The LLM in Legal Theory programme draws on the expertise of Queen Mary to offer advanced training in legal theory. The modules offered allow students the chance to explore a variety of theoretical approaches to law.
Your fellow students will come from the UK and more than 80 other countries, each able to draw on prior academic and in many cases professional experiences from different jurisdictions to enrich discussion and debate in class.
The Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context (CLSGC)
The Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context (CLSGC) at Queen Mary is a home for multidisciplinary research into the global dimensions of law and society. The CLSGC aims to work towards a better theorisation of law in its changing social contexts, exploring the challenges posed for this endeavour by law’s increasingly important global dimensions. As well as undertaking collaborative research, we supervise postgraduate research, and regularly host workshops, seminars and conferences.
Why study your LLM in Legal Theory at Queen Mary?
The School of Law has consistently been ranked in the top 10 law schools in the UK for the quality of our research and teaching, and many of our internationally recognised staff act as advisers to governments, industry and NGOs, both nationally and internationally.
The Postgraduate Law Centre is based in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Holborn, the legal district of London, close to law firms, chambers and the Royal Courts of Justice.
- There is a very high rate of employment of our students within six months of graduation.
- We have dedicated law careers advisers who organise events and internship opportunities with top UK and international law firms.
- Many of our internationally recognised staff act as advisers to governments, industry, regulatory authorities and NGOs, both nationally and internationally.
- We offer a Critical Thinking and Writing in Law programme designed to improve your writing and research in law skills.
- You will be able to take part in networking and social events run by the Queen Mary Postgraduate Law Society and upon graduating join our extensive alumni network.
You will have access to facilities and equipment at the Postgraduate School of Law Centre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, which comprises workstations, wireless internet access, projectors and a common room. You will also have access to the Lock-keeper's Cottage Graduate Centre at the Mile End campus.
As well as housing the Law Library and a European Documentation Centre, the Queen Mary Library at Mile End provides access to all the main British, European and international textbooks, law reports and periodicals and also offers one of the best commercial law collections in the country. Through the University of London College network, students have access to an unrivalled range of electronic law journals and databases.
In addition, Queen Mary provides free access to extensive online databases and collections including:
- Business Source Complete
- Index to Legal Periodicals
- International Court of Justice Reports
- Kluwer Arbitration
- Oxford Scholarship Online (Law)
- Reports of Patent, Design and Trademark Cases
- UK Statute law database
- United Nations Treaty Collection
In addition to the Queen Mary Library and the British Library, postgraduate students are able to access the well-stocked law library at the University of London’s Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS). The Institute, located at Russell Square, a few minutes’ walk from Lincoln’s Inn Fields, is one of the major law libraries worldwide. You will also have access to the University of London Library at Senate House.
The Master of Laws (LLM) is available to study full-time for one year or part-time for two years.
Each of the LLM programmes follows a common format: you will take 135 credits worth of taught modules (examined in May-June) and thereafter you work on a 15,000-word dissertation worth 45 credits (submitted mid August). You are required to balance your taught modules equally across the two teaching semesters – a full explanation of this process will be available during induction and before module selection.
What differs from programme to programme is the range of modules that you are required to choose from. If you wish to take an unrestricted range of modules and any approved dissertation topic you should apply for the Master of Laws.
Induction and choosing your modules
We run a two-week induction period that includes an overview of the programme and module selection, dissertation and research skills. In the second week you will have the chance to try out the different modules within your programme before you make your final choice. Full details of the induction programme will be made available online by September each year.
LLM Year Planner
The LLM Year Planner gives you an idea of the structure of the programme and key periods for assessment and exams.
Undertaking a masters programme is a serious commitment, with weekly contact hours being in addition to numerous hours of independent learning and research needed to progress at the required level. When coursework or examination deadlines are approaching independent learning hours may need to increase significantly.
The part-time LLM is essentially aimed at legal practitioners working full-time in the UK. You will attend the same modules and follow the same teaching timetable as full-time students.
The part-time programme is, however, spread over two academic years.
