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SCHOOL OF LAW

Legal Studies in Taxation MLST Applicants

USF offers the only Master of Legal Studies in Taxation in Northern California and the only program in the US scheduled around the US Tax busy season. Applications for the Master of Legal Studies in Taxation (MLST) program are accepted for the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

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Application Deadlines:
Spring: November 1, 2022
Summer: April 1, 2023
Fall: June 1, 2023

Application Requirements

Please note that the Law School will continue to accept applications after our priority application deadline, space permitting. However, early application filing is encouraged in order to receive an application decision in a timely manner.

  • The Admissions Committee reviews files in the order they are completed, on a rolling basis. Therefore, it is to the applicant's advantage to submit the complete application with supporting materials as early as possible. Applicants will be reviewed once all required documents and the application fee have been received.

    Applicants will be evaluated on academic and personal criteria. Academic information to be submitted with the application includes law school transcripts and other university records. Personal information includes extracurricular activities, employment experience, and other biographical information. Recommendations from professors or employers and a personal statement from the applicant are also required. All documents that are not in English, including transcripts and letters of recommendation, must be accompanied by an English translation.

  • Please fill out the application and submit it along with a resume, personal statement, two letters of recommendation, and a transcript.

    Have questions? Email us at taxlaw@usfca.edu or (415) 422-2801.

    1. Application Form

    You can apply directly through USF online:

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    All mailed application materials should be sent to the following address: 

    University of San Francisco School of Law
    Graduate Tax Programs
    101 Howard St., Suite 430
    San Francisco, CA 94105

    Or you may complete the application form online and submit it electronically through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). If applying electronically, please do not need to submit a hard copy of your application to the Admissions Office.

    Please be sure to sign and date your application. If applying electronically, please use the electronic certification function. Unsigned applications will not be transmitted to USF.

    All required sections of the application must be completed. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

    2. Education

    All LLM applicants are required to complete or have completed a Juris Doctorate (JD) degree from an American Bar Association accredited law school by the time classes begin. 

    International students are eligible to apply only if they have completed a law degree (equivalent to a U.S. baccalaureate degree) from their home country or will have completed the degree by the time classes begin.

    Original transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended are required.  The transcripts must be sent directly to the USF School of Law Office of Graduate Tax Admissions in sealed envelopes by your university. They should be sent to the following address:

    Graduate Tax Admissions Office
    2130 Fulton Ave, Suite 230
    San Francisco, California 94117

    The transcripts should show your grades, approximate class rank, and any degree received. If the degree received is not printed on the transcript, you must provide a copy of the diploma certificate.  If possible, please provide a grading system explanation sheet from each school. If not in English, transcripts and diplomas must be accompanied by an English translation. The School of Law may require a credential evaluation to be completed as part of the review process.

    3. Resume & Personal Statement

    The admissions committee requires that each applicant submit a personal statement to supplement the application form. The statement is used by the committee as both a source of additional information and as a writing sample.

    The statement should focus on your interest in and motivation and preparation for the study of tax law. The committee is interested in your personal experiences, background, and accomplishments. Factors that are helpful to the committee include co-curricular or non-academic activities, areas of interest, past or present employment, and academic honors. Personal statements tend to average 2 to 4 pages in length; however, there is no page limitation to the personal statement. If there are instances of academic probation or disqualification, applicants should be prepared to explain these situations in a separate addendum. The personal statement should be typewritten and double spaced., . 

    You must also submit a resume as part of the application process. It should detail your work history and any relevant tax experience (work or volunteer) to date.  Please note that work experience is not a requirement for enrollment. It should be submitted as a PDF.

    Please write your name on the top of each page. Number and staple pages together. If applying electronically, be sure to attach your statement electronically.

