A guide for applying for Master of Laws in the UK

Applying for a Master of Laws (LLM) Degree

Law graduate students interested in advanced learning courses are perfect applicants for Master of Laws programmes. However, legal professionals as well can specialise in a specific area of legal practice. If you are thinking you are the candidate, you can consider applying for a Master of Laws (LLM) degree.

This guide provides in-depth instructions on applying for a Master of Laws and an overview of the LLM degree. Find out what Master of Laws universities are the best, what the application process is like, and if it is right for you.

What is an LLM?

If you are considering applying for a Master of Law, it’s important to understand what is LLM. The LLM is a postgraduate degree in Law or Masters’s in Law. The majority of degrees are taught, but some may include research.

LLM stands for Legum Magister, which is Latin for ‘Master of Laws’.

Around the world, the degree is regarded as a well-established and historic legal qualification.

A Master of Law is not a professional qualification. While LLMs aren’t required to practice law, the advanced training and expertise you’ll gain can make you more attractive to law firms.

Programmes are usually quite specialised, allowing you to focus on a particular field of law.

You may find this useful if you wish to practice in a particular area of law, such as criminal law or family law.

It is also possible to benefit from LLM programmes in other fields as well. Knowledge of relevant economic and corporate law might be beneficial to you if you work in business or management, for example.

A Legal Practice Course (LPC) is offered by some universities in conjunction with an LLM degree. Unlike an LLM, the LPC focuses more on the practical aspects of becoming a solicitor.

Entry requirements for LLM Degree applications

LLM candidates typically have an existing law degree. The degree could either be an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) or a postgraduate law conversion course such as a CPE or GDL.

Some universities offer LLM degrees along with Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) training courses. The SQE, which was introduced in September 2021, is the first step on the path to becoming a qualified solicitor.

Also, applicants must prepare a letter of recommendation, a Law personal statement, and a CV. 

Some programmes prefer students with work experience in legal practice, however, this is not mandatory. 

Learn more:

How to apply for an LLM in the UK?

LLMs are highly transferrable as academic degrees. The legal theory studied on an LLM can be more relevant than professional qualifications because it is not restricted to a particular judicial system.

As a result, the LLM is an attractive option for postgraduate study in the UK. By focusing on global topics such as international business, tax law, or human rights, some programs take advantage of this even further.

What documents are required for Master in Law admission?

The following documents are required from the applicants for Master in Law:

Who should apply for an LLM?

The academic focus of an LLM can make it surprising flexible, even though you might think it’s only useful in law.

In essence, a Master of Laws enables you to acquire advanced knowledge of legal theory – and focus on highly specialized aspects of it.

You should apply for an LLM if you are:

  • Looking for a career in Law – An LLM can make you more appealing to law firms and other recruiters when combined with appropriate professional qualifications. It may also be possible to enter branches of legal practice for which more general candidates may not be as well prepared through specialised courses. Your LLM can be a good investment in your career if you know that you would like to become a solicitor or barrister.
  • Looking for legal practice specialisation – Taking a Master of Laws doesn’t require you to be a recent graduate. LLM students often have previous legal experiences, such as solicitors or other legal professionals. If you return to postgraduate study, you can explore different areas of legal theory and practice and ‘upskill’ yourself in preparation for more senior roles. Most LLM programs offer part-time or distance learning options for working professionals.
  • Using legal expertise in another profession – Other professionals regularly deal with legal issues in addition to solicitors and barristers. The law also affects many other organizations’ businesses and practices, so they hire staff to deal with it. A tax lawyer could be employed by a large corporation or a charity to handle human rights cases. In addition to these, LLM courses can provide specialized training.
  • Interested in PhD in legal theory – There is no set professional outcome to your LLM. Studying legal theory, philosophy, and history can be an interesting and important subject on its own. You can explore it in depth with an LLM. Like other master’s degrees, you can apply for a PhD after postgraduate.

Choosing the right LLM programme

An LLM programme is often tailored to meet the needs of a specific candidate. Some courses are intended for qualified practitioners seeking advanced training.

The other type of programme is research projects, which focus more on academic legal theory. In some extended LLM programmes, professional bar training is included in addition to advanced academic work. Comparing different LLM programmes is easy with our course listings.

LLM modules to choose

Some popular specialisation modules and programmes in the UK you can choose for an LLM are:

  • Taxation Law
  • IT, Media and Communications Law
  • Corporate and Securities Law
  • Cyber Law
  • Financial Regulations
  • Criminal and Criminal Justice Laws
  • Commercial Law
  • Gender Studies
  • Intellectual Property Rights

The Best LLM Universities in the UK for 2022

Some of the world’s leading law universities are located in the United Kingdom. According to Times Higher Education, the best universities for LLM in the UK are:

  1. The University of Cambridge with a 20% acceptance rate
  2. The University of Oxford with a 17% acceptance rate
  3. University College London (UCL) with a 63% acceptance rate
  4. The University of Edinburgh with a 10% acceptance rate

A full list can be checked here. If you want to read an in-depth review of the best LLM universities in the UK, you can check our guide.

Recommended reading:

What’s it like to study an LLM?

There are some research programmes available for LLMs, but most are taught courses. Other Masters degrees, such as the MA and MSc, follow a similar format.

Throughout the course, you will complete a series of modules on particular topics before completing an extended research and dissertation task.

Depending on the programme, you may need to complete certain modules. A more specialised course is likely to have this problem. If you are interested in a particular option, others may offer it.

In addition to seminar discussions, lectures, workshops, and case studies, students will participate in practical workshops or case studies. In addition to your course schedule, you will be expected to read and analyze independently.

Normally, coursework assignments will be assigned as part of the assessment process. An LLM with a professional training component may require examinations, but academic programmes don’t usually require them.


How long are LLM studies?

A full-time LLM programme requires 1 year of study. This means you will have two teaching terms and a period for your dissertation – usually at the end of the year. Part-time LLM programmes could last up to 2 years.

What is the credit value of an LLM?

When it comes to credit weighting in the UK, a Master of Laws is worth 180 CATS credits.

What does an LLM dissertation consist of?

It will be your responsibility to research and write a thesis on a legal topic of your choice for your LLM dissertation.

It may involve resolving professional issues, comparing judicial systems or using case studies and legal theory as a means of reflection.

It is your responsibility to plan, manage and complete the research using your initiative and expertise with the guidance of your supervisor.