In year one, you will normally complete 90 credits of taught modules. In year two, you will normally take a further 45 credits of taught modules and submit the compulsory 15,000-word dissertation (45 credits). This can of course be changed if necessary, as the dissertation can actually be done in either year. However we would always advise part-time students to take 90 credits of taught modules in their first year if they are timetabled in a convenient slot.
Although not recommended, it is possible for part-time students, who are having difficulties in finding taught modules that fit in with their work timetable, to submit two dissertations – one per year. This would then enable you to take one taught module per year.
For more information:
Visit the School of Law website.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
If you can't find the information you are looking for on these pages, take a look at our LLM Frequently Asked Questions.
To specialise in this area, you must select 90 credits of modules from this list and do your compulsory dissertation in the field of Legal Theory (45 credits). The additional 45 credits of taught modules can be in this area or can be unrelated and therefore selected from the full list of LLM modules.
All modules are 22.5 credits unless otherwise stated.
Note: Not all of the modules listed will be available in any one year and semesters listed can be subject to change. Any modules not available in the forthcoming academic session will be marked as soon as this information is confirmed by teaching academics.
The updated module list below represents the result of our ongoing modularisation of the LLM which is intended to offer students greater flexibility and choice of module options.
- QLLM023 Courts in Comparative Perspective (45 credits) (Not running 2016-17)
- QLLM035 Gender, Law and the State: Current Legal Issues (45 credits) (Not running 2016-17)
- QLLM038 Human Rights of Women (45 credits)
- QLLM047 International and Comparative Social Justice (45 credits)
- QLLM077 Medical Jurisprudence (45 credits)
- QLLM112 Jurisprudence A (Sem 1)
- QLLM113 Jurisprudence B (Sem 2)
- QLLM127 International Human Rights Law (45 credits)
- QLLM155 Principles of Regulation (Sem1)
- QLLM167 Indigenous Rights: Selected Issues in Practice and Theory (Sem 1) (Not running 2016-17)
- QLLM169 Punishment in England 1750-1950 (Sem 1)
- QLLM170 Cultural Diversity and Law (Sem 1)
- QLLM171 Asian and African Legal Systems (Sem 1)
- QLLM314 Transnational Law and Governance (Sem 1)
- QLLM315 Transnational Law and Governance in Practice (Sem 2)
- QLLM325 Visual Cognition and Legal Theory (sem 2)
- QLLM399 Imagination and Legal Cognition (Sem 1)
The usual qualification for entry to the LLM programme is a degree in law, or a degree with a substantial law content, of at least 2.1 honours (or equivalent). Law graduates with 2.2 honours who also have other legal qualifications and/or substantial professional legal experience may also qualify.
Non-law graduates with a minimum second class honours degree, that have also obtained a Merit (or 60 per cent) in the Common Professional Examination (CPE) or Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) recognised by the UK professional bodies, may also qualify. Non-law graduates may also be considered on the basis of exceptional professional experience (of at least five years) in a legal area or an area directly related to their programme of study.
In all cases, a full online application is required in order for a fair assessment and decision to be made. Each application is considered on its merits and on sight of full application documents.
A full and detailed CV is required for all applications and is particularly relevant where professional experience needs to be considered.
Students from outside of the UK help form a global community here at Queen Mary. For detailed country specific entry requirements please visit the International section of our website. If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English language proficiency. Find details of the English language entry requirements for postgraduate law programmes.
If you do not meet language or scholarly requirements it might be possible for you to undertake foundation or pre-sessional programmes that will prepare you for the masters programme. For more information you require, please contact the Admissions Office.
How to apply - one LLM programme only
You may only apply for one of the School of Law’s LLM London programmes at a time. This restriction does not include the LLM Law and Economics programme or the LLM in Paris programme, which you may still apply for. You are permitted to apply for a maximum of two Queen Mary taught postgraduate programmes, so you may still apply for a further non-LLM London programme should you wish.
