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LLM in Law

This programme offers an exciting and flexible range of courses drawn from across the range of masters level courses offered by Edinburgh Law School, enabling you to tailor the LLM to meet your academic interests and future career plans.

Students in discussion.

The LLM in Law (or ‘General LLM’) is suitable for students seeking a range of advanced courses, without necessarily specialising in one area of law.

You will have the opportunity to select courses from the following areas of law:

  • Commercial Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminology
  • EU Law
  • Intellectual Property, Media and Technology Law
  • International Law
  • Legal History and Legal Theory
  • Medical Law
  • Private Law
  • Public Law

The General LLM qualification reflects expertise across a range of subjects. For that reason, there are limits on the number of courses which can be taken from any one subject area. You can find a detailed overview of the programme structure here.

If you wish to specialise in a specific area of law you should apply for one of our nominate degrees.

View our full range of Masters degrees

The LLM in Law offers students the opportunity to craft a curriculum which suits their needs and interests and to engage with a broad range of subject areas. The range of skills and knowledge which such a programme develops and allows students to demonstrate is increasingly important in view of the interconnectedness of the modern workplace.

Advanced study in legal and criminological fields offers excellent preparation for a range of careers including academia, legal practice, business, public policy. Our teaching is research-led and delivered in seminars which give students the opportunity to engage directly with each other and with academic staff.

The University of Edinburgh's Law School has a vibrant research community, boasting scholars of international repute. Their work is supported by one of the UK’s leading law libraries, which you will also have access to.

The Law School is also home to research centres for Commercial, Constitutional, International and Global and Private Law as well as centres for Legal History and Legal Theory as well as the Empirical Legal Research Network, the Mason Institute (which examines medicine, life science and the law), the Europa Institute, the Global Justice Academy and the SCRIPT Centre (which explores the relations between law, technology and commerce).

Find out more about our research centres and networks

In addition to scholars based in Edinburgh, the Law School also operates two schemes for visiting researchers: the Visiting Scholar Programme and the MacCormick Fellowship Scheme. Through these the international culture of scholarship in Edinburgh is fostered and developed.

Visit Edinburgh Law School's MacCormick Fellows video channel

Find out more about research at Edinburgh Law School

The wide range of research seminars and public lectures provide an excellent opportunity for you to engage with current research and to get to know academics and postgraduate researchers in a more informal setting.

Each of the research centres organises a number of seminars and symposia throughout the year, which are open to all postgraduate students. The Law School also holds a number of annual lectures given by leading scholars and members of the judiciary.

As a postgraduate student you are actively encouraged to attend and to participate in these events.

Find out more about the range of events at Edinburgh Law School

Contact us

If you have any questions about the LLM in Law please don't hesitate to contact us.

This programme can be taken full-time over one year, or part-time over two years (due to current UKVI regulations, the part-time programme is only available to UK and EU students). 

It offers a wide range of subjects across many legal fields from European, International and comparative perspectives. It is genuinely flexible enabling you to tailor the LLM to meet your specific interests.

The programme consists of 180 credits, comprising taught courses worth 120 credits (60 credits per semester) and a 10,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits.

To ensure a programme of general interest there are no mandatory courses, however you may only select a certain number of credits (60 per semester) from particular fields. This is indicated in the course options list below. Full programme details including detailed course descriptions are available on the University Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study website.

View full programme information for the LLM in Law

Courses shown below are for the 2020/21 academic year and are for illustrative purposes. Courses for the 2021/22 academic year will be confirmed in May 2021.

You can select between 0 and 40 credits from the following courses:

  • Company Law (40 credits, full-year course) 
  • Comparative Corporate Governance (20 credits)
  • Corporation Law and Economics (20 credits)
  • Insolvency Law (20 credits)
  • Principles of Corporate Finance Law (20 credits)
  • Principles of Commercial Law (40 credits, full-year course)

View full programme information for the LLM in Law

You can select between 0 and 60 credits from the following courses:

  • Sexual Offending and the Law (20 credits)
  • General Principles of Criminal Law (20 credits)
  • Current Issues in Criminal Law (20 credits)

View full programme information for the LLM in Law

You can select between 0 and 60 credits from the following courses:

