Jan 28, 2023

Written By Zara Arif

How do I choose an LLM specialisation?

Jan 28, 2023

Written By Zara Arif

The LLM is normally a year-long (if completed full-time) postgraduate course degree that allows students to study law in more depth and detail. In the UK, there are a plethora of institutions which offer LLMs, and each offers their own variety of fascinating specialisms. For this reason, it can often be difficult to determine which specialism you should opt for, but once you understand your own interests and priorities, the choice should be easier.

What specialisations are available?

As mentioned above, each institution offers a unique list of specialisations according to their capacities and staff. For this reason, it is important to do some in-depth research before making your application. You may have found your dream university, but it might not offer the specialisation which you are interested in. Another thing to note is that many universities also offer generalist LLMs. This is another option if you’re not interested in specialising.

Examples of specialisations include but are not limited to: European Law, Environmental Law, Criminology and Justice, Islamic Finance, Maritime Law and International Business.

Personal Interests

Arguably, the most important factor to consider, when choosing anything that you will study for a long period of time, is your own areas of interest. This is especially pertinent when considering a specialisation as you will be expected to devote a lot of independent study time to one topic in particular and will often need to write up a final dissertation in order to validate and complete your studies.

It’s also worth considering the modules you enjoyed taking at undergraduate level. Another way to make a choice is to think about the modules or areas of law which you achieved the best grades in or found the easiest to research or write about.

Career Goals

Another decisive factor may be your career goals. If you already know that you want to be a commercial solicitor in the City, it will probably boost your future job applications if you have an LLM with a specialisation in a commercial or corporate area of law. In the same way, if you are interested in working abroad, it might also be useful to specialise in International Law to gain further knowledge of other jurisdictions.

Nevertheless, it’s not the end of the world if you do not have a clear idea of where your career will take you. Having an LLM specialism in any subject will likely show a level of commitment and general intellectual capability which all employers will value.

Examination Style

Something that is often overlooked when people choose specialisms, whether that is at school, college, or university, is the examination style. We all have different learning styles, and it is best to draw upon these strengths when choosing specialisms.

If you know that you often struggle under pressure or underperform in lengthy written exams, it might be best to opt for a degree which allows for the examination to be weighted towards coursework which you can carry out over a longer period of time. Similarly, if you work best remotely, it’s worth exploring distance learning LLMs.