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How to Prepare for Studying an LLM in English

Academically, there are two main things you need to have in order to study an LLM in English in the UK:

  • The equivalent of at least a 2:2 UK qualifying law non-law degree. This could rise to at least a 2:1 with some LLM providers. Non-law degrees can also accepted.
  • A qualification which proves your standard of English is strong enough to study in the English language.

English language requirements

All international students without English as their first language have to provide evidence of their ability to communicate in English in an academic context, regardless whether they are applying for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

Universities will require international postgraduate applicants to meet specific English language requirements, usually with a minimum score average in tests run by providers such as IELTS (academic), Pearson (PTE Academic) or TOEFL. These internationally-recognised English tests involve specifically designed programmes and examinations in reading, writing, speaking and listening modules.

What grade will I need?

English language requirements for an LLM degree will tend to be higher than those for an undergraduate law degree in the UK. The minimum average result required will vary between different law schools, but generally they will look for an overall average of around 7-7.5 for the IELTS test, as well as specified minimum scores in each individual module. TOEFL and Pearson have slightly different scoring systems. Law schools will specify the required minimum scores for these tests on their website.

You should have obtained the appropriate English language test results in recent years before you start your course.

How do I get an IELTS qualification?

If you don’t already have this qualification, you will need to complete the tests as a conditional requirement before you will be allowed to commence your LLM programme.

There are test centres running certified courses located in the UK and all over the world. Check out the IELTS (academic), Pearson (PTE Academic) or TOEFL websites for further information on the locations of their test centres and study mode options, or contact your nearest British Council centre.

Confidence to study abroad

If you are travelling to the UK to study for the first time the idea can be a little intimidating. Living in a foreign country is a challenge at first, especially if there is a language barrier. Be prepared to get involve with events at university and make an effort to get to know your course mates; daily interaction in English in your studies as well as in your social life will definitely help to ease you into student life in the UK! 

By Jos Weale, Editor,