Home   Academics   Degree Programs   LL.M. in Comparative Law Program Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Keywords and Phrases

Admissions Process? – Can I Work During the Program? – Can I work After Graduating? – Certificate of Financial Responsibility? – Contact the Program? – English Language Proficiency? – Exchange Student? – Financial Aid? – FAFSA? – Florida Resident Tuition? – Graduate Assistantships? – Health Insurance Policy? – Law Degree? – Transfer Credits into the LL.M.? – Transfer Credits to a J.D.? – Can I Take More Than 26 Credits? – U.S. Bar Examination? – U.S. Citizen? – When Should I Apply?

FAQs

When should I apply?
For which semester should I apply?
What is the admissions process?
How do I contact the LL.M. program?
Housing?
Health Insurance?
Will I need a car in Gainesville?
Is it possible to work while I am a student?
Do you offer Graduate Assistantships or Research Assistantships?
Is it possible to work in the U.S. after I graduate if I am a non U.S. citizen or a permanent resident?
I am an exchange student at the College of Law. Can I transfer my credits to the LL.M.?
Can I transfer my credits of any kind into the program?
Can I transfer from the LL.M. program to the J.D. program?
Can I transfer credits from the LL.M. program into a J.D. program?
Can I Take More Than 26 Credits?
Does completing the LL.M. permit me to sit for the U.S. State Bar Examinations?
Can U.S. citizens apply to the LL.M. in Comparative Law Program?
Do I need to have passed the bar exam or otherwise be admitted to practice law in my home country?
Do I need to take an English Language Proficiency Test?
Do you offer scholarships or other financial assistance?
Financial Aid Resources for International Students
Should I Fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
What are the Florida resident requirements for tuition purposes?
Can a non-U.S. citizen qualify as a Florida resident for tuition purposes?
Why must I submit a Certificate of Financial Responsibility?


When should I apply?

As soon as possible. Applications are accepted throughout the year. However, all students must start with the summer Introduction program that starts in mid-July, four weeks before the start of the fall semester. If you need to apply for a new visa, it is unlikely that you will be able to complete the process in time to enroll in July if you apply after April 30 of any given year.

For which semester should I apply?

Summer B. While applications are accepted throughout the year, the Comparative Law Program begins with the Summer B semester. Therefore, when filling out the on-line application, choose “Summer B” when prompted to choose the semester for which you are applying. We do not have a Fall or Spring entering class.

What is the admissions process for the program?

The application process involves a faculty admissions committee at the Levin College of Law and the University of Florida Graduate Office of Admissions.

The LL.M. in Comparative Law Program operates within the University of Florida Graduate School, along with other graduate programs such as Engineering and History.

The Graduate School Office of Admission determines your eligibility for admission to the University of Florida by, among other things, ensuring that you have submitted bonafide transcripts. The Application for Admission, official English Language Proficiency test score, official transcripts (and an English translation, if necessary) and the $30 application fee should be sent to the Office of Admission, 201 Criser Hall, P.O. Box 11400, Gainesville, Fla. 32611-1400.

The admissions committee of the LL.M. in Comparative Law Program, made up of members of the faculty and staff of the College of Law, decides whether to accept your application for admission to our Program. This committee will read your letters of recommendation, your personal statement, and consider your academic and professional record in making its decision.

The “Department Copy” of the Application form should be completed, preferably online, and sent, along with copies of your transcripts, a personal statement, two letters of recommendation and your TOEFL score, to Professor Pedro A. Malavet, Director of the LL.M. in Comparative Law Program, P.O. Box 117643, University of Florida Levin College of Law, Gainesville, FL 32611-7643.

A completed application must be accompanied by a Personal Statement; curriculum vitae or resume; official transcript and diploma for each completed university degree; and at least two letters of recommendation. Documents must be in English or accompanied by certified translations.

