Skip to content


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 also 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, Director of Student Affairs, at or (617) 496-2437 prior to applying.


As a first step in the application process, students should submit the following materials by Friday, January 5, 2024 to International Legal Studies, 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.  Each student admitted to the Cambridge LL.M. program will be assigned to a college and must also indicate these 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, please see “Cambridge Colleges,” below.
  3. An official copy of your current HLS transcript.  The transcript should include your most recent reported grades as of the application deadline. Students can order official transcripts online by going to the Office of the Registrar’s Transcripts Requests page and selecting “Placing a Transcript Order Online.” Official transcripts may be in electronic or paper form but must be sent directly from the Office of the Registrar, or, if delivered by the student, arrive in the original signed and sealed envelope. (Please note that requests for HLS transcripts may take 3-5 days to process, so applicants 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 their academic studies in comparison to their 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 International Legal Studies, by e-mail to  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 seven 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  these 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

January 5, 2024
Application materials are due to International Legal Studies.

Each applicant meets individually with a member of the HLS study abroad team to discuss how the year at Cambridge could fit into their 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 seven days to complete the Cambridge on-line application and upload the supporting materials.

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. In choosing a College, HLS students may wish to consider the composition of the student body, including whether it has undergraduate as well as graduate students; its location (including where graduate students are housed in relation to the faculty of law); its facilities and activities (library, dining, sports, social events), the “personality” of the College and its degree of formality; its alumni network; and the availability of funding for doctoral-level study, among other factors.

All of the Colleges on this list particularly welcome applications from HLS students to the LL.M. program 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 three to six LL.M. students (across all applications received) but some 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 will usually answer queries about the typical size of an LL.M. cohort, and the Link Coordinator at Cambridge, Jens Scherpe (, is always happy to answer questions that HLS students may have.

Applicants can learn about how the College system works and admittance restrictions on the Cambridge website. It can also be useful to speak with HLS students who have studied at Cambridge or to contact the officers of the Cambridge Graduate Union for an “unofficial” perspective on 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 their application form, they will be assigned to another college as designated by Cambridge.

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