Master of law (LL.M.) is a very flexible qualification degree in terms of the subjects and duration an individual wishes to study. Students can choose different types of LL.M. programs in order to suit their needs. To better understand the various kinds of LL.M. programs, let us review the types of LL.M. programs.
Up until few years, the traditional LL.M.'s were widely practiced and offered by LL.M. schools. These LL.M. programs are usually a 1-year program of full-time study. The year is usually divided into semester or trimester sessions and students choose courses (3 to 5 per term on average). The last term is usually strictly dedicated to thesis presentation.
Traditional LL.M.'s are more general in terms of courses and focus areas, and these LL.M.'s teach students about host country's way of doing things. These traditional LL.M.'s are still widely offered by universities all over the world. However, the LL.M. market has evolved rapidly and new LL.M. programs are divided into on focus areas and specializations. These LL.M. programs are generally known as specialized LL.M.'s.
The wide variety of LL.M. programs available throught the world allow students to focus on some specific areas of the law. LL.M. students get to choose from different specialized courses and focus areas.
One of the most widely popular LL.M. degrees in the United States is the LL.M. in tax law. Other famous specialized areas are LL.M. in Finance and Banking law, LL.M. in Environmental law, LL.M. in Intellectual property law etc. Some of the rarest LL.M. programs are LL.M. in Water Resources, LL.M. in Mental Health Law etc.
A Full-Time LL.M. course requires a student to dedicate themselves to the whole duration of the program. A Full-Time LL.M. program will include lecture sessions, seminars and group discussions on campus.
A student might have to do assignments and presentation and be available around the clock. A Full-Time LL.M. is a wonderful way to engage yourself and get deeper knowledge in particular field of study. It also helps with networking and meeting new people, joining law associations and getting career advice.
A Part-Time LL.M., on the other hand, might also involve attending lectures and seminars, although the timing of these courses may vary.
The majority of postgraduate students work part-time while studying. Study hours are thus usually in the evening hours or on weekends. Part-Time courses usually take longer to complete as in this case students do not dedicate a lot of daily time to studies. A Part-Time LL.M. can be a great option for those people unable to give up their jobs or those who still want to be working.
Online courses are part of a broader category of remote education. Online LL.M.'s are for those students unable to physically attend the courses on campu. These types of programs require the student and the institution to have cloud-based or web-based connectivity.
Students can be in any part of the world and can take these courses and get an LL.M. degree. These LL.M. programs are very helpful for students who are working full-time and cannot leave their job at the moment, but want to learn the law of the host country or any specialized field.
Although “executive” programs are now common in the business studies world, very few law schools offer executive LL.M. programs. Executive LL.M.'s are for those students and professionals who are looking for more knowledge in a particular field. These students usually have at least 4-5 years of experience and they are not seeking the traditional academic route to advance in their jobs.
These programs are usually part-time as these students are mostly professionals. Although new, these programs are of great interest for professionals and students with experiences, and thus show great potential.
Accelerated / Professional LL.M.
In the US, another interesting group of programs are the Accelerated/Professional LL.M. opportunity. These programs are of a shorter duration (usually during the summers) and they usually host students who are very experienced.
These LL.M.'s are usually full-time, however, they are interesting for foreign students because of their reduced duration.