JD/LLM in International Studies

International Studies

Study abroad while at Villanova Law and earn two law degrees

    With the world growing smaller minute-by-minute, today’s lawyers increasingly need exposure to the global legal environment.  Whether you are interested in business law, tax, human rights, family law, or practically any other area of law, learning about other countries’ laws and the international practice of law is crucial for your future career.

    As you’ll see, Villanova is well-known for its excellent international and comparative law faculty, courses, and clinics.  We also have a set of new and exciting programs to offer you if you enroll at Villanova.

    Our JD/LLM International Studies program offers you the opportunity to earn both a Villanova Law JD and an LLM (Master’s Degree in Law) from a host school abroad and do so in three to three and a half years –in some cases the same amount of time it would normally take to earn a JD degree,  and one year less than it would take a student to earn both degrees separately.

    Students selected for the JD/LLM International Studies program will spend their first two years at Villanova, during which they will complete core law school requirements.  Students apply to the JD/LLM program during the second semester of their second year. Once accepted into the program by Villanova and by the host school, students will spend their third year at the host school earning the LLM degree.  Credits earned during the year abroad will fulfill the remainder of the students' Villanova requirements as well as the host school requirements. Villanova will accept the credits earned in the LLM program and credit them toward the JD, similar to the process used in Villanova’s long-established JD/MBA and JD/LLM (Tax) programs. After successful completion of the program, the students will be awarded both the JD and an LLM degree offered by the host school abroad.

As of fall 2013, twenty Villanova Law alumni will have completed the JD/LLM International Studies programs at our partner schools, as well as at other prestigious institutions in England, France, and Japan. Some of our alumni have remained abroad to practice law, while others are working stateside.

Our partner schools offer a wide breadth of programs and experience for our students.  The University of Edinburgh School of Law is located in the heart of the Scotland’s capital city, a modern city bursting with culture and deeply rooted history.  The Leiden Law School  is located in Leiden, The Netherlands, home to The Netherlands seat of government, the International Court of Justice, and several other important international tribunals.  Leiden is the oldest and largest law faculty in the Netherlands and has played a significant role in the development of the study of international law. Birkbeck School of Law, in the heart of London, is part of the well-known University of London system. Most courses at Birkbeck are offered in the evening, leaving students time to study, explore London, and get a closer look at British legal practice.  Our newest additions, the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law and the City University of Hong Kong School of Law, offer students a broad variety of programs, set in the commercial centers of southeast Asia.

Birkbeck College, University of London

  • LLM in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
  • LLM in Human Rights
  • LLM in Law and Political Justice
  • MRes (Masters in Research in Law)

City University of Hong Kong

  • LLM in Arbitration and Dispute Resolution
  • LLM in Chinese and Comparative Law
  • LLM in International Economic Law
  • LLM in Maritime and Transportation Law
  • LLM (General) 

University of Edinburgh

  • LLM in Commercial Law
  • LLM in European Law
  • LLM in Innovation, Technology and the Law
  • LLM in International Law
  • LLM in Law
  • LLM (R) in History and Philosophy of Law

University of Leiden

  • LLM in European Law (click on "Specialisations")
  • LLM in Public International Law (click on "Specialisations")
  • LLM (Adv.) in Air and Space Law
  • LLM (Adv.) in European and International Business Law
  • LLM (Adv.) in International Tax Law
  • LLM (Adv.) in Public International Law

National University of Singapore

  • LLM in Asian Legal Studies
  • LLM in International Business Law  (in Shanghai, China and Singapore)
  • LLM in Corporate and Financial Services Law


To be eligible to apply for any of the JD/LLM programs, a student must:

  • have successfully completed all first-year courses
  • meet the specific Villanova cumulative GPA required by the host school abroad
  • have completed the first three semesters of law study at Villanova
  • have completed all VLS-required courses by the end of the fourth semester of law school, specifically:
    • Constitutional Law II - 3 credits
    • Legal Profession - 3 credits
    • Research Paper course - 2 to 3 credits
    • Practical Writing course - 2 credits
    • Legal Writing III - 2 credits

Degree Requirements

To obtain the Villanova JD and host school LLM degrees, a student must:

  • Complete 32 credits of the required first-year curriculum at Villanova
  • Complete 12 to 13 credits of core academic requirements, described above
  • Complete 13 to 14 credits of electives at Villanova
  • Complete all academic requirements for the European host school’s LLM degree, including any thesis or dissertation requirement

Note: Course requirements for each of the LLM degrees may vary significantly.  Please consult the web link for each program to determine the requirements for a specific program.

A  student who enrolls in a JD/LLM International Studies degree program must:

  • Complete all requirements for the JD and LLM degrees in three consecutive academic years of full-time study (the third year may extend to the end of the summer, depending on the host school's requirements)
  • Complete all coursework at the host school abroad  (including a thesis or dissertation, if required) in order to obtain the Villanova JD degree as well as the host school LLM degree
  • Understand that during the year of study abroad, the student can serve only in a limited capacity on the Villanova Law Review, Villanova Environmental Journal, or Jeffrey S. Moorad Sports Law Journal, and cannot remain a member of the Moot Court Board     
  • Understand that the student will likely receive the JD degree in September after completion of the course and thesis requirements for the JD and the LLM  (e.g., a student who would have received the JD in May 2010 will receive the degree in September 2010)  
  • Take the bar examination in the February following the student’s graduation rather than in July (exceptions apply in limited circumstances)
  • Understand that he or she will not be ranked cumulatively with his or her class after the second year of law school, and will therefore be ineligible to graduate with honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude) and will be ineligible for membership in the Order of the Coif honor society. However, students may include on their resumes information about their class rank prior to their third year of study, and students may include on their resumes information about their ranking at their host school abroad. 

Example:  A student in the Villanova class of 2014 who spends the 2013-14 academic year abroad might state:

Villanova University School of Law

JD expected September 2014

Class rank as of May 2009: 1/240; GPA 3.99 (not ranked with class of 2014)

LLM in International Business Law, September 2014, University of XXXX, Honours, GPA 9.1

Please note that although students may not list a final rank or GPA for the Villanova Law degree because the degree includes a year of foreign study, they may be eligible to graduate with honors from their host school abroad because they will have completed their entire LLM degree at that school.

Although students must acknowledge and abide by these limitations, we believe that the experience and opportunities gained from the JD/LLM International Studies program will be invaluable.

Get More Information About International Programs

For more information about these programs, please contact:
Diane Penneys Edelman, Director for International Programs

Students Speak about Their Year Abroad

“The faculty and staff [at the University of Edinburgh] have all...been incredibly helpful, open, and devoted to student progress...The academics hardly need comment: the courses of study are top of the line, challenging, and innovative, while the student and faculty researchers are producing state of the art legal theory and legal/socio-legal analyses...I expect that my program...will provide me with a very solid foundation to pursue either an academic career or to build a successful practice."


"[T]he thing I like most about Edinburgh is how culturally diverse the city is.  It seems every corner offers a different cuisine or cultural experience.  For example, my residence hall houses [students of] 37 different nationalities."


"The city [of Leiden] is post-card perfect. There are canals and windmills everywhere - but beyond that it's a definite college town, with plenty to keep you entertained away from your studies...The international feel of my program is fantastic.  I'm the only American student and the people I've been able to meet from (literally) all over the world have been nothing short of terrific...I'm hoping the program gives me the opportunity to live and work abroad after finishing my studies.  The connections I'll make through my professors...should contribute to that greatly."