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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Opportunities for International Students


Felix Dorfelt head shot

The LLM basically set the theoretical groundwork for the work I am doing now. Being exposed to investment arbitraion proved to be very beneficial when I started here at Latham because representing states in investor-state disputes is now a major part of my practice.

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The Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine Caruso School of Law is honored to have the support of  JAMS for sponsoring a full-tuition scholarship for Pepperdine's LLM program in the 2016 - 2017 academic year.  JAMS is the largest for profit provider of mediation and arbitration services in the United States, with offices in more than 25 cities and more than 300 retired judges and senior lawyers on its panel. JAMS has been focusing on international opportunities, including the opening of an office in London, and sees this scholarship as an expression of its support for future international arbitration practitioners.  

Students travel from around the world to study conflict and dispute resolution at the Straus Institute. Some of our most recent students and graduates have traveled from Canada, China, Germany, Korea, Mexico, Argentina, Greece, Republic of Georgia, Spain, Nepal, Czech Republic and Jordan to study dispute resolution. The Straus Institute has also hosted a variety of Fulbright scholars from Germany, Panama, Russia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Tunisia, El Salvador, Panama, Egypt, and Ukraine.

Candidates with the first degree of law required to practice or teach law can apply for our Masters of Laws (LLM), an advanced law degree in dispute resolution. Candidates without a law background who have a bachelor's degree or equivalent can apply for our Masters in Dispute Resolution (MDR) or Certificate in Dispute Resolution programs.

 Master of Laws (LLM) Programs

The Master of Law (LLM)  is an advanced law degree available exclusively for attorneys or judges. Applicants for our LLM program must have completed the first degree of law required to practice or teach law. For candidates in the United States this requires a JD degree from an ABA-accredited law school.

The LLM is a 26 unit program which can be completed as a full-time student in two semesters, or can take up to three years as a part-time student. Pepperdine offers the following LLM program options:

The many of the LLM programs will provide enough electives for international students to be able to sit for the New York or California bar exam. The ICLA and ICLDR programs will require additional electives to take the requisite bar courses.

More about the LLM program

 LLM to Juris Doctor (JD) Transfer

Pepperdine LLM students can apply to the JD Program as transfer students without taking the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The applicant's grades and relative difficulty of coursework pursued in Pepperdine's LLM will be very important factors. Successful applicants will usually have good grades in at least four substantive law courses tested on the bar exam.

If the applicant is accepted into the JD Program, he or she may transfer the credits from law classes taken toward completion of the LLM degree. The student must then complete the first year curriculum in his or her second year at Pepperdine. In the third year, enough advanced courses must be completed in order to satisfy the JD graduation requirement. Students transferring from the LLM to the JD will be awarded the JD degree upon completion of the JD requirements and will not be awarded an LLM degree. Only students currently enrolled in Pepperdine's LLM program may apply in the manner.

 Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR)

The Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) program provides practical dispute resolution training for candidates who do not have a law background or degree. Students in the MDR program consist of people from a variety of professions including business and other graduate students, executives, human resource professionals, doctors, psychologists, peacemakers and social workers. Through the MDR students will gain experience through the required Externship program and Mediation Clinic class. Students can also delve deeper into specialty areas including Labor, Dispute Resolution Systems Design, Ombuds and more. Please refer to course descriptions for a full list of courses.

The MDR Program is a 32 unit program that can be completed in one year as a full-time student with courses available in one week, two weekend an fifteen week formats in Malibu.

More about the MDR program

 Certificate in Dispute Resolution

The Certificate program is a 14 unit program consisting of foundational courses in Mediation, Negotiation and Arbitration. Students can complete the program full-time in one semester or over three years as a part-time student. Professionals who participate in the Certificate program are looking for more depth than can be provided by professional training programs and the additional credibility of our Certificate Program. Those that complete the Certificate program and want additional training can also reapply for our MDR or LLM, and if accepted, transfer their Certificate units into the other programs.

More about the Certificate in Dispute Resolution program

 Visiting Researcher Program

Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law provides faculty and researchers from around the world the opportunity to visit Pepperdine under the J1 Research Scholar program. A J1 Research Scholar must be a faculty member, post-doc, a research associate, or a person with similar education or accomplishments at their home institution.
More about the J1 Research Scholar Opportunity

Application Requirements

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and need to be submitted prior to the intended start date.

Courses start in the Fall (mid-August), Spring (early January), and Summer (late May) terms. Applications can be submitted up to one year in advance; it is recommended that international students submit their applications at least four months prior to their expected start date. Applicants for the LLM in U.S. Law program should note that program only begins during the fall semester.

Scholarships are highly competitive and granted to admitted students on a rolling basis. The majority of partial scholarships are awarded between December and March 1 for the Fall term. All applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

All applicants are required to submit:

  • Application form online or through LSAC
  • Official transcripts for all degrees earned or in-progress, including any available class rankings. Transcripts originating outside the United States must be evaluated before submission to Pepperdine
  • One to two page personal statement
  • Current resumé or CV
  • Two narrative letters of recommendation or completed Personal Evaluation Forms


LLM Concentration in International Commercial Arbitration

Download the ICA Brochure

This concentration is designed to combine a robust academic foundation, a capstone practice experience, methodical examination and practice of the negotiation and mediation processes, and enough electives for students to be able to take electives to sit for the New York or California bar exam.

More about this program