If you'd like to study a particular area of law in more detail an LLM is the qualification for you. It won't guarantee you a job but a Master of Laws can help you gain industry contacts

What is an LLM?

An LLM is a Masters degree, which allows you to study a particular area of law in more depth 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 one year.

What type of LLM can I study?

There are general LLMs, which are often called LLM Law, LLM (General) or LLM and cover a broader subject area. You can also specialise in a particular area of law and study subjects including:

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

The majority of LLM degrees are taught courses, although some may have a research element.

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

What does an LLM involve?

Students spend around 40 hours a week analysing and solving complex legal issues or advising clients how to structure their businesses.

Some LLMs 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 choose a number of electives in subjects ranging from financial crime to international financial transactions. Generally, students also do a dissertation on a chosen subject area.

Will I qualify as a solicitor or barrister?

The LLM is not a direct route to qualification and from September 2021 new entrants will need to complete the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) and a two-year period of qualifying legal work experience in order to become a solicitor. Transitional arrangements are in place for those who have already started their training journey.

LLMs also don’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.

The same goes for qualifying as a barrister. In order to achieve this you’ll still need to complete a Bar course and pupillage.

What are the entry requirements?

Most courses require a 2:1 undergraduate degree in law or a related discipline. They may consider a high 2:2 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.

Learn more about applying for a Masters.

How much do LLMs cost?

Fees 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 £10,750 when studied full time, the LLM Human Rights Law at Queen Mary University of London is £16,500 and The University of Manchester charges £10,500 for its full-time LLM Law.

Can I get funding?

It's possible to get a government-backed Masters loan worth up to a maximum of £11,836 in the 2022/23 academic year.

Many institutions offer scholarships to help cover the costs of doing an LLM. For example, Birmingham Law School offer scholarships for LLM students including:

  • the College of Arts and Law Masters Scholarships, which covers one year's tuition fees at UK or European Union (EU) rates for full-time students
  • the Harding International Legal Scholarship offers £5,000 to international/EU students taking an LLM programme.

New students applying for an LLM programme at BPP University may be eligible for the Career Commitment Scholarship, which awards £2,000 towards tuition fees or the Full-Fee Scholarships, which are award to highly committed individuals.

You should contact the individual institution to find out about the scholarships they provide. If you’re ineligible for awards discover other ways to fund postgraduate study.

Find out more

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