If you apply for one of the LLM London programmes, then later decide you would prefer to attend a different LLM specialism, please contact the Admissions Office Law Team at email@example.com - prior to enrolment - to request a manual change of LLM programme. Do not submit a new application.
Learning and teaching
As a student at Queen Mary, you will play an active part in your acquisition of skills and knowledge. Teaching is by a mixture of formal lectures and small group seminars. The seminars are designed to generate informed discussion around set topics, and may involve student presentations and group exercises as well as open discussion. We take pride in the close and friendly working relationship we have with our students. You will have a team of advisers to support you, including the LLM and Research Directors, your dissertation supervisor and tutors and your module convenors.
Where will my lectures and seminars be held?
Teaching is based at the School of Law's postgraduate centre in Lincoln's Inn Fields (nearest Underground station: Holborn). Depending on the courses you take, you may also have classes at the Mile End Campus (nearest Underground stations: Mile End and Stepney Green) or the University of London's Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (nearest Underground stations: Russell Square, Euston and Euston Square) or Charterhouse Square (nearest underground station: Barbican).
The sample LLM teaching timetable will give you some idea of the different locations used for teaching. This is a sample only and venues and times/days can change from year to year. The LLM teaching timetable is given to students during the induction period (after enrolment).
For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete further hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.
The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.
Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.
You will be assessed by a mixture of formal examinations and coursework in the three taught modules, followed by more self-directed work on your 15,000-word dissertation.
You will also complete a dissertation of 15,000-words.
Teachers contributing to this programme include:
- Professor Peter Alldridge
- Professor Richard Ashcroft
- Dr Maksymilian Del Mar
- Dr Ruth Fletcher
- Professor Rachael Mulheron
- Professor Richard Nobles
- Dr Prakash Shah
Fees are charged at a Home/EU rate for UK and EU nationals, and an overseas rate for International students - find out more about how your tuition fee status is assessed.
There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.
These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.
School of Law scholarships
The School of Law offers a range of scholarships for Law Masters programmes each year. Full details are made available on the law funding page from October – November each year.
Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships
We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.
Read more about funding a masters
Alternative sources of funding
Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.
Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country.
Detailed information about postgraduate funding options is available in our Postgraduate Funding Guide (pdf).
Read more about funding a masters.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079
Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary
We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.
Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:
- Postgraduate Funding (pdf)
- Planning your budget and cutting costs (pdf)
- Part-time and vacation work (pdf)
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717
Dr Wendelin Ettmayer, Austria
Dr Wendelin Ettmayer, Austria, Attorney at law, Schönherr Rechtsanwälte gmbh, Vienna
LLM in Legal Theory and History 2010-11
Following my graduation from the University of Vienna and a nine-month internship at various courts I joined the Institute of Labour and Social Security Law at the University of Vienna as research and teaching assistant for two years, in which I wrote my PhD thesis. Afterwards I worked at two Vienna based international law firms for four years specialising in the field of corporate / mergers and acquisitions.
In 2010 I decided to study an LLM at Queen Mary to gain experience, to meet people from all over the world, get to know a totally different legal system and enjoy living in one of the most exciting cities, London. From an academic perspective my aim was not to focus on merely practically-oriented classes, since such classes cannot substitute training on the job anyhow. My aim was rather to focus on things that you cannot learn on the job and are not available at universities in Austria. In this respect the legal theory class not only exceeded my expectations, but substantially contributed to the great experience I enjoyed at QM.
I now work as an attorney at law in one of the leading Austrian law firms. My studies in legal theory might not have addressed the problems I have to solve in my day-to-day job. Nevertheless, to analyse historic and philosophical developments in the past, to understand the fundamental basis of a legal regime and to intensely study various approaches towards law not only broadens one's horizon but also improves one's skills as a critically thinking lawyer - an attitude my clients won't want to miss.
Christian Herbst, Partner at Schönherr Attorneys at law:
"As an employer we look for something special in the CVs of the applicants. An LLM with a focus on legal theory is such a special qualification since it demonstrates that a student aims at understanding a legal system in its entirety - a key requirement to provide tailor-made advice to clients in any field of law."