  • Official transcripts, degree certifications and diplomas for each university degree must be submitted in both the original language of instruction, when that language is other than English, and in official English translation.
  • “Official” documentation means original or duly certified and authenticated copies of the originals.
  • Any document that is submitted by mail CANNOT BE RETURNED.
  • However, an applicant is permitted to retain any original if he or she personally presents it to the Graduate Admissions Office for examination and copying.
  • Official documentation should initially be mailed to the LL.M. program office, and we will forward the documents to the Graduate Admissions office upon a favorable admission decision.
    • If you send original documentation to the Graduate Admissions Office, please also send a copy of each document directly to the LL.M. Program Office, as Graduate Admissions will not review applications until the program refers it to them, and we need the documents before we can decide to make the referral.
    • Copies may be sent to the program as pdf attachments to email when necessary.
  • In extraordinary circumstances —such as when only one original diploma is issued, or when the student is admitted contingent upon completion of graduation requirements at their home institution— the Program and the Graduate Admissions Office can rely on simple copies during the admissions process, subject to verification of the originals once the student arrives in Gainesville.
    • Students admitted conditioned upon an examination of original documentation will not be permitted to register for classes until they complete the verification process.

How do I contact the LL.M. program?

Address:
Professor Pedro A. Malavet
Director, LL.M. in Comparative Law
Fredric G. Levin College of Law
P.O. Box 117643
Gainesville, FL 32611-7643 USA

E-mail: malavet@law.ufl.edu

Skype: professor.malavet

Phone: (352) 273-0974

Web: http://nersp.osg.ufl.edu/~malavet

Karen Kays
Program Assistant

E-mail: llmcomp@law.ufl.edu

Phone: 352-273-0775

Fax: 352-392-9419

How do I find housing?

There is a limited amount of on-campus housing available for graduate students. After completing your application for admissions to UF and receiving a UF Student ID number, you may apply for on-campus housing on-line. The web address is http://www.housing.ufl.edu/apply/. You should apply as soon as possible if you would like to live on campus.

There are numerous apartment complexes, condominiums, houses and other accommodations for students in Gainesville. However, the campus is large (more than 2,000 acres) and the law school buildings are located at the north-west corner of the campus. Some apartments advertise that they are “close to campus” but if they are referring to the south-east edge of campus, that can be a long distance from the law school. Also, some apartments claim to be “on a bus route to campus” but it may require that you change buses once or twice to get to the law school, while other apartments are located on a direct bus line to the law school.

It is strongly recommended that you come to the LL.M. in Comparative Law Program office, Room 319, Holland Hall, before signing a lease for any accommodation.

Will a health insurance policy I have in my home country satisfy UF’s requirement for health insurance coverage?

Probably not. The University requires all international students to have health insurance which must be offered by insurers licensed to write health insurance by the Florida Department of Insurance. More information can be obtained from the University of Florida International Center’s Handbook for International Students, available on the web at http://www.ufic.ufl.edu/ISS/handbook.html.

Will I need a car in Gainesville?

It would be useful to have one. Gainesville has a population of about 130,000 and it is very spread-out; a car would be very useful. Having said that, parking at the law school is limited so many students take the bus, ride a bicycle or walk to school. Local bus service is free for UF students, but service is limited at nights and on weekends and holidays.

Is it possible to work while I am a student?

Work while you are a student enrolled in the program is strongly discouraged because it may negatively affect your performance in the program. A student seeking the LL.M. in Comparative Law degree requires the prior approval of the director to take on work.

There are also visa implications for non-U.S. citizens. Students with a F-1 or J-1 visa may work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during regular semesters and up to 40 hours per week during holidays and vacations. So-called Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is subject to important regulations and should be undertaken only after consultation with your International Student Advisor. Visit the UFIC site for further information.

Do you offer Graduate Assistantships or Research Assistantships?

No. The Comparative Law Program does not offer any Graduate Assistantships and LL.M. students are not permitted to accept Graduate Assistantships from other programs. Individual professors may hire one or more students as Research Assistants. It is best to contact directly faculty members whose area of interest coincides with yours to inquire about possibly working for them. Generally, Research Assistants work a maximum of 10 hours per week and are paid by the hour. Taking on any job while enrolled in the program is subject to the director’s prior approval.

Is it possible to work in the U.S. after I graduate if am a non U.S. Citizen or permanent resident?

Yes. Students with a F-1 or J-1 visa may work for up to one year in the U.S. after graduating for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Application for optional practical training authorization should be made at least four months prior to graduation. For more information go to http://www.ufic.ufl.edu/ISS/currentF1studentsOPT.html.

