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LLM (Master of Laws)

On the Master of Laws (LLM) programme at UCL Laws, you’ll be joining a community of some of the brightest and most ambitious graduate students from all over the world

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Our 10 month LLM programme provides the ideal platform for you to develop expertise in specialist subject areas, and benefit from research-led teaching from the people who are recognised as experts in their field.

Through the wide variety of taught modules we offer – from commercial and corporate law, human rights law and global health governance, to environmental law, intellectual property and legal history – you can explore your intellectual interests freely or choose to specialise in a particular area of legal research.

As part of the teaching and assessment throughout the programme, you will be able to practise and enhance your abilities to think critically and analyse legal arguments. The Research Essay completed throughout the programme, will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of a particular area of law and your research skills, as well as your own capability to structure cogent arguments and write for a legal audience.

If you’re already in practice, you can choose to study part-time and complete the LLM over two or even five years. 

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Programme Structure

The Master of Laws (LLM) programme can be undertaken on a full-time basis in 10 months, on a part-time basis across two academic years, or on a flexible basis in up to five academic years. To successfully complete the LLM Law programme (whether full-time, part-time or flexible), you will need to obtain 180 credits consisting of taught modules and a Research Essay.

Full-time students

Terms one and two

During the first week of term one, you will attend the LLM Induction Programme, which includes a series of events to welcome you to UCL Laws and to UCL as a whole, and to complete your formal registration onto the LLM programme.

In the second week of term, you will begin your first classes.

There are ten weeks of classes per term, with a break for reading week after week five. Throughout the term, you will be able to take advantage of the wide range of events held within the faculty and across UCL, including special lectures, mooting, debating and activities organised by the UCL Laws Graduate Law Society.

Term three

Your assessments, including any coursework essays are normally submitted in the first week of term three. All examinations take place during term three and can be scheduled at any time during this term. The examination schedule is published at the end of term two.

During the entire year from September to July you will work on your Research Essay (RE) which will be submitted at the end of term three.

Part-time students

You will follow the same programme as full-time students above, except for the following:

  • Your degree will be completed over two academic years
  • In your first year, you will take 90 credits of taught modules
  • In your second year, you will take the remaining 45 credits of taught modules and the 45 credit Research Essay
  • You will therefore complete module selection twice: once at the start of your programme and again in the summer before you return to your second and final year.

You will be invited to attend induction at the start of your first year with the full-time students.

Please note that you will be attending classes with full-time and flexi LLM students.  Module teaching can be scheduled between 9am-8pm on weekdays.  You will be able to reference the timetable when making your module selections each year.

Modular/flexible students

You will follow the same programme as full-time students above, except for the following:

  • You will have up to 5 academic years to complete your degree.
  • You can plan how you would like to complete your 135 taught module credits over that 5 year period based on your personal circumstances (or earlier if you plan to complete the degree in fewer than 5 years).
  • We will prompt you to select modules each year.  You may wish to have a year or more where you do not take any modules; this is possible.
  • You can only complete your Research Essay at the end of your degree, in the same year that you are due to complete all of your taught module credits.

You will be invited to attend induction at the start of your first year with the full-time students.

Please note that you will be attending classes with full-time and part-time LLM students.  Module teaching can be scheduled between 9am-8pm on weekdays.  You will be able to reference the timetable when making your module selections each year.

Programme delivery 

    Attendance

    The LLM Law programme consists of 180 credits (equivalent to 90 European Credit System ECTS-credits).

    Class attendance is expected throughout the duration of the academic year in which you are registered.

    Your attendance will be monitored regularly through a combination of class registers, meetings with personal tutors, examination attendance, coursework and RE submission. Except in the case of certain extenuating circumstances, such as illness or a bereavement, you must seek prior approval from the Director of Taught Graduate Programmes for any absences from the programme.

    Teaching

    LLM Law programme modules can be taught in a combination of seminars, lectures and tutorials. Methods of instruction for each module are usually found on our module summary pages

    You will be expected to actively participate in class discussions, particularly for seminars and tutorials.  You may also be asked to work in teams and make presentations to the rest of your class.

    Each module is supported by a dedicated webpage containing materials such as reading lists, links to relevant websites and academic articles, as well as the latest news on the subject. Most of your classes are held at UCL, but some of our classes are held at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies or at other colleges affiliated with the University of London.

    Assessment

    Assessment in taught modules is often by examination, an assessed coursework essay, or through a combination of both. 

    Generally, your assessed coursework essays will be submitted at the start of term three, and all examinations are held during term three.

    During the programme, you will research and write an Research Essay (RE) which counts towards your final grade.

    You will be expected to select a research topic in consultation with your academic advisor within an area of law that reflects your specialist degree (if applicable). The Research Essay is submitted at the end of term three.

