Indian tribes play an increasingly important role in business and politics. As a consequence, Indian law has become less of a specialty and more of a necessity for today's lawyers -- and certainly for tomorrow's lawyers. Already recognized as one of the best law schools for Indian Law, The University of Tulsa College of Law goes one step further by offering an LLM in American Indian and Indigenous Law. This advanced degree is designed to train lawyers in the issues critical to understanding and representing American Indian and other indigenous peoples, both in the US and abroad.

Many lawyers do not realize they need training in American Indian and Indigenous Law until they begin working. Indeed, at a recent conference of solo practitioners in Oklahoma, the participants unanimously agreed that the class they should have taken in law school, but didn't, was Indian law. Our LLM is designed to fill that gap.

Because of our unique location and the expertise of our Indian Law faculty, TU offers what no other law school can: an LLM program with a balanced approach, emphasizing the three foundation sets of legal principles: law of the tribal governments, domestic laws of the US (federal Indian law), and the international law applicable to indigenous peoples.

Flexibility is the key to the TU program. In consultation with the faculty, students can tailor a field of study not just to Indian law in general, but to specific sub-specialties they wish to develop. The LLM program is available in either an academic track, emphasizing course work, or a research track. Both tracks require successfully completing a minimum of 24 credit hours to earn the degree.

Students are encouraged to make a preliminary choice of which track they intend to pursue when they enter the LLM program. That preliminary choice, however, is not binding on the LLM student. The NALC faculty remain committed to working individually with LLM students to meet particular academic needs.

The Tracks

The LLM in American Indian and Indigenous Law program is designed to provide a student with substantial flexibility in choosing or designing an appropriate course of study. Both the academic and the research tracks require completing a minimum of 24 units with a minimum grade point average of 2.5 on our 4 point scale.

Academic Track Courses

An LLM student who chooses the academic track may complete the LLM in American Indian and Indigenous Law through 24 hours of course work alone, without a thesis. Academic track students may enroll full or part time, and must complete the requirements in three years. Students on the academic track are required to take the following courses, for a total of 17 credit hours:

  • Federal Indian Law (3 units)
  • Native American and Indigenous Rights (3 units)
  • Tribal Government (3 units)
  • Native American Natural Resources (3 units)
  • Protection of Minority and Indigenous Cultures (2 units)
  • American Indian Law Seminar (3 units)

If a student has already had one or more of those courses, the requirement can be waived with the written consent of two of the Native American Law Center faculty, one of whom is the student's advisor. A requirement may also be waived with the written consent of two of the NALC faculty (one of whom is the student's advisor) for other extraordinary circumstances. The remaining credit hours may be taken from the following list of approved electives:

Approved Elective Courses:

  • Administrative Law
  • American Legal History
  • Arbitration
  • Basic Corporate Law
  • Basic Oil and Gas
  • Comparative law
  • Conflict of Laws: International and Domestic
  • Employment Law
  • Energy Policy: The REEL World
  • Environmental Law
  • Federal Courts
  • Geneva Institute on Indigenous Peoples Law: any course offered
  • Hazardous Substances Controls
  • Health Care Organization, Finance, & the Law
  • Independent Study
  • Intellectual Property
  • International Business Transactions
  • International Energy and Natural Resources Law
  • International Environmental Law
  • International Law
  • International Petroleum Transactions
  • Interviewing, Counseling & Negotiation
  • Introduction to Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Jurisprudence
  • Land Use Controls
  • Legislation
  • Mediation
  • Natural Resources: Public Lands
  • Non-Profit Law: Nonprofit Law Practice
  • Real Estate Transactions (Proffessor Hicks)
  • Regulated Industries: Energy and Natural Resources Law
  • Water Law

Courses not on the approved list may be substituted only with the written consent of the student's advisor and one other member of the NALC faculty.

Research Track Courses

The research track is a 24 credit hour program with a minimum of 3 credit hours of thesis. Students on the research track may choose to do anywhere from 3-12 credit hours of thesis, with the remaining hours from course work. Research track students may enroll full or part time, and must complete the program within 5 years.

