Self-Directed LL.M.
Self Directed


Master of Laws (LL.M.) Program

Self-Directed LL.M. Curriculum Samples

LL.M. in Environmental Law
Knowledge Credits (14 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.)

Teaching Requirement (3 cr. total)
• 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 (14 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.)

Teaching Requirement (3 cr. total)
• Co-Teach Drunk Driving Law and Practice

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.


Program Overview

Individuals with a specialized legal passion may customize an LL. M. degree through the Self Directed LL.M. Program. Working with a faculty advisor, the student completes a combination of electives and supplements classroom work with self-directed learning, teaching, and real-world experience.

Program Requirements

The Self-Directed Program is focused on Cooley's mission of instilling knowledge, skills, and ethics in its students. To earn the degree, the student must successfully complete 14 knowledge credits, 3 teaching requirement credits, and 7 skills or ethics credits. The student completes an outline in addition to the application and follows it through the course of study. 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 (14 credits). These credits are a combination of J.D. and/or LL.M. electives, directed study credits (2 credits max), and a Master's Thesis (2 credits mandatory) intended to bolster the student's knowledge of the subject area. The student will have the support of a full-time faculty advisor who teaches in the student's area of interest.

Teaching Requirement (mandatory 3 credits). The student will eam a total of 3 credits for co-teaching a J.D. elective course. The student must have superior knowledge of the class subject and will be expected to prepare, present, and grade materials. A student is eligible to undertake the teaching requirement once he or she has completed 12 credit hours.The student may be required to prepare for the J.D. elective during the term before the J.D. elective begins.

Skills or Ethics Credits (7 credits). The student's final 7 credits will be a combination of extemship work, skills classes, and ethics classes.

Program Details

Focus your law career with an advanced legal degree. Understand what makes our program special and how to get started.

Contact Us

Cathy J. McCollum
Director, Graduate & Extended Programs

(517) 371-5140, ext. 2703

Vanessa Ramakers
Administrative Assistant
Graduate and Extended Programs
(248) 751-7800, ext. 7783


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