find your perfect LLM program
Search our Database of over 2500 Courses

Graduate LLB Law program 

LLB studentSuccessfully completing a Graduate LLB will give you an abundance of great career opportunities, enabling you to work not just as a solicitor, but also as a barrister, judge, chartered accountant, or even as a civil service administrator. If studying for a Graduate LLB is a path of study that you are interested in, read on to find out what is involved.

What is a Graduate LLB?

A Graduate LLB (Bachelor of Laws or Legum Baccalaureus in Latin) is a postgraduate degree program that offers non-law graduates the chance to study an LLB in two years rather than three following the successful completion of a non-law related degree.

The Graduate LLB will give these candidates the required theoretical and practical knowledge to allow them to work as legal professionals. So if you want to be a practising lawyer who can give legal advice and also appear in court - but did your initial degree in History or some other discipline - fear not as by enrolling on a Graduate LLB you can still fulfil your dreams! 

Successful completion of a Graduate LLB program traditionally allowed you to progress onto one of the two professional courses that all UK lawyers had to take – the Legal Practice Course (LPC) for solicitors and the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) for barristers. From September 2021, the LPC route into becoming a solicitor is being replaced by the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) – there is full information about the SQE later in this article.

A Graduate LLB course covers several subjects which may comprise:

Criminal law
Public law
• Legal methods 
• Commercial law
• Housing law
Banking law and finance
• Local government law
Intellectual property law 

Some of the modules will be optional and some will be compulsory.

Many highly ranked law schools in the UK offer Graduate LLB programs - here are the details of three of the leading ones to use to demonstrate the variety of modules you can expect to study on a Graduate LLB programme. The Graduate LLB at the University of Exeter has the following compulsory modules - Constitutional and Administrative Law; Land Law; The Law of Contract; Law of Torts; Criminal Law; European Union Law; and Trusts – and then many different optional modules to choose from including Gender, Sexuality and Law; Environmental Regulation and Redress; Commercial Law; Family Law; and Employment Law. And the Graduate LLB on offer at the University of Birmingham has similar compulsory modules namely, Public Law; Criminal Law; Law of Contract; Law of Torts; Legal Foundations of the European Union, Land Law; and Law of Trusts and Equity. There are then a further 20 optional modules to choose from, including Advanced Property Law; Advocacy (Mooting); Bioethics; Company Law and Counter Terrorism Law. Meanwhile the Graduate LLB on offer at the University of Glasgow includes the following study modules: Legal Study; Family Law; Constitutional Law; Criminal Law and Evidence; Law and Government; Jurisprudence; Legal Profession and Ethics; Property Law; Commercial Law; Business Organisations; and European Union Law. 

Entry requirements to study an LLB

To be accepted onto a Graduate LLB program, you need to have completed a degree (in any subject), of at least a second class honours standard. If you are from a country outside of the UK you will also need to prove that you have a good standard of the English language. 

How does an LLB compare to an LLM?

Both a Graduate LLB and an LLM can only be taken after completing a bachelors degree  - however while an LLM program takes one year to complete full time, a Graduate LLB takes two years to complete on a full-time bases. With a Graduate LLB it doesn't matter what subject you studied at degree level - as long as you achieved a good grade (usually 2:1 or higher), however with an LLM usually you need to have done your first degree in law or in a subject relevant to your chosen area of specialism with the LLM program - ie if you want to do an LLM in Business Law you will probably need to have studied either law or business at degree level.

A Graduate LLB is an essential choice for those wishing to practice law as a solicitor or barrister but who didn't study their initial degree in law. Meanwhile, enrolling for an LLM program provides you with a chance to acquire specialised training in different aspects of law including tax law, environmental law, and international commercial arbitration. A good section of practising lawyers go back to the classroom to take up LLM programs in order to upgrade their academic qualifications and gain some experience on international issues once they have completed their LLB program.

All things considered, when enrolling for a postgraduate law program, it is important to choose the right type of law program - be it a Graduate LLB or an LLM - and both will serve to enhance your CV and boost your legal knowledge extensively.

When choosing where to study yout postgraduate law program you will also need to find an institution that will help you apply your knowledge in a practical context. This could be done through networking between students and legal professionals, or law clinics where learners can offer legal aid to the public while they also hone their skills on negotiation, interviewing, and advocacy. Bear in mind, it is only with proper training that you can be certain to develop skills that will help you progress in your career in the legal sector.

Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is being phased in during 2021 as the new centralised way to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales. It will replace the Legal Practice Course (LPC), which is the former route to practicing law, and once the transitional phase is over law schools in England and Wales will stop offering the LPC. The SQE is a new system of exams divided into two stages – SQE1 and SQE2 – that will be introduced from September 2021, and all prospective candidates will have to pass both stages of exams to qualify as a solicitor. As well as passing both stages of the SQE, prospective candidates must complete two years of Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) and demonstrate that they have suitable character to work in this field.

Put simply, to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales through the new SQE route you need to:

1. Have a university degree in ANY subject.

2. Pass SQE1 and SQE2 exams.

3. Complete two years’ Qualifying Work Experience (QWE).

4. Demonstrate suitable character.

The SQE differs from the LPC in that it is a series of exams rather than an actual course, as a result of this the SQE does not involve any direct education or training. New law conversion course options will be launched alongside the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) to offer students a range of options to prepare for the SQE.

Read our article on the Solicitors Qualifying Examination for the complete lowdown.


Related articles

Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)

Top 10 Reasons To Study An LLM

Postgraduate Law Qualifications

Global LLM Study Bursaries