Advanced Degree Programs

Master's Degree Programs

The Master of Laws (LLM) Program

With a specialization in Corporate Governance & Practice, Environmental Law & Policy, Law, Science & Technology, and International Economic Law, Business & Policy the LLM program offers a course-based curriculum of advanced study. The LLM program enrolls approximately 15-20 students in each specialization per year. It is limited to students with a primary law degree earned outside the United States.


The Stanford Program in International Legal Studies (SPILS)

Leading to the completion of the Master of the Science of Law (JSM) degree, SPILS emphasizes interdisciplinary research, broadly defined—including the full range of social sciences (qualitative and quantitative), as well as more humanistic approaches.  SPILS is oriented toward international candidates with a primary law degree earned outside the United States who are committed to pursuing careers in teaching, research, the judiciary, public policy, or service in government or nongovernmental organizations. SPILS enrolls approximately 12 fellows per year. Students who are interested in pursuing a teaching or research career in the fields of Corporate Governance & Practice or Law, Science & Technology should apply to SPILS. The LLM program and SPILS make separate admissions decisions, so these students may also want to apply to the LLM program in the field of their specialization.


The Master of Legal Studies (MLS)

The Master of Legal Studies (MLS) is a nonprofessional degree designed for advanced graduate students from the United States or abroad who have no prior legal training and whose interdisciplinary research requires knowledge of the foundations of the legal system. Only a few such students, if any, are admitted in a given year. Questions concerning the MLS should be directed to

Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD)

Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD)

JSD candidates are selected on a two-track basis from among (1) students who have completed the Stanford SPILS program or will do so prior to commencing the JSD; and (2) students at Stanford and other U.S. law schools who have completed LLM degrees or will do so prior to commencing the JSD.


The Knight Hennessy Fellowship

Applicants to the SPILS or LLM programs are eligible to apply for Stanford’s Knight Hennessy Fellowship. If you receive the fellowship and later apply to—and are admitted into—the JSD program, the fellowship will continue to provide support during the JSD.  More particularly, the fellowship makes available three years of funding in total.  So you would receive fellowship support during your one year master’s degree program and then during the first two years of the JSD program.

Please be aware that the timing requirements are such that you cannot apply for the fellowship during the year that you apply to the JSD program. In other words, if you intend to apply to the JSD program and also for the Knight-Hennessy Fellowship, you must apply for the fellowship one year earlier—namely, at the time that you are applying to one of our master’s degree programs.

Knight Hennessy Program