Research course


University of Otago · Division of Humanities
LLM by research

Entry requirements

Admission to the programme shall be subject to the approval of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities) on the advice of the Dean of Law.

Every applicant shall either

  • have been admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Laws or Bachelor of Laws with Honours; or
  • have alternative qualifications or experience acceptable to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Humanities).

If your first language is not English you need to meet our English language requirements by obtaining IELTS score of 7.5 with no band below 7.0 or Internet-based TOEFL of 102 or better with a minimum of 24 in each section; or Paper-based TOEFL of 600 or better with a TWE (Test of Written English) of 5.0 or better. Due to COVID-19, we currently accept Duolingo English Test (DET), IELTS Indicator Test, and TOEFL iBT Special home Edition.

Don’t meet the English language requirements? The University of Otago Language Centre "English for Otago" programme offers a pathway for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students to meet the English language requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate study.

Months of entry


Course content

The Master of Laws (LLM) degree requires at least one year of full-time study. It entails completion of a thesis, and there is no requirement for coursework. The aim is to develop in a candidate the skills needed to understand recent developments in the Law. Applicants must have a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or Bachelor of Laws with Honours (LLB(Hons)) degree, or alternative qualifications and experience acceptable to the University.

While it is not a requirement that the findings presented in the thesis shall represent a substantial contribution to knowledge in the field of Law, a candidate is expected to choose an appropriate topic that can be completed with 12 months of full-time study, conduct the research professionally and appropriately, and report the findings clearly, accurately and succinctly.

This degree prepares candidates for employment in law firms, local and national government agencies, commerce and higher education. It is also a recognised entry qualification for the PhD degree.

Law graduates are well equipped to analyse complex issues, find solutions to a wide variety of problems and contribute to decision-making at all levels. They are skilled in the precise use of language, both oral and written. They understand the limits of law and its relationship with other social forces.

Many graduates find careers as lawyers in private practice, but others prefer to work in business, government, the public sector or welfare agencies.

Structure of the Programme

A candidate shall present a thesis embodying the results of research undertaken under supervision.

The research should be of a kind that a diligent and competent student should complete within one year of full-time study.


Thesis: LAWS 5

Information for international students

Otago offers students an unrivalled campus experience and a vibrant, social student culture. The majority of Otago’s 21,000 students live, work and play in Dunedin - New Zealand’s only true university city. Otago is home to over 3,000 students, from over 100 countries.

Fees and funding

International students
NZ $32,124

New Zealand is a relatively affordable country to live in. Dunedin, being a student-focused city, has living and entertainment options for all budgets.

Students are eligible for the Otago International Excellence Scholarship.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • LLM by research
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details