A Master of Laws (LLM) degree can come in extremely useful for those who are looking to pursue a career in the internationally recognised world of postgraduate legal work. It is interesting to note that there are now a greater number of students wishing to study this field online.
Distance learning certainly has its advantages, but what can you truly expect to encounter? Let's take a look at how others have found the experience as well as a handful of important factors to keep in mind.
THE STUDY TIME AND AMOUNT OF WORK INVOLVED
The amount of study time required to obtain a degree in LLM via distance learning will very much depend upon whether or not the student decides to participate in a part-time or a full-time program. Those who wish to pursue a distance learning course and can enjoy a full-time status, which will normally require two standard semesters (one academic year) to complete the course.
In terms of the amount of work involved, the topics and information will be the very same as would be encountered within a classroom setting. Having said this, bear in mind that distance learning requires a certain amount of self-discipline. Furthermore, juggling a full-time (or even a part-time) curriculum with a normal job can prove challenging.
One student, Celia Whitaker, summed up the combination of academic work and everyday life as: "...hard to keep up. It's quite exhausting."
Ultimately, keep in mind that finding the right balance between your DL LLM responsibilities and your everyday life roles is likely to be the most challenging thing you will come across during the course in terms of effort.
THE AVERAGE COSTS OF A DISTANCE LEARNING LLM
In general, the cost of a Distance Learning LLM at a UK university can vary between £3,000 and £11,000. This will depend upon the course of study as well as the university that is providing the program. If we take the mean of these two limits, we can assume that a two-year course will be priced at roughly £3,500 per year.
THE OVERALL BENEFITS AND DRAWBACKS
The main benefit of a Distance Learning LLM course is that a host of job opportunities will open up that would not otherwise be possible without this postgraduate degree. Not only can this be a much more rewarding position, but your salary is likely to increase. Like an on-campus LLM course the academic work is extremely interesting and rewarding, obviously. But above all, the biggest benefit is that you will be able to mould your studies around your schedule while saving money on room and board (as would normally be encountered at a traditional university).
Still, we should remember that this type of learning takes discipline. Classes are not given in the traditional sense and you cannot simply raise your hand if you have a question. Also, taking official examinations may require the student to travel to a designated centre (such as London or Edinburgh).
Overall, you can expect to be provided with a flexibility that would not be possible within a traditional learning environment. Still, be prepared for lots of hard work and possible challenges in terms of time management.