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Center for Animal Law Studies

Program Details

Program Length and Curriculum

The Animal Law LLM degree requires 26 credit hours to complete. Program requirements can be completed in as few as two semesters. U.S. students have a total of two and a half years to complete the degree. Under U.S. Homeland Security regulations, international students must ordinarily complete the degree within 18 months and contact the International Students and Scholars Office well in advance if an extension is needed. U.S. students can begin their studies in the fall, spring, or summer terms. International students without a background in U.S. law must start in the fall and take a two-week Introduction to U.S. Legal Studies course.

Check out our full catalogue of animal law course offerings and review the courses that will be offered in a given year. If a specific area of interest is not represented, a student may design an individual research project under the supervision of a faculty member or a reading group with fellow students.

Degree Requirements for U.S. Students

To obtain the Animal Law LLM degree, U.S. students must earn a minimum of 26 credits with a cumulative GPA of 2.50 or better. Of the 26 credits, 2 credits must be applied to the mandatory Graduate Animal Law Seminars in the Fall and the Spring (1 credit in the Fall and 1 credit in the Spring). U.S. students who have not taken an Animal Law survey course at the JD level must take Animal Law Fundamentals (3 credits). If not taken at the JD level, Administrative Law (3 credits) is required as well. In rare cases, U.S. students who did not take these subjects in law school but have substantial experience in either area may submit a request to the Animal Law LLM Program Director to waive these requirements. At least 18 of the 26 required credits must come from the animal law curriculum. This allows U.S. students to dedicate up to 8 credits from non-animal law courses to the LLM degree.

Degree Requirements for International Students

To obtain the Animal Law LLM degree, international students must earn a minimum of 26 credits. Unlike U.S. LLM students, however, international students are graded on a “credit / no credit” basis. As such, they do not receive letter grades (e.g., A, B+, C-, etc.) on assignments or for their work in any of their courses. However, they may receive an “HR,” or Honors, designation for courses in which they have earned a B+ or higher.

Of the required 26 credits, 2 must be applied to the mandatory Graduate Animal Law Seminars in the Fall and in the Spring (1 credit in the Fall and 1 credit in the Spring). International students without a background in U.S. law must take the 2-week, Introduction to US Legal Studies course that precedes the Fall semester. International students must also take Animal Law Fundamentals regardless of whether they have taken a similar course in their home country. Finally, at least 18 of the 26 total credits must be come from the animal law curriculum. Note that the Graduate Animal Law Seminars (2 credits total), Introduction to US Legal Studies (2 credits), and Animal Law Fundamentals (3 credits) all count toward this 18-credit requirement. International students may dedicate up to 8 credits from non-animal law courses to the LLM degree.

Course Load/Timing

In addition to the requirements listed above, LLM students must register for a minimum of 5 credits each semester, except for the summer term and the student’s final term if fewer than 5 credits are needed to complete the degree. If a U.S. student wishes to take fewer than 5 credits in any semester that is not the summer term or their final semester, they must request permission to “underload” from the LLM Program Director. Note that a student must be registered for at least 5 credits each term to be considered a full-time student. Being less than a full-time student may impact a student’s ability to defer federal loan repayments, so students should plan accordingly.

Academic Calendar

The law school is on the semester system, with 13 weeks of classes and two weeks of exams in each semester. The fall semester usually begins the week before Labor Day and ends the second or third week of December. The spring semester begins in early January and ends in May, with a one-week spring break in March. See the school’s academic calendar for specific dates here.

Additional Information

For more information, please contact the Director of the Animal Law LLM Program, Dr. Rajesh Reddy, at rajreddy@lclark.edu or 503-768-6895.