What defines a family? How are children's rights evolving? How do lawyers advance the needs of children and families? How can legal systems become more equitable? The practice of child and family law requires both a sensitive manner and a discerning legal mind to address these important and evolving questions impacting children and families. The Master of Laws (LLM) in Child and Family Law degree program is designed to sharpen and inform both qualities. This program offers a comprehensive study of the most current legal issues involving children and their families.

The opportunity to work closely with nationally recognized faculty members and experienced practitioners in the field means you'll be well-versed in this transforming discipline.

Our commitment to you

The LLM in Child and Family Law degree is committed to developing three resonate threads: advocacy, leadership, and equity. These three threads come to life in each course in the program, link your learning from one semester to the next, and prepare you to be a more effective lawyer working on behalf of children and families.

Upon graduation with the LLM in Child and Family Law, you will possess the following knowledge, skills, and professional values to advance these three threads:


You will demonstrate advanced knowledge of legal rules and procedures in the fields of child and family law. You will gain a deep understanding of the specific areas of the law that impact children and families—from education to child welfare, mental health to juvenile justice, domestic relations to domestic violence, and many others. Policy considerations will become familiar to you as you tackle current issues impacting the field of child and family law in well-informed ways. You will discover or enhance your own leadership qualities while exploring the meaning of advocacy in a variety of contexts. The knowledge you will gain will equip you to advance equitable solutions for children and families.


    You will be able to:
  • Conduct complex and specialized legal research and analysis;
  • Engage in scholarship that contributes to the greater understanding of law and policy as it affects children and families;
  • Understand how child development and family dynamics influence child and family law and policy;
  • Effectively compare perspectives on issues facing children and families in a global environment;
  • Comprehend the historical, socio-economic, and cultural context in which child and family laws, policies, and practices are developed and implemented;
  • Identify and articulate areas in which laws and policies should be improved to promote positive outcomes for children, families, and communities;
  • Appreciate the unique legal and ethical needs and circumstances of child and adolescent clients;
  • Further develop written and verbal advocacy skills that are central to being an effective advocate for children and families;
  • Advance the needs of children and families through the deepening of advocacy skills relevant to various contexts and circumstances;
  • Understand and apply professional leadership skills to organizational management and as a change agent;
  • Identify and strategize ways to create legal systems grounded in equity; and
  • Generate systemic reform and progress.

Professional Values

You will be prepared to exercise proper professional responsibilities to your clients and serve as a leader in promoting the legal needs of children and families by embracing the following values:

  • Integrate professional values of honesty, civility, and respect for others in your advocacy work;
  • Exercise ethically responsible judgment in interactions with clients and your peers;
  • Respect and abide by the laws, practice, and procedures of legal system while envisioning and harnessing opportunities for reform;
  • Adhere to the tenets of servant leadership to manage organizations and initiatives to serve children and families;
  • Understand the importance of using your knowledge and skills in service of advocacy to support children and families in times of need and to foster effective systemic responses that meet their need; and
  • Commit to transforming inequitable systems and building equitable responses in their place.

By the numbers




IN 2015 AND 2018


Tailored to meet your background, interests, and professional ambitions, the program may be completed fully online or through a hybrid program with a mix of online and on-campus courses in one year or two years, depending on your pace. The curriculum is designed for maximum flexibility to meet your individual interests and needs. Students in the LLM program may elect to concentrate their studies in traditional family law, child law, or a combination of each. View the program's curriculum here.

Required Courses (1 COURSE/3 CREDIT HOURS)

  • LAW 651: LLM Child Law Paper/Thesis

Elective Courses (21 CREDIT HOURS)

You choose from a range of courses including family law, elder law, family finances law, legal marketing, child custody, adoption law, juvenile justice, child welfare, and international child rights. You may wish to create an emphasis within either family law or child law. Below is a sampling of our courses offered fully online. We seek to rotate new elective courses into the schedule each term (available courses subject to change).

  • LAW 166: Education Law Practicum
  • LAW 426: Special Education Law and Advocacy
  • LAW 608: Juvenile Justice Law and Policy
  • LAW 631: Child Law Graduate Externship
  • LAW 641: Child Law Directed Study
  • LAW 663: Children’s Summer Institute
  • LAW 668: Leadership Development
  • LAW 669: Education Law and Policy
  • LAW 670: Child Welfare Law and Policy
  • LAW 673: Mental Health Law and Children
  • LAW 678: International Children’s Rights
  • LAW 687: Introduction to Legislative Policy and Advocacy
  • LAW 689: Family Law and Policy
  • LAW 690: Financial Aspects of Divorce
  • LAW 691: Domestic Violence: Theories, Policies, and Societal Impact

We have a dedicated academic advisor who works one on one with students to craft an individual advising plan based on their anticipated course load and rate of pursuit as well as to hone special areas of elective interest.

Family law concentration

You can choose from a range of courses including family law, elder law, family finances law, and legal marketing.

Children’s law Concentration

Loyola’s comprehensive curriculum includes child welfare, juvenile justice, child custody, adoption law, and international child rights.

Education Immersion Weekends and Networking

The Graduate and Online Programs Team typically holds Education Immersion Weekends (EIWs) twice a year. EIWs offer programming to reinforce learning objectives, provide a venue for networking, and foster communication among students, alumni, and faculty members. EIWs are usually held at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. At this time, EIWs remain optional but strongly encouraged. For more information, please email LawOnlineAdvising@luc.edu.

Degree Requirements

To earn an LLM in Child Law degree, you must compete a total of 24 hours, including the three-credit-hour LLM thesis. Visit our Registrar for a complete list of degree requirements, academic calendars, and information on the registration process. You may access full course descriptions through our student information system through guest access.


To apply for the LLM in Child and Family Law program, you must possess a bachelor's degree or its international equivalent from an accredited college or university and a primary degree in law (i.e., Juris Doctor). Applicants for the online program must demonstrate a professional connection to the subject area through three years of full-time, professional work experience.

Application Document Deadlines

  • August 1: Fall
  • December 1: Spring

    To begin your free, online graduate application and to see additional requirements to complete your file, please click the button below.


Diane Geraghty


“Over the years, Loyola has played a key role in transforming children’s law and policy into a robust and well-respected area of professional specialization.”

Laura Hoffman


“I am forever grateful to Loyola for giving me a strong foundation to foster professional development. ”

Tuition and Fees

The School of Law and Loyola's Office of Student Financial Assistance are committed to helping you secure the necessary financial resources to make your legal education at Loyola affordable.

As part of our commitment, the Civitas ChildLaw Center awards a fellowship totaling up to 25% of tuition to a full-time incoming LLM student. In exchange for graduate fellowship support, LLM Fellows serve as research or teaching assistants, contribute to the Center’s monthly newsletter, assist in conference and event planning, and/or perform administrative tasks. You must apply and be accepted into the LLM in Child and Family Law degree program before a fellowship application will be reviewed. To apply, please submit a resume, cover letter and short writing sample no later than August 1 to the LLM Fellowship Committee at childlaw-center@LUC.edu or gsanch3@luc.edu.


Do I need a JD degree and need to be a member of the Bar?

LLM applicants must possess a primary law degree. For U.S. lawyers, this is a JD degree. For international lawyers, the degree may vary per country. If you have earned a JD degree from a non-ABA accredited institution in the United States, you must also be a licensed attorney.

What are some of my "real world" study opportunities?

In addition to formal courses, you may have the opportunity to:

  • Represent child clients through the Child Law Clinic
  • Assist in the editing of the Children's Legal Rights Journal
  • Complete an externship in Chicago's large child advocacy community