If you'd like to explore a particular area of law in more detail you should consider studying for a Master of Laws (LLM)

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.

Types of LLM degrees

There are general LLMs available, 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 interest 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?

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.

Discover what other qualifications you need to become 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.

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 £9,750 when studied full time, the LLM Human Rights Law at Queen Mary University of London is £14,250 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. This 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.

It's also possible to get a government-backed Masters loan up to a maximum of £10,280.

Many institutions offer scholarships to help cover the costs of doing an LLM. For example, Birmingham Law School are currently offering a number of 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 Kalisher Trust LLM Scholarship, which covers the cost of tuition fees and provides £6,000 towards maintenance costs.

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. For the 2018/19 academic year The University of Manchester School of Law is offering five £5,000 scholarships to UK and EU students who hold an offer for a place on an LLM course.

You should the individual institution to see what postgraduate funding it provides.

Find out more