How to Apply for LLM in UK

Thinking of applying for a Master of Laws (LLM) programme? LLM courses are very competitive postgraduate degree programmes, so it’s important to know how to meet the entry requirements and stand out from other applicants.

This guide includes what an LLM degree actually involves, what the entry requirements are for top universities, and how to apply.

The Profs’ admissions team are experts in helping students get into even the most competitive LLM courses. 95% of our postgraduate students get into their first or second choice university and our Oxbridge acceptance rate is more than three times higher than the average. If you need support, get in touch with our team today.

What is an LLM?

A Master of Laws (LLM) is a postgraduate course which usually allows you to study a specific branch of Law in more depth. For example, LLM programmes may allow you to specialise in Competition Law, European Law, Intellectual Property and Information Law, International Business Law, International Financial Law, and many other areas of the field. You don’t need an LLM to practise law as a career, but the advanced training and expertise it provides can make you more attractive to law firms.

Which universities offer LLM (Master of Laws)?

Most top universities offer Master of Laws (LLM) courses, including: Cambridge, UCL, LSE, King’s College London (KCL), Manchester, Durham, Edinburgh, and Bristol. There are also specialist universities that offer LLMs, like the University of Law. The most notable exception is Oxford, which instead of offering a traditional LLM, offers a world-renowned postgraduate Law course called the Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL).

Top tip: LLM courses are extremely competitive at the top universities. When it comes to studying at postgraduate level, you are not limited to the number of courses you can apply for (unlike during the undergraduate application process) because you do not apply via UCAS, but directly to universities. Therefore, try not to be disheartened if you don’t get accepted the first time. You can apply to lots of universities as ‘back ups’ and, if you are set on one of the most competitive universities, you can always try again the following year!

5-Step LLM Application Process

Step 1. Research available courses

Master of Law (LLM) courses are intensive courses that vary between universities, so it’s important to do your research ahead of time. Here are three things you should always research before beginning an application:

1. Entry requirements

Most LLM courses require applicants to have an undergraduate degree in Law (e.g. LLB) or a postgraduate Law conversion course (such as a CPE or GDL). The table below shows the entry requirements for LLM programmes at the best universities for Law in the UK*.

Ranking University LLM Entry Requirements
2 University of Cambridge A first class Bachelor’s degree in Law from a UK university (or international equivalent).
3 University College London (UCL) A good 2:1 degree with evidence of first class ability. This normally means an average of at least 65% (or equivalent) across all years of study and at least one first class class mark (or equivalent) over the entire degree.
4 London School of Economics (LSE) A first class or very high 2:1 degree in Law from a UK university (or international equivalent).
5 Durham University A good 2:1 degree in Law (or international equivalent) or in a degree in which Law is a major component.
6 King’s College London (KCL) A high 2:1 degree in Law (usually an overall average of at least 65% across all years of study) or a degree with at least 70% Law content.
7 University of Leeds A 2:1 degree in Law or an area related to your chosen LLM course.
8 University of Bristol A 2:1 degree in Law from a UK university (or international equivalent).
9 Queen’s University Belfast A 2:1 degree from a UK university (or international equivalent).
10 University of Warwick A 2:1 degree in Law from a UK university (or international equivalent).
11 University of Nottingham A 2:1 degree (or international equivalent) in Law, Humanities or Social Sciences.

*Oxford University is ranked first for Law in the UK, however it does not offer a Master of Laws (LLM) programme. Instead, it offers postgraduate Law programmes called Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) and MPhil Law. For both of these programmes, you will need a first class degree in Law to meet the entry requirements.

2. Course content

Not all LLM courses are created equal, so researching exactly what a course will entail before you apply is vital. Make sure you explore the specific modules you might be covering as well as the reputation of the course amongst employers.

