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Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements and Course of Study

Standard 26-credit course of instruction

Students earn the LL.M. in Comparative Law upon successful completion of 26 semester credit hours of work that must include the four-credit summer Introduction to the Comparative LL.M. Program that will include a two Credit Comparative Introduction to the Legal System of the United States, a two-credit Comparative Legal Research and Writing course, and other student-counseling units. Additionally, LL.M. students take a two-credit, two-semester course that is the second part of the Comparative Introduction to the Legal System of the United States. The remaining 20 credit hours are chosen by the student ‑with the advice and authorization of the program director‑ from the college of law curriculum; these courses must be taken during the fall and spring semesters following initial enrollment. LL.M. students may earn credits from courses and seminars offered each year in the J.D. and LL.M. in Taxation curriculums. The courses and seminars listed are not necessarily offered each semester, and some may be subject to enrollment limits. Students may choose to continue taking classes after the first academic year with the authorization of the program Director. Students must complete one substantial research paper, usually by choosing a college of law seminar with a research paper requirement.

Enrollment

Students must arrive at least one week prior to the start of the Introduction to the Comparative LL.M. Program courses (usually five weeks prior to the first Monday of the fall semester) in order to complete all the administrative pre-requisites for enrollment in the University of Florida and in the LL.M. Program at the Levin College of Law. This includes but is not limited to checking in with the International Center, the Graduate Admissions Office, and taking care of registration “holds.” Classes start during the summer term and students must then register for courses at the College of Law for the following fall and spring semesters.

Academic residence

All credits counted towards completion of the LL.M. must be earned while enrolled as an LL.M. in Comparative Law student. Credits must also be earned at the Levin College of Law in courses offered at our campus in Gainesville. LL.M. students may not earn credit for courses taught by the College of Law outside Gainesville. This includes, but is not limited to, study-abroad courses. Credits earned while a student is on an exchange program cannot be counted towards the LL.M. degree either.

LL.M. in Comparative Law Summer Program

The 26-credit obligation includes four credits for the summer Introduction to the Comparative LL.M. Program, a three-week required program that introduces students to the fundamentals of the laws and legal system of the United States, as well as to various aspects of the study of law in this country, including the Socratic method of instruction, case briefing, legal research and writing, simulation exercises, and final examinations. The purpose of the program is to prepare students to successfully engage with United States students and professors in the J.D. courses in which they will be enrolled beginning in the fall semester. The program also introduces students to legal research and writing skills that are essential for a successful U.S. law student. Lastly, the course helps students acclimate to the law school and the university community prior to the start of the regular academic year. The summer program is currently divided into two courses supplemented by special orientation sessions:

LAW 7932: LLM in Comparative Law Introduction to the Legal System of the United States Part I (2 credits)

Intensive 3-week introduction to the comparative method and to legal education, professionalism and the legal system of the United States. Requires approval by the program director. Usually taught during the summer program.

  • Permission to Opt out of this course. An admitted student who has completed a sufficient level of study at a university or law school in the United States may petition the program director to opt out of the Comparative Introduction to the Legal System of the United States. If granted, this waiver applies only to this course and not to the other requirements of the Program, including the rest of the Summer Program and the tutorial course taught during the Spring and Fall semesters. A student permitted to opt out of the course must complete two additional credits in order meet the 26-credit requirement. The director will develop specific guidelines for this process and post them in the online catalog.
  • Process. A student wishing to benefit from the opt-out clause must so petition in writing by sending a letter to the director specifying why they qualify for the exemption. The director will meet personally with the student to discuss the matter (via teleconference when necessary) and make a final decision. Petitions must be filed no later than June 30. Even if the petition is approved, LL.M. students are required to fully participate in the other parts of the summer program.

LAW 7805: LL.M. Comparative Legal Writing and Research (2 credits)

Intensive three week introduction to professional legal writing in American legal English taught by a legal writing professor; supplemented by research instruction by librarians. Requires prior approval by program director.

Other LL.M. Courses

LAW 7801: LL.M. in Comparative Law Introduction to the Legal System of the United States Part II (2 credits)

Continuing coverage of legal education, professionalism and the legal system of the United States, conducted over one or two full semesters. Typically, it will be conducted over two semesters with one teaching hour per semester week. Alternately, it will be taught as a two-credit course with two teaching hours per semester week.

Research Paper

The 26 semester hours of work also include a research paper supervised by a faculty member, Go to the Directed Research page for details.

  • Research paper requirement. The 26 semester hours of work for the LL.M. in Comparative Law degree also include a significant research writing project supervised by a faculty member at the Levin College of Law while the student is registered in an appropriate class for a minimum of two credit hours and a maximum of four credit hours.
  • An LL.M. student may choose to pursue the writing project in any class offered at the College of Law that includes a letter-graded advanced research paper requirement or option. This includes, but is not limited to, seminars, J.D. courses, advanced courses, independent study, directed or supervised research.
  • When the student is enrolled in an independent study, supervised or directed research class, the supervising faculty member may require the student to audit a regular class in order to provide a classroom component as well as structure and substantive context for the research project.
  • The research paper may be produced by registering in the two-credit LAW 7906, “Directed Research for LL.M. in Comparative Law” course that is supervised by the program director. The Directed Research registration may be required by the program director when needed to meet Graduate Catalog rules.
  • (Amended by the Faculty on 20 February 2013).