  • Criminal Justice and Penal Process (20 credits)
  • Police and Policing (20 credits)
  • Theoretical Criminology (20 credits)
  • Surveillance and Security (20 credits)
  • Global Crime and Insecurity (20 credits)
  • Criminological Research Methods (40 credits, full-year course)
  • Cyber Crime and Cyber Security (20 credits)
  • Prisons and Places of Confinement (20 credits)

View full programme information for the LLM in Law

You can select between 0 and 60 credits from the following courses:

  • EU Competition Law (40 credits, full-year course)
  • EU Criminal Law (20 credits)
  • EU Immigration Law (20 credits)
  • The Integrity of the EU's Internal Market (20 credits)
  • The EU's Changing Constitution (20 credits)
  • New Classics of EU Law (20 credits)

View full programme information for the LLM in Law

You can select between 0 and 40 credits from the following courses:

  • Intellectual Property Law 1: Copyright and Related Rights (20 credits) 
  • Intellectual Property Law 2: Industrial Property (20 credits) 
  • Law of E-Commerce (20 credits) 
  • The legal challenges of information technologies (20 credits) 
  • International Intellectual Property System (20 credits) 
  • Data Protection and Information Privacy (20 credits) 
  • Information: Control and Power (20 credits)
  • International and European Media Law (20 credits) 
  • Intellectual Property and Human Rights (20 credits)
  • Intellectual Property Law, Innovation and Creativity (20 credits)
  • Robotics, AI and the Law (20 credits)
  • The Law of Advertising and Commercial Speech (20 credits)
  • Contemporary Issues in Exploiting Intellectual Property (20 credits) 
  • E-Governance, Digital Change and Democratisation (10 credits)
  • Human-Computer Interaction and Governance (10 credits)
  • Legal and Ethics Issues in Digital Journalism (10 credits)
  • Space Law (10 credits)
  • Selected Issues in Communications Law (10 credits)

View full programme information for the LLM in Law

You can select between 0 and 40 credits from the following courses:

  • Fundamental Issues in International Law (40 credits, full-year course)
  • Inter-state Conflict and Humanitarian Law (20 credits)
  • History and Theory of International Law (20 credits)
  • International Human Rights Law (20 credits)
  • WTO Law 1 (20 credits)
  • WTO Law 2 (20 credits)
  • Introduction to International Environmental Law (20 credits)
  • International Ocean Governance and the Protection of the Marine Environment (20 credits)
  • Human (In)Security (20 credits)
  • Law and Development (20 credits)
  • Economic and Social Rights (20 credits)

View full programme information for the LLM in Law

You can select between 0 and 20 credits from the following courses:

  • Legal Decison-Making (20 credits)

View full programme information for the LLM in Law

You can select between 0 and 60 credits from the following courses:

  • Fundamental Issues in Medical Jurisprudence (20 credits)
  • Contemporary Issues in Medical Jurisprudence (20 credits)
  • Risk and Regulation: Theories and Practices (20 credits)

View full programme information for the LLM in Law

You can select between 0 and 60 credits from the following courses:

  • International Private Law: Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments (20 credits)
  • Delict and Tort (20 credits)
  • Comparative Property Law (20 credits)
  • Comparative and International Trust law (20 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Comparative Private Law (20 credits)
  • Trusts across the Common Law World (20 credits)
  • Child Law in Comparative Perspectives (20 credits)

View full programme information for the LLM in Law

You can select between 0 and 60 credits from the following courses:

  • The Anatomy of Public Law (20 credits)
  • International Climate Change Law (20 credits)
  • Human Rights Law in Europe (20 credits)
  • Advanced Comparative Constitutional Law (20 credits)
  • Climate Change Litigation: Practice and Theory (20 credits)

View full programme information for the LLM in Law

Having successfully completed 120 credit points of courses within the LLM, you will be ready to move onto a single piece of independent and in-depth research. The 10,000 word dissertation allows you to focus on a preferred topic based on a subject you have studied in one of your courses during the programme.

You will be assigned an academic dissertation supervisor who will provide you with support and guidance while you prepare and write your dissertation.

The dissertation is a challenging but rewarding endeavour, asking you to demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of the relevant literature and an ability to engage critically with a range of sources, drawing on the skills and knowledge you have developed during the course of the programme. Students are encouraged to show originality and evidence of independent thinking, whether in terms of the material used, or the manner in which it is presented.

