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The Master of Laws (LLM) degree requires at least one year of full-time (or the equivalent in part-time) study and may be commenced at any time of the year. It involves the completion of a thesis; there is no course work requirement.

The LLM offers students the opportunity to demonstrate advanced legal scholarship through the writing of a dissertation. The aim is to develop first-class research and analytic skills.

The LLM is suitable for graduates who want to undertake in-depth research in an area of particular interest. It is an opportunity to enhance legal writing and research skills and to specialise in a defined area of law.

LLM candidates come both from New Zealand and overseas: some are legal practitioners seeking to upskill, while others use the LLM as a stepping stone to a PhD and an academic career or specialist expertise in their chosen profession.

An LLM fosters intellectual growth, which, in turn, defines your expertise and enhances your career prospects.

LLM requirements

The LLM degree requires completion of a thesis of approximately 150 pages (45,000 words) under the supervision of a member of the Faculty of Law.

If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of a satisfactory level of English language proficiency.

Otago postgraduate english requirements

It is possible to do the LLM from a distance within New Zealand, subject to approval. However, you will need to visit the Faculty during the course of your LLM. You should expect to spend 1-2 weeks in the Faculty in the early stages of your thesis establishing a supervision relationship and clarifying/refining the thesis proposal with your supervisor and then another 1-2 weeks approximately two thirds of the way through when the structure and content of the written thesis will need confirmation. During the remainder of the project, regular contact via email and Skype with your supervisor is expected.

LLM Formal Progress Requirements (PDF)

Standards for admission to LLM programme

You must have:

  • Completed a law degree in New Zealand with at least a B+ (75%) average across all 300- and 400-level papers, or a comparable level of achievement at a law school outside New Zealand with substantially equivalent standards as Otago
  • Attained at least a B+ in 2 pieces of sustained writing involving legal research

How to apply

All applications to the University of Otago are made online.

Learn about the enrolment process

We strongly recommend that, before applying, you email our Postgraduate Director to discuss your proposed research project so that we can advise you on whether we are likely to be able to offer you supervision within the Law Faculty at Otago.

Postgraduate Director

Preparing your research proposal (PDF)

This information must be read subject to the statement on our Copyright & Disclaimer page.

Regulations on this page are taken from the 2023 Calendar and supplementary material.

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