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The Cybersecurity LLM at the University of Texas School of Law

This LLM degree concentration provides students with a sophisticated understanding of the legal, policy, and technical architectures associated with cybersecurity.  It is designed from the ground up to be transdisciplinary, featuring bespoke courses open, not just to law students, but to other graduate schools from across the campus.  No prior expertise is required or expected. For more information about the LLM program in general, click here.

The program is sponsored and supported by the Robert Strauss Center for International Security & Law, under the supervision of Professor Bobby Chesney (who serves both as Director of the Strauss Center and the School of Law’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs).  The Strauss Center encourages all applicants, and especially encourages applications from military judge advocates and others seeking a deep understanding of the U.S. approach to the full-spectrum of legal and policy issues associated with cybersecurity and cyber operations. Students enrolled in the Cybersecurity LLM also become “cybersecurity fellows” at the Strauss Center, and as such constitute a cohort participating in a wide range of Strauss Center activities relating to cybersecurity (including conferences, policy competitions, and speakers).

Degree requirements

The LLM degree requires a total of 24 credit hours, all of which must be completed in one academic year (constituting the fall and spring semesters).  Twelve of these hours must be concentration-specific, meaning that they are from courses approved for inclusion in this program.  In addition, students must take either a three-credit writing seminar or a two- or three-credit Directed Research Study involving a research paper.  Non-U.S. students interested in taking a U.S. state bar exam after graduation will also have to take certain bar-required courses to be eligible for such exams.

Required Courses

  • Cybersecurity Foundations: Law, Policy, and Institutions – This three-credit course (normally taught by Professor Bobby Chesney) is a comprehensive survey of the landscape of legal, policy, and institutional-design issues associated with cybersecurity, ranging from litigation and regulatory issues to the conduct of hostilities in cyberspace. You can review the content of the course in full detail here.
  • Cybersecurity Foundations: Technology for Lawyers and Policymakers – This three-credit course (normally taught by Professor Matt Tait) provides a bespoke introduction to key technical concepts associated with cybersecurity, tailored for law and policy graduate students who may have no prior technical background.

Other Eligible Courses

  • Writing Seminar: Emerging Cybersecurity Legal and Policy Issues – This three-credit writing seminar (normally taught by Professor Matt Tait) engages an evolving array of cutting-edge legal and policy issues associated with cybersecurity, and features a broad variety of guest speakers. This course also satisfies the LLM degree’s “writing seminar” requirement.
  • National Security Law: Law of the Intelligence Community – This three-credit course (normally taught by Professor Chesney) is a survey of the legal and policy issues associated with the activities of the U.S. Intelligence Community, with a heavy emphasis on the legal and policy aspects of surveillance but also addressing topics such as covert action.
  • Public International Law – This three-credit course (normally taught by Professor Derek Jinks) is a survey of the field of public international law.
  • International Law & Cyber Operations – This one- or two-credit condensed course (normally taught by a visiting faculty member, with Professor Mike Schmitt teaching it in Spring 2019) is a concentrated study of international law as applied to cyber activities above and below the threshold of armed conflict.
  • The Law of Armed Conflict – This three-credit course (normally taught by Professor Derek Jinks) is a thorough exploration of the law of armed conflict.
  • Privacy Law – This three-credit course (normally taught by Professor Bart Huffman) is a survey of the domestic, foreign, and international law issues associated with the protection of privacy in general and data privacy in particular.
  • Law & Social Media – This three-credit course (normally taught by Professor Ryan Garcia) explores the wide array of legal issues raised by the ever-deepening and expanding ways in which we engage with digital content.
  • Directed Research Studies (Cybersecurity) – The DRS format involves one-on-one faculty supervision of a student’s semester-long research and writing project. DRS may count towards the 12-credit concentration requirement if approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor Fielder.

Other Courses of Interest

A variety of courses that do not qualify towards the 12-credit requirement for this concentration nonetheless may be of special interest to concentration participants, particularly those whose career plans involve national security-related matters.  These include a substantial number of courses under the National Security Law heading (such as National Security Law: Targeting, Detention, and Prosecution Issues with Professor Steve Vladeck); Military Law; Admiralty; various upper-level Constitutional Law and Criminal Procedure courses; and Space Law & Policy courses.

Want To Talk It Over?

If you want to talk about the course offerings likely to be available in the year for which you are applying, or would like to know more about the larger Strauss Center cybersecurity program, please do not hesitate to reach out to Professor Chesney at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To apply to the program, see the application information available here