Cost of Attendance

Tuition for 2016-2017 Academic Year

Cost Per Credit: $1,450 Total Tuition: $34,800


Varies per course. The average cost of course materials for Villanova University graduate tax students is $46 per credit hour.

Application Fee

$50 non-refundable fee


None. The degree can be completed 100% online.

Admissions Requirements

  • LLM applicants:
    • JD degree from a U.S. law school or completion of all requirements to practice law in a foreign country
    • Official transcripts for all credits leading to the JD degree, which must be earned from a law school approved by the American Bar Association, and must be sent directly from that institution
  • Completed application with $50 application fee
  • One letter of recommendation (professional or academic)
  • Resume
  • Essay
  • International applicants: TOEFL minimum score of 100 on Internet-based exam or 600 on paper-based exam and a transcript evaluation if graduated from a foreign institution. Applicants required to take the TOEFL should request that scores be sent directly to Villanova University (code 2959)



  • Survey of Tax
  • Taxation I
  • Taxation II
  • Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders
  • Professional Responsibilities in Tax with Research and Writing
  • Partnership Taxation


  • Tax Procedure
  • Wealth Tax
  • Taxation of Corporate Acquisitions and Reorganizations
  • Employee Benefits
  • State & Local Tax
  • International Tax
  • Taxation of Trusts and Estates
  • Executive Compensation
  • Advanced Partnership Taxation
  • Qualified Pensions & Profit Sharing Plans I
  • Qualified Pensions & Profit Sharing Plans II
*LLM students must choose three elective courses from the eight offered. Disclaimer: Every attempt is made to ensure the information displayed on this page is accurate. However, the information contained herein is not to be considered official. Changes may be made to courses and curriculum requirements. Program requirements along with a brief overview of each course is provided below. Courses and course descriptions are for informational purposes only and are subject to change.

Program Requirements and Curriculum

Program Feature LLM
Semester/Quarter Credit Hours: 24
Program Organization:
Required Courses: 9
    Core Courses: 6
    Elective/Specialization Courses: 3
Semester Structure:
Fall and Spring Semesters: Term A = 8 weeks
Term B = 8 weeks
Summer Semesters: Term A = 8 weeks
Term B = 8 weeks

CORE COURSES (18 Total Credit Hours)

Course Name: Survey of Tax Credits: 3.0 Description:This course will introduce new Villanova Graduate Tax students to various tax practice areas, including tax policy, individual, employment, corporate, M&A, estate and gift, state and local, employee benefits, and international tax. The principal goal of the course is to provide students with a basic understanding of the key concepts and issues within each practice area that will serve as a foundation for future study and practice. The course also has a module where non-lawyers are introduced to the basics of law, and lawyers are introduced to the basics of accounting.
Course Name: Taxation I Credits: 3.0 Description:This course is an introductory course covering fundamental tax concepts in the individual income tax system, including gross income, deductions, basis, and character. It provides an exposure to sources of law, including the Internal Revenue Code, regulations, other administrative authorities and case law. The course explores the fundamental tax concepts through a rigorous application of authorities to problems.
Course Name: Taxation II Credits: 3.0 Description:This course builds on the material offered in Tax I, and is designed to introduce advanced individual income tax concepts to graduate tax students. Throughout the semester, the class will explore new income tax areas in the income tax and expand on previously covered materials from Survey of Tax Practice and Tax I, such as timing, depreciation, common law tax doctrines, and a greater focus on character. The course explores the advanced tax concepts through a rigorous application of authorities to problems.
Course Name: Professional Responsibilities in Tax and Research & Writing Credits: 3.0 Description:This course immerses students in the ethics, law, rules, discipline, customs, and practical problems that govern, guide, and constrain tax practitioners. Those precepts and principles are explored in the contexts of advisers, advocates, adversaries, clients, and government officials by analyzing and comparing the distinct rules that govern lawyers and accountants. Students in the Professional Responsibilities in Tax and Research & Writing course will explore the range of communications used in tax practices that will presume a fundamental knowledge of sources of tax law and their correct usage that was gained in other courses. This course contains a research and writing component that will require students to apply and effectively communicate various tax authorities in situations they may encounter in actual practice. Students will be evaluated on their grasp of the material demonstrated by their participation in discussion, periodic written assignments, and quizzes testing their objective knowledge. Consistent with actual practice, some assignments may be collaborative and require students to work in groups to produce the expected result.
Course Name: Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders Credits: 3.0 Description:This course considers the tax consequences associated with corporate-shareholder relationships. Problems of corporate formation, non- liquidating distributions, redemptions and partial liquidations, liquidating distributions, and tax considerations in the sale of the corporate business are covered. The course explores the fundamental corporate tax concepts through a rigorous application of authorities to problems.
Course Name: Partnership Taxation Credits: 3.0 Description:This course addresses the tax treatment of partnerships and partners, problems associated with the formation, operation and dissolution of the partnership, sale of a partnership interest, termination, and retirement and death of a partner. Substantive issues discussed include definition of a partnership, allocation, the impact of ordinary income assets, basis adjustments, and the treatment of partnership liabilities. The course explores the fundamental partnership tax concepts through a rigorous application of authorities to problems.

