How do I choose an LLM?
The LLM is a postgraduate law degree, otherwise known as a masters. It is available to both law and non-law graduates, or anyone with an equivalent qualification. When choosing an LLM it is important to do your research and consider your own circumstances, interests and the type of study that best suits you and your personality.
Like a full-time undergraduate degree and as the name implies, if you choose to do a full-time LLM, you will have to spend most of your time doing this degree. It would be extremely difficult to balance work on top of this degree, as you would be spending about 40 hours a week on the degree doing lectures, seminars, further reading, and other work. A full-time LLM will take about a year to complete.
The benefits of doing a full-time LLM are the short amount of time it takes to complete the degree and the fact that you can get a true university experience while completing your studies. However, it can be very difficult to fund and may require you to move away from friends and family.
Alternatively, a part-time LLM allows you to keep working while also completing your degree, as you will only spend about 20 to 25 hours on studies a week. Therefore, university hours tend to take place in evenings and on the weekend to allow for time to work and take care of other responsibilities.
The amount of time it will take to complete your degree will vary, however it will typically be double the full-time length ( one year full-time, two years part-time). However, this may be a better option than the full-time LLM if you have other obligations or need a way to self-fund.
All the work in a distance learning LLM will be completed online over email and with virtual lectures and seminars. This option can be done full-time or part-time. This can be beneficial if the costs of in-person tuition are too high, and will help you save on transport costs. It is also especially helpful if you already have a job or other commitments in a certain location, which would make it difficult for you to leave.
However, one downside is missing out on the traditional university experience: joining societies, spending time on campus. Some people struggle with motivation without face-to-face learning.
Finances can play a big role in choosing an LLM. The cost of the degree can vary from £4,000 to over £14,000, which means that this may have an impact on the course provider that you choose. You will need to think more about financing and whether this is done yourself, via a postgraduate loan or through a bursary or scholarship. For example, by doing a part-time degree, it may be easier to fund the LLM yourself.
General vs Specialised LLM
You can choose whether to do your LLM on a broad range of topics (LLM Legal Practice), or to specialise in a specific area of law. Specialist LLM degrees include: International Human Rights Law, Mental Health Law and Environmental Law. This will depend on your interests and what you're good at.
It is important to consider your strengths and what particularly interested you in your undergraduate and during your time researching law and the various modules. Also, think about what type of law you want to work in (i.e corporate vs criminal) and what type of firm you will want to work for when deciding your module choices.
Regardless, you will have to write essays and a dissertation, so the formatting between the general LLM and specialised LLM is no different, it is merely the content that would change.