    4. Two Letters of Recommendation

    The admissions committee requires two letters of recommendation in support of your application. An optional third letter may be submitted, but no more than three letters of recommendation will be considered for one application. Although the committee will accept recommendation letters from any two individuals designated by the applicant, the committee suggests:

    • If possible, have the two recommendations completed by college or university faculty members (or administrators) with whom you have studied. If you have been away from school for a considerable time, you may wish to substitute other individuals, including supervisors and business colleagues, with whom you have had more recent contact.
    • Choose individuals who have had substantial and recent opportunity to observe your professional and/or academic promise. Recommendations from people who have not had such opportunity are of little assistance to the Committee and your application.

    You may also submit your letters of recommendation through the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service, which serves all member schools. This service is included in your LLM Credential Assembly Service registration (LLM CAS). Your recommendations will be copied and sent to us along with your LLM CAS report.

    Your CAS Report will not be released to USF until two letters of recommendation have been received by LSAC.

    Be sure to follow all directions for submitting letters of recommendation as described on the LSAC web site. It is important that you fill out and give each person submitting a recommendation a letter of recommendation form. Forms can be obtained online at www.lsac.org.

    If you completed your baccalaureate degree outside of the United States or Canada, USF requires that your foreign transcripts be submitted to the Credential Assembly Service (see item J).

    5. $75.00 Application Fee

    A $75.00 application fee, payable to the University of San Francisco, must be submitted with your application. If you are applying electronically, you must pay the application fee online using a valid credit card.

    The application fee is not refundable. In the event that you are subsequently admitted, the fee will not be applied toward your tuition. Furthermore, if you decide to withdraw your application before a final decision is made, your application fee will not be refunded.

    The required application fee may be waived for an applicant whose financial situation makes it a severe hardship to pay. Applicants requesting a waiver of this fee must submit a brief statement to the Law School Admissions Office explaining your financial situation. Approval of a fee waiver must be obtained prior to submitting an Application for Admission. Fee waiver requests may be sent via email to taxlaw@usfca.edu. Please allow five business days for fee waiver requests to be processed.

    Applicants granted an LSAC fee waiver will have their USF School of Law application fee automatically waived. Applicants who apply electronically to USF via LSAC will be allowed to transmit their application electronically as long as their LSAC fee waiver is for the current application year.

  • The Graduate Tax Programs do not support a Student Visa.  To enroll in the Graduate Tax Program, you must be physically located in the U.S. and in one of the states where the program is authorized. For form information regarding state authorization please see here.

    1. English Language Requirement - International Students Only

    Strong English language ability is a prerequisite to admission. For foreign students whose native language is not English and who have been in the U.S. for less than one year, may be required to demonstrate English Language Proficiency. This requirement may be satisfied by having completed basic legal studies in an English-speaking country in a university where instruction was in English or by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and receiving a score of 600 PBT,100 IBT or higher. Applicants should register to take the test as early as possible so the scores will be received by the application  deadline. Only TOEFL scores from tests administered by Educational Testing Services (ETS) will be accepted. The TOEFL score report must be sent directly to USF by ETS. Use school code number 4792 to ensure the score will be forwarded to the LLM program of the USF School of Law. For information on taking the TOEFL exam, visit www.toefl.org.

    As an option, applicants that use the LSAC LLM Credential Assembly Service can have the TOEFL report sent directly to LSAC using the code 0058. The score will be forwarded to USF along with an evaluation report of transcripts prepared by LSAC. Your score will be included in the Foreign Credential Evaluation document that will be included in your CAS report.

    We also accept an official International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score report. Fluency in English, equivalent to an overall band score of 7.0, (with no single band score under 6.0) is required. Testing locations and times may be obtained from www.ielts.org. Only official TOEFL and IELTS scores from tests taken within two years of your application submission will be valid.

    2. International Transcripts

    The USF School of Law requires that foreign transcripts be submitted through a  credential evaluation service such as LSAC, West, etc.  If you completed any post-secondary college or university work outside the U.S. (including its territories) or Canada, you must use this service for the evaluation of your foreign transcripts. The one exception to this requirement is if you completed the foreign work through a study abroad, consortium, or exchange program sponsored by a U.S. or Canadian institution, and the work is clearly indicated as such on the home campus transcript.