General Course Offerings: 20 Elective Credits

LL.M. in Comparative Law students choose most of their credits from the general course offerings in the J.D. and Tax curriculum at the Levin College of Law, with prior authorization from the Director.

Florida’s comprehensive J.D. curriculum prepares students from around the world for a broad range of traditional and non-traditional legal careers. Course work develops students’ analytical ability, knowledge of the theory and practice of law, communication skills and understanding of the legal profession’s codes of responsibility, ethics and commitment to professionalism. Teaching methods include the traditional “case” and “Socratic” methods as well as problems, simulations, role-playing, video-taping, and computer-assisted instruction.

Courses and seminars offered each year support a variety of practice areas, including environmental and land use law, estates and trusts, corporate law, media law, family law, intellectual property law, tax law, and international and comparative law. The courses and seminars listed below are not necessarily offered each semester, and some may be subject to enrollment limits.

Florida’s new and developing centers and institutes complement the academic program and bring together faculty, students and practitioners with similar interests in areas such as social policy and public interest law, dispute resolution, legal technology, international financial crimes studies, and race relations.

You may review the listing and description of currently-offered courses in the Office of Student Affairs section of this website: http://www.law.ufl.edu/student-affairs/current-students/course-schedules.

Unless otherwise expressly indicated, no deviations from this course of study are currently authorized by the College of Law Faculty or by the Graduate Council.

Graduate Catalog

The LL.M. in Comparative Law Program is part of the University of Florida Graduate School and is thus subject to the regulations published in the Graduate Catalog.

Grading

LL.M. students receive letter grades in accordance with University of Florida policybut they students are not counted in when determining the mandatory class-mean grading policies applicable to J.D. classes. While no specific grade distribution or grading curve for LL.M. candidates is prescribed, the faculty recognizes that GPA requirements for the LL.M. differ from the requirements for a J.D. – and that law graduates for whom English may be a second language may face difficulties that the typical UF law student does not.

Nevertheless, LL.M. students are subject to the Graduate Catalog’s rules regarding a minimum 3.0 grade point average on the University’s 4.0 scale as detailed below and in the Graduate Catalog (http://gradcatalog.ufl.edu/content.php?catoid=2&navoid=762#grades).

In addition to the overall GPA rules, LL.M. students must complete no fewer than four (4) credits in 7000-level courses with a minimum grade of 3.0 (a “B”) in order to have a “Graduate GPA” required for graduation by the University of Florida Graduate School.

Grades (from the UF Graduate Catalog)

Passing, Non-Punitive and Failing Grades: The Office of the University Registrar records student grades. The word “credit” refers to one semester hour, generally representing one hour per week of lecture or two or more hours per week of laboratory work.

The only passing grades for graduate students are A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, and S. Grades of B-, C+ or C count toward a graduate degree if an equal number of credits in courses numbered 5000 or higher have been earned with grades of B+, A- and A, respectively. Grade points are not given for S and U grades; S and U grades are not used to calculate grade point averages. All letter-graded courses eligible to count toward the graduate degree, except 1000- and 2000-level courses, are used to calculate the cumulative grade-point average. Letter grades of C-, D+, D, D- or E are not considered passing at the graduate level, although the grade points associated with these letter grades are in included in grade point average calculations.

Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory: Grades of S and U are the only grades awarded in courses numbered 6910 (Supervised Research), 6940 (Supervised Teaching), 6971 (Research for Master’s Thesis), 6972 (Engineer’s Research), 7979 (Advanced Research), and 7980 (Research for Doctoral Dissertation). Additional courses for which S and U grades apply are noted in the academic unit offerings in the Programs Section of this catalog .

All language courses regardless of level may be taken S/U if the student’s major is not a language and the courses are not used to satisfy a minor, with approval from the student’s supervisory committee chair and the instructor of the course. S/U approval should be made by the published deadline date. All 1000 and 2000 level courses may be taken S/U. No other courses (graduate, undergraduate, or professional) may be taken for an S/U grade.

Deferred grade H: The grade of H is not a substitute for a grade of S, U, or I. Courses for which H grades are appropriate must be so noted in their catalog descriptions, and must be approved by the Graduate Curriculum Committee and the Graduate School. This grade may be used only in special situations where the expected unit of work may be developed over a period of time greater than a single term. All grades of H must be removed before a graduate degree can be awarded.

Incomplete grades: Grades of I (incomplete) received during the preceding term should be removed as soon as possible. Grades of I carry zero grade points and become punitive after 1 term. All grades of I must be removed before a graduate degree can be awarded.

Grades and Grade Points Prior to Summer A 2009

A B+ B C+ C D+ D E WF I NG S-U
4.0 3.5 3.0 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 0 0 0 0 0

Grades and Grade Points Effective Summer A 2009

A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- E WF I NG S-U
4.0 3.67 3.33 3.0 2.67 2.33 2.0 1.67 1.33 1.0 0.67 0 0 0 0 0

Note: The degree-granting college may require a minimum grade of C in particular courses.

Non-Punitive Grades and Symbols

Zero Grade Points Not Counted in GPA

W = Withdrew
U = Unsatisfactory
H = Deferred grade assigned only in approved sequential courses or correspondence study
N* = No grade reported
I* = Incomplete

Failing Grade

Zero Grade Points Counted in GPA

E = Failure
WF = Withdrew failing
NG = No grade reported
I = Incomplete

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