I am an exchange student at the College of Law, can I transfer my credits to the LL.M.?

No. Credits counted for the LL.M. in Comparative Law Program must be completed (1) after the student is admitted to the Graduate School and (2) at the College of Law. Exchange students are not admitted to the Graduate School and are thus not eligible to earn LL.M. credits.

Can I transfer credits of any kind into the program?

No. Credit transfer is not authorized for this program. All credits counted towards graduation must be earned at the Levin College of Law after the student has been admitted to the LL.M. program and to the Graduate School.

Can I transfer from the LL.M. program to the J.D. program?

Not automatically. A student must be admitted into each of our degree programs. You may apply for admission to our J.D. program, or to a J.D. program at another law school. You must file a new application and meet the pertinent admission requirements, such as having an LSAT examination result. Visit our Admissions Page for more information.

Can I transfer credits from the LL.M. program into a J.D. program?

Yes. Upon admission into a J.D. program, you may transfer credits earned in non-LL.M. exclusive law school courses, i.e., from the standard J.D. and Tax curriculum, to count towards the J.D., up to the maximum permitted by ABA rules which is 29.

At the Levin College of Law, a student may request to transfer up to 29 hours of classes taken at an ABA accredited institution. The credits you earn may be accepted towards your J.D. degree at the Levin College of Law, provided that you adhere to the following rules:

  • A student will not receive credit for any Levin College of Law required courses taken at another law school without prior written permission.
  • A student will not receive credit for a course taken at the Levin College of Law if the same course was taken at another law school and those credits were transferred.
  • A student will receive credit for elective courses only if the student earns a grade of 2.0, “C”, or its equivalent or higher in the course. The grades will appear as “S” grades on the UF transcript and will not be calculated in the grade point average.
  • A student will receive credit for fulfilling the Advanced Writing Requirement only if a UF Law faculty member certifies the final paper as meeting the Levin College of Law writing requirement.

Can I Take More Than 26 Credits?

Yes, but only when necessary in order to meet minimum credit load requirements for Visa students or as mandated by the Graduate School rules. Any overload must be approved by the program director. Modest overloads may also be approved by the director for other types of good cause.

Does completing the LL.M. permit me to sit for U.S. State Bar Examinations?

Perhaps. One possible additional benefit from the successful completion of our program is that it may qualify the graduate to sit for bar examinations in states of the United States. Currently, a number of states permit international students with a non-U.S. law degree to sit for their state bar examination when they complete a prescribed course of study ‑especially an LL.M.‑ at an ABA-accredited law school in the United States. (See generally, the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements ‑2012).

The Levin College of Law cannot guarantee that graduation from our program qualifies you to sit for any bar exam; that is a matter for the individual state bar examination authorities. Students wishing to use their degree in this manner should carefully research the requirements imposed by the pertinent authorities in each state where you wish to take the bar, and take that into account when making curricular choices for our program.

By way of illustration of the seriousness of this concern, consider that the state of New York, the leader in this area, has recently changed its rules effective with the 2012-2013 academic year.  Under the new rules, to be eligible to take the New York bar, a non-U.S.-trained lawyer must earn an LL.M. degree at a U.S., ABA-accredited law school requiring no fewer than 24 credits for its completion. Moreover, the program must include “(i) at least two semester hours of credit in professional responsibility, (ii) at least two credits in a legal research, writing and analysis course (which may NOT be satisfied by a research and writing requirement in a substantive course), (iii) at least two-credits in a course on American legal studies, the American legal system or a similar course designed to introduce students to U.S. law, and (iv) at least six credits in subjects tested on the New York bar examination (where a principal focus of the course includes material contained in the Content Outline published by the Board).” (Rule 520.6 (b)(1)(ii) and 520.6 (b)(2)(B)).  Such a student may not earn a single LL.M. credit outside the United States, even if those credits are taught by U.S. law professors working for a U.S. law school program, and independent or directed research credits are disallowed, as are credits earned outside the law school, even if those credits are earned in a U.S. university and counted towards the LL.M. degree. (For more on this subject, please consult with the New York State Board of Law Examiners, http://www.nybarexam.org/Default.html; rules regarding non-U.S. legal education: http://www.nybarexam.org/Foreign/ForeignLegalEducation.htm).

