JD/LLM 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 and familiarity with 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.

Villanova Law is known for its excellent international and comparative law faculty, courses and experiential education. Our JD/LLM International Studies program offers you the opportunity to earn both a Villanova Law JD and an LLM or MRes (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 up to 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 all law school graduation 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 or M. Res. or Master’s 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 the master’s degree offered by the host school abroad.


As of fall 2017, thirty-five 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, Japan and Spain. 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 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. In addition, 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.

*Please note: degrees may not be offered every year*

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 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 (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 Law cumulative GPA required by the host school abroad
  • have completed the first three semesters of law study at Villanova Law
  • have completed all Villanova Law-required upper-level 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
    • Externship (at least 6 credits)
    • 1L and 2L Modules
    • 2L Professional Development (JD/LLM students are exempt from the 3L Professional Development course requirement)


Degree Requirements

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

  • 34 credits of the required first-year curriculum at Villanova Law
  • 64 credits of courses that require attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction (does not include externships or directed research) 
  • 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, the Villanova Environmental Law Journal or the 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 2015 will receive the degree in September 2015).
  • Take the bar examination in the 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.


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."