Jul 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Taxation, LL.M.

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Dedman School of Law has a long tradition of strength in the area of federal taxation. The LL.M. (taxation) program, for full-time or part-time students, is a comprehensive, advanced-degree program designed for attorneys intending to specialize in tax practice. It focuses not only on technical mastery of the tax laws but also on wider issues of tax and fiscal policy. Most of the courses in the curriculum provide survey-level instruction in subjects typically not addressed in J.D.-level tax courses. In addition, advanced courses develop in-depth, practice-oriented expertise.

Courses are taught by Dedman School of Law faculty and by adjunct professors and lecturers who are experienced, practicing tax specialists in Dallas area law firms and corporate law departments.

Accelerated Tax LL.M. Option

Students enrolled in the JD Program have the option to earn both a J.D. and LL.M. (in Taxation) in only seven semesters of full-time study. This dual degree program does not change the requirements for either degree, but it does allow students to count a limited number of classes toward satisfying both degrees.

The existing LL.M. (in Taxation) degree requires 24 credit hours, taken after completion of the J.D. degree. The dual degree program allows students enrolled in the J.D. program at the SMU Dedman School of Law, either as a candidate for an SMU degree or as a visiting student from other ABA-accredited American law schools, to count up to 12 credits of specialized tax courses, taken at SMU while a candidate for the J.D. degree, toward the LL.M. (in Taxation) degree. Students participating in the J.D./LL.M. (in Taxation) Program must complete at least 12 credits of study as matriculated LL.M. students after completion of their J.D. degrees. Students interested in this program should meet with the Dean of Graduate and International Programs early in their academic career to be sure they are meeting the requirements of the dual degree.

Admission Criteria

Admission to this program is by selection. An applicant for admission to the LL.M. (taxation) degree program must hold a J.D. degree from an American Bar Association-accredited law school. Students with a law degree from a foreign country and a strong background in tax may also be considered for admission. Students may attend either full time or part time.

Application Procedure

Applicants must include with their applications a letter stating why they are interested in entering the graduate degree program, two letters of recommendation and official transcripts from both their undergraduate and law schools. 

Applications for the fall term should be received by the Office of Graduate Legal Studies by April 15 of the year of intended enrollment and for the spring term by December 1 of the year preceding enrollment. The Law School makes admissions decisions on a rolling basis and will accept applications after these dates; however, it strongly encourages applicants to apply within these deadlines.

Financial Aid

The SMU Office of Financial Aid is available to assist U.S. students in obtaining student loans.

Specialized Courses

The following listing (abstracted from the full list of courses found in this catalog under The Curriculum) illustrates the diversity and depth of courses offered at the Dedman School of Law in taxation and related fields. Applicants should note, however that Dedman School of Law does not offer all of these courses and seminars each term or even each year. In addition, some courses have limited enrollments or prerequisites that a student may not satisfy. The school’s Registrar’s Office publishes a schedule of courses before the beginning of each term. Students must consult these schedules for actual course offerings. The credit hours for each course are given at the beginning of each course description included under The Curriculum in this catalog. Other related courses not listed may also be offered each year on a one-time-only basis.

Degree Requirements

To receive the LL.M. (taxation) degree the student must meet all of the following requirements:

  1. Residence in the Dedman School of Law for no fewer than two terms if a full-time student and no fewer than three terms if a part-time student. 
  2. Completion of 24 credit hours in courses, seminars or research and writing. Of these 24 credit hours, 18 hours must be in the taxation area. Mandatory courses are LAW 7227 - Tax Accounting  and LAW 7284 - Tax and Fiscal Policy .

    With prior approval of the Committee on Graduate Legal Studies, a student may take four of the required 24 credit hours in graduate programs of Dedman College (SMU’s school of humanities and sciences), in Perkins School of Theology or in the Cox School of Business. The student will receive Dedman School of Law credit on completion of all work to the instructor’s satisfaction, but the grades will not be computed into the student’s Dedman School of Law average.

    The student may be permitted to undertake directed research for a one-hour to three-hour graded paper if they can obtain a faculty sponsor.
  3. Students entering the program must have a GPA of C or 2.0 on all courses taken. The requisite GPA of C or 2.0 must be obtained in the first 24 credit hours. Students will not receive credit for a course or seminar in which their grade is below D or 1.0.
  4. Completion of all requirements within 36 months from the date of initial enrollment as a graduate law student. However, a candidate continuously enrolled as a part-time student has 60 months to complete all requirements.

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