The LLM is an advanced academic degree allowing you to explore a selection of legal issues in more depth

What is an LLM?

It's an opportunity to study a particular area of law in more detail than at undergraduate level.

The part-time, two-year option is usually chosen by solicitors returning to work, while recent graduates tend to opt for a full-time course over two years.

Types of LLM degrees

There are general LLM's available which are often called LLM (Master of Laws), LLM Law, LLM (General) or LLM and cover a broader subject area. You can also specialise in a particular area of interest and study subjects including:

  • criminal litigation
  • employment law
  • environmental law
  • international business
  • Islamic finance
  • maritime law.

To see what's on offer, search LLM courses.

What does an LLM involve?

Spending around 40 hours a week studying students typically analyse complex legal issues with a view to problem solving or advising clients on how to structure their businesses.

Some LLMs might focus on the theoretical aspects of a certain subject such as constitutional law or administrative law. In addition to a standard set of modules, students will choose a number of electives in subjects ranging from financial crime to international financial transactions. Generally, students will also do a dissertation on a chosen subject area.

Will I qualify as a solicitor?

The LLM is not a direct route to qualification and you’ll still need to complete the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) or Legal Practice Course (LPC).

It also doesn't automatically strengthen applications for training contracts. Further study is likely to be the most fruitful where its subject is a specialism that you wish to pursue as a solicitor.

What are the entry requirements?

Most courses will require a 2:1 undergraduate degree in law or a related discipline. They may consider a high 2:2 result if it's supported by strong references and/or work experience and the transcript shows the ability to achieve 2:1 marks.

How do I apply?

Applications are made directly to the chosen institution either online or via a paper form. Each institution will have its own process and guidelines but you may need to provide:

  • an application form
  • a personal statement detailing why you want to study the LLM at that particular institution and where you plan to go in your career
  • an academic reference or a professional one if you’ve been out of education for more than two years
  • degree transcripts
  • writing samples from previous studies to prove that you can cope with the academic demands of the LLM.

Search for LLM courses.

How much does it cost?

Fees will vary between institution, course and subject so you should check with the individual university before applying.

For example, the Master of Laws (LLM Law) at Brunel University costs £9,400 when studied full time, the LLM Human Rights Law at Queen Mary University of London is £13,400 and the University of Warwick charges £8,170 for full-time LLMs.

Can I get funding?

You could get a Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL), worth between £300 and £10,000. The commercial loan can be used towards tuition fees, study costs and living expenses - but you must provide evidence of what you're borrowing the money for.

Many institutions also offer scholarships to help cover the costs of doing an LLM. For example, Birmingham Law School are offering a number of scholarships - worth up to £2,000 for UK/EU students, to 2017 applicants for its taught LLM programmes. New students applying for an LLM programme at BPP University may be eligible for the Director of LLM Programmes’ Scholarship. Each year, one student who demonstrates the highest standard of academic excellence and commitment to their chosen career is awarded £2,000 as a contribution to their first-year fees.

You should contact the individual institution to see what funding it offers.