Can U.S. citizens apply to the LL.M. in Comparative Law Program?

Yes. While most of our students are citizens of countries other than the U.S., we accept applicants who are United States citizens at the time of their application, as long as their initial degree(s) in law was awarded by a university or law school in a country other than the United States or from the ABA-accredited law schools in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Do I need to have passed the bar exam or otherwise be admitted to practice law in my home country?

No. An applicant must have received their initial law degree, equivalent to a J.D. or LL.B. degree, by the time classes start here. It is not necessary to be admitted to practice law in your home country. The program director decides if the applicant meets the degree equivalency requirements. The Law School Admissions Council provides a useful guide to equivalency.

Do I need to take an English Language Proficiency test such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?

  • English Language Tests. For applicants whose primary language is not English, the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or other English-language-proficiency exams authorized by the University of Florida are required.
  • Because the method of teaching in the College requires a high degree of English comprehension and the writing of examinations and the research paper requires substantial ability to write in English, the LL.M. program strongly prefers a minimum overall score of 600 on the TOEFL test (250 for the computer-based test or 100 for the Internet-based test). A minimum score of 50 is preferred on that part of TOEFL which relates to oral ability to understand English.
  • For applicants using the IELTS exam, the program prefers a minimum total score as well as a Listening score above 6.5.
  • In addition, interviews (either in person or by telephone or videoconference such as Skype) will be conducted by a College of Law representative to determine further the applicant’s comprehension of English.
  • Submitting Test Results.
    • IELTS and MELAB results must be submitted by mailing original certifications to the Office of Graduate Admissions.Please send a simple copy directly to the Program office as well either by regular mail or as an email attachment.
    • TOEFL results must be submitted electronically by using the Institution Code 5812 and sending it to the attention of the University of Florida, not the College of Law; Division: Graduate Schools, not Law Schools; Department Group “Any Department Not Listed.” The TOEFL scores are electronically matched to student applications, any discrepancy between the TOEFL record and your application, especially as to your name, will delay the process.Please send a copy of the printed TOEFL report to the Program office by mail or as an email attachment when you submit the scores.
  • English Language Institute Alternative. Applicants are also permitted to show English Language Proficiency by successfully completing the course of study at the university’s English Language Institute.
    • The English Language Institute tests each student to determine their existing level of proficiency upon arrival.
    • Based on the score in that exam, the ELI places the student at the appropriate starting level of education within the program.
    • Most students then take two semesters to successfully reach the exit level for the ELI, which is the completion of all level 60 courses.
    • However, depending on the starting level, students may take as little as one semester and as many as three or four to successfully reach the highest level of proficiency required to exit the ELI and enter a graduate program.
  • Admitted applicants who meet the minimum proficiency standard may voluntarily choose to attend the ELI in order to improve their English skills prior to starting or during the program.
  • English Language Institute.

Do you offer scholarships or other financial assistance?

The program offers only one very limited scholarship: The Latin American and Caribbean Scholarship.

    • Latin American and Caribbean Scholarship. Students from Latin America or the Caribbean qualify for a small scholarship which also makes the recipients eligible to pay tuition at the rate applicable to Florida residents (a substantial savings given current costs). A student must maintain an overall 3.0 or better grade point average in order to retain this scholarship. Only one or two of these awards is available per year.

Neither the Program nor the College of Law control any other scholarship or financial aid of any kind for LL.M. in Comparative Law students, and LL.M. students are generally not eligible for the scholarships and other financial aid offered to J.D. students.

However, the State of Florida funds specific financial awards for international students that some LL.M. applicants may apply for and receive as explaned below:

Financial Aid Resources for International Students

The University of Florida International Center maintains a page dedicated to providing information about possible sources of funding for international students. Please be advised that none of these is controlled by the College of Law, and most are beyond the control of the University of Florida. The information is provided for your reference here: http://www.ufic.ufl.edu/ISS/FinancialResources.html

Should I Fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

Any applicant to the University of Florida is permitted to fill out a FAFSA form online by following the instructions found here: http://www.sfa.ufl.edu/applying/how-to-apply/

Although you must be accepted for enrollment at UF before you receive financial aid from the university, you should apply for aid before being admitted.

