LLM Funding Sources
Those who choose to study an LLM will need to tackle the issue of how they will fund their studies. There are a number of LLM funding sources available, and very recently the government made postgraduate loans available. So what are the options?
To help with the costs, several law schools, particularly the larger ones, have a limited amount of scholarships on offer each academic year. They are offered to support their current and prospective students in pursuing an LLM. Some scholarships are for LLM applicants only, whereas others are open to applicants of law subjects or postgraduate degrees.
This type of funding is usually awarded on a meritocratic basis. Scholarships for international students are also available. And the best thing about them? They won’t have to be repaid!
Other funding sources for scholarships and grants could be local authorities, or organisations such as Research Councils UK.
Law schools, local authorities and some charitable organisations also offer a select number of bursaries. These particular awards can help supplement tuition fees, or other study costs. Bursary recipients are deemed by the awarding body to be in need of this financial support.
Several banks offer loans as funding sources for Master’s degrees, which may or may not be appropriate depending on personal circumstances. Borrowing funds can seem like a good quick fix option, and it can indeed work out well for people and enable them to undertake their studies. Professional and Career Development Loans offer reduced rate interest and the chance to delay repayments until one month after you have completed your course.
However, it’s important to be cautious if you consider this option for your LLM. The nature of these loans are quite different to that of a student loan for an undergraduate degree. You will have to pay the money back in instalments, plus interest.
Will you have sufficient funds to make the necessary loan repayments at the right time? Will the career you have pay a sufficient amount of money? If you plan to become a solicitor or barrister, salaries usually meet these repayment demands comfortably; the risk lies in whether or not you will secure a position in time.
A loan is a serious commitment, so make sure you have all the information you need and are confident in your financial security before opting for this form of financial support.
Some LLM students have planned ahead for their course, and manage to save enough money accordingly. Working for a while to get the money together for your LLM may allow you to study on a full time basis eventually. Plus, LLM students with work experience can be in an advantageous position; in the long run your experience of the work place will be just as important as your academic credentials for your future career. Top law firms want the best students with an instinct for commercial awareness.
The range of part-time LLM degree programmes now on offer mean that you can still support yourself and your studies financially by working as your study. Part-time LLM courses last two or three years.
The development of online courses provides yet another alternative LLM funding source. The flexibility of study hours allows you to carry on working on a full-time basis.
If you are certain you want to pursue an LLM and you are clear about your reasons for studying, there will definitely be a suitable funding source, perhaps even more that one, which is suitable for you. Don’t compromise on your top choices for your course; it will be worth saving for those extra few months to a place on the right degree programme.
This scheme has only recently been created, but it's likely be the most popular way of funding postgraduate study. You can borrow up to £10,000 to cover any costs of your degree. Find out more about this loan here.
Above all, be realistic and honest about your financial circumstances and plan your financial support accordingly.