Elective/Specialization Courses (3 courses/6 total credit hours)

Course Name: Tax Procedure Credits: 2.0 Description:This course considers the rights and responsibilities of taxpayers before the IRS and in federal courts, with a focus on the overall mechanism of the voluntary compliance system and the enforcement of our federal tax laws. The class explores the procedures applicable to both taxpayers and the IRS should there be a dispute concerning the proper amount of a liability or refund. It covers topics such as the structure of the IRS and federal court system, deficiency procedures, the rights of taxpayers in the Examination and Appeals functions of the IRS, the obligation to file a tax return, refund procedures, statutes of limitation, an overview of penalties and the IRS’s power as a creditor.
Course Name: Wealth Tax Credits: 2.0 Description:This course will consider substantive provisions of federal estate and gift tax laws and the generation-skipping transfer tax provisions, including a review of issues relating to transfer with retention of an interest or power, joint interests, life insurance proceeds, property subject to powers of appointment, marital deductions and split gifts. The course explores the fundamental tax concepts through a rigorous application of authorities to problems.
Course Name: Taxation of Taxable and Tax-Free Corporate Acquisitions and Reorganizations Credits: 2.0 Description:This course is designed to address a variety of topics including in the context of taxable acquisitions and tax free acquisitions, including a broad consideration of the non-tax business and tax issues related to taxable and tax-free transactions. With respect to taxable acquisitions, it will consider a number of issues, including (1) the tax consequences of buying and selling a business, whether S corporation or C corporation, in corporate solution; (2) the impact the sale of an asset or stock has on the seller, as well as the areas of concern for the buyer; (3) installment sales; (4) Section 1060 impact on asset sales: and (5) the impact of Section 197 on purchased intangibles. In looking at tax free reorganizations, the course will cover the various structures that qualify as ‘reorganization’ for purposes of Section 368 and the tax impact of the transactions to the corporations involved and their equity and debt holders.
Course Name: Employee Benefits Credits: 2.0 Description:This course covers the labor-law and tax aspects of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) coverage of employee pension and welfare benefit plans. The basic structure of ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code will be reviewed as they relate to employee benefits such as retirement plans and health and welfare plans. Topics include reporting and disclosure, preemption, fiduciary responsibility and prohibited transactions, and requirements relating to retirement-type plans (i.e., pension, profit sharing and stock bonus plans). The course will also address PBGC coverage and multi-employer plans. In addition, some other benefits frequently included as part of an employer's benefits package will be considered.
Course Name: State and Local Tax Credits: 2.0 Description:Taxation by state and local governments generally, with primary attention to taxation of interstate commerce, income taxation of corporations and individuals, issues in sales and use taxation, and Pennsylvania Capital Stock/Franchise Tax issues.
Course Name: International Tax Credits: 2.0 Description:This course will introduce the basic rules of U.S. international taxation for both inbound investment and outbound multi-national businesses. The first half of the course will focus on inbound investment. Topics will include jurisdiction to tax, residency, character and source of income, structure for taxing passive and business income, and introduction to tax treaties. The second half of the course will focus on outbound investment. Topics will include anti-deferral provisions such as subpart F, foreign tax credits and credit limitation, and introduction to taxation of outbound transfers of property.
Course Name: Taxation of Trusts and Estates Credits: 2.0 Description:Federal income taxation of trusts and estates, including the decedent's final return, income and deductions in respect of a decedent, the conduit concept for taxing beneficiaries, the separate share rule, the throw-back rules, grantor trusts, and income tax deduction elections interrelated with the federal estate tax.
