Online LLM Masters in Law Explained 

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Many UK law schools now offer the flexibility of an online LLM, so you can progress your legal education where and when it suits you while you carry on with your work and other commitments.

This guide will help you understand what’s involved in studying an LLM online and your career options once you complete your course.

What is an LLM?

An LLM is a Master of Laws – a postgraduate degree programme that can be the next academic step after completing an LLB (Bachelor of Laws). There are two main types of LLMs- Conversion Courses and Specialist LLMs. 

Conversion LLMs are for individuals who do not have an undergraduate degree in law but want to start a career in legal practice. Conversion LLMs are also a popular choice for international students who already have a law degree from another country and want to practise law in the UK.

Specialist LLMs have a narrower focus and examine a specific law or legal research area. They can be taught or research-based. They are designed for law professionals who want to gain specialised expertise in their area(s) of interest and shape the direction of their legal practice and expertise. 

Why Study an LLM?

An LLM provides an academic framework to investigate a specialist area of law, providing an intellectual challenge that can enhance career prospects.  For example, specialising in international tax or corporate law can open up lucrative opportunities working in the private sector. 

An LLM also opens the door to entering academia, the study and research of law, and teaching.  

If you want to practise law but hold an undergraduate degree in another discipline, a law conversion LLM provides a solid grounding in English law and builds a foundation to go on and complete the SQE, Special Qualifying Exams, that are required to become a solicitor. 

A Law (Conversion) LLM course is the only type of law conversion course that UK residents can fund with a government Master’s loan. We have a more detailed guide on different types of conversion courses that you might find useful.

LLM Specialisations

The range of areas of law in which to specialise is vast. The lists below are not exhaustive, but it gives you an idea of the main branches of law.

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
  • Banking Law
  • Business Law
  • Civil Law
  • Commercial Law
  • Comparative Law
  • Competition Law
  • Company Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Construction Law
  • Contract Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Employment & Social Security
  • Environmental Law
  • Equity and Trusts
  • EU Law
  • Family Law & Elder Law
  • Health & Medical Law
  • Human Rights Law
  • Insurance Law
  • Intellectual Property (IP) Law
  • International Business Law
  • International Law
  • International Trade Law
  • Land Law
  • Litigation
  • Media Law
  • Private Client Law
  • Probate Law
  • Property Law
  • Public Law
  • Religious Law
  • Sports Law
  • Tax Law
  • Telecommunications Law
  • Tort Law
  • Transportation Law

What Skills and Knowledge Will I Develop with an LLM?

As well as to gain a deeper legal knowledge of a specialised area of law, an LLM will enable you to:

  • Develop research, analysis and evaluation methods 
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Communication and presentation skills
  • Apply advanced knowledge and skills to real-world legal issues


What Job Can I Get with a LLM?

Since it provides you with specialist expertise and a broad range of skills in law, an LLM can significantly enhance your career opportunities and earning potential.

Some legal roles you can pursue with an LLM include:

  • Chartered Legal Executive
  • Conveyancer
  • Judicial Assistant
  • Law Costs Lawyer
  • Legal Secretary
  • Researcher at Law Commission
  • Corporate Counsel
  • International Arbitrator
  • Legal Consultant
  • Policy Analyst
  • University Lecturer in Law
  • Human Rights Advocate
  • Tax Advisor
  • Legal Publisher
  • Immigration Lawyer


But it’s important to note that an LLM isn’t just helpful if you want to pursue a career in law – it can also greatly help you in other career areas. For example, if you wish to pursue a career in the finance and banking sector, specialising in tax or commercial law on an LLM will give you the specialist expertise you need to increase your success when applying for career opportunities.

Just some of the other roles an LLM can be useful for include:

  • Civil Service
  • Insurance Underwriter
  • Local Government Officer
  • Mediator
  • Patent Attorney
  • Tax Adviser
  • Town Planner
  • Trading Standards Officer
  • Compliance Manager in Financial Services
  • International Development Worker
  • NGO Director
  • Policy Advisor in Government or Corporations
  • Corporate Strategy Consultant
  • Ethics Officer
  • Legal Technology Consultant
  • Legislative Assistant
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Risk Management Consultant


Online LLM Start Dates

Online LLM start dates are generally in January and September each year, but some UK universities may offer monthly start dates.

