A Master of Laws, LLM for short, allows you to study the law in more depth. While it won't guarantee you a job, an LLM degree widens your knowledge and expands your industry contacts

What is an LLM?

An LLM degree is a Masters level qualification, which allows you to study your chosen 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 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.

It is also now possible to combine preparation for the Solicitors Qualifying Examinations (SQE) with an LLM. Course providers such as BPP, The University of Law and De Montfort University offer programmes such as LLM SQE 1&2, LLM Legal Practice (SQE1&2) and LLM SQE. Check to see what's on offer at your chosen institution.

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.

For example, on the LLM Law at The University of Manchester you'll get to choose from a number of optional modules such as International Courts and Human Rights, Global Economic and World Trade Law, Intellectual Property Law, Copyright Law and Policy and International Investment Law.

Will I qualify as a solicitor or barrister?

The LLM is not a direct route to qualification. All new entrants will need to complete the SQE and a two-year period of qualifying legal work experience in order to become a solicitor.

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 need to complete a Bar course and pupillage to practice at the Bar, a Masters qualification alone isn't enough.

What are the entry requirements?

Most courses require a 2:1 undergraduate degree in law (LLB) 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 a 2:1.

For example, The University of Manchester LLM requires a 2:1 undergraduate degree for admission, while at the University of Cambridge you'll need a first class degree in law for entry onto its LLM.

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
  • 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, in 2023/24:

  • Master of Laws (LLM Law) at Brunel University costs £12,500 when studied full time.
  • LLM Human Rights Law at Queen Mary University of London is £17,950.
  • The University of Manchester charges £13,500 for its full-time LLM Law.
  • LLM Legal Practice (SQE1&2) at The University of Law costs £16,950 (London), £13,750 (Birmingham, Bristol, Exeter, Norwich, Reading and Southampton) and £12,800 (Leeds, Sheffield, Chester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham).

Can I get funding?

It's possible to get a government-backed Masters loan worth up to a maximum of £12,471 in the 2024/25 academic year.

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

  • the College of Arts and Law Masters Scholarship, which offers awards of up to £10,000 for postgraduate courses in the College of Arts and Law
  • the Harding International Legal Scholarship offers £5,000 to international/EU students taking an LLM programme.
  • the Kalisher Trust LLM Scholarship covers the cost of tuition and provides £6,000 towards maintenance costs for students on the LLM Criminal Law and Criminal Justice pathway and those studying LLM (General).

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 to the most promising future legal professionals
  •  full-fee Dean of BPP Law School Scholarship aimed at high achieving individuals
  • the full-fee Future Leaders Scholarship offered to those who demonstrate outstanding leadership skills
  •  Chancellors Scholarship, which is awarded to those who can demonstrate a unique or inspiring legal career journey.

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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