Research track students are required to take the following courses:

  • International Law or Native American and Indigenous Rights (3 units)
  • Federal Indian Law (3 units)
  • American Indian Law Seminar (3 units)
  • LLM Indian/Indigenous Law Thesis (3-12 units)

Waivers are available if the student has had a required course previously or, in other extraordinary circumstances, on the written consent of the thesis advisor and one other member of the NALC faculty. Students are encouraged to take their additional courses from the Indian law curriculum or the approved list of academic track courses, but substitutions may be made with the written consent of the thesis advisor.

Program Admission Requirements

LLM applications, including all supporting materials, must be received by May 1. Applications received after this date will be reviewed on a space-available basis only.

You may obtain the admissions materials in one of two ways;

  1. For a complete application packet, please contact Larry Curtis at larry-curtis@utulsa.edu, or
    Admissions, LLM
    The University of Tulsa College of Law
    3120 East 4th Place
    Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104
  2. OR, click here for a PDF version of the application. Please return the completed application to the Assistant Dean of Admissions at the above address. All required application materials must be received before your application can be processed.

In addition to the application, you must also send:

  • All applications for admission to the College of Law must be accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee of $30 USD.
  • To be eligible to apply to the LLM in American Indian and Indigenous Law at The University of Tulsa College of Law, you must have completed, or be in the process of completing, a JD from an ABA accredited law school or a degree from an institution outside the United States that permits you to practice law in that country, such as a JD, LLB, or an equivalent degree. In order to establish if you are eligible to apply for an LLM program, use the drop down menu to locate the country in which you received (or are in the process of receiving) your law degree. Next to the country name, the minimum degree required is specified. Click here to see list of countries.
  • Complete official transcripts of all previous college, university, and graduate school's must be submitted. Records not in English must be accompanied by a literal English translation. We highly recommend World Education Services for translation services. You can find more information about them at the following: http://www.wes.org/students/.
  • A detailed (800 words) personal statement of interest is an essential part of the application. The statement should include a discussion of your purpose in obtaining the degree, show an interest in the study of the laws applicable to American Indian or other Indigenous peoples, and show potential to engage in scholarly work.
  • A writing sample (brief, law review article, memorandum, or other persuasive or scholarly work).
  • A complete resume.
  • Twp letters of recommendation must be submitted from faculty members acquainted with your work in the major area of study. If that work occurred more than three years ago, or if such letters are not obtainable because of circumstances beyond your control, recommendations from those familiar with your professional performance are acceptable.
  • Proficiency in English is required for admission and your level of proficiency is an important factor in our decision-making process. If your native language is not English, you must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) unless you have received your first degree in law from a college or university in a country where both the language of instruction and the native language is English. A minimum overall TOEFL score of 570 (paper-based) or 90 (Internet-based) is required to be considered for admission. The official score report (no copy's) must be received before the applicable deadline for an application to be considered. The TOEFL is offered frequently throughout the world. Information on times and places and an application form can be obtained from the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ 08541, USA (609.921.9000; www.ets.org). The TU College of Law institution code is 6883.
  • Financial responsibility must be attested to in accordance with current cost estimates available here (pdf). Please fill out Confirmation of Financial Resources form (pdf) here. Alternatively, if an applicant wishes, they may provide a bank statement instead of the official CFR form as long as the bank statement is in English and the name of the person who has the account is listed on the form and it shows the banks name. If they choose this method and the account is not their own, they need to put in writing how this person is related to them. The applicant also has the option of obtaining a letter from their bank that states that they have at least the needed amount (They do not need to tell us how much they have, but they do need to prove the set amount), and the letter must be signed by a bank official and be on bank letterhead. If they are to be funded through an outside scholarship or corporate sponsor, they need to provide an official letter stating exactly what is to be covered and how much.


Tuition is a flat rate of $20,000 for the one year program or $835.00 per credit hour for a student attending part-time. Scholarships are available for qualified applicants.