Animal Law Master of Laws (LLM) Program

The world’s only advanced legal degree program in animal law is now fully online

Animal Law Master of Laws (LLM) Program

The world’s only advanced legal degree program in animal law is now fully online

Beginning fall 2021, the Center for Animal Law Studies (CALS) Animal Law Master of Laws (LLM) at Lewis & Clark Law School is also offered as a fully online option.

The program is designed for U.S. and international law school graduates who want to focus on animal law in practice, academia, research, or public policy.

A Flexible Program that Fits Your Schedule

The online Animal Law LLM is taught by renowned animal law scholars and practitioners from around the world—delivered asynchronously, on your schedule. Our online option supports your goal of advanced training while also making it possible for you to maintain your professional, family, and other commitments.

You’re supported by faculty who are deeply committed to excellence in teaching, and you will learn and network with peers who are engaged in compelling and diverse animal law work across the world.

Designed for Law School Graduates

The LLM program offers an advanced, postgraduate academic legal degree. To be eligible to apply, you must be a graduate of an accredited U.S. or international law school. Additionally, international candidates should confirm their eligibility for the LLM program by making sure their degree is listed here.

Graduate in as Few as 18 Months

  • The first online cohort starts fall semester 2021.
  • You can begin the program in fall or spring semester.
  • The online Animal Law LLM is part time, and you can graduate after four semesters.

Online Animal Law LLM Curriculum

Animal law overlaps with many traditional areas of the law such as torts, criminal, constitutional, and property law. It is rooted in the practical application of statutory and decisional law but also explores legal theory and jurisprudence. In animal law we ask fundamental questions about the nature of a legal right or interest. We examine how the law often creates or entrenches power imbalances, and how those imbalances impact animals.

Courses are rigorous and diverse, taught by renowned animal law scholars and practitioners from around the world. You learn from the same accomplished and nationally recognized faculty that teach the in-person LLM program. Courses are delivered on an easy-to-use online asynchronous platform. Online LLM students will complete readings, listen to prerecorded lectures, and submit assignments by established deadlines—on a schedule that works for you.

The Animal Law LLM prepares you for advancement in the career path you choose, including specialized practice; policy development, implementation, or enforcement; scholarship or teaching; advocacy; and executive leadership.

Students can look forward to a curriculum that features:

  • Animals in the Law
  • Industrial Animal Agriculture Law
  • Introduction to US Legal Studies (for international candidates)
  • Emerging Topics in Animal law
  • Companion Animal Law
  • Crimes Against Animals
  • International Animal Law
  • Aquatic Animal Law
  • The Law & Ethics of Animal Testing; and
  • Wildlife Law

Program Length

The online Animal Law LLM degree requires 26 credit hours to complete. Online Animal Law LLM requirements can be completed in as few as four semesters (e.g., fall, spring, summer, fall). Students have a total of three years to complete the degree. Students can begin their studies in the fall or spring terms. International students without a background in U.S. law must take an Introduction to U.S. Legal Studies course (1 credit), which is offered at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters.

How to Apply

Admission to the online Animal Law LLM is competitive. Applicants must demonstrate an excellent academic record, strong legal research and writing skills, and a genuine interest in animal law. Each application is evaluated holistically. Factors taken into consideration include an applicant’s scholarly capacity, skills as a lawyer, academic performance, work history, strength of references, and engagement with animal law issues.

Program Qualifications

Applicants must hold or obtain by the start of their matriculation a law degree that qualifies them to practice as a lawyer or judge in their home country. U.S. applicants satisfy this requirement with a JD. A JD from an ABA-accredited law school is highly preferred. International applicants often meet this requirement with an LLB; however, other legal degrees may also qualify. International applicants should confirm their eligibility for the program by making sure their degree is listed here. Membership in a bar is not necessary for admission. We welcome and encourage applications from international law school graduates who want to learn more about animal law in the U.S. legal system and how the U.S. framework compares to and can help to effect change in other legal systems. While the program offers a mandatory Introduction to U.S. Legal Studies course for international students, the program is not intended to prepare international students for U.S. practice or to sit for a state bar exam.

Students can expect extensive reading assignments, engagement with peers and faculty in online discussion forums, and writing assignments, as determined by the professor of each course. For international students, the program requires superb English language skills. For international applicants whose native language is not English, this requirement can be met in one of two ways: if English was the language of their legal studies; or with a minimum required IETLS score of 8, or an internet-based TOEFL score of 100.

To apply, use our online application site. Applicants are asked to supply:

  • A statement of interest;
  • A resume or CV;
  • Transcripts; and
  • One letter of recommendation.

The Admissions Committee reviews all applications and will contact applicants regarding its decision. For efficiency and environmental reasons, email is used to communicate with candidates on the status of their application and admissions decisions. 

Admissions decisions are typically made within three weeks after the application deadline has closed.

Program Costs and Scholarships

Tuition for the online Animal Law LLM is determined by the law school. For the 2021-22 academic year, tuition costs have been set at $1,915 per credit, with 26 credits required to complete the degree. There is also a registration fee of $42.50 per semester.

Additional information about registration and fees can be found on the law school’s tuition and fees page.

The Center for Animal Law Studies offers tuition awards for well-qualified U.S and international online Animal Law LLM applicants.

Financial Aid

For information about financial aid, contact the Financial Aid Office.

Note that a student must be registered for at least 5 credits each term to be considered a full-time student. Being less than a full-time student may impact a student’s ability to defer federal loan repayments, so students should plan accordingly.

Academic Calendar

The law school is on the semester system, with approximately 13 weeks of classes and two weeks of exams in fall and spring. The fall semester usually begins the week before Labor Day and ends the second or third week of December. The spring semester begins in early January and ends in May, with a one-week spring break in March. The summer term is 10 weeks long. See the academic calendar for specific dates.

Contact Us

For more information, contact Animal Law Admissions at alawadmissions@lclark.edu or 503-768-6895.

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