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LL.M. students submit course preferences for the entire academic year during a process that takes place in July and August, before their arrival at Harvard Law School. Preliminary schedules, reflecting the courses in which each student is enrolled, as well as initial waitlist information, were sent to students by email on August 13, 2018. During Orientation, LL.M. students will review their course schedules and talk about changes in individual meetings with their LL.M. Advisors. All students have the opportunity to finalize their schedules during periods for Add/Drop and Waitlist Processing held throughout the academic year (see “Add/Drop and Waitlist Processing” below).

Course Counseling Sessions: Every LL.M. student has been assigned an LL.M. Advisor. LL.M. students will have individual meetings as well as group meetings with their LL.M. Advisors. Counseling sessions will be held throughout Orientation. Students sign up for course counseling appointments through an online process; the instructions for signing up were issued by email in mid-August. LL.M. Advisors will continue to guide students in their advising groups throughout the year, will plan social events in the fall and spring terms, and will remain available for questions and consultations.

The Components of Course Registration

During Orientation, information will be provided on the following technical components of registering for Law School courses:

  • Open Courses
  • Waitlisted and Oversubscribed Courses
  • Add/Drop and Waitlist Processing
  • Courses Requiring Permission

Students will refer to this information throughout the academic year. (Please also see “Cross-Registration” below.)


Open courses are those courses that have not yet been filled and can be added without waitlisting or instructor permission. In some cases, there may be a large number of spaces available, while in other cases there may be only very few spaces available. It should be noted that an “Open” course can quickly become a “Waitlisted” course once students enroll in any available spaces. Further information about access to and parameters for Open Courses in HELIOS, the Law School’s student information and registration system, will be provided during Orientation.


Courses that have been filled, and that do not require instructor permission to enroll, will have waitlists. Waitlist size varies by course. The most popular courses will typically have the fewest spaces available and/or the longest waitlists, and are referred to as “Oversubscribed.” If you are enrolled in an oversubscribed course and decide to drop it, you are strongly encouraged to do so by no later than the end of the day after the first meeting of the class. You should also check individual course descriptions for special deadlines and requirements.


The process for adding your name to a waitlist, removing your name from a waitlist, or enrolling in a course from a waitlist will be described in detail during Orientation, and will be clarified in separate documentation. If your name is on a waitlist, it will remain there, in priority order, unless and until a space in the course or seminar becomes available.

During designated Waitlist Processing periods (see “Add/ Drop and Waitlist Processing” below), seats in courses with waitlists will be offered to students as space becomes available. Students who are offered a space in a waitlisted course will be given a fixed time period in which to add the course to their schedules. Students who fail to respond during that specified time frame, after having been notified that the space is available, will lose their chance to add the course and will be dropped from the waitlist. Occasionally, students have reported that waitlist offers were mistakenly caught as spam. Therefore, students should routinely check the “spam” folders on their HLS email accounts to help ensure that they do not miss any waitlist offers that have been issued.


Courses requiring permission from the instructor for admission may be added only after the student registering for the course obtains approval (in the form of an email or other written permission) from the course instructor. In all cases, students should carefully review course descriptions to comply with all prerequisites as well as any restrictions.

Credit Maximums and Schedule Changes: LL.M. students may not register for more than 28 credits over the course of the academic year (including the one credit assigned for completion of the portion of the Legal Research, Writing and Analysis course that takes place during Orientation; this one credit is assigned after the end of Orientation); most students will not register for more than 24 credits. LL.M. students who are seriously considering enrolling for 28 credits are encouraged to seek guidance on workload balancing and potential opportunity costs. If you are enrolled for the 28-credit maximum and wish to add a course to your schedule or need to register for a paper worth one or two credits, you must first drop one or more course(s).

Any alteration is subject to course availability. Please note that extensive alteration of your schedule may result in lost or missed class time.

All course changes made during the designated Add/Drop and Waitlist Processing periods must be made in HELIOS. Detailed instructions on how to view waitlists and how to accomplish these changes using HELIOS will be provided during Orientation.

