In today’s world, attorneys need to know the global legal environment. 

Whether you are interested in business law, tax, human rights, immigration, family law or other areas, learning about other countries’ laws and the international practice of law is beneficial to a career in any industry and practice.  No matter where you practice law—abroad or in the United States—you will deal with issues that require the knowledge to identify and solve issues involving international or comparative law.

While studying for your JD, you can also earn a Master’s Degree in Law in International Studies (LLM) from a host university abroad, all within three years. You will receive rigorous training and preparation at one of our partner schools, while being fully immersed in the vibrant culture of your host institution. You’ll learn from and with faculty and students from all over the world, returning with the knowledge and cultural aptitude to succeed in your career.



Students selected for the JD/LLM International Studies program will spend their first two years at Villanova, during which they complete all of Villanova’s law school course 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 complete their third year at the host law school earning the LLM degree. 

Credits earned during the year abroad will fulfill the remainder of the students' Villanova credit requirements as well as the host school’s 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 Villanova JD and the master’s degree offered by the host school abroad.

Our two partner schools offer strong, internationally respected programs and experience for our students.

Established over 300 years ago, the Edinburgh Law School, the University of Edinburgh, is located in Scotland’s capital city, a city bursting with culture and deeply rooted history.

Leiden Law School, one of the University of Leiden’s seven faculties, is located on two campuses: one in Leiden, The Netherlands, and the other in the Hague, the home to the Netherlands seat of government, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and several other important international legal bodies and 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.

Both of our partners are consistently ranked among the top law schools internationally.

Please note: Degrees may not be offered every year.  

University of Edinburgh

  • LLM in Commercial Law
  • LLM in Comparative and European Private Law
  • LLM in Corporate Law
  • LLM in European Law
  • LLM in Innovation, Technology and the Law
  • LLM in International Law
  • LLM in Law
  • LLM in Human Rights

University of Leiden

  • LLM in European Law
  • LLM in Public International Law
  • 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

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

  • Successfully complete all first-year courses
  • Meet the specific Villanova Law cumulative GPA required by the host school abroad
  • Complete all first three semesters of law study at Villanova Law
  • Complete all Villanova Law-required upper-level courses by the end of the fourth semester of law school, specifically:
    • Constitutional Law II - 3 credits (for graduating members for the Class of 2024)
    • Legal Profession - 3 credits
    • Legal Writing III - 2 credits
    • Practical Writing course - 2 credits
    • Seminar Research Paper requirement - 2 to 3 credits (or, alternatively, a second practical writing course)
    • Experiential Learning (6 credits – Clinic and/or Externships)
    • 1L and 2L Modules
    • 2L Professional Development (JD/LLM students are exempt from the 3L Professional Development course requirement)

To obtain the Villanova Law JD and host school LLM degrees, a student must complete all Villanova and ABA Graduation Requirements, including:

  • 33 credits of the required first-year curriculum at Villanova Law (Class of 2025) or 31 credits of the required first-year curriculum at Villanova Law (Class of 2026)
  • 64 credits of courses that require attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction (does not include externships, directed research, moot court or law review/journal)
  • All academic requirements for the 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 graduation requirements for the Villanova Law JD degree during the first two years of law study, which must be completed in residence at Villanova Law (i.e., the JD/LLM International Studies program is not available to transfer students).
  • Complete all coursework at the host school abroad (including a thesis or dissertation, if required) 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 Law 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 no earlier than September after completion of the LLM program’s coursework (e.g., a student who would have received the JD in May 2023 will receive the degree no earlier than September 2023).
  • Take the bar examination in February following the student’s graduation rather than in July (exceptions apply in limited circumstances for certain LLM programs).
  • Understand that he or she will not be ranked cumulatively with his or her class after the second year of law school but will be eligible to graduate with Latin honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude) based on how the student's cumulative GPA at the end of the second year of law school compares with the student's original graduating class. The student will also be eligible for membership in the Order of the Coif honor society.

Please download our Financial Aid Policy for JD/LLM International Studies Students Form to learn more. 

If you plan on applying for federal financial aid to assist with your third-year foreign program tuition or living expenses, you must have completed at least 67.5 credits while still in residence at Villanova Law during your 1L and 2L years.

Tuan Samahon
Director of International Programs