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LLM (Master of Laws) in Competition Law

An LLM in Competition law (or Antitrust Law as it is sometimes referred to in the United States) has three main elements:

  • Prohibiting agreements or practices that restrict free trading and competition between businesses.
  • Banning abusive behaviour by a firm dominating a market, or anti-competitive practices that tend to lead to such a dominant position. 
  • Supervising the mergers and acquisitions of large corporations, including some joint ventures.

An increasingly important area of study, an LLM in Competition Law covers the application of competition law in the real world, equipping students with the skills to work with the various international institutions involved in the regulation of the markets. As a discipline, competition law focuses on prohibiting agreements or practices which limit competition, restrict free trading or lead to other unfair market conditions.

An LLM in Competition Law will usually include units focusing on topics like: mergers and monopolies, state aid legislation, cartels, regulation of public services, anti-competitive practices, intellectual property rights and international competition law. In general, competition law is concerned with ensuring businesses have a fair opportunity to compete in market economies, while simultaneously looking out for the interests of consumers.

Find LLM programs in Competition Law

Number crunching the LLM in Competition Law

Competition law1 year of full-time study to complete the course.

2,000 years since the first competition laws were drawn up.

15,000 words for the typical LLM in Competition Law thesis.

LLM in Competition Law – who’s it for?

A Masters of Law program focusing on Competition Law is ideal for legal practitioners who wish to move into the field of market regulation, as well as recent law graduates looking for an interesting area of specialisation. Although the course is ideally suited to those seeking a career within competition law, it can also provide an excellent foundation for those looking to move into other fields, including financial analysis and human rights.

Where can you study an LLM (Master of Laws) in Competition Law?

Due to its importance, the study of competition law is fairly common and an LLM in Competition Law is offered by a wide range of universities around the world. While far from an exhaustive list, some of the most notable and prestigious academic institutions offering this particular course are listed below:

University of California, Berkeley Law
Harvard Law School, Harvard University
University of Oxford 
Freie Universität Berlin
New York University School of Law
Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University 
Brussels School of Competition
King's College London
Queen Mary University of London
Liege Competition and Innovation Institute
University of Chicago Law School
The London School of Economics and Political Science

What qualifications do you need?

Generally speaking, acceptance onto an LLM in Competition Law will require a full undergraduate degree in Law, or the completion of another undergraduate course with at least 70% law content. The precise entry requirements vary from one academic institution to another, but a minimum of a 2:2 or equivalent is usually requested and many top universities demand a 2:1. In addition, applicants with a first language other than English will be required to prove their language skills with an IELTS: 7 or above, or TOEFL: 107 or above. Click here to find out more about English Language requirements for International Students.

Most universities will consider applicants who do not meet the entry requirements, but who have graduated from a law degree and have professional legal experience. Moreover, non-law graduates may be accepted by some universities if they go on to complete a course with a comparable academic level, such as a Graduate Diploma in Law. When evaluating applications, universities may also consider work experience, letters of recommendation, personal and professional accomplishments and the applicant's proposed thesis topic.

Student case study

Felipe Garcia-Pineda spent five years practising law in his home country of Colombia, before travelling to the United Kingdom to enrol in an LLM in Competition Law at Queen Mary University of London. While at the university, he opted to study International and Comparative Competition Law, International Merger Control and EC Competition Law.

"Studying the LLM at Queen Mary exceeded my expectations," Garcia-Pineda said, recounting his experience to university staff. "These three courses were a perfect combination of theory and practice."

After graduating, Garcia-Pineda returned to Colombia, where he sought employment at the Colombian Competition Authority. His LLM in Competition Law allowed him to meet the qualifications for the role and his application was successful. Moreover, the course equipped him with many of the practical skills he uses on a daily basis.

An LLM in Competition Law advances careers in…

Government regulatory authorities

Tax or public affairs advice

International market regulation

Investment bank analysis

Human Rights organisations

Management consultancy

5 fascinating facts about Competition Law

1. The first known competition laws were drawn up in Rome around 2,000 years ago.

2. More than 80 countries have adopted competition law frameworks in the past 20 years.

3. Competition law is also known as anti-trust law, anti-monopoly law and trade practices law.

4. The two most significant regulatory systems are the US antitrust law and EU competition law.

5. In total, more than 100 countries around the world have enacted competition laws.

Recommended reading

International and Comparative Competition Law by Maher M Dabbah

Competition Law and Policy in the EU and UK by Angus MacCulloch and Barry Rodger

EU Competition Law: Text, Cases and Materials by Alison Jones and Brenda Sufrin

Competition Law by Richard Whish and David Bailey

The Antitrust Enterprise: Principle and Execution by Herbert Hovenkamp 

International and Comparative Competition Law by Maher M Dabbah 


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