The Catholic University of America

FAQ - LL.M. Program

Q: Is there any difference between the LL.M. degree acquired in this Program and an LL.M. acquired in programs requiring a full year stay in the US?
A: This program offers a grounding in American law and practice skills.  Many programs offered in the U.S. are more specialized. Because the CUA LL.M. Program is conducted both in Krakow and Washington and the relatively low tuition, the total participation cost is generally about 25% of requiring a full year’s residency in the U.S.  For students who must pay additional living costs for the approximately four months of residence required in Krakow, living costs are much less expensive than in the United States.

Q: Does this LL.M. Program prepare me to sit for the American bar?
A: CUA's LL.M. is designed to provide lawyers with degrees from foreign law schools with a working knowledge of the American legal system and enhanced ability to understand, write, and speak about legal problems in English. U.S. state bars each set their own requirements for permission to sit for the state's bar exam. Many do not permit graduates of law schools outside the U.S. and commonwealth countries to take the bar exam. but some others allow students to petition with proof of credits earned in a U.S. law school. The CUA LL.M. program's major purpose is NOT to prepare enrolled students for admission to the American legal profession.  Interested applicants must check the websites of state bars for information on their requirements.

Q: May I apply before I complete the university legal education in my home country?
A: Yes, but LL.M. students must obtain their first law degree before the conferral of the LL.M. degree. In such case, at least one component of the LL.M. program (e.g. the summer session in Washington, D.C.) must be completed after conferral of the first law degree. For example, a Polish student who plans to graduate from a Polish law school in June 2015 may apply for the LL.M. program in April 2014. Such early application is admissible because the 2015 Summer session in Washington D.C. extends to mid-July 2015. Therefore, the third component of the LL.M. program ends one month after graduation from the Polish law school.
ATTENTION. There are countries where the first stage of university education in law does not conclude with a degree (e.g., Germany). For German students, completion of the first state exam may be the relevant marker.  For questions regarding eligibility, please contact the program administrators.

Q: Where do the LL.M. students come from? 
A: Past students have come from countries including Poland, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Ireland, and Sweden.

Q: Is it possible to continue one's employment while attending the Program?
A: A number of past students have been practicing attorneys or apprentices in Poland and other European countries who were able to manage flexibility within their current jobs to complete the program while continuing to work.  The two summer sessions (IBTSLP in Krakow and CUA summer session in Washington) are substantially full-time endeavors for seven weeks each, but that schedule still leaves much of the summer.  The American Law Program classes offered in Krakow meet for 2.5 hours per day  in one and two week  sessions.  In 2014-15, at least most ALP courses will be scheduled from 17:30-20:00 so are somewhat convenient for working students. Examinations normally are submitted electronically.  While class attendance is mandatory, LL.M. students need only to be in Krakow for the  class days of the courses they elect and have some free time even in those weeks. The schedule of all three program components is fixed far in advance.  LL.M. students may choose which nine weeks of ALP courses they will attend from the twelve to thirteen weeks that normally are offered.

Q: I am taking the American Law Program (ALP) as a JU student but not yet an LL.M. candidate (or I have taken ALP the past). Can I use the credits for ALP courses taken before enrolling in the LL.M. degree toward satisfaction of the LL.M.?
A: Some ALP credits earned before enrollment in the LL.M. can be counted toward the degree.  The number depends in part on whether the student received credit for ALP coursework at the law school. To learn more, please contact the administration.  Students also can receive some credits for IBTSLP credits taken before enrollment in the LL.M.

Q: Is it possible to switch the order of components of the LL.M. Program. For example may I  commence the program with the ALP rather than the IBTSLP or take a one-year break between the components in Poland and the U.S.?
A. Yes, if the student and program can agree upon a sensible sequence. We do not encourage rearranging the order because there is logic to their progression. But rescheduling is sometimes possible, particularly if there is a student's circumstances change after enrollment.

Q: What documents do I have to file with my application?
A: The application form, two essays, CV, transcript of the academic record (grades), and proof of English proficiency. You are also welcome to provide letters of recommendation. See: How to apply.

Q: How must I present evidence of English proficiency during the application process?
A: The submission of the results of the TOEFL or Cambridge Proficiency in English examinations is recommended. If you provide the TOEFL-certificate, the minimum score is 587 (paper-based test), 240 (computer test) or 94 (Internet test). Other evidence of English proficiency may be acceptable, e.g., certification of prior education in English, documentation of work experience in a position requiring fluent English, past successful performance in CUA's IBTSLP or the ALP. If you seek to provide other form of documenting your English proficiency other than TOEFL or Cambridge certificates, please consult the program's administration prior to submission of your application.

Q: What are the costs of staying in Krakow?
A: Krakow has many restaurants at a wide variety of price levels.  Several places near the law school are directed toward students and offer meals at a modest cost, e.g., $3-$5 per meal.  The cost of lodging also varies widely from very simple dormitory rooms, which may cost as little as $10 per night for a shared room and bath, with costs rising with amenities. The estimated cost of a week’s stay in Krakow, with a higher level of accommodation, is from $250 to $400. 
 
Q: What is the cost of the stay in Washington?
A: On-campus housing at CUA is available and ranges from about $32 to $36 per night per person. More information is available at http://conferences.cua.edu/summer/rates.cfm. This web site also provides information on on-campus meal plans. Restaurants are available at a wide range of prices. The Program estimates a cost from $3500-4500 for all expenses of a stay while attending the seven weeks of courses including the cost of books and supplies and airfare to the U.S.
 
Q: Does the LL.M. Program offer scholarships or tuition discounts?
A: No. There is no financial aid nor any tuition discounts from CUA.  Applicants are encouraged to look for other sources of support from foundations or through their employers.  The total cost of the program, excluding modest living expenses for the time in Krakow, is generally about 25% of the cost of programs requiring a year's residence in the U.S.
  
Q: Do CUA or JU provide medical insurance for the LL.M. students?
A: No. Medical insurance is not provided by CUA or JU and is not included in the tuition. Students are responsible for their own medical and other insurance.

Q: Does JU provide housing for LL.M. candidates in Krakow?
A: JU will assist students with housing in JU dormitories at the price paid by JU students. JU also will assist students in looking for private housing, but students must make their own arrangements in this regard.

Q: Do CUA or JU guarantee that I receive a U.S. or Polish visas?
A: No. CUA and JU will assist the candidates in their visa application process, but they cannot guarantee the granting of the visas.

Q: What happens if I am not granted the US or Polish visas and will not be able to participate in all of the required courses?
A: It will not be possible for you to complete the LL.M. Program. Completion of the required credits in all three segments of the program is necessary to receive the degree. Up to now, no participant has been denied a visa.

Q: Can I get the tuition back if I resign or cannot participate in the Program?
A: No. There is no guaranteed tuition reimbursement in case of withdrawal. CUA has discretion to grant a partial reimbursement upon consideration of the circumstances for withdrawal. If a student merely decides not to complete the program, there will be no refund of tuition. A student who is dismissed from the program for failure to meet the academic standards, abide by the conditions of the honor code, or fulfill other terms of the LL.M. agreement will receive no refund.
 

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