small, rigorous courses in areas such as emerging markets, terrorism and humanitarian law, comparative constitutional law, and international business law. During the other five weeks of the summer, JD/LLM students work overseas for a law firm, nonprofit organization, or business.
Learn more about the summer institutes

Candidates for the JD/LLM in International and Comparative Law do not need to apply separately to any school or program at Duke other than the Law School. Complete the regular JD application, but indicate that you wish to be considered for the dual degree. You may apply to only one dual degree program.

You must be able to start law school in late May to enroll in the JD/LLMprogram.

JD application information

Application Review Process

JD/LLM applications are reviewed through the regular Law School process. Although there are no specific prerequisites or admission requirements, the admissions committee pays particular attention to applicants with prior international experience and foreign language study. In rare instances where the applicant is a strong candidate for the JD program but lacks international experience, the admissions committee may offer admission to the JD only.

Additional Application Materials

JD/LLM candidates are not required to submit a statement of purpose for the LLM; however, we encourage applicants to address their interest in international and comparative law, either in their personal statement or include the JD/LLM Addendum attachment.

Standardized Testing

The LSAT is required for all Law School dual degree applicants. No additional testing is required for the JD/LLM.

"I spent the first seven weeks of my 1L summer in Cape Town, South Africa, working for the Parliamentary Monitoring Group, a nonprofit NGO. ... I attended Parliamentary sessions twice a week, engaged with high-level politicians, and recorded policy debates on a variety of topics, including economic development, international trade, and future infrastructure projects. Given my goal of working for the federal government in international development, this internship offered me a unique opportunity to witness the lawmaking process of a newly emerging global power in its efforts to advance domestic and regional development. "
Elias Parisca JD/LLM'14 attended Duke's summer institute in Hong Kong after completing his internship in Cape Town. Click here to learn more about JD/LLM summer work abroad.


James Pearce JD/LLM '11

James Pearce"What makes Duke an attractive place to pursue a legal education is not only the diverse class offerings and available and encouraging faculty, but also the opportunity to engage with motivated and curious individuals both within and outside the Law School."

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