What is Masters of Laws (LLM) Degree?

Okoma V.
6 Min Read

An LLM allows a lawyer to delve deeper into the law, gaining “enhanced expertise in a given area of law for professional growth, forward movement, and/or enlarged exercise possibilities.”

The key distinction in the syllabus is that JD systems approach general law philosophies, whereas an LLM program focuses on a particular field of work.


What is an LLM?

The term ‘LLM’ stands for Legum Magister, which translates to ‘Master of Laws’ in Latin. The degree is a long-standing legal certification that is popular in higher school systems.

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An LLM is a non-professional degree. Although you do not need an LLM to practice law, the training program and experience, and knowledge you will gain may make you more appealing to law firms.

Most programs are quite specific, allowing you to delve deeply into a specific area of law.


This can be helpful if you want to practice in a precise area of law, such as criminal justice.

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LLM programs can also help you advance your career in other areas. Knowledge of relevant corporate management law, for example, maybe useful if you work in business or management.

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What are the Admission Requirements for an LLM?

The number of candidates trying to apply for an LLM will already have a degree in law. This may be an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) or a master’s degree Law conversion courses like a CPE or GDL.

Few schools give LLM degrees in combination with training classes for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).


The SQE, which was introduced in September 2021, is an essential step toward becoming a licensed attorney and has a more occupational focus than the LLM. For more details on the SQE, visit their official site.

While you may be able to study for a Law Master’s without a bachelor’s degree in law, the LLM will not qualify you expertly. If you want to become a lawyer as a postgraduate, you should think about taking the SQE.

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Which countries award Master of Laws degrees?

Although the Master of Laws is a universally acceptable degree, programs vary a bit between countries.

Traditionally, the LLM has been associable with Anglophone (English-language) universities such as those in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. As outlined in this post, the LLM is an academic Master’s degree in all of these countries.


LLM degree courses and their equivalents are also available in other higher education systems around the world.

How long is a Master of Laws ?

A full-time LLM program typically takes one year to complete. This will entail two terms of learning, followed by a period of time dedicated to your thesis.

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Part-time and range education LLMs are frequently longer, with courses lasting up to two years.

Several full-time courses will last up to a year. This could be because of additional coursework.

For instance, if your lesson merges the LLM with another part (such as a professional Law or Bar Practice qualification), the duration of the course will reflect this. Some research-based LLMs are also longer in length.


What is involved in an LLM Dissertation?

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You will be required to conduct research and publish a thesis on a judicial topic of your choice for your Master of Laws dissertation.

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LLM dissertations are typically assessed as written work, but some courses may require you to defend your findings and conclusions orally.

This may include resolving matters in professional conduct, considering alternative judicial systems, or reflecting on case reports and legal principles.

You will also be designated a supervisor to direct your research, but you will be responsible for organizing, maintaining, and getting the job done on your own proposal and with your own expert knowledge.


How many credits does an Master of Laws offer?

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When it comes to credit weighting, LLMs are treated the same as other Master’s degrees. This means that in the UK, a full Master of Laws will normally be worth 180 CATS credits.

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European LLM programs will be worth up to 90 ECTS credits and will use the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System.

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The LLM was designed for lawyers who want to broaden their legal expertise, study a specific area of law, and gain public credentials if they received their law degree beyond the United States or Canada. If you want to extend your career as a lawyer or proceed in your educational career, this article for you.



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