Master of Laws (General)


Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

The general LL.M. program offers law graduates an opportunity to broaden their backgrounds in certain specialized areas of law by enrolling in advanced courses and seminars and by engaging in specialized research. Although the School of Law awards no specific subject designated LL.M. degrees under this program, most students seeking this degree concentrate in areas such as corporate and commercial law, international law, legal practice and procedure, natural resources law, or property law.

photo courtesy of SMU Dedman School of Law

For degree requirements

To receive the general LL.M. degree the student must meet all of the following requirements:

(A) Residence in the School of Law for no fewer than two terms if a full-time student and no fewer than three terms if a part-time student.

(B) Completion of 24 term hours in courses, seminars, or research and writing recommended by the student's academic adviser. A student entering the program must have an average of C or 2.00 on all taken courses. The requisite G.P.A. of C or 2.00 must be obtained in the first 24 credit hours. A student will not receive credit for a course or seminar in which his or her grade is below D or 1.00.

With prior approval of the Committee on Graduate Legal Studies, a student may take four of the required 24 term hours in graduate programs of Dedman College (SMU's school of humanities and sciences), in Perkins School of Theology, or in the Cox School of Business. The student will receive law school credit on completion of all work to the instructor's satisfaction, but the grades will not be computed into a student's law school average.

The student may be permitted to undertake directed research for a one- to three-hour graded paper if the student can obtain a faculty sponsor.

A student has the option of writing a Master's thesis (for four to six credit hours). This thesis must be written under the direction of a professor at the School of Law and must be approved by both the professor and the Committee on Graduate Legal Studies. After the supervising professor approves the thesis, the student must submit four copies of the thesis to the Committee on Graduate Legal Studies at least 60 days before the date on which the student seeks to receive the degree. In writing the thesis, the student must comply with committee instructions. A thesis is either approved or disapproved; it is not graded.

(C) Completion of all requirements within 36 months from the date of initial registration as a graduate law student. However, a candidate continuously enrolled as a part-time student has 60 months to complete all requirements.

photo courtesy of SMU Dedman School of Law

How to Apply

Admission Criteria

Admission to this program is by selection. An applicant for admission to the general LL.M. degree program must hold a J.D. degree. If applying for this program and you are an international student, you will also have to comply with the admission criteria for the LL.M. for Foreign Law School Graduates.

Application Requirements

Applicants to the LL.M. programs must submit the following:

  1. completed application,
  2. personal statement,
  3. résumé (curriculum vitae),
  4. two letters of recommendation in English, 
  5. $75 (U.S. dollars) nonrefundable application fee made payable to SMU Dedman School of Law, which will be waived for international students who so request, and
  6. certified undergraduate and law school transcripts. 

Transcripts must be mailed directly to the SMU Dedman School of Law Office of Graduate Legal Studies from your schools. 

International Applicants

Applicants for whom English is not the primary language must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Information is available regarding the two tests from or SMU’s institution code for the TOEFL is 6660, department code 03. There is no institution code for the IELTS. The TOEFL or IELTS score must be reported to SMU directly. 

Application Deadline

Applications for LL.M. programs are processed on a continuous basis. It is in your best interest to submit your application as early as possible. Applicants for Fall (August) entry must be postmarked by April 1. All supporting documentation must be received by April 15.

Applications for Spring (January) entry must be postmarked by October 1. All supporting documentation must be received by October 15. Late applications will be accepted on a case-by-case available basis. Applications will be reviewed upon completion, and decisions will be made shortly thereafter.

Financial Aid

The SMU Financial Aid Office is available to assist students in obtaining student loans.


SMU will award a limited number of partial scholarships to LL.M. candidates. We do not have a separate application for LL.M. scholarships. Your application for admission serves as your scholarship application.

photo courtesy of SMU Dedman School of Law


Founded in 1925, SMU Dedman School of Law is a top-ranked tier-one private law school located in Dallas, Texas, and is situated in a tree-lined neighborhood, just minutes from the city center. Established in 1949, the law school's graduate degree law programs have played an important role in training some of the foremost leaders around the world. We are proud our global alumni network - more than 2,000 graduates from 80 countries who hold prominent positions in government, legal practice, business, the judiciary, and legal education worldwide.

