LLMs are usually taught courses (though some research programmes are available). They follow a similar format to other Masters degrees such as the MA and MSc.
You’ll complete a series of individual modules on particular topics before proceeding to an extended research and dissertation task in the final part of your course.
Some programmes will specify the modules you need to complete. This is likely if your course is more specialised. Others may allow you to choose from a range of options, according to your interests.
Teaching methods will include discussion-group seminars, lectures and practical workshops or case studies. As with other Masters degrees you’ll be expected to supplement course timetable with independent reading and analysis.
Assessment will normally be in the form of written coursework assignments. Examinations are unlikely for academic programmes, but may be required if your LLM has a professional training component.
How long is an LLM?
A full-time taught LLM normally requires 1 year of study. This will involve two teaching terms, followed by a period of time for your dissertation.
Part-time and distance learning LLMs will often be longer, with courses up to two years.
Some full-time courses can also last longer than a year. This can be due to additional course content. For example, if your course combines the LLM with another component (such as a professional Law or Bar Practice qualification) its course length will reflect this. Some research-based LLMs are also longer
How many credits is an LLM worth?
LLMs are treated in the same way as other Masters degrees when it comes to credit weighting. This means that a full Master of Laws will normally be worth 180 CATS credits in the UK.
European LLM programmes will use the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System and be worth up to 90 ECTS credits.
What is involved in an LLM dissertation?
Your LLM dissertation will require you to research and write a thesis on a legal topic of your choosing.
This could involve solving issues involved in professional practice, comparing different judicial systems or using case studies and legal theory to reflect upon each other.
You’ll be assigned a supervisor to guide your research, but will be responsible for planning, managing and completing the task using your own initiative and expertise.
LLM dissertations are normally examined as written work, but some courses may include an oral defence of your findings and conclusions.