    If you choose to study flexibly (up to five years) it is possible to complete the Research Essay earlier in the programme, but it must be completed within the same academic year of registering for the Research Essay Module.

    Marks and awards are expected to be published by the end of July, following completion of the programme.

    Research Essay

    The LLM Research Essay (RE) is a written assignment consisting of 9,000 words. You can choose to write in any area of law. You will be allocated an RE advisor who provides guidance on choosing the topic and researching and writing the essay.

    The RE is different from doctoral research. You will not be expected to develop an original thesis, although when it is complete, you should be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of a particular aspect of law and the ability to explain and criticise it convincingly. The RE does not merely describe the law, but presents an argument.

    The RE has several aims. Each student will learn more about a particular aspect of law in depth and enhance their ability to develop and deliver a cogent argument, research efficiently and comprehensively, and write for a legal audience. The RE adds breadth to the programme since guidance is available for a wide range of topics beyond those offered through the taught modules. The opportunity to pursue the project with the guidance of an academic advisor is often a very special part of the LLM programme for each student.

    In term one, the student will formulate a topic and be assigned to an advisor. Research and writing continues in terms two and three with submission at the end of term three. The best preparation for the Research Essay is to read articles in respected journals in related areas of law and you are encouraged to do this before you arrive at UCL.

    Planning your programme

    With a wide selection of graduate taught modules to choose from, there are numerous possible combinations of study on the LLM. Add to that the diversity of the Research Essay (RE) and you really can follow a unique programme. To get the most out of your LLM degree it is important that you plan your degree pathway, module choices and RE topics in advance. You will be expected to indicate your module choice and specialism in your personal statement and make your module selections before arrival.

    You will be asked to confirm your specialism when you select your modules in the summer before enrolment. Specialisms and modules can only be changed in exceptional circumstances with the approval of the Programme Director. 

    General degree and specialist degree pathways

    If you choose to obtain the general LLM Law degree you can  study any combination of  Masters level taught modules on offer at UCL Faculty of Laws. The compulsory Research Essay may be written on any area of law.

    If you wish to obtain a LLM specialist degree you must select a minimum of 60 credits from the qualifying modules listed in that specialism, plus write your Research Essay in the area of the specialism.

    Choosing your modules

    You are required to choose your modules prior to the start of your programme of study.  You will be given access to the module selection process after you have been made and accepted your unconditional offer.

    The Masters level taught modules offered in the Faculty of Laws have varying methods of delivery and assessment, and the modules on offer can change from year to year. For more details of each module please refer to the Modules page.

    You may take any combination of modules within the requirements of your specialism, regardless of which term(s) they are taught in or how they are assessed. However, you are advised to carefully consider the teaching and assessment load for your chosen modules.

    When planning your programme of study you must ensure you do not select any modules that take place at the same time on the same day. Timetables for each module will be provided at the time of module selection. 

    All modules studied must be Masters level taught Laws modules. It is not possible to study Undergraduate level taught modules at UCL nor Masters level taught modules at another institution in order to obtain credits as part of the LLM programme.

    Planning your Research Essay (RE) topic

    The Research Essay (RE) is a compulsory essay that you will complete throughout your programme of study.

    You will be asked to indicate your RE topic in November. You may choose any topic but if you are studying a LLM specialist degree your RE topic must be related to that specialism. Some advisors will offer suggested titles to help you define your chosen area.

    At advanced, graduate level you should start the programme already having a reasonably clear idea of the subject matter of your RE. If you are unsure, you should start to think about topics that have sufficient volumes of literature and articles that can be utilised in conducting your research, will sustain your interest and will enable you to showcase your writing ability.

    Specialist degrees

    In addition to the general Master of Laws (LLM) programme there are a number of specialist degree programmes available that allow you to obtain a Master of Laws (LLM) in a specialist area, for example a Master of Laws (LLM) in Corporate Law. If you wish to obtain a LLM specialist degree you must select a minimum of 60 credits from the qualifying modules listed in that specialism, plus write your Research Essay in the area of the specialism.

    If you would like to undertake a specialism, you must apply to that specialism route when you submit your application for the programme.

    Online learning during the pandemic with UCL Laws

    'I was scared this was going to be challenging year - I was worried about it being online, especially as I’m based in India and not in the London campus.  

    The Faculty have done a really good job to compensate for the lack of in-person teaching. If you don’t understand something or have a question about what you’ve learned, lecturers are ready to have a chat with you and help. We’ve had workshops and instances where you get to speak to the Faculty members and understand their work more - it’s a great chance to learn.

    The Faculty has really exceeded my expectations. It’s been a great experience so far.'

    - Alisha, current UCL Laws LLM student and Student Representative