Nov 16, 2022

Written By Emily Peyton

Is there any specialisation in LLB?

Nov 16, 2022

Written By Emily Peyton

The answer to this question depends on how you interpret specialisation – whether you mean specialisation through your choice of topics to study, or specialisation in an officially recognised capacity. Read on to learn more about the specialisation options for LLB students.

What does an LLB involve?

An LLB, or ‘Legum Baccalaureus’ meaning Bachelor of Laws, is by far the most common undergraduate law degree undertaken by students in the UK. A standard LLB consists of three years of full-time study and includes seven compulsory modules that you must study (and pass) in order to obtain a qualifying law degree. The names of these modules may differ slightly depending on the university you are studying at, but the content will be fairly consistent everywhere.

These modules are:

- Constitutional and Administrative Law

- Contract Law

- Criminal Law

- Equity and Trusts

- EU Law

- Land Law

- Law of Tort

Are there specialised LLBs?

The most common way of specialising your legal studies is by choosing a joint honours LLB, of which there are many. A joint honours degree allows you to study two subjects simultaneously, and examples include Law and History, Law and Criminology and Law and Economics.

Some universities also offer specialised degrees such as the Commercial Law LLB at BPP Law School, Criminal Law LLB at Aberystwyth University, or International Law and Globalisation LLB at the University of Birmingham for example.

Choosing and graduating from one of these specialised degrees may be attractive to prospective employers in that field as it shows your interest and dedication, but it does not mean you are any more qualified than someone who has completed a standard LLB. This means you would have to follow the same steps to become a solicitor or barrister, even in your chosen specialism.

What about specialisation within a standard LLB?

Completing a standard LLB means you will not end up with an official specialised degree, even if you have chosen your modules with a specific area of law in mind.

However, there is specialisation within the LLB in the sense that you will have plenty of optional modules to choose from. Universities tend to include the majority of the compulsory modules in your first year, giving you freedom to choose whichever law modules interest you most once you have some experience studying law.

Common optional modules include:

- Commercial Law

- Employment Law

- Environmental Law

-  Family Law

- Intellectual Property Law

- International Law

- Medical Law

Is there specialisation in other types of law courses?

One way to specialise your legal studies is through a postgraduate qualification. Alongside vocational qualifications like the SQE, you could study a specialised LLM (Master of Laws) or MA in areas like Banking and Finance Law, Intellectual Property Law, Energy and Climate Change Law or Human Rights Law at a range of universities.

Far more universities offer specialised LLMs or other postgraduate courses than the specialised LLBs mentioned above, so if you want your specialisation to be recognised in an official, academic capacity, then perhaps one of these would be an option for you after completing your undergraduate degree.


What is the best specialism in law?

While areas like commercial law or corporate law are typically the most profitable, the best specialism is what interests you most. Make sure to do some research into the area you are considering specialising in, so that you can gauge whether it would be a realistic and enjoyable career option for you.

This could include:

- Reading about recent legal news in your chosen area

- Reaching out to those already in this field to hear about their experience

- Finding and applying for internships and work experience in this area


Completing an LLB allows you to explore many areas of law, putting you in a great position for specialisation, as you are more likely to have an idea of what you want to pursue.

If you are still unsure of what area of law you want to specialise in after completing an LLB, you will likely have the opportunity to try different specialisms in the next stages of your legal career, such as during a training contract if you chose to follow this route.

While your choice of modules should be based on what you are interested in, you should also take into account that some of the more specialised law firms and barristers’ chambers may consider these choices during the recruitment process. If your previous academic record suggests a completely different specialism than the one you are applying for, you may need to demonstrate why you want to pursue a career in their field instead.

The prospect of choosing an area of law to specialise in can be daunting but you ought to remember that in reality it is not a decision that you have to make straight away. By the time you have finished the first year of an LLB, you will almost certainly have some idea of what areas of law are more appealing to you.

No matter what optional modules you choose or how you (informally) specialise, it is very difficult to make the ‘wrong’ choice.