Some universities, such as Leeds and Warwick, offer LLM courses that specialise in one or more particular areas of Law, or incorporate subjects closely aligned with Law. For example, Leeds does not offer one LLM, but nine different LLM courses, including LLM International Law and Global Governance, LLM International Business Law, LLM Law and Finance, and more. Choosing the course that most closely matches your interests and future career goals is important to ensure that you have the best chance of receiving an offer and getting the most out of your postgraduate studies.

3. Deadlines

Each LLM course will have its own deadline/s depending on the university you apply for. Some universities have one fixed deadline by which you need to submit your application (such as Cambridge on 1st December), while others have multiple ‘deadlines’ used to segregate applications into stages (such as Manchester). Some LLM programmes are so competitive that we advise students to apply as soon as applications open, rather than waiting until closer to the deadline. For others, we may advise that you wait until one of the later stages. Universities may not wait until the deadline to offer places and if there are lots of strong applicants (which there almost always is) you could miss out if you don’t apply quickly.

Step 2. Choose your course(s) and begin the application process

Once you’ve done your research, you can decide which LLM course you’d most like to apply for and begin the application process. Unlike undergraduate applications, you will not be required to apply via UCAS or be limited to the number of courses you can apply for. Instead, you will apply directly to universities via their own postgraduate application portals. For most universities, you will need to register for an account on the online portal before you can begin an application for your chosen course.

Each university’s LLM application process differs slightly depending on a range of factors, such as the competitiveness of the course and the deadlines you’re aiming for. Most universities will ask applicants to submit all or some of the following:

  • Degree transcript – this shows your past qualifications, including what subjects/modules you studied and the grades you achieved.
  • Personal statement – this is your chance to sell yourself to your chosen university and prove why you are the best candidate for the course.
  • Reference/s – most universities ask for one or two academic references to verify your suitability for the degree course.
  • Additional written work – some universities may ask for samples of your previous written work, such as essays.

After you have submitted your application, many universities will also ask you to attend an interview (see step 5) before making an offer. Make sure you always find out which stages you’ll have to go through as part of the application process so that you can prepare and successfully complete each one. Mapping out an application calendar can help you stay on track and reach out for help when you need it. The Profs’ consultancy team can help with this process as part of our admissions packages – get in touch to find out more.

Top tip: If you are an international student applying to a UK university, you may also be required to take an advanced English language test such as the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Due to Master’s courses being more advanced and usually more research-based than undergraduate courses, universities will be keen to make sure that your language skills are adequate for higher level study. They may therefore have their own minimum scores you must achieve in specific tests in order to qualify for entry, for example UCL requires LLM applicants to have level 4 English, which equates to an overall score of 109 with 27 in reading and writing and 23 in speaking and listening in the TOEFL, or an overall score of 7.5 and a minimum of 7.0 in each component in the IELTS. Always check on the university website or with an expert such as a Profs international admissions tutor to ensure you meet the entry requirements.

Step 3. Write your personal statement

Your personal statement is an important part of your LLM application because it is your first chance to show that you are the best candidate for a place on your chosen course.
Unlike during the undergraduate application process, where you are only allowed to submit one personal statement that is then sent to every university via UCAS, LLM personal statements can be personalised to each university. This means that universities will expect to see more research into your chosen course along with your motivations for studying there (as opposed to any other school) and how the course aligns with your future goals.

Our guide to writing a Master’s personal statement gives detailed stages and top tips on how to stand out to even the most competitive universities. Click the button below to read it for free:

How to Write a Master’s Personal Statement

You can also access more personalised, one-to-one support with your Master of Law (LLM) personal statement by reaching out to our admissions team today. Our network of tutors have a 95% success rate of helping students receive offers from their first and second choice universities so are best placed to give you the expert guidance you need.

Step 4. Submit your application

In most cases, you will submit your Master’s applications directly to your chosen university via the online applicant portal you are registered with. Before you submit your application, it’s important to have a friend, family member, or ideally an admissions expert review it. This not only helps to ensure your application is free of grammatical or spelling errors – which can detract from your amazing skills and experience if left unchecked – but also allows you to make any changes that will maximise your chances of success.

