Once you've decided that your career could do with the boost that an LLM will undoubtedly give, how do you decide which LLM course to pick?
There are thousands of different LLM program options available at hundreds of law schools all over the world, so how do you ensure you choose the right course for you?
Our blog outlines a few key considerations.
Think About Your Career Aims
Some LLM courses offer a general education and others offer the chance to focus closely on one specific area. You need to carefully consider your goals after completing the course. If you already work in the area of the law you wish to specialise in, then that narrows down the courses you're considering. It's always a good idea to get some work experience under your belt, especially if you're thinking about focusing on one area of the law. Alternatively, a general LLM is a great way to improve your research skills and focus on a couple different areas of the law or if you are considering a move into academia. Some LLM courses from prestigious law schools, like Harvard Law, are specifically aimed at those wishing to study the law academically.
What Study Method Suits You?
Are you planning on taking a year out of your career for your LLM or would you prefer to study on a part-time basis? How you want to study your course will have an impact on the courses you apply to. Some LLMs are offered on a full-time basis only, and a few law schools offer LLM courses on an online or distance learning basis, such as the University of Edinburgh.
Which Modules Are Available?
Make sure you dig a little deeper with your research into the various LLM courses and check what modules are likely to be offered. Are any of these more tempting than other modules offered at alternative law schools? The modules are usually advertised alongside other course information online, as the University of Manchester does, but you can always ask directly and remember that there is no guarantee that a specific module will run while you are completing your LLM. Is this a deal-breaker? If you’re heading to a specific law school on the basis of one specialised module that ends up not running – would you want to go elsewhere?
Law School Location
Obviously, if you have responsibilities that mean you cannot move for study, then you'll only apply to those law schools nearby. But if you can relocate for your studies you need to carefully consider the location of your law school. Many law schools will have excellent connections with the local legal community, so if you study where you want to work you'll make some great contacts.
Course Costs & Funding Options
LLM program tuition fees are always a consideration and you might find that changing location may have an impact on the sum charged by the law school. If you're thinking about specialising in a subject like International Law, then the tuition fees charged in different countries might have an impact on your decision. Funding is also different depending on where you study and you might find a scholarship is available to you if you attend a particular law school.
Are you aware of certain law professors with an excellent reputation in the field you are interested in? If you have your heart set on a particular career path, then you should consider which academic staff have the necessary experience to assist you – and find out what law schools they are based at. Your ideal course might be dependent on an excellent professor or two.