The dissertation is written in the summer months (April to August) after the taught courses are successfully completed.

We cannot guarantee that all courses will run each year, and will provide adequate notice of any changes to the programme structure and courses.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the LLM in Law please don't hesitate to contact us.

Academic staff teaching on courses on the LLM in Law in 2020/21 are experts in their field and are actively involved in cutting-edge research in their area of expertise.

Dr John Macleod - Programme Director 2020/21

John is a graduate (LLB (Hons), PhD) of the University of Edinburgh. After completing his LLB studies, he worked for the Scottish Law Commission before returning to undertake PhD studies. He joined the University from the University of Glasgow where he was a Lecturer in Commercial Law.

John is a member of the Obligations Law Reform Committee of the Law Society of Scotland, the Round Table of the Verband Deutscher Pfandbriefbanken and has served on the advisory group for the Scottish Law Commission projects on Moveable Transactions and Heritable Security.

Find out more

Depending on the courses you choose to study, you will be taught by staff from a range of different subject areas in the Law School.

The staff teaching on this programme are subject to change for 2021/21. 

Contact us

If you have any questions about the LLM in Law please don't hesitate to contact us.

Find out what it's like to study for an LLM in Law at Edinburgh Law School from our current and former students.

Marlene, Germany

My name’s Marlene, I’m German and have a background in EU-level digital policy-making. After working for several years after my undergraduate degree, I chose Edinburgh Law School to complete my education. While my undergraduate degree was mainly law, I also took interdisciplinary courses in politics and economics. The faculty is open to such backgrounds, which I think is forward-thinking. Many universities still treat legal education as siloed from other disciplines, which it isn’t in real life.

Marlene, LLM in Law, 2020

For someone with an interdisciplinary background like mine, the General Law LLM stream was perfect. I was effectively able to custom-design an LLM, drawing from courses across the Law School, and tailor everything to my specific goals. While other LLM streams also have freedom in choosing some courses, what sets the General stream apart is that we have no mandatory courses, and truly have free choice.

I also participated in the University’s team for the Willem C. Vis Moot, which was one of the most rewarding experiences of my time in Edinburgh. It was really challenging to balance with my regular course load, but complementary in improving my oral advocacy skills.

I loved Edinburgh. It’s big enough to feel like a city and offer you anything you need, but small enough that everything is in your reach. The university attracts incredibly interesting people, and I made friends for life.

Marlene studied the LLM in Law in the academic year 2019-20, graduating in 2020.

"Due to the huge range of courses, the LLM in Law offered me a tailor-made way to pursue my various legal interests. Without being restricted to a particular area of law, I had the chance to set up my individual curriculum consisting of civil and criminal law classes.

I really enjoyed the seminar-style teaching in small groups. As most of my courses had a comparative approach, it was more like learning from each other than only from the lecturer.

Nils, LLM in Law, 2017

Discussing legal topics and problems with my fellow classmates from various legal backgrounds was a highly enriching experience. Sometimes the teachers only had to trigger a discussion which then developed itself and only stopped because the seminar-time ran out.

Working with the teaching-staff was also a great experience. The lecturers were all very approachable, student friendly and willing to help.This was particularly visible when I was writing my dissertation. Through out all meetings my supervisor tried to show me ways to improve my work. It was the first time in my academic career that I received such an extensive and smooth supervision.

Not being stuck in one specific programme had another positive effect. As almost all General LLM students had chosen completely different combinations of courses, I met new people in every single class. I really felt like I was part of one big LLM family and not just one small programme. As a result, I made new friends not only from all over the world but also from a wide range of legal subject areas. Thus, I think the LLM in Law is the most diverse programme of all LLM programmes at Edinburgh University."

Nils studied the LLM in Law in the academic year 2016-17, graduating in 2017.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the LLM in Law please don't hesitate to contact us.

We recommend that you apply as early as possible; this is particularly important for applicants who may need to allow sufficient time to take an English language test, for overseas students who may need time to satisfy necessary visa requirements and/or to apply for University accommodation.

Apply for September 2021 entry

Entry requirements

We require a minimum 2:1 honours degree from a UK university, or its international equivalent, in law. We may also consider a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a social science subject. Entry to this programme is competitive. Meeting minimum requirements for consideration does not guarantee an offer of study.