SMU Dedman Alumni Networkphoto courtesy of SMU Dedman School of Law

Exceptional Graduate Degree Programs

SMU Dedman School of Law offers graduate degree programs for both U.S. and foreign-trained lawyers.The LL.M. and S.J.D. Programs enhance careers in the private practice of law, teaching, and public service by teaching analysis and problem-solving skills for meeting the complex demands of our world. The programs increase the student’s understanding of legal theory and policies, broaden the student’s legal horizons, and encourage the development of legal research and writing skills.

Studying in Vibrant Dallas, Texas

SMU Dedman Law offers international students an opportunity to become part of a vibrant, diverse, scholarly community with the advantage of studying in Dallas - not only an international business center, but a dynamic cultural center situated midway between the east and west coast of the United States in a region known for its mild, sunny climate. Dallas is the ninth-largest city and the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex make up the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. It is a sophisticated city with a thriving job market, high quality of life and relatively low cost of living. It is a great place to live and study!

Globally Recognized Faculty

The faculty includes scholars and innovators in a variety of fields, including constitutional law, corporate law, criminal law, environmental law, health law, intellectual property, national security law, oil and gas law, public interest law, and tax law. These scholars regularly engage the world by appearing before congressional committees, working with state and federal regulatory agencies, arguing before state and federal courts, working with corporate executives and nonprofits, and regularly appearing in the media to translate their research or offer commentary on important stories of the day. Studying law at SMU gives students access to an exceptional faculty engaged in timely and cutting-edge research often informed by years of experience.

photo courtesy of SMU Dedman School of Law

Learning Experience

In addition to our diverse curriculum, students are invited to take advantage of the many activities outside the classroom. At SMU Dedman Law, your learning experience will be enriched through year-round international conferences and lectures, bringing prominent international figures to campus to discuss current global legal issues. International LL.M. students take classes with American J.D. students and participate in our of Court Program - a program that is introduced during orientation where students connect in small groups with fellow classmates, faculty, student leaders, career advisors, and alumni for a community experience throughout their time at SMU Dedman School of Law. A faculty member will serve as your personal academic advisor. Practicing lawyers from the Dallas Bar Association International Law section also serve as mentors for our students.

Internationally Prominent Alumni

International graduates of SMU Dedman School of Law have made an impact all over the world. Our international alumni network includes more than 2000 graduates in more than 80 countries. These professionals can be found at the highest levels of government, legal practice, and business. SMU’s international alumni represent a broad spectrum of legal systems, including those from Central and South America, Mexico, Canada, Europe, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, China, the Middle East, and the Pacific Rim. We strive for global geographic diversity in our student enrollments and provide a high degree of individual attention and support for each international student.

Sobchok Sukharomna ’81

Supreme Court President, Thailand

Dr. Shen Shiaoming ’81

International Legal Consultant for Mackenzie & Albritton LLP

The Honorable S.M. Krishna ’59

Minister for External Affairs for India (2009-2012)

Siriporn Chaiyasuta ’85

General Counsel, Chevron Europe, Eurasia and Middle East Exploration & Production Limited

Moath Alhussain ’11

Assoc. Counsel, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation

Antonio M. Garza ’83

Former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico

Dr. Helmut Sohmen ’66

Chairman and President, BW Group

Dr. Hassan Okour ’07

Former Dean, Qatar Law School

Jinsung Lee ’88

Justice, Constitutional Court of Korea

Yukio Horigome ’71

Justice of the Supreme Court of Japan

Hans Heppe‘97

International Partner, Locke Lord LLP Honorary German Consul

Student Life

The law school is located on the northwest corner of SMU’s main campus – with the classroom buildings, administration building, and law library forming what is called the “Law Quad.” This ideal location provides easy access to many of SMU’s wonderful student resources, including dining services, a premier fitness center, and health services center.

photo courtesy of SMU Dedman School of Law

Last updated Jun 2020

About the School

Founded in 1925, SMU Dedman School of Law is a top-ranked tier-one private law school located in Dallas, Texas, and is situated in a tree-lined neighborhood, just minutes from the city center. Establi ... Read More

Founded in 1925, SMU Dedman School of Law is a top-ranked tier-one private law school located in Dallas, Texas, and is situated in a tree-lined neighborhood, just minutes from the city center. Established in 1949, the law school's graduate degree law programs have played an important role in training some of the foremost leaders around the world. Read less