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Center for Animal Law Studies

Frequently Asked Questions

Program Offerings

Do you offer a distance or online Animal Law LLM degree option?

We do not offer an online option for our LLM degree at this time. To be notified if this option becomes available, please submit your contact information through this form. Those interested in taking our online summer course offerings may still do so as auditors or for credit at other universities.

Do you offer a Masters in Studies of Law (MSL) degree in Animal Law?

We do not offer an MSL degree in Animal Law at this time. To be notified if this degree offering becomes available, please contact the Director of the Advanced Legal Degree Program to indicate your interest.

Admissions & Applying to the Program

Do I need a law degree to apply to the LLM Program?

Domestic: All applicants must have earned a JD from a U.S. institution by the beginning of the academic term they will start taking courses. They need not be barred in any jurisdiction.

International: By the start of the term they will begin taking courses, all applicants must have graduated with a law degree that would qualify them to take the professional examination to become a lawyer or judge in the country in which they earned the degree. To see the full list of qualifying degrees, go here. The applicant need not be practicing. 

When is your LLM application deadline?

Please see our admissions page for details.

What are the application requirements?

Please see our admissions page for details.

What should my writing sample include?

A writing sample may take the form of a legal brief, memo, law article, and more. Writing samples should be both well-researched and well-written and appropriately cite sources. Writing samples that advance an argument and demonstrate critical thinking as opposed to a listing of facts are better indicators of an applicant’s ability to succeed in the program.

Whom should I ask for a letter of recommendation?

Oftentimes, letters of recommendation come from current or former employers, professors, or colleagues. In any case, the most helpful letters come from individuals who know the applicant well and can attest to their interest in animal law and ability to thrive in our program. Letters should be written to help the Admissions Committee evaluate a student’s academic capacity, ethical character, writing and research skills, and professional ability as a lawyer. Letters for international applicants should discuss their ability to study in a U.S. law school and facility with English, if known.

Do I need to submit official transcripts with my application?

No. Students may submit scanned copies of their transcripts. However, all students who have been offered admission to the program must send official transcripts to the Program Director before they are eligible to begin classes.

What are the English language requirements for international applicants?

In order to be successful in our program, students must have excellent English comprehension and writing skills. Like most U.S. law schools, our program requires extensive reading and writing on a daily basis. Applicants can meet the English proficiency in one of two ways: If English was the primary language of their education; or with a minimum required IETLS score (8) or internet-based TOEFL score (100).

Is it possible for international students to submit their application by the deadline and send their English proficiency score after the deadline?

Yes, this is possible. The admissions committee will still review applications without proof of English proficiency. However, applicants must send in their satisfactory TOEFL or IELTS score within 2 weeks of the application deadline.

Do you require an interview for admission?

Interviews are generally not required but may be requested by the Director to gather more information about an applicant. Applicants are encouraged to visit the campus at any time to meet with faculty and staff. Please contact us if you are interested in visiting. For those who cannot visit, our Admissions Office has created a virtual tour to give you a feel for the campus.

How many students do you accept into the program?

The program is intentionally kept small (approximately 10-15 students per year) to give students the opportunity to work closely with animal law faculty and staff.

When are admissions decisions made?

Admissions are made after the Admissions Committee meets to review applications. This occurs only after the application window has closed. In most years, applicants are notified via email within two months of the application window’s closing.

If I am offered admission into the program, how long do I have to accept?

Due to the considerable need for scholarship support to make the LLM Program feasible for many of our applicants and the time needed to process visa applications for international students, admitted students who have been offered a scholarship will be given approximately 10 days to accept or decline an offer of admission.

Students who have not been offered a scholarship or who have been offered financial support in the form of a tuition reduction will be given 2-3 weeks to convey their decision.

Are deferrals granted?

Deferrals are rarely granted and only on a case-by-case basis. In no case is a deferral granted for more than a year. In these cases, a non-refundable deposit may be required. If an applicant is awarded a scholarship and chooses to defer, the scholarship will not automatically transfer. Rather, the applicant will be reconsidered for a scholarship the following year.

Program Costs

How much is tuition?

Up-to-date tuition & additional cost information can be found on the Law School Tuition and Fees page.

How much are living expenses?

Please refer to the Law Student Living Expenses page for a general idea of living expenses in Portland. Applicants may also refer to the Campus Housing page for the costs of living on campus. All students required to show proof of adequate health insurance, either through obtaining Lewis & Clark’s Student Health Insurance plan or through a separate provider.

What scholarship opportunities are available?

The Center for Animal Law Studies strives to minimize the cost of the Animal Law LLM Program to make this unique, high-quality legal education a possibility for all accepted students (both U.S. and international). CALS is pleased to be able to offer scholarships and tuition reduction on the basis of need and/or merit. All applicants are automatically considered for all scholarships for which they may be eligible. There is no separate application for scholarship consideration.

What proof of financial ability in U.S. dollars do international students need to demonstrate to process their visa?

Whether or not they have been awarded a full scholarship, all international candidates must demonstrate they have sufficient personal funds to study in the U.S. under an F-1 student visa. The exact amount that needs to be demonstrated increases slightly each year as tuition and other costs rise.

In recent years, applicants awarded a full scholarship have had to demonstrate that they had approximately $16,000 to meet the F-1 student visa requirements.

Applicants who have not been awarded any funding have needed to demonstrate that they had approximately $47,000 for tuition expenses and $31,000 for non-tuition expenses, for a total of $78,000. The amount that applicants who have received a partial scholarship or tuition award have had to show can be determined by deducting the amount of their award from this total.

In the past, applicants have met this financial burden with their own funds, being sponsored by family, friends, or an employer, or by applying for grants from institutions in their home country. CALS regrets that it is unable to assist candidates in procuring these additional amounts.

Scholarship Questions

If offered campus housing with my scholarship, can I use that funding to live off-campus?

Our scholarships can be used to cover dormitory and campus-owned housing only. Students should note that the housing options we provide are all single units and cannot accommodate children, partners, spouses, or pets.

How many credits does a full scholarship cover?

Our full scholarships cover the number of credits needed to complete the program (26). Students may be awarded an additional credit in their scholarships to provide for additional flexibility in course selections.

Miscellaneous

What other requirements do I need to complete before coming to Lewis & Clark?

All students are required to show proof of adequate health insurance. This can be met through obtaining Lewis & Clark’s Student Health Insurance plan or through a separate provider. Additionally, all students are required by law to provide immunization records, with specific vaccines required to be listed. Students may not attend classes without providing proof of the required vaccines. More information on immunization requirements can be found here. Accepted students who have not had the required vaccines should do so as soon as possible, as required vaccinations must be taken before coming to the Lewis & Clark campus.

Will the Animal Law LLM degree allow me to sit for U.S. bar exams?

The ability for an international student to sit for a bar exam in the U.S. is determined at the state level, and students will need to research which states will allow them to sit for the bar with an LLM degree. The Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions Requirements is a helpful resource for students to consult if they wish to practice law in the U.S. Please note, however, that the Animal Law LLM Program is not designed to help students either sit or prepare for a bar exam. That said, the law school does offer bar prep courses each year, and U.S. and international students who wish to take the bar are able to register for these courses.

If accepted into the program as an international student, may I bring my family with me?

Some international students bring their families with them during their study in the U.S. While CALS helps admitted students procure their student F-1 visas, those who wish to bring others with them should reach out to Lewis & Clark’s International Students and Scholars Office to make arrangements. International students who have been offered campus housing as part of a scholarship should note that these units cannot accommodate relatives or pets; as such, those looking to bring family or pets with them will need to secure their own housing.