Financial Assistance & Budget

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Scholarships and Financial Assistance

Each year, Duke Law School is pleased to offer financial assistance to a number of highly qualified LLM applicants. This financial assistance generally takes the form of varying amounts of tuition scholarships. Duke Law LLM scholarships include the Judy Horowitz Scholarship, offered to an outstanding student from a developing country; the Global Leaders Scholarship, offered to an outstanding student from China; scholarships for students from certain regions such as Africa, Australia-New Zealand, Israel, Scandinavia, and Southeast Asia; and scholarships for students with a proven commitment to Environmental Law. In addition, Duke Law Scholarships include general merit scholarships and scholarship collaborations with partners such as Fulbright, AMIDEAST, LASPAU, and Open Society Foundation. Applicants who wish to be considered for a Duke Law scholarship must submit a scholarship request letter with their LLM application. The request letter should contain: (1) a detailed summary of academic achievements and any honors, (2) a description of professional experience and special accomplishments, (3) possible contributions to the Law School community, and (4) names of any additional references who might comment on the applicant.

Applicants are encouraged to seek scholarship information from the American consulate about available scholarships granted by the U.S. government and other sources. They should also seek information about scholarships in their home countries. A substantial number of Duke LLM students have been recipients of scholarships granted by the Fulbright Program, DAAD, the Rotary Foundation, the World Bank, and a variety of national, state, corporate, university, and law firm sponsors. Applicants should also use the web to search for other potential sources of funding. Please see Possible Funding Resources for International Students for suggestions. Some students are able to obtain students loans if they are able to present a U.S. citizen to co-sign the loan.

Duke Law School will be glad to provide any documentation necessary for sponsors and should be informed about any scholarship awards. Please let us know if sponsors request an early admission decision. In special cases, early decisions can be provided.

Once admission is offered and accepted, proof of financial support is necessary before the visa process can be started. The amount required for the 2019-20 academic year for a single student was USD $91,000. Accompanying family members will require additional funding. Once a student has matriculated, no scholarship assistance can be awarded. Some international students identify positions at the Law School as library or faculty assistants, but the remuneration is not substantial. Enrolled students may work at the University for no more than 20 hours a week. Students may not seek employment outside the University during the academic year.

Students should also consult with a relevant tax authority in their home country regarding the possibility of deducting their tuition payments from taxes.

Loan Options for International Students

Duke University has established a list of recommended private lenders available for incoming international students. View the list of lenders on the ELMSelect website and select “View Loans”.

Possible Funding Resources for International Students

Possible Funding Resources for U.S. Students and Permanent Residents

Estimated Budget for LLM Program
Full Academic Year 2019-2020

 Living Expenses

Single Student

Married Student

Books & Supplies



Rent & Utilities






Miscellaneous (local travel, entertainment, etc.)



Total Estimated Living Expenses




Educational Expenses

Single Student

Married Student




Health Fee



Health Insurance



Law Student Activity Fee



Graduate Student Activity Fee



Graduate Student Services Fee



Transcript Fee



Recreation Fee




Total Estimated Educational Expenses






PLEASE NOTE: This is an ESTIMATED budget and does not account for individual differences in housing accommodation, food selection, extensive travel, or owning a car during your stay. If dependents are joining you at Duke, proof of funding required to apply for your visa will need to include the additional amount noted above for your spouse, as well as $5,000 for each child.

ALL F-1 and J-1 visa holders are REQUIRED to purchase the Duke University-sponsored health insurance. The amounts listed above for insurance are estimates.

Bar application fees and the cost of bar exam preparatory courses are NOT included in the above amounts. Bar preparation courses are offered by private vendors, not by the Law School, and can cost several thousand dollars.

Room and Board Budgets *

Washington, D.C.


New York


Los Angeles




Berkeley, Ca.




**based on 2017-18 budgets for room and board plus miscellaneous expenses at
selected law schools

Bring the Family

Many LLM students find Durham to be the ideal place for their families to live. Durham and nearby communities offer ample child-care options, high-quality schools, and endless opportunities for family fun and entertainment, including Durham's Museum of Life and Science, Chapel Hill's Kidzu, Raleigh's Marbles Museum, and myriad parks, lakes, forests, pools, and sports clubs — to name just a few.

Live Better on a Budget

Choosing a place to live in Durham will be a pleasant process, a nice change from living in a large, crowded city. Housing options are plentiful near Duke: You can choose from traditional apartment complexes (most come with pools, exercise facilities, and on-site laundry), urban lofts in transformed tobacco warehouses (also loaded with amenities and usually within steps of restaurants, coffee shops, and retail shops), and homes and condominiums for rent. Many students choose to share an apartment with a classmate; some rent their own place. Whatever your preference, Durham has something to offer.

Global Leaders Scholarship Program

Beibei Sun"Receiving the Global Leader Scholarship to study in the Duke LLM program opened up my three amazing years at Duke Law. I knew of Duke’s strong reputation in IP and Technology Law, and thanks to the unprecedented learning experiences and intellectual growth I experienced at Duke, my dream of becoming an international IP lawyer is finally coming true. The scholarship will also be a resounding reminder to me in the future to make a difference globally as a proud Duke Law graduate."

Beibei Sun, LLM 2014, JD 2016, Associate, Ropes & Gray LLP