    One option is the LSAC JD Credential Assembly Service (CAS). This service is included in the CAS subscription fee. A Foreign Credential Evaluation will be completed by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, which will be incorporated into your CAS report.

    To use the CAS, log in to your online account and follow the registration instructions. Be sure to print out a Transcript Request Form for each institution and send it to them promptly. More time is usually required to receive foreign transcripts. Questions about the CAS can be directed to LSAC at (215) 968-1001 or lsacinfo@lsac.org.

    3. Certification of Finances - International Students Only

    Foreign applicants (those who are not U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents) must submit the LLM in Taxation Certification of Finances Form and supporting documents, showing funds covering the nine months of study at the university. Certification may be submitted either with your application or after you are admitted. If an international applicant submits the certification and a copy of the passport identity page early and is subsequently admitted, he or she will receive the documentation required to apply for a visa more quickly. Please visit the above web site for information on the cost of attendance, tuition, and fees.

  • Application/Character and Fitness Updates

    All applicants are required to complete the disclosure questions in the Character and Fitness section of the Application. USF requires applicants to disclose any issues related to academic probation, suspension, disqualification (particularly from a previous law school). In addition all applicants must disclose any felony or misdemeanor charge, arrest, conviction, or pending adjudication including a DUI (or any alcohol or drug-related offense). This includes any charge, arrest or conviction that may have been dropped or expunged. Information should include the date of each incident, full explanation of the incident, including the name of the charge, and the final disposition of each charge.

    In addition, all applicants are required to notify the School of Law if any changes to the information included in their Application for Admission occur after the application has been submitted. In particular, all applicants must immediately notify the Director of Admissions if any new academic probation, suspension, disqualification issues arise, or if any new charge, arrest or conviction of any felony or misdemeanor takes place after submitting the application.

    Conviction is any of the following: (1) a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, (2) a verdict or finding of guilt regardless of whether sentence is imposed by the court. The Bar Examiners will receive reports of any such convictions from law enforcement agencies.

    Newly admitted applicants are required to immediately submit a detailed written description of new disclosures to the Law School Office of Admissions if an incident occurs AFTER an offer of admission is made and to the Office of the Assistant Dean for Academic Services if an incident occurs AFTER classes begin. Information disclosed after an applicant has been offered admission will automatically result in a re-evaluation of the applicant's file.

    Failure to disclose any changes to your application or any of the Character & Fitness information noted above, may result in revocation of your admission decision, dismissal from school, revocation of any degree awarded by USF School of Law, denial of admission to the Bar, and referral to the LSAC Subcommittee on Misconduct and Irregularities in the Admission Process.

    Financial Aid

    The USF School of Law awards a limited number of tuition scholarships each year to highly qualified applicants. All applicants are reviewed for merit based scholarship aid at the same time they are reviewed for admission. No additional documents than those listed above are required.

    U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents needing additional financial aid may submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by April 1 (or as soon as possible after admission) for federal aid. Such students may qualify for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Additional federal aid is available through the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan, a credit based loan offered through the federal government. U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents needing additional financial aid information should visit the law school financial aid website.

    In addition, a Citibank program offers loans to international students, who are neither citizens nor permanent residents, if they have a credit-worthy U.S. citizen as a cosigner.

    Application Materials

    All materials and correspondence relating to admission or your application should be directed to the Graduate Tax Program. Once submitted, all materials become the property of the School of Law and will not be returned or copied. Please keep a copy of your application and any supporting documents for your records.

    Status Checks

    USF utilized LSAC for application status checks for all applicants, regardless of whether you apply directly or through LSAC.org.  Upon receipt of your application, you will be notified by email of your LSAC.org username and password if you do not already have one.  You will be notified via email when your application is received, when your application file becomes complete, when your file is in the process of being reviewed and once a decision has been made. All official decision notices will be sent via email.

Grad Tax Programs
2130 Fulton Street
Kendrick Hall, 230
San Francisco, CA 94117