Wayne State University

Course requirements

Photo of students being greetedThe curriculum for the LL.M. in U.S. law program is designed to familiarize foreign lawyers with the fundamentals of the U.S. legal system. Four core required courses immerse students in the basic features of the U.S. legal system and the skills needed to practice law in a range of settings in the United States. After completing these requirements, students then may choose from a variety of elective courses, covering all aspects of public and private law, both domestic and international. Students who wish to specialize in a particular area can take clusters of courses in that area. Students also can choose to take courses on the topics tested on the bar examinations in the states in which they plan to apply for admission. Our staff are always available to advise students on course selection.

Program summary

  • 24 credits required for graduation
    • Four required courses (9 credits):
      • Introduction to the Legal System of the United States (2 credits)
      • U.S. Legal Practice Skills for Foreign Law Students (2 credits)
      • Survey of United States Law (4 credits)
      • Fundamentals of U.S. Legal Research (1 credit)
    • Elective courses (15 credits) in areas such as:
      • Commercial law
      • Corporate law
      • Criminal law
      • Environmental law
      • Immigration law
      • Intellectual property law
      • International law
  • Program completion fulfills the requirement to sit for the bar examinations in New York, California and some other states.
  • No thesis or essay is required, although students may undertake independent research projects for 2 credits on an elective basis under the supervision of a faculty member and with the approval of the director of graduate studies.

Photo of students at tableFour required courses

  • Introduction to the Legal System of the United States (2 credits)

An introduction to the statutory, regulatory, and adjudicatory institutions and processes at the center of lawmaking in the United States, with a focus on lawmaking at the federal level. Topics include common-law adjudication and the role of precedent, the enactment and interpretation of statutory law, delegations of authority by Congress, lawmaking by the Executive branch through treaties and executive orders, federal administrative rulemaking, federalism, separation of powers, and judicial review.

  • U.S. Legal Practice Skills for Foreign Law Students (2 credits)

Training students in practical skills needed to work with U.S. lawyers and to practice law in the U.S., including the drafting of contracts, legal memoranda, client opinion letters and retainer agreements.

  • Survey of United States Law (4 credits)

A concise survey of U.S. law with a focus on foundational topics that American students study in the first year of the JD program – contracts, property, torts, constitutional law.

  • Fundamentals of U.S. Legal Research (1 credit)

An introduction to essential research skills, with a focus on electronic data basis and searching methods.

Training the next generation of lawyers, advocates and leaders