Welcome to Santa Clara Law! On this page, you will find information specifically for international students interested in studying law in the heart of Silicon Valley.
We welcome students who represent diverse backgrounds at Santa Clara Law School. If you have any questions about the following information, we encourage you to contact our Graduate Legal Programs department.
Why Choose an LLM at Santa Clara as an International Student?
Choosing to enhance your law degree with an LLM from Santa Clara Law is a great way to find new career opportunities.
Does one of the following situations describe you?
- You want to begin practicing law in the United States but have a law degree from a non-US institution
- You want to improve your subject-matter expertise in a different area of law
- You want an opportunity to network in Silicon Valley, one of the world’s leading areas for business
- You have a law degree but want to enhance your degree with an LLM from a higher-ranking institution such as Santa Clara Law
- You want to attend a university in the US where diversity is celebrated
Santa Clara Law is one of the top schools for Intellectual Property law. We are also a university named as one of the top 3 choices for diversity by the Princeton Review.
Here are some other reasons why it’s a good idea to choose Santa Clara Law for your LLM as an international student:
- Reputation: Santa Clara Law’s program in intellectual property law has been regularly ranked for the past ten years as among the top ten in the United States by U.S. News and World Report. Santa Clara’s Journal of Computer and High Technology Law is one of the first and most widely cited journals in the field. An LLM in Intellectual Property from Santa Clara will be recognized in the profession.
- Quality: Santa Clara’s outstanding, nationally prominent full-time faculty, coupled with our adjunct faculty of judges and the nation’s leading practitioners of intellectual property law, provides exceedingly rich and diverse course offerings. Santa Clara is fully accredited by the American Bar Association.
- Location: Santa Clara is located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, enabling us to secure outstanding, practically experienced teaching faculty; rich, cutting-edge conferences, programs, and speakers; and networking and career opportunities with some of the world’s most prominent companies and firms, such as Yahoo!, Google, eBay, Sun, and more.
- Flexibility: Santa Clara allows two years to complete the degree, in a full-or part-time option. Since we offer classes in both day and evening, as well as in the summer, candidates may continue employment while completing their studies.
- International Study Opportunity: Santa Clara offers fourteen distinct summer abroad programs (more than any other U.S. law school), and a number of cooperative graduate programs with foreign universities. Get more information on our summer abroad programs.
- Career Services: Candidates may utilize Santa Clara Law’s Office of Career Management. Extensive contacts with leading California law firms and high tech companies assist candidates in finding a career path. Get more information about Office of Career Management.
Program Opportunities for International Students
Depending on their individual needs, applicants from outside of the US are encouraged to apply for either the Juris Doctorate (JD) program or the Masters of Law (LLM) program.
The JD program is a 3-4 year program known as the primary US law degree. This program is known as the primary degree in law in the United States. The JD program requires that students complete a minimum of 86 units of coursework. Students who receive the JD degree will often go on to sit for a state bar exam in an effort to be licensed to practice law within a specific state within the US. US law firms and companies who are hiring attorneys will often look for applicants to have a JD degree and have passed a US state bar exam.
Santa Clara Law invites new applicants to enter during the fall semester only (start date in August). Students from outside of the US for whom English is not their first language must supply an official TOEFL score with their application. To be eligible to apply, an applicant must have completed the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree and must sit for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Learn more about applying to the JD program at our JD Admissions home.
The LLM program is a 1-2 year program that requires the student to complete a minimum of 24 units of coursework. To be eligible to apply to the LLM program, an applicant must have completed or is in the process of completing their primary degree in law (for most applicants, this is a Bachelor in Law degree or it’s equivalent). The LLM is an advanced degree in law; therefore, in order to apply, we require that the applicant have a primary degree in law, as opposed to any other subject area. The applicant need not be a practicing attorney in order to apply to the program.
Santa Clara Law invites new applicants to enter during the fall or spring semesters. The fall semester begins in August (with an Introduction to US Law course beginning in July) and the spring semester begins in January (students who are admitted to start in the spring semester will need to request a waiver of the summer ‘Introduction to US Law’ course).
The LLM program is popular for international applicants because of the following:
- Short duration (1-2 years)
- Flexible curriculum (students may elect to use the program to prepare for a US state bar exam or participate in specialization programs which include our widely-recognized intellectual property program or our international & comparative law program.
- Aggregate tuition is less than the tuition for the JD program
Which Program Should I Choose?
The degree program you choose depends on whether you already have a law degree from an accredited institution.
- If you already have a law degree but want to pursue new career opportunities, the LLM program is probably right for you
- If you do not already have a law degree and want to pursue a career practicing law, the JD program is most likely your best choice
If you still aren’t sure which program would best fit your career goals, contact our Graduate Legal Programs team using the form on this page.
LLM Application Timeline
Here is what you can expect when you apply to our LLM program.
September – May: Apply to LLM program
Santa Clara Law has rolling admissions, meaning we will make an admission decision on an LLM applicant when the applicant has submitted all application requirements. Those who apply in November may have a decision by December. The application deadline is May 1 for the fall semester and December 1 for the spring semester.
January-May: Receive an admissions decision
If you are admitted, you will receive an email with important contact information, next steps, and other information for newly-admitted students.
Once you receive this email, you should start to do the following:
- Become familiar with the curriculum at the Law School, asking our Graduate Legal Programs team any questions you may have.
- Make some decisions about your own educational goals (ie., bar exam track, intellectual property focus, etc.).
- Log in to ECampus, the primary online portal for SCU students.
- Visit the area around the Law School to make decisions about housing. Admitted students are also are eligible to apply for on-campus graduate student housing located in close proximity to the Law School.
- Santa Clara University’s International Student Services (ISS) Office will work with you to ensure the timely issuing of immigration documents. For more information about ISS or the F-1/J-1 visa types, please visit the visa information page.
Before April: Submit a Tuition Deposit to Reserve Your Place
Submit a tuition deposit which will hold your seat in the fall semester entering class. This deposit is $1000 (US) and a non-refundable pre-payment of tuition that will be applied to your individual student account. Deposits can be paid online through ECampus.
May-June: Register for fall semester classes (and the summer “Introduction to US Law” course).
- Only “deposited” students will be permitted to register for classes.
- Students who enroll in the “Introduction to US Law” course will receive a course descriptions as well as information about course meeting times/locations.
- Health Insurance
- All SCU students are required to have health insurance. Deposited students will be asked to purchase the SCU health insurance plan or show proof of being enrolled in a comparable plan. For more information, students can review information on the Cowell Health Center’s website.
June: Receive New Student Orientation Information
Deposited student will receive information about New Student Orientation events taking place in July and August
- Students may be asked to subscribe or join various social media groups, including LLM (or JD) new student groups so that students can communicate with one another prior to the start of New Student Orientation.
July: Prepare to Arrive in Santa Clara
- Move into your apartment or house
- Begin the summer “Introduction to US Law” course (only for student who do not petition to waive this requirement)
- Review fall semester registration and make changes if necessary
- Pay fall semester tuition (financial clearance deadline is July 21)
August: Take part in New Student Orientation Program and Begin Fall Semester Classes
Do You Have Any Questions?
Our Graduate Legal Programs team is ready to answer any questions you may have about applying to Santa Clara Law as an international student. Contact us today, and we will respond as quickly as possible.