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Applying for an LLM without an LLB

As your undergraduate degree comes to an end, you might be tempted to prolong your days at university and avoid the real world by studying a master's degree. And what better master's degree is there but the LLM? The LLM is a very in-depth look at a few areas of law, so you might be wondering whether or not you can study it without having done an LLB... The answer isn't quite a simple yes or no, but we're here to walk you through it.

What are the entry requirements for an LLM?

Entry requirements vary across law schools and are usually quite vague. Most universities don't state that you need an LLB, but some knowledge of law is required. How this is interpreted is really up to the university, but you'll need to prove to them that you are academically capable of doing a master's in law. If you're just hoping to stumble onto the course and learn as you go, you're probably not going to make it past the application process.

You'll need to check out the entry requirements for each LLM on our course search before you apply to find out if you'll be accepted without an LLB, as some will specifically require it. Some courses even require that you have a BPTC or LPC.

What other qualifications can I get?

A BA in Law could give you enough experience and knowledge to do an LLM, although you won't be qualified as a lawyer. But again, it's up to the individual law school to decide if they will accept your undergraduate degree. It'll help your application if you have an impressive transcript and relevant legal work experience. You should also be able to highlight particular areas of law you are interested in studying for in your LLM and explain your past experience with it.

If you did a non-law degree but then completed the law conversion course, you are essentially at the same level as someone who has done the LLB. The fact that you managed to fit a three-year course into one year might actually put you in better stead when applying for an LLM, as you've proven that you're able to keep up academically.

One other way you might arrive at an LLM is if you have experience in another field and want to take a look at the legal side of this area: for example, if you have studied medicine and would now like to study medical law.

How else can I prepare myself for an LLM?

Without having studied the LLB or GDL, you won't have the knowledge of all the different areas of law. This means you won't really be able to make a fully informed decision when deciding how you'll want to specialise in your LLM. It's for this reason that universities state that you need significant legal knowledge.

There are other ways for you to gain this knowledge though, such as through legal work experience in a variety of areas. If you've done vacation schemes in many different law firms you could have enough experience to get you through.

You could also have worked your way up through a paralegal career, and thus have a lot of practical knowledge of the law without a degree.

Ultimately, it is possible to get onto an LLM without having done a law degree. It's best to check with your university's admissions before you get your heart set on it, but in the mean time, getting as much legal work experience as possible will only help your law career in the long run. 

By Lauren Bowes, Editor,