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LL.M. students have submitted course preferences for 2023-2024 through a two-phase process that took place over the summer. Preliminary schedules, reflecting the courses in which each student is enrolled, as well as initial waitlist information, were sent to students by email. 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 and group meetings with their LL.M. Advisors. Counseling sessions will be held throughout Orientation and available during the entire academic year. Students sign up for their first course counseling appointments through an online process; the instructions for signing up were issued by email in mid-August. Further consultations are available by appointment. LL.M. Advisors will continue to guide students in their advising groups throughout the academic year, plan social events in the fall and spring terms, and remain available for questions and consultations.

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 a student is enrolled for the 28-credit maximum and wishes to add a course to their schedule or needs to register for a paper worth one or two credits, that student must first drop one or more course(s).

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

All course changes made during the designated Add/Drop and Waitlist Processing periods (below) 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.

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.)

A. Open Courses

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.

B. Waitlisted and Oversubscribed Courses

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.” Students who are enrolled in an oversubscribed course and decide to drop it are strongly encouraged to do so by no later than the end of the day after the first meeting of the class. Students should also check individual course descriptions for special deadlines and requirements.

C. Waitlist Process

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 e-mail accounts to help ensure that they do not miss any waitlist offers that have been issued.

D. Courses Requiring Permission

Courses requiring instructor permission for enrollment may be added only after the student registering for the course obtains approval (in the form of an e-mail 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.

Add/Drop and Waitlist Processing

The Add/Drop/Waitlist period for LL.M. students will begin on August 21, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. EDT (UTC/GMT-4). 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 21, 2023 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 typically will have 15 hours from when the offer is issued to accept. Any student who does not respond within this 15-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 maintenance periods during which the system will be unavailable:

  • September 11, 2023, at 11:59 p.m.: 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 term courses continue.
  • January 2, 2024, at 11:59 p.m.: last day for Waitlist Processing for and changes to winter and winter-spring courses. Add/ Drop and Waitlist Processing for spring term courses continue.
  • January 26, 2024, at 11:59 p.m.: last day for Waitlist Processing for and changes to spring term courses.


LL.M. students may petition to cross-register for graduate-level courses outside the law school. Cross-registration petitions are subject to review by the Committee on Graduate Studies and the prior approval of Nancy Pinn, the Senior 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. Approved 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, or courses not reasonably related to a program of law study.

Students are normally granted approval to take graduate-level 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.

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

SchoolCross-registration start dateSemester start dateCross-registration end date
Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS)August 21, 2023September 5, 2023October 10, 2023
Harvard Business School – MBA Program (HBS)August 31, 2023September 5, 2023September 7, 2023
Harvard Graduate School of Education (GSE)August 31, 2022September 5, 2023September 18, 2023
Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)August 28, 2023August 30, 2023September 8, 2023
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH)August 11, 2023August 28, 2023September 7, 2023
Fletcher School at Tufts University (Fletcher)August 31, 2023September 5, 2023September 22, 2023
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)August 28, 2023September 6, 2023October 6, 2023

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 (listed above) and carefully review your online academic schedule to verify your course enrollment status.