Joint J.D./LL.M Program in Taxation
The law school offers a combined J.D. /LL.M. degree in taxation. The result: a reduction in the minimum time needed to qualify for both degrees from four to three and a half academic years, plus halving the ordinary tuition cost of the LL.M.
The joint J.D./LL.M. degree continues the 12-course LL.M. requirement, except that two advanced J.D. tax courses count among the 12, and up to four graduate tax courses can (but need not) be completed while the student is a J.D. candidate. Accordingly up to four graduate tax courses and two J.D. advanced tax courses double count: that is, their credit hours qualify for both degrees. In addition, J.D. /LL.M. students are waived out of Introduction to Taxation in the LL.M program. The result is that half the courses required for the LL.M. degree are covered by regular J.D. tuition, and can be completed during J.D. residency.
The J.D. degree will be awarded at the successful completion of six semesters of full-time study. The LL.M. degree follows when the student finishes the remaining graduate tax courses. Depending on the dedication and industry of the student, it is therefore possible to capture the LL.M. degree in 3 ½ academic years as compared to a minimum of four years under standard procedures.
When to Apply
To optimize the benefits of the program, a J.D. student should apply for the joint degree program before the beginning of his fourth semester. We recommend that the J.D. student take Introduction to Federal Tax (J.D.) in her third J.D. semester. This will allow the student to spread her graduate tax courses over her fourth through sixth J.D. semesters, as well as the graduate tax summer semester between her fourth and fifth J.D. semesters. While a qualified J.D. student can enter the joint program at a later time, given the existing scheduling array for both J.D. tax courses and graduate tax courses, it is somewhat unlikely that the student could manage to take all four allowable graduate tax courses by the end of the sixth J.D. semester, thereby diminishing somewhat the cost and temporal benefits of the joint program.
Summary of J.D. /LL.M. Requirements
- Cumulative 2.67 GPA in all J.D. courses at the time of application, and thereafter.
- Completed J.D. Introduction to Federal Taxation (LAW-7034) earning a grade of B or better (Note: JD/LLM students are waived out of the required LL.M. Introduction to Taxation (LTX-1105), but instead, may take another elective to complete LL.M credit requirements)
- May take up to two advanced J.D. tax courses (each counts as one GT course, regardless of number of credits)(e.g., a 3 credit JD course counts as one GT)
- May take no more than four graduate tax courses (each 2 credit course is a JD elective)
Please note: Sometimes Villanova Graduate Tax Program classes extend into the J.D. reading period. The law school will not reschedule an exam because a J.D. /LL.M student has a graduate tax class the night before a scheduled law school exam.
Advanced J.D. Tax Courses1
- Employee Benefits
- Family Wealth Planning
- Taxation of Business Entities (may not be taken simultaneously with Partnership Tax)
- Wealth Tax (cannot also take Federal Wealth Transfer Tax)
- Before applying, confer about scheduling with Linda Love Vines, Assistant Director, Graduate Tax Program in Room 183
- Submit an application for the joint degree program using the Graduate Tax Program Application form available on the website ($50 LL.M. application fee waived).
- Provide a current official transcript of J.D. courses
Completing the LL.M after J.D. Graduation
Upon receipt of the J.D. degree (assuming she has met the 2.67 cumulative GPA requirement), the student matriculates as an LL.M. candidate. At that point, at a minimum the student will have six graduate tax courses remaining. Those six courses can be completed at any time within four years, beginning with the graduate tax summer semester following J.D. graduation. As a practical matter, students who sit for the summer bar examination will probably forego graduate tax courses that Summer in order to devote full time to bar examination preparation. Given that, in order to complete the joint program in the shortest overall possible time (3 1/2 academic years), the student would have to take six graduate tax courses in the ensuing fall semester.
If you have any questions or wish to schedule an appointment, please email me at
1Effective January 1, 2011: Tax Policy, the Federal Tax Clinic and the IRS Chief Counsel Externship will no longer be considered advanced J.D. tax courses for purposes of the joint program in taxation.
Effective August 1, 2008: Decedents is no longer considered an advanced J.D. tax course for purposes of the joint program.