HOWEVER, students who will arrive on J or F visas are highly unlikely to get satisfactory results from such a filling. Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to review the FAFSA instructions before you make the decision to fill out the form. In particular, if you are a non-U.S. Citizen you should review the FAFSA notices on noncitizens who are eligible for federal student aid, and those who are neither citizens nor eligible non-citizens at: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/help/fotw14aF4c.htm.

FAFSA explains the citizenship question as follows:

  • Select the option that indicates your citizenship status.
  • Select U.S. citizen (or U.S. national) if you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. national.
    • Select U.S. citizen (or U.S. national) if you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. national. A person is a United States citizen by birth or by naturalization. Persons (except for the children of foreign diplomatic staff) who are born in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and in most cases, Puerto Rico (PR), the U.S. Virgin Islands (VI), Guam (GU), and the Northern Marianna Islands (MP) are U.S. citizens, as are most persons born abroad to parents (or a parent) who are citizens. All U.S. citizens are considered to be U.S. nationals, but not all nationals are citizens: natives of American Samoa and Swain’s Island (AS) are not U.S. citizens but are nationals.
  • Select Eligible noncitizen if you are not a U.S. citizen (or U.S. national) and you are one of the following:
    • U.S. permanent resident, with a Permanent Resident Card (I-551, formerly known as an Alien Registration Receipt Card or “Green Card”)
    • Conditional permanent resident (I-551C)
    • Other eligible noncitizen with an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the Department of Homeland Security showing any one of the following designations: “Refugee,” “Asylum Granted,” “Parolee” (I-94 confirms that you were paroled for a minimum of one year and status has not expired), T-Visa holder (T-1, T-2, T-3, etc.), or “Cuban-Haitian Entrant”
    • The holder of a valid certification or eligibility letter from the Department of Health and Human Services showing a designation of “Victim of human trafficking”
    • A resident of the Republic of Palau (PW), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (MH), or the Federated States of Micronesia (FM)
    • A Canadian-born Native American under terms of the Jay Treaty
  • Select Neither citizen nor eligible noncitizen if you are in the U.S. on:
    • A F1 or F2 student visa, or
    • A J1 or J2 exchange visitor visa, or
    • A G series visa (pertaining to international organizations), or
    • Other categories not included under U.S. citizen and eligible noncitizen

Note: If you are neither a citizen nor an eligible noncitizen, you are not eligible for federal student aid. Therefore, we will not calculate an EFC for you, nor will we provide you with an estimate of federal student aid eligibility.
(Transcribed from http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/help/fotw14aF4c.htm (last visited February 25, 2013)).

What are the requirements for being a Florida resident for tuition purposes?

A “Florida resident for tuition purposes” is a person who has, or a dependent person whose parent or legal guardian has, established and maintained legal residency in Florida for at least twelve months. Residence in Florida must be as a bonafide domicile rather than for the purpose of maintaining a residence incident to enrollment at an institution of higher education.

click here to download the “Florida Resident for Tuition Purposes Affidavit”

Can a non-U.S. citizen qualify as a Florida resident for tuition purposes?

Yes. To qualify as a Florida resident for tuition purposes, you must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident alien, or documented alien granted indefinite stay by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

click here to download the “Florida Resident for Tuition Purposes Affidavit”

Why must I submit a Certificate of Financial Responsibility?

The Certificate of Financial Responsibility is not an application requirement for admission; it is supplementary information required once an international student is admitted to UF. Admitted students who are not citizens of the United States or already otherwise admitted to the United States are required to obtain an appropriate entry visa. This information is required in order for you to receive a visa which will authorize you to travel to the United States and enroll as a student. After you have been advised that you have been admitted as a student in our LL.M. in Comparative Law Program, a University of Florida International Center (UFIC) adviser will contact you requesting the CFR and proof of funds to support your year at the University of Florida. The adviser will instruct you on how to submit your documents.

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