When you decide to study an LLM, a key consideration is that you must have an idea of the dissertation topic that you will submit as part of your Master of Laws program. Some of you may find it daunting to go through the process of choosing a topic while others may have an idea of what they wish to write about right from the start. Don’t worry if you were still unsure on the topic when you started the LLM degree as this is a very common thing.
Remind yourself why you are you doing your LLM
You can simply start by reminding yourself your reasons for doing the LLM – whether it is to further your professional career goals or advance into a research degree. Aligning your dissertation topic with the LLM modules that you choose from can also help in preparing you on the topic. You may want to wait till you have decided on module specialisations to identify the topic you find most suited to your career needs and interests.
Research your topic
An important step is choosing an interesting topic is to do adequate research beforehand and assessing your capabilities in being able to work on this topic during the course of your LLM year. Choosing a topic can take up a lot of your thought process. You will know from colleagues and tutors that the topic must be relevant, unique to the legal specialisation and something that you can use to advance through the LLM program. But ultimately it is up to you to make the decision so make it wisely!
Here we take a look at some tips on how to make choosing a dissertation topic a bit easier.
The topic should have a direct bearing on your long-term career goals. If you planned on a PhD then an LLM thesis can prepare you on the long journey of detailed analysis/research and developing a whole host of scholarly material by contributing to existing material. To take on this approach, you will need to spend substantial amount of time researching into the topic, looking at gaps in current research and the potential to fill these gaps using available resources.
On the other hand, if you’re planning on using your LLM degree to progress within your respective firm or company, it makes sense to pick the topic that your organisation would benefit from you looking at in detail.
It is key that you don’t carelessly choose a topic that may seem archaic in today’s scholarly world, topics that researchers have spent a lot of time analysing and have developed concrete ideas and thesis around, unless you feel that you would be making a fresh contribution to the area of research.
Finally one of the most important things to consider when choosing your LLM dissertation topic is that it must be an area that you are very interested in. You will have to spend hours and hours studying to finish your dissertation – so being interested in your field of research is imperative.
What do the experts say?
Finally, the University of Nottingham has provided some practical questions that you can ask yourself when you go through the process of choosing your topic – here we list some of the key ones – for you to tick off to ensure you’re choosing the right topic:
Check if you can…
- Do this in the time available?
- Do this within the word count?
- Get access to the resources I need?
- Does my topic allow me to demonstrate extensive/relevant reading?