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Studying an LLM (Master of Laws) Program in Hong Kong
Hong Kong – on China's southern coast – conjures up images of an exciting city. In much the same way as Singapore, Hong Kong is ast paced and sophisticated, considered to be one of the world’s leading international centres and a major commercial hub in Asia. Many international banks, insurance companies and law firms have offices in Hong Kong with employees drawn from around the world. This gives Hong Kong an interesting mix of residents and a hip cosmopolitan vibe. It is prosperous, with one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, and ranks highly on the quality of life index, making Hong Kong one of the most sought after places to live and work. It’s also got great restaurants and nightlife, excellent shopping, and is an ideal base for exploring the rest of Asia – what’s not to like?
Where to do your LLM in Hong Kong
Several institutions offer LLMs, including the City University of Hong Kong, the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. General Master in Laws programs are available, as well as specialised LLMs in Human Rights, Corporate and Financial Law, Information Technology and Intellectual Property Law, International Economic Law, Arbitration and Dispute Resolution and Chinese Business Law.
Some of the programs are available full time (one to two years) or part time (two to three years). With China’s position as an economic power, doing your LLM in Hong Kong provides you with a fantastic opportunity to learn Cantonese or Mandarin, if you can manage to squeeze in language classes between studying and exams.
The general requirements to do an LLM in Hong Kong are proficiency in English and one of the items listed below. This is only a broad view of what’s needed and you are strongly advised to check out the specific requirements of the institution you want to study at.
If you don’t have a legal education, you would need experience and professional qualifications relevant to the LLM you choose. Admission is at the institution’s discretion.
If you do have a legal education, you’d be expected to have one of the following:
- An LLB; some institutions specify a second class honours degree
- Admission into professional law practice (either in Hong Kong, the UK or other countries)
- A pass in the Common Practice Examination of England & Wales (such as the GDL – Graduate Diploma in Law)
Tuition fees and living costs
The currency in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong dollar (HK$.) Do check to find out the exchange rate between the HK$ and your local currency – there are currently around 10 HK$ to a Euro (€).
Tuition fees vary by institution and depend on the number of units / credits in your chosen course as some institutions charge on a modular basis; anything from HK$3,500 to HK$4,200 per unit. Some LLMs have up to 24 units. You would also have to factor in application fees, which could cost between HK$150 and HK$500 depending on the institution.
When calculating living costs, in addition to accommodation, do try to find out from your chosen institution what you can expect to pay for utilities, transportation if you’re going to live off-campus, food, and the all-important medical insurance.
Hong Kong is a densely populated and expensive city to live in so prepare to shell out for accommodation, particularly if you will be living off-campus. Rent could cost you HK$4,000 or upwards a month, depending on whether you live centrally, near a station or further out. Remember that although you may find cheaper accommodation further out, it would add to your transportation costs. The average monthly living cost for a student on their own (i.e. without a family in tow) could range from HK$7,000 to HK$10,000, covering utilities, phone bills, transport, meals and groceries. This excludes accommodation and of course depends on your spending habits – are you the frugal type who’s fine with cooking noodles on a small stove or do you like to eat out, go clubbing, and can’t do without your daily fix from a well known coffee chain?
If you plan to work in Hong Kong to support yourself, check out the Hong Kong immigration department website for information about what criteria you need to satisfy to be eligible to work as you study. Check out our page on fees, funding and student bursaries.
Visa requirements for international students
As part of your visa application international students would be required to provide evidence of funds available for fees and living expenses. After you’ve gotten your student visa you will need to get a Hong Kong identity card (HKID card), which is issued to non-tourists who will be staying in Hong Kong for longer than six months. Check out the Hong Kong immigration department website for more information, and give yourself plenty of time to apply as it could take up to a month for your HKID card to be issued.
Where else in Asia can you study an LLM?
There are plenty of LLM opportunities for those interested in studying their Master of Laws in Asia.
We have essential information on LLM studies in the following countries:Find LLM programs in Hong Kong