Self-Directed LL.M.
Self Directed


Master of Laws (LL.M.) Program

Program Overview

Individuals with a passion in a particular legal subject may customize an LL.M. degree through the Self-Directed LL.M. Program. The student combines elective courses with required credits in scholarly research and writing, and skills or ethics.

Degree Requirements

The Self-Directed Program is focused on Cooley's mission of instilling knowledge, skills, and ethics in its students. To earn the 24-credit degree, the student must successfully complete 17 knowledge credits and 7 skills or ethics credits. The student may focus study on a specific legal subject area.  A student who successfully completes at least 18 credits in a chosen legal subject area may have it designated on the LL.M. diploma.  All graduate students must successfully complete 24 credits and have an overall cumulative grade point average of at least a 3.0 or better.

Knowledge Credits (17 credits). These credits are a combination of J.D. and/or LL.M. required and elective credits. Two required courses are Scholarly Writing for LL.M. Students (two credits) and a Master's Thesis (two credits). Electives include directed study (a maximum of two credits) and optional co-teaching (a total of three credits).

Skills or Ethics Credits (7 credits). Seven credits are a combination of externship work, skills classes, and ethics classes.

Self-Directed LL.M. Curriculum Samples

LL.M. in Environmental Law
Knowledge Credits (17 cr. total)
• Environmental Law (3 cr.)
• Energy law (2 cr.)
• Climate Change Law (2 cr.)
• Zoning and Land Use Planning (2 cr.)
• Federal Administrative Law (3 cr.)
• Master's Thesis (2 cr.)
• Co-Teach Climate Change Law (3 cr.)

Skills or Ethics Credits (7 cr. total)
• Extemship (3 cr.)
• Altemate Dispute Resolution (2 cr.)
• Collective Bargaining (2 cr.)

LL.M. in Criminal Law and Advocacy

Knowledge Credits (17 cr. total)
• Advanced Criminal Procedure (3 cr.)
• Child Abuse and Neglect (2 cr.)
• Criminal Sentencing Law and Practice (2 cr.)
• Drunk Driving Law and Practice (2 cr.)
• Forensic Evidence in Criminal Cases (2 cr.)
• Homeland Security Law (2 cr.)
• Master's Thesis (2 cr.)
• Co-Teach Drunk Driving Law and Practice (3 cr.)

Skills or Ethics Credits (7 cr. total)
• Advanced Professional Ethics (2 cr.)
• Advanced Trial Practice - Storytelling (2 cr.)
• Federal Public Defender Externship (3 cr.)

Past students have chosen to focus their studies in areas such as Criminal Trial Advocacy, Environmental Law, Gay Rights Law, Immigration Law, and Family Law.

Go Beyond your Law Degree - WMU Cooley Online Master of Laws Degrees

Effective & Workable Solutions

Earn an LL.M. degree, no matter how far away you are from campus or how busy your schedule. Five LL.M. programs are delivered online, live and interactive, in a virtual classroom environment.

Program Details

Contact Us


Cathy J. McCollum
Director, Graduate & Extended Programs

(517) 371-5140, ext. 2703


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