Degree Requirements

Summary of Degree Requirements:

LL.M. candidates must complete a minimum of 24 credit hours including a writing requirement.  Candidates must also maintain a minimum C+ average and obtain a grade of C+ or better on the writing requirement.   Principles of Insurance is required for all students unless waived and students may take up to six credits in “related courses” which will count towards the 24-credit minimum requirement.  International LL.M. students are limited to 3 additional credits outside the core curriculum.  All remaining credits within the 24 credit requirement should be in “core courses.”  The Courses page lists current and recent course offerings within the “core” and “related courses” categories.  Please see the Law School’s course catalog for specific information on each course. 

Students who have taken a similar class in law school within the last four years and achieved a grade of B or better may ask to waive the Principles of Insurance requirement. The director or executive director must approve all courses of study, including whether to grant a waiver request for Principles of Insurance.  

To encourage students to take advantage of a diverse faculty with different backgrounds and teaching styles, LL.M. students may not take more than one course a semester from the same professor without written approval of the LL.M. Director or Executive Director.

Writing Requirement:

LL.M. students must satisfy a 2-3 credit writing requirement as part of their degree program. The paper must be on an insurance-related topic approved by the director or executive director and written on a graded basis. There are several ways the writing requirement can be fulfilled:

  1. In conjunction with a class that requires a substantial research paper (minimum 20 page length),
  2. As a special research project of not less than two credits supervised by a full-time or adjunct faculty member,
  3. With the permission of the instructor at the beginning of the course, substituting a substantial paper for an examination,
  4. Writing a piece certified to be published or nearly publishable by the faculty advisor of the Connecticut Insurance Law Journal
  5. Writing a thesis, as described below

Thesis:

LL.M. students may, at their option, write a thesis for 3 credits that satisfies the writing requirement. A thesis is a substantial paper that is of publishable or near publishable quality, and involves supervised drafts.  LL.M. students must write a thesis if they wish to be considered for honors. A thesis can be written in two ways:

  1. As part of a 3 credit course with permission of the instructor, who acts as the thesis advisor,
  2. As a special 3 credit special research project supervised by a full-time or adjunct faculty member

Externships:

Externships allow students to obtain practical experience in insurance and financial services law through work at a law firm, an insurer or other business, a government agency or a nonprofit organization.  Students receive academic credit for approved externships, which must be unpaid.  Many of our students find externships to be a particularly valuable part of their LL.M. program and we encourage students to consider participating.  LL.M. students who are employed may not receive externship credit for any work done in conjunction with their employer. 

LL.M. students may enroll in individual externships under the same procedures as J.D. students; the requirements are set out in the Law School’s Academic Regulations.  LL.M. students may receive a maximum of 3 credits toward the 24 credit minimum for successfully completing an externship. In order to maximize their classroom experience, International LL.M. students may not receive credit for both an externship and an independent special research paper (one that is not written as part of a course), without the written permission of the Director or Executive Director. 

LL.M. students interested in an externship should send an e-mail to the director or executive director approximately a month before the start of the academic semester describing generally the type of insurance law and work experience desired (e.g., working on property insurance issues for a law firm) and include a resume and list of all insurance courses taken at the Law School.  Though the Insurance Law Center cannot guarantee externships for all interested LL.M. students, we are usually able to place our students each semester. 

Honors Designation:

LL.M. students are eligible to graduate with honors under the following conditions:

  1. Obtain a minimum 3.3 grade point average,
  2. Write a thesis and obtain a grade of A or A- as determined by the faculty advisor, and
  3. Obtain a determination that the thesis is of “honors quality.”  This determination is made by the thesis advisor and an additional faculty member who reviews the thesis for this purpose.  Generally, the director or the executive director should serve as the reviewing faculty member unless one of them is the student’s thesis advisor.  This review process helps ensure a level of uniformity in determining what constitutes an honors thesis.  The reviewing faculty member will not alter the faculty advisor’s grade regardless of whether the thesis is considered to be of honors quality. 

International LL.M. Students:

The degree requirements for U.S. and international LL.M. students are identical, with the exception that international students are generally required to take the 2 credit U.S. Law and Legal Institutions class, and the 2 credit legal writing and research class. These 4 credits count towards the 24 credit requirement. International LL.M. students can also take a maximum of 3 other credits of “related courses” if they wish.  The LL.M. program can be completed in two to three semesters of full-time work, which is typically required for international students here on a U.S. visa.