Course Name: Executive Compensation Credits: 2.0 Description:This course concentrates on non-qualified deferred compensation, contribution limitations and benefit distribution opportunities with respect to qualified deferred compensation plans, fringe benefits including welfare benefit plans, non-discrimination tests, and all aspects of equity compensation including stock bonus plans and stock options (incentive stock options and non-statutory stock options). Key tax, accounting, corporate law and securities considerations involved in the current executive compensation environment will be covered. Course topics will include constructive receipt and related doctrines, and the provisions of Sections 83, 409A, 162(m) and 280G. In addition, the course will address the various forms of equity compensation including stock options, restricted stock, restricted stock units, stock appreciation rights, phantom equity, and compensation arrangements in partnerships/LLCs.
Course Name: Advanced Partnership Taxation Credits: 2.0 Description:This course provides an in depth and advanced level of analysis to partnership taxation issues. Topics include a detailed analysis of the pass-thru regime thru the concept of tax shelter in partnership investments; the use of profit interests as compensation; discussion of section 704(b) allocation rules including special allocations of real estate partnership losses, waterfall allocations in typical private equity funds, and straight up allocations with a twist in MLPs; application of special 704(c) allocation approaches; transfers of interests, exchange agreements and redemptions; application of the disguised sale rules; and an overview of the new partnership audit procedures.
Course Name: Qualified Pensions and Profit Sharing Plans I Credits: 2.0 Description:The first course in a two-course series will emphasize the tax requirements applicable to qualified pension and profit sharing plans. Topics will include an Introduction to ERISA and the Code, Qualification Rules, Minimum Participation Requirements, Overall Coverage Tests, Minimum Vesting Standards, Accrued Benefit Requirements, Limitations on Qualified Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans, Nondiscrimination Requirements, Minimum Funding Requirements and Deductibility of Employer Contributions.
Course Name: Qualified Pensions and Profit Sharing Plans II Credits: 2.0 Description:The second course in a two-course series will emphasize the tax requirements applicable to qualified pension and profit sharing plans. Topics will include Distributions of Benefits and Loans, Taxation of Distributions from Qualified Plans and IRAs, Single Employer Plan Terminations, Determination Letters and Plan Disqualification, Cash or Deferred Arrangements, Tax Rules Applicable to Welfare Benefit Plans, Benefit Restrictions for Defined Benefit Plans, and Fiduciary Rules and Prohibited Transactions.

Courses and course descriptions are for informational purposes only and are subject to change.

Graduate Certificates

State and Local Tax Certificate

Expand your expertise to include a specialized focus on State and Local Taxation (SALT) to help today’s businesses remain in compliance with continually adapted requirements. Earn a graduate certificate in five courses as a standalone program or in conjunction with your LLM or MT. Courses are taught by leading SALT practitioners and are designed to help tax professionals provide in-demand state and local tax services.

Contact an Enrollment Advisor to learn more.

Estate Planning Certificate

Learn to effectively navigate federal estate and gift tax laws by developing a specialized expertise in estate planning. This graduate certificate explores the intricacies of estate tax through courses that cover wealth tax, trusts, charitable gift planning and more. Earn a graduate certificate in estate planning by completing five courses as a standalone program or in conjunction with your LLM or MT. Graduates emerge with skills to assist individuals and businesses through a range of complex estate tax issues.

Contact an Enrollment Advisor to learn more.

Program Faculty

For information about the Villanova University Graduate Tax Program faculty, click here.

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