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What Does Brexit Mean For LLM Students?

Brexit LLM StudentsThe UK has now formally left the European Union which means that when it comes to tuition fees for EU students at UK universities or for UK students studying at countries in the European Union things are a bit more complicated – and expensive!

Let's take a look at the different possible scenarios depending on what country you're from and where you want to study.

Are you a UK LLM student wanting to study at a law school in Europe?

Previously, as a UK LLM student, the UK’s EU membership meant that you were treated exactly the same as Home students when studying in another EU country. Meaning you paid the same tuition fees as students from the European country that the law school was located and had access to most of the same funding opportunities. Plus, you didn’t need a study visa and didn’t need to sit the same entrance exams or provide the same documentation as international students.

However, European universities are now charging UK students similar fees to those charged to International students, and citizens from the UK can’t stay in Europe for longer than 90 days in every six-month period without the appropriate documentation.

So, to study a postgraduate program at a country in the EU, UK students usually need to apply for a student visa or a temporary resident visa for students. To qualify for a student visa or temporary resident visa, UK students will have to fulfil certain criteria, this will vary slightly according to the country of study but is likely to include:

  • A firm offer on a postgraduate program, and a private or public higher education institution.
  • Proof of sufficient financial resources to cover the tuition fees and living costs for the duration of the course.
  • Health insurance.

Student visas or temporary resident permits are usually valid for two years with the opportunity to extend if the course has not been successfully completed. The necessary documentation, eligibility requirements and duration of visas will vary between the different European countries, you can find out more about your specific student visa requirements and how to apply on the European Commission EU Immigration Portal.

The only exception is in Ireland, where UK students who choose to study at universities here are covered by the Free Fees Initiative, as long as they have resided in the UK or an EU/EEA/Swiss state for at least three of the previous five years.


Are you a European student wanting to study an LLM in the UK?

When the UK had EU membership, European students were treated exactly the same as Home students, meaning they paid the same tuition fees and had access to most of the same funding opportunities as LLM students from the UK. There was also no need for a study visa or to sit the same entrance exams or provide the same documentation as international students – although it may have been necessary to provide proof on English language competency via TOEFL or IELTS. 

Now, UK law schools are mostly charging European students the same LLM tuition fees as International student tuition fees, and there is often the need for a visa. The UK government offers several different types of study visas.

1. Short-term study visa.

The Short-term study visa is issued for 11 months courses and with this option you can stay in the UK for the length of your course plus an extra 30 days as long as your stay is no longer than 11 months in total. It costs £200 for a Short-term study visa.

2. Student visa

The Student visa is suitable for EU students aged 16 and over who have been offered a place on a course by a licensed student sponsor, and this is the most likely visa for a postgraduate student to need.

Eligible applicants will need to prove they have enough money to support themselves for the duration of the course and to be able to pay for the course itself – the amount of financial resources will vary depending on circumstances. Students will also need to be prove they are able to speak, read, write and understand English.

3. Graduate visa

A Graduate visa gives students permission to stay in the UK for at least two years after successfully completing their postgraduate course in the UK. EU students are eligible for a Graduate visa if they meet the following criteria:

  • They’re already in the UK.
  • Their current visa is a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa.
  • They studied a UK bachelors (undergraduate) degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course for a minimum period of time with their Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa.
  • Their education provider (ie university or college) has told the Home Office that the course has been successfully completed.

The only variation is for Irish students who are treated as Home students and are able to study at universities in the UK in the same way as they were before Brexit.

Are you an International student wanting to study an LLM in Europe or the UK?

There’s good news here, as the conditions in the UK and the EU have remained the same for international students with their tuition fees and visa regulations remaining unchanged since Brexit. Therefore, International students will be under the same financial and visa circumstances as EU students, so see the previous section for further information on costs and eligibility requirements.

What does Brexit mean for Erasmus students?

The UK stopped being an Erasmus program country once Brexit happened, therefore UK students are no longer able to participate in the Erasmus program.

Are there any alternatives to Erasmus?

The Turing Scheme is the UK government’s global program to study and work abroad, including at universities in the EU. The scheme provides funding for international opportunities in education and training across the world.

Funding under the Turing Scheme is open to UK and British Overseas Territories organisations from across the education sector, including higher education institutions and is aimed at helping organisations enhance their existing international ties and forge new relationships around the world. 

What are your funding options as an EU student in the UK?

Many UK law schools and universities have put funding and scholarships in place to encourage EU students to continue their studies in the UK. For example, the University of Aberdeen in Scotand has Aberdeen Global Scholarships (EU), which provides EU postgraduate students with tuition fee discounts and funding towards their LLM programs of £3,500. It is worth doing some research to see what funding UK law schools are offering EU students.

What are your funding options as a UK student in the EU?

Similarly, law schools and universities in mainland Europe are also keen to have UK LLM students at their institutions and as a result some excellent bursaries and scholarships are available if you do your research.


Brexit has made LLM study in Europe for UK students slightly trickier, but it is still an avenue worth pursuing and there is plenty of funding available if you look in the right places. This is also the case for EU students wishing to study their LLM in the UK. And don’t forget, whichever country you are from, once you have been offered a place on an LLM program at any recognised law school worldwide you will be eligible to apply for a Global LLM Study Bursary worth £500


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