You’ll also need to consider the costs associated with submitting your application. There may be a fee to submit your application; for example, UCL charges all applicants a £90 application fee for its LLM programme in 2023/24.

Step 5. Prepare for your interview

Many LLM (Master of Laws) courses require applicants to attend an interview. LLM interviews are very much like other postgraduate interviews in terms of their goal and the kind of questions you may be asked. As with all interviews, it’s important to research the course and university in advance and prepare with an expert to maximise your chances of success.

Some common questions you might be asked in an LLM include:

  • Why have you applied to this particular LLM course?
  • What are your academic/greatest strengths?
  • How will this course benefit you as a student and in your future career?
  • And more. Get in touch with our LLM tutors for more tailored advice on how to prepare for your LLM interview.

How can we help?

The Profs’ consultancy team have many years of experience advising students on how to get into some of the most competitive LLM courses at top universities in the UK. 95% of our students get into their first or second choice university, and our Oxbridge acceptance rate stands at 55% – three times the national average. Our dedicated admissions consultants help you at every stage of the application process, from choosing the right universities for you to preparing for admissions tests and interviews. Whatever support you need, our LLM tutors have got you covered – get in touch with our team today to start preparing.

FAQs

What does LLM stand for?

LLM stands for Master of Laws. It is a postgraduate Law degree that allows you to specialise in one or more areas of Law at an advanced level.

How much does a LLM cost UK?

LLM course fees vary between universities. For full-time LLM programs, fees at top universities can range from around £10,430 to £21,500 for UK students and around £21,280-£37,500 for international students. Always check the specific course fees on your chosen course page before applying.

When should I start applying for LLM?

The deadlines for LLM programmes are set by individual universities and can differ greatly. You can therefore apply for a Master’s at any time, as long as you are meeting the application deadline. Most universities will publish the dates that applications open and close on the relevant course pages, or specify if a course has rolling applications/no fixed deadline. We recommend that you apply for courses with fixed deadlines as soon as possible after applications open as LLMs are particularly competitive.

Ideally, you should leave at least 3 months to research available courses and work on your application, as you will need to tailor your personal statements to each university. If you are applying in your final year of university and need support improving your grades to meet the entry requirements, then we suggest starting preparations as early as possible.

What is the University of Law?

The University of Law is a university dedicated to the study of Law and related legal subjects like Criminology and Cyber Security and Data Governance. It offers both undergraduate courses, including the ever-popular LLB (Bachelor of Laws), as well as postgraduate courses, including the LLM (Master of Laws) as well as more specialist courses.

The University of Law does not feature in many league tables (including the QS World University Rankings, Times Higher Education and Shanghai Ranking) because their rankings exclude particularly small, specialist institutions. However, the university was named the best university in England for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2020 (NSS).

Does Oxford offer an LLM (Master of Laws) course?

Rather than a traditional Master of Laws (LLM) course, Oxford instead offers a world-renowned postgraduate Law course called the Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL). This is a taught graduate course which has a significant amount of one-to-one support – more than a typical LLM offers – from its top academics. Oxford’s BCL is designed to serve “outstanding Law students from common Law backgrounds” and is incredibly competitive, with only the most outstanding students holding a top first-class degree in Law being accepted.

Can I do an LLM without a Law degree?

Most universities require you to have an undergraduate degree in Law when applying for an LLM programme. However, some universities will accept applications from students of other, related disciplines, particularly if you studied Law-focused modules or can demonstrate a knowledge of and interest in Law. You may also be able to qualify for an LLM if you have completed a postgraduate Law conversion course (such as a CPE or GDL). Each university has different entry requirements, so always check directly with them before applying.

Do you need an LLM to practise Law?

You do not need an LLM to practise law as a career, but the advanced training and expertise it provides can make you more attractive to law firms.