Before starting an LLM, keep in mind that for an institute to have degree-awarding authority in the UK, it needs to be accredited by the UK Government. If you are unsure, it’s key to check that you’re studying your LLM with a degree-awarding institution—find out how to check if a university has degree awarding power in the UK.

Online LLM Entry Requirements

Qualifications Needed

For A specialist  LLM, you’ll need either a law degree or professional legal experience to apply for an LLM. For a conversion LLM, you need an undergraduate degree in any subject. 

Law is a demanding subject, and most universities look for a 2:2 or above as a minimum for applications.

Applying for an Online LLM

LLMs can be highly competitive courses, so it’s important to submit your application as early as possible.

Check your preferred LLM course page for the specific courses’ application deadlines. We recommend preparing your application at least three months before this deadline so that you have adequate time to prepare your documents and arrange funding for your chosen course.

The documents you’ll typically need to apply for an online LLM usually include:

  • An online application form
  • CV
  • Personal statement
  • Previous certificates and transcripts
  • Professional or academic references


Studying law in the UK generally requires native or advanced-level English. If you’re an international student, some institutions may consider entry into their LLM courses if you have an IELTS score of 6.5, but most ask for an IELTS score of 7 or above. 

Online LLM Learning Format

Online LLM courses allow you the flexibility to study on your own terms – where and when it suits you. 

Most online LLM courses are asynchronous, meaning you don’t need to attend live tutorials or lectures – you can watch these online at a convenient time. Others, however, may have live lectures and tutorials that you’ll need to attend, but you’ll still be able to participate in these remotely.

You’ll also have online access to resources and support throughout your course, including access to your tutors and global student cohort.

With an online LLM, you can set your own study schedule that fits comfortably around your work and personal commitments.

Online LLM Age and Experience

Because of their flexibility, online LLMs are popular among mature students who are already working or have family commitments. 

Entering an online LLM course as a mature student empowers you to:

  1. Gain a promotion within your current organisation or pursue more senior roles with other organisations
  2. Leverage your existing work experience in law and apply it to your studies.
  3. Focus on an area of law you’re particularly interested in exploring further.
  4. Enhance your learning experience through your unique perspective and insights. 
  5. Harness your professional skills (e.g. time management) to effectively manage your studies alongside your other commitments.


LLM Duration and Time Commitments

Online LLM courses typically run for 12 months full-time or 24 months part-time.

An LLM consists of 180 Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points, or ‘credits’, which equates to around 1,800 study hours. 

Due to work and other commitments, mature students often take an online LLM part-time – this lets you break down your study hours per week to best suit your individual schedule. Use our part-time study calculator to determine how long it would take to finish your degree based on the time you could commit each week.

Effective time management is essential when you’re studying an online LLM. It’s a good idea to create a study schedule before your course starts so that you’re clear on when you’ll be setting aside for your studies.

Online LLM Costs Involved

General Costs

Costs involved in studying an online LLM include:

  • Tuition fees—Depending on the institution, these can range from £12,000 to £35,000. Check your chosen course page for tuition fees specific to your course.


  • Other costs—If an LLM requires you to complete exams, you may also need to pay exam fees (plus travel costs to an exam centre).


Payment Plans and Financial Management

Institutions often offer payment plans so that you can pay your tuition fee in instalments—you’ll need to check with your chosen university to see if they offer this option.

Paying your tuition fee in instalments may help you better manage your finances so that you can break down your payments into smaller amounts and spread them over the duration of the course. Alternatively, some institutions may offer a discount if you pay your full tuition fee upfront.

Funding Options for an LLM

Financial Support

If you’re a UK resident, you could be eligible to apply for a Master’s Loan – a government-funded loan that covers the cost of your course. You’ll only repay the loan once you earn over a set amount.

You can find out more about student finance options.

Scholarships and Grants

Many institutions offer scholarships and grants, so before you decide how you’ll fund your studies, check with your chosen university if they offer these and their eligibility requirements.

Also, you can check The Scholarship Hub website for information on UK scholarships, grants and bursaries.

If you’re a UK Study Online registered subscriber and meet the required eligibility criteria, you’ll go into the draw to win a scholarship towards your tuition fees.

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