Supporting your application:

  • Relevant work experience is not required but may increase your chances of acceptance.
  • Relevant professional qualifications will be considered.
  • Preference will be given to those with grades above the minimum requirements due to strong competition for places on this programme.

If you have a non-UK degree, please check whether your degree qualification is equivalent to the minimum standard before applying.

Check your degree

Postgraduate study in the field of law requires a thorough, complex and demanding knowledge of English, so we ask that the communication skills of all students are at the same minimum standard.

Students whose first language is not English must therefore show evidence of one of the following qualifications below:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 7.0 in the writing component and 6.5 in each other module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 25 in writing and 23 in each other module)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 185 in writing and 176 in each other module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Find out more

Your English language certificate must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

We also accept an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The UK Government's website provides a list of majority English speaking countries.

View the UKVI list of majority English speaking countries

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, or equivalent, that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about the University's English language requirements

Your application may not be successful if you do not currently satisfy any of these requirements; alternatively, you may be offered a place conditional on your reaching the satisfactory standard by the time you start the degree.

English language support

The University runs a series of programmes for English Language Education, including a pre-sessional English Language Programme intended to strengthen your English Language skills before you start your programme of study.

Find out more about English language support offered by the University

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study the LLM in Law in 2021/22 are provided in the table below.

Round Application deadline Decisions by
1 04 December 2020 28 January 2021
2 26 February 2021 31 March 2021
3 07 May 2021 18 June 2021
4 30 June 2021 27 July 2021

We monitor application numbers carefully to ensure we are able to accommodate all those who receive offers. It may therefore be necessary to close a programme earlier than the published deadline and if this is the case we will place a four-week warning notice on the relevant programme page.

Please note that the deadline for meeting the conditions of an offer is 31 August 2021.

Applications are made online via the University Application Service, EUCLID.

Please follow the instructions carefully and make sure that you have included the following documentation with your application:

  • Degree certificates showing award of degree.
  • Previous academic transcripts for all past degree programmes (please upload the full transcript showing results from all years of study).
  • A reference in support or your application. The reference should be academic and dated no earlier than one year from the start of study on the LLM programme.
  • Evidence of English language proficiency, if required.

If you are currently studying for your degree or you are not in a possession of an English test result you may still apply to the programme. Please note that it is your responsibility to submit the necessary documents.

Students at this University must not undertake any other concurrent credit bearing studies in this (or in any other) institution, unless the College has granted permission. The College must be satisfied that any additional credit-bearing studies will not restrict the student’s ability to complete their existing programme of study. Students will not be permitted to undertake concurrent degree programmes in any circumstances.

If you are studying at this or another institution just prior to the start of your postgraduate studies you must have finished these studies before the start of the programme to which you have an offer.

After your application has been submitted you will be able to track its progress through the University's applicant hub.

Application processing times will vary however the admissions team will endeavour to process your application within four to six weeks of submission. Please note that missing documentation will delay the application process.

You will be informed as soon as possible of the decision taken. Three outcomes are possible:

  • You may be offered a place unconditionally
  • You may be offered a conditional place, which means that you must fulfil certain conditions that will be specified in the offer letter. Where a conditional offer is made, it is your responsibility to inform the College Postgraduate Office when you have fulfilled the requirements set out.
  • Your application may be unsuccessful. If your application has not been successful, you can request feedback from us or refer to our guidance for unsuccessful applicants, which explains some of the common reasons we why we reach this decision.
    View the University's guidance for unsuccessful applicants

The deadline for meeting the conditions of an offer is 31 August 2021.

Please note that if you receive an offer of a place to study the LLM in Law and later decide that you do not want to accept your place, we do not allow deferrals. In this case you would have to reapply for the following academic year.

You can find full and detailed application guidance on the University's website.

Find out more about applying to the University of Edinburgh

If you receive an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, you will be asked to pay a tuition fee deposit of £1,500 (within 28 days of receiving your offer) to secure your place on the programme.

Find out more about tuition fee deposits

The University’s terms and conditions form part of your contract with the University, and you should read them, and our data protection policy, carefully before applying.

University of Edinburgh admissions terms and conditions

Apply for September 2021 entry

Contact us

If you have any questions about applying to the LLM in Law please don't hesitate to contact us.