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The Penn State Law LL.M. Program

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“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

Penn State Law’s international students travel thousands of miles to State College with a common, single step: to immerse themselves in our classrooms, libraries, and communities to learn from extraordinary professors and peers from around the world.

Penn State Law is integrated within the larger Penn State University, a global leader in cutting-edge research. The LL.M. curriculum prepares students for careers in law, government, academics, and non-governmental organizations in their home jurisdictions, with the option for the exceptional student to prepare for the New York State Bar or to transfer to the J.D. Program. S.J.D. students pursue advanced independent study with faculty mentors to produce research contributing to distinguished legal scholarship. Studying and working with J.D. students, our international students join an alumni network of more than 700,000 alumni—the largest academic alumni network in the world. This all takes place in the incredible Lewis Katz Building, surrounded by forests and hills in State College and within driving distance to Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

Congratulations on taking this first, single step.   Please email Graduate and International Programs Admissions Director Brenda Johnson for additional information.

Welcome to Penn State Law.

Kazakhstan delegation tours through Montague Library
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – On Wednesday, January 11, Kazakhstan Minister of Science and Higher Education Sayasat Nurbek, Ph.D., along with a delegation, visited Penn State Law in University Park on a tour looking at select law schools in the United States, including Stanford and Harvard. One of the delegation members was Samgat Yermekbayev, head of the Project Office for Social Initiatives in the Office of the Vice-Prime Minister and Penn State Law LL.M. class of 2018 graduate, who aided in facilitating the visit. Stephen Barnes, assistant dean of graduate and international programs, welcomed the delegation to Penn State Law. He remembered first meeting Yermekbayev in 2016 and his time as a student in the LL.M. program. “Samgat was a leader of the class, well-liked by all. And here we are, six years removed from our first meeting: an adviser to the Vice-Prime Minister and undertaking major, visible projects. He’s a member of the board of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, and is leading the Minister of Education’s delegation to his alma mater. It's amazing.” The delegation included Aibolat Aibetbekov, deputy director of the Ministry of Higher Sciences and Education; Marat Sapargalieyv, first secretary at the Kazakhstan Embassy to the United States; and Ruslan Sakeyev, Bolashak representative to the United States in the Kazakhstan Embassy in Washington, D.C. The delegation attended several meetings at the University to discuss developing Penn State programs in Kazakhstan. “Penn State Law’s international relationships provide more educational opportunities while extending our institutional outreach. We’re laying the groundwork for an exciting future,” said Victor Romero, interim dean of Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs, Maureen B. Cavanaugh distinguished faculty scholar, and professor of law.   Kazakhstan delegation tours Montague Law Library in Lewis Katz Building. IMAGE: Penn State Law   The delegation met with Barnes for a tour of the Lewis Katz Building and a luncheon with Penn State Law and Penn State School of International Affairs faculty members, Kazakh LL.M. students, and Kazakh students who are attending other colleges in Penn State University. Alina Borodina, a student in the LL.M. class of 2023 from Kazakhstan, attended the luncheon. “The most exciting part of that day for me was when students asked questions, and the Minister gave detailed answers. The relationship between Penn State and Kazakhstan will benefit both parties, and most Kazakh students can have the opportunity to study at a world-famous university and get international connections,” she said.   Kazakhstan delegation with Kazakh students attending Penn State in Katz lobby. IMAGE: Penn State Law   Jud Mathews, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law at Penn State Law, and affiliate professor at the Penn State School of International Affairs, spoke with the Minister about the future of higher education. “I was impressed with the Minister’s dynamism and his global perspective. Carving out a new role for Kazakhstan in the complex ecosystem of global higher education is a big task, and he’s approaching it with energy, vision, and data-driven thinking,” he said. Mathews added, “It’s very rewarding as an instructor to see students we have taught in University Park, like Samgat Yermekbayev, having a huge impact in Central Asia.”   Stephen Barnes (left) gives Sayasat Nurbek, Ph.D. a Penn State sweatshirt. IMAGE: Penn State Law   “Penn State, in my heart, is my second home,” Yermekbayev said. In 2021, he started the conversation about Penn State Law and Kazakhstan exploring future collaborations. Yermekbayev said the 2023 delegation’s visit was positive and that everyone was on the same page in their meetings. He’s looking forward to the future of Penn State programs reaching Kazakhstan and providing more Kazakh students with the opportunity to learn and understand what it means to be a part of Penn State. Over the past 12 years, the LL.M. program at Penn State Law has had 26 Kazakhstan graduates. Many of these graduates are first generation lawyers and are filling positions in judicial offices, law firms, ministries, and universities. “A country’s citizens can make it better. If we increase Kazakh graduates of Penn State into the thousands, I think Kazakhstan will get better and better,” said Yermekbayev.

Penn State Law

LL.M. Class of 2024 group photo
On Tuesday, August 15, the Penn State Law LL.M. (Master of Laws) program welcomed their biggest class in its history to the University Park campus during orientation. 180 LL.M. students and 14 exchange students hailed from 28 different countries from all over the world, including Uzbekistan, Ghana, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Norway, Colombia, China, Peru, Nigeria, Thailand, Jordan, India, Sweden, Costa Rica, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Georgia, and more.
Lina Albahouth & Kristin Hrehor record the latest episode of the LL.M. podcast
Penn State Law in University Park LL.M. student Lina Albahouth has launched a podcast that highlights the experiences of her fellow international students.
Group photo of the LL.M. Class of 2019
The LL.M. class of 2019 includes 119 students, plus nine exchange students, from 34 different countries. Their diverse perspectives will enrich the experiences of all professors, students, and staff across Penn State Law.
Dean Hari Osofsky poses with Bhargavi Kannan and Sanya Kishwar
Bhargavi Kannan and Sanya Darakhshan Kishwar earned the top individual honor at the 2018 SAARC Moot Court Competition, a yearlong tournament that attracts thousands of talented law students from across India and south Asia.

Contact Us

Brenda Johnson
International Programs
Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA


Photo of Katz Building for Virtual Tour