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Covid-19 Information For LLM Students In The UK
The coronavirus pandemic was a source of international concern to everyone including LLM and postgraduate law students.
It was an unprecedented situation with continuously evolving policy changes by governments worldwide in terms of health advice, social restrictions, and of course education policy.
Now, three years later, everything has settled down and teaching at law schools across the world has returned to normal – or should that be a new normal…
In this article, we have gathered together useful information for LLM students and postgraduate law students studying or planning to study in the UK, looking at some of the changes in teaching that have happened as a result of Covid-19.Find your PERFECT LLM PROGRAM
How have law schools changed following the coronavirus pandemic?
Back in 2020, countries in Europe and across the world closed their schools, colleges and universities to try and combat the spread of coronavirus. UK law schools closed in March 2020 but gradually started to reopen on a limited bases as the year progressed.
As a result of these widespread closures, there was plenty of advances in online teaching facilities and opportunities. With all teaching moved online for at least a term, the main advantage to studying online became apparent – this being flexibility – with the ability to study both where and when you want.
Now, over three years later, the pre-recorded lectures from Covid times, are still being used when students or lecturers are absent due to any illness and can’t attend the live event. Another benefit is that students are able to study an LLM at the law schools of their dreams without having to relocate to another city or country, as the online offerings are so comprehensive and are equally respected as their on-campus counterparts.
Top tips to studying your LLM at home
It’s not always easy to be as productive at home as you are on campus at law school, but with a little careful planning you will be able to make your LLM studying at home a success. Here’s how:
1. Set up a routine
Get a good routine going. If your mind and body are expecting to sleep in until the middle of the day, then that’s what it's going to do. Make yourself get up, get dressed and start studying. Eat at the same time each day and study for about the same amount of time each day as well if you can. After a few days you’ll find your new routine becomes easier and you’ll be motivated to study hard for your LLM.
2. Know your limits
Hopefully, since you’ve finished at least one degree already, you'll know when you work well and when you don't. You should ensure that you know your limits too, lots of us cannot work late into the night with any effectiveness – if this is you, then don’t push yourself into ill health. Similarly, some students are night owls and after dark is when they achieve their best work. Acknowledge what works for you so your work at your personal optimum time.
3. Create a study space
Having a specific area in your home to study will mean you’ll associate it with concentration and your LLM studies. Make sure you have a comfortable spot with appropriate seating and a good large table for you to spread your books out. Natural daylight and good artificial lighting are both important to look after your eye health. And by adding an indoor plant it will make the area look nice and clean up the surrounding air, which are good for your mental health and general wellbeing.
4. Manage expectations of housemates
If you are sharing a home with other people, then you will need to manage their expectations of your time, particularly if your housemates aren’t studying too. Plan when meals will be and communicate with each other what needs to be done in the house tol avoid arguments or misunderstandings that will stress you out and take valuable time away from your LLM studies. If you are sharing your house with your family, ensure they understand when you require time alone to study.
5. Take time out
Make sure you regularly put the books and the laptop away and take some time out. Getting into another room to relax will help you de-stress. An even better option is to take the time to get outside, as any vitamin D you manage to absorb from the sunshine will be good for you. Exercising is a great way to focus your mind for your studies later on, so getting out and away from your work will help you study.
How did the pandemic affect international LLM students in the UK?
In April 2020, at the height of the pandemic, we asked one of our Global LLM Bursary winners, Lashan Martin, what effect the pandemic was having on her LLM studies. Lashan came from the Bahamas to study her LLM in International Maritime Law at Swansea University in the UK.
She explains, “The greatest impacts of Covid-19 on international students are both internal and external. Internally – apart from mobility and financial hardship – students like me are estranged from our families and have to remain within the United Kingdom due to travel restrictions.
Externally, as it relates to education, fortunately for me Swansea University is flexible and virtual learning has been fully implemented. However, personally I find face-to-face interaction as opposed to distance learning to be a more effective method of learning, and the sole purpose of having chosen to study abroad. I intend to sit the Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL) course in the near future after my current LLM studies. However, the advancement of my education is threatened by the lack of surety amid the pandemic.
Many of us international students remained within the UK in fear of contracting the virus and spreading it throughout our respective countries. We not only have our family and friends to support, but we Bahamians have a whole nation to preserve.”
Curriculum changes following the pandemic
Law schools are already teaching, researching and discussing the local, national and global impacts of the pandemic.
For example the LLM in Human Rights, Conflict and Justice offered at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London includes the Covid-19 crisis in its teaching.
Health Care LLMs are also proving popular in a post-pandemic world. This table shows some recent additions to LLM programs that reflect the coronavirus pandemic.
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London (England UK)
LLM in Human Rights, Conflict and Justice
University of Kent (England UK)
LLM in Law and Health
Cardiff University (Wales, UK)
LLM in Legal Aspects of Medical Practice
Duke University (USA)
LLM for International Students
Onsite and online law school open days
Most UK law schools and universities cancelled postgraduate open days at the beginning of the pandemic – once the lockdowns were lifted slightly the law schools created the ability for prospective students to attend online open days to view their facilities and ask questions about their LLM programs.
Nowadays, LLM students have the benefit of being able to attend both onsite and online law school open days, this means they can explore the options at far-flung law schools that they may otherwise not have been able to see due to time or financial constraints.
Although Covid-19 is still present, it is no longer considered a major threat to society. Vaccinations are readily available but not required to travel between countries. People can choose where and when they want to wear masks. Social distancing has almost become a distant memory, with class sizes returning to pre-pandemic levels.
However, much has been learnt from this crisis, for example the importance of hygiene including handwashing and disinfectant. LLM students are now able to study wherever and whenever they want, they can network face-to-face and online, and can now take full advantage of everything a Master of Laws has to offer on an academic, professional and personal level.