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Up to six Harvard 2Ls are selected annually to spend their 3L year reading for the LL.M. degree in Cambridge, United Kingdom. The admissions process begins with an application through HLS in January of the candidate’s 2L year and ends with a decision by Cambridge in early spring for matriculation at Cambridge the following fall.

HLS students who are already enrolled in joint degree programs, either with other Harvard schools or other American universities, are not eligible to apply for the Cambridge program. Students who transfer to HLS after completing their first year at another law school are not eligible for the Cambridge program.

Students who would like to discuss the possibility of obtaining disability accommodations for the Cambridge LL.M. should contact Lakshmi Clark, Assistant Director of Student Services, at or (617) 496-2437 prior to applying.


As a first step in the application process, students should submit the following materials by Monday, January 8, 2018 to Sara Zucker, Director of International Legal Studies, in Wasserstein Hall, Suite 5005 or by e-mail to

  1. A statement of interest for review by the HLS Study Abroad Committee. The statement of interest should be five pages in length and should elaborate on the applicant’s educational and professional objectives and identify a proposed course of study at Cambridge including specific classes.
  2. Cambridge college preferences.  Please indicate a first and second choice of Cambridge colleges and explain the reasons for the selections.  (The Cambridge application form also serves as the mechanism for students to apply for college membership. Each student admitted to the Cambridge LL.M. program will be assigned to a college and must indicate his/her first two college preferences on the Cambridge application form. It is not possible to amend these preferences after the application form is submitted, so students should think carefully about their choice of colleges. For further information, including details about Cambridge colleges that have reserved spots for HLS students, please see the section below on colleges.)
  3. An official copy of a current HLS transcript.  Official copies must be sent directly from the Office of the Registrar or, if delivered by the student, arrive in the original signed and sealed envelopes.  Requests to the HLS Registrar’s Office for transcripts may take 3-5 days to process so students should plan accordingly.
  4. A resume
  5. Letters from two academic references. Although applicants may provide letters of reference from faculty members at schools other than HLS, it is desirable to provide at least one recommendation from an HLS professor. Students should bear in mind that letters of recommendation that explain how an applicant performed in his/her academic studies in comparison to his/her peers are of particular value to the Committee. The University of Cambridge puts considerable weight on academic performance.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The University of Cambridge provides the following instructions for faculty recommenders: “Please comment on the applicant’s academic fitness and general suitability to undertake the proposed course of research or study, in relation to the qualification sought. Also include any other information which you think is relevant to the application. If the applicant’s native language is not English, please comment on the applicant’s level of fluency and proficiency, particularly in the context of their academic work, if known.”

 Letters should be sent directly by the recommenders to Sara Zucker.  If they are submitted by the student, rather than the faculty member, they should be provided in signed and sealed envelopes.

Applicants will be notified by February 1 if they are being nominated for the Cambridge LL.M. program.  After that, each nominated student will receive instructions and an individualized application link from the Cambridge Graduate Admissions Office.  Students will then have 7 days to complete the on-line application and upload the supporting materials.

When completing the on-line application, students will provide their recommenders’ names and e-mail addresses.  The system will generate an invitation for recommenders to submit materials via the reference portal.  (It is expected that the content of reference letters will be the same as that of the letters reviewed by the HLS Study Abroad Committee.)

Admissions decisions are ultimately made by the University of Cambridge.

Application Timeline

  • Monday, January 8

    Application and all attachments due to Sara Zucker at HLS

  • Mid-January

    Each applicant meets individually with a member of the HLS study abroad team to discuss how the year at Cambridge could fit into his/her academic and career goals.

  • February 1

    Students will be notified whether they have been selected as nominees for the Cambridge LL.M. program. Nominees will then receive an individualized application link and will have 7 days to complete the on-line application and upload the supporting materials.

  • Mid-March

    Students are notified of admissions decisions by the University of Cambridge.

  • April 15

    Students who are admitted to Cambridge must make a firm commitment to the program.

Cambridge Colleges

Colleges form the basis for much of the academic and social life at Cambridge. Students may wish to consider such factors as: composition of the student body including whether it has undergraduate as well as graduate students, location (including where graduate students are housed in relation to the faculty of law), facilities and activities (library, dining, sports, social events), “personality” of the college and degree of formality, alumni network, and the availability of funding for doctoral-level study, among others.

All of the Colleges on this list particularly welcome applications from HLS students to the LL.M. and have agreed to consider each application made. Each college has its own policy on the number of places that it makes available for LL.M. students in any one year. A typical College will accept between 3-6 LL.M. students (across all applications received) but some colleges will accept fewer students and some considerably more. In general, the graduate colleges tend to have higher numbers of LL.M. students (in some cases accepting 20 or more LL.M. students). College admissions offices are usually happy to answer queries about the typical size of an LLM cohort and the Link Coordinator at Cambridge (Dr. Richard Williams: is always happy to answer questions that HLS students may have about the LLM.

Applicants can learn about the Cambridge colleges on the University of Cambridge website and find answers to common questions about how the college system works and admittance restrictions. It can also be useful to speak with HLS students who have gone to Cambridge or to contact the officers of the Cambridge Graduate Union for an “unofficial” perspective of the various colleges. Upon request, the International Legal Studies office can provide HLS students with contact information of past participants in the HLS-Cambridge joint degree program as well as their tips about things to consider when choosing a college.

HLS students will need to designate their preferred colleges as part of their application to Cambridge and may not change these preferences later.

It is also possible for HLS students to express preferences for other Cambridge colleges but the likelihood of acceptance cannot be predicted. Competition for places in some Cambridge colleges is particularly intense, due to either the small number of places available or the large number of applicants who ranked that college as a first choice. If an HLS applicant is not accepted by either of the two preferred colleges indicated on his/her application form, s/he will be assigned to another college as designated by Cambridge.

A few colleges have restrictions and some do not have housing for married couples.