Studying an LLM (Master of Laws) in South Africa

Flanked by two oceans and boasting almost 3,000 km of stunning coastline, not to mention grassland, semi-desert, a wealth of biodiversity, with its decent economic situation plus a fascinating cultural vibe, South Africa, or the “Gateway to Africa” as it is sometimes referred to, is a great place to continue your legal studies. 

There is a good selection of universities in South Africa, these include University of Stellenbosch; University of the Western Cape; University of Cape Town; University of Fort Hare; University of KwaZulu-Natal; Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University; University of Pretoria; University of South Africa; and the University of Witwatersrand.

Find LLM programs in South Africa

What LLM programs can you do in South Africa?

LLM programs in South Africa usually take one year’s full-time study or two years’ part-time study. LLM programs currently available at universities in South Africa are wide-ranging - including commercial law, investment law, labour law, business law, medical law, indigenous law and many others. There are some topics - such as energy law - where the location will offer huge benefits as there is a strong industry to associate with.

LLM programs are typically taught in English, although do check with your chosen institution to make sure.

Admissions to a South African LLM program

LLM (Master of Laws) in South AfricaInternational students must have a study permit before they are allowed to enrol onto any course in South Africa. These are available from the South African embassy in your home country, or from the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa:

Subdirectorate: Temporary Residence
Private Bag X114
Pretoria 0001
South Africa
Telephone: +27(0)12 314 8911 Fax: +27(0)12 328 3908

Course applications should be made directly to the university and it’s a good idea to apply as early as possible to increase your chances of securing a place.

To gain entry to an LLM program in a South African institution applicants should hold a degree of LLB or its equivalent. Applicants with degrees or qualifications in a language other than English will are likely to be required to demonstrate their English language skills by obtaining exam scores in one of the following:

TOEFL: Minimum paper-based score of 600 or a total score of 100 with at least 25 on each of the individual skill areas (internet-based)

IELTS: Minimum band score of 7.0

How to apply for a study permit

LLM (Master of Laws) in South AfricaPlease bear in mind these are only guidelines – you must check the exact requirements with your chosen institution, but you will almost certainly need: 

A valid passport
A formal offer letter from your chosen South African institution
Proof that you are able to pay your tuition fees and have adequate means of support throughout the duration of your LLM program
A medical certificate and medical insurance cover usable in South Africa
A repatriation guarantee
A written undertaking that you will return to your country of residence/origin after completing your studies
The relevant permit fee

A study permit will take about six weeks to process.

Tuition fees and living costs

LLM program tuition fees for international students at a South African institution are around R 10,000- R11,000 per module (just under £1,000) – which is around 50% higher than the fees for the ‘home students’. LLM programs generally consist of four modules. There will also be a similar cost for the thesis or dissertation as well as application and registration fees. International students will generally be expected to pay their tuition fees and registration charges up front, and tuition fees will not include accommodation and living costs.

LLM (Master of Laws) in South AfricaWhat to do in when you're not studying

South Africa is an amazingly diverse country, with a whole range of ways to distract yourself from your studies. Depending on where you choose to go, you could be close to gorgeous coastlines, or hidden nature reserves. We recommend making some time - perhaps a weekend trip - to visit Cape Town or Johannesburg, and enjoy the local shopping and big-city life.

Of course, no year spent in South Africa would be complete without a safari! South Africa is amazing for nature lovers, and watching lions sunbathe the day away is a great way to relax. Finally, a must-visit for anyone interested in history is the Cradle of Humankind - there's something for everyone, from nature tours to a spa, all in the settings that humankind began.

Related Editorial Links

LLM Guide: Top 10 Reasons To Study An LLM Program

Sources of Funding for LLMs

Legal Careers

Global LLM Study Bursaries

Register with LLMStudy.com

  • Exclusive bursaries
  • Open day alerts
  • Latest LLM news
Register Now!