Add/Drop and Waitlist Processing

The Add/Drop/Waitlist period for LL.M. students will begin on Friday, August 24, 2018 at 1:00 p.m.  Students will use HELIOS to:

  • add themselves to courses that have not yet been filled
  • add themselves to waitlists for courses that have already been filled
  • add themselves to courses with waitlists after they receive an enrollment offer
  • drop themselves from waitlists for courses in which they are no longer interested
  • drop themselves from courses they no longer wish to take

Waitlist Processing—the process by which students on waitlists may be offered the chance to enroll in a particular waitlisted course if a seat becomes available—for all fall, winter, and spring courses will begin on August 24th and continue until the Add/Drop deadline for each respective term (listed below). As soon as a space in a course becomes available, an offer will be issued to the next person on the waitlist. Students offered a place in a waitlisted course will have 24 hours from when the offer is issued to accept. Any student who does not respond within this 24-hour window will be completely removed from the waitlist for the course.

Students may continue to make course schedule changes in HELIOS until the following deadlines, subject to publicized blackout periods during which the system will be unavailable:

  • September 10, 2018, at 11:59 PM: last day for Waitlist Processing for and changes to fall, fall-winter, and fall-spring courses. Add/Drop and Waitlist Processing for winter and spring courses continue.
  • January 8, 2019, at 11:59 PM: last day for Waitlist Processing for and changes to winter and winter-spring courses. Add/ Drop and Waitlist Processing for spring courses continue.
  • February 1, 2018, at 11:59 PM: last day for Waitlist Processing for and changes to spring courses.


LL.M. students may cross-register for courses outside the Law School with permission from the Committee on Graduate Studies and the prior approval of Nancy Pinn, the Director of Administration and Student Affairs (acting on the Committee’s behalf ). LL.M. students may cross-register for up to six Law School credits in approved cross-registered courses during the LL.M. year. With the exception of language courses, cross-registration credits count towards the credit requirements for the LL.M. degree once the student obtains a passing grade as determined by the school or department in which the course or seminar is taken. No Law School credit is awarded for language, field, or studio courses.

First-year S.J.D. students who have not waived the LL.M. degree (see “Course Work Undertaken for Credit” in Section III) may also cross-register for courses outside the Law School as long as the course pertains to their fields of study and approval is obtained from the faculty supervisor and the Committee on Graduate Studies.

For S.J.D. students, cross-registered courses, if any, should be listed in the S.J.D. study plan to be submitted no later than September 30 of the first year.

Students are normally granted approval to take courses in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (in fields such as anthropology, economics, government, history, and philosophy), the Kennedy School of Government, the Business School, the School of Education, other divisions of the University, the Fletcher School at Tufts, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cross-registration information can be found online at:

Cross Registration at Harvard Law School

The illustrative chart below sets out the relevant dates and deadlines for cross-registration to relevant schools.

School Cross-registration start date Semester start date Cross-registration end date
Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) September 4, 2018 September 4, 2018 October 9, 2018
Harvard Business School – MBA Program (HBS) August 29, 2018 August 31, 2018 September 6, 2018
Harvard Graduate School of Education (GSE) August 28, 2018 August 27, 2018 September 21, 2018
Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) September 4, 2018 September 6, 2018 September 20, 2018
Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) August 16, 2018 September 4, 2018 September 13, 2018
Fletcher School at Tufts University (Fletcher) August 29, 2018 September 5, 2018 September 11, 2018
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) August 27, 2018 September 5, 2018 October 5, 2018

Deadlines for Course Changes

If you do not drop a course from which you intended to withdraw within the specified Add/Drop and Waitlist Processing periods (i.e., by the last day of the Add/Drop period for a particular term), a designated notation of WD (Withdrawn After Deadline) will appear on your permanent transcript in the “grade” section. It is therefore very important that you pay close attention to deadlines (see page above) and carefully review your online academic schedule to verify your course enrollment status.