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Master of Laws (LLM)

This qualification is designed to consider the role and place of law in an increasingly globalised world, and is suitable for law and non-law graduates as well as lawyers wanting to develop their interests. Our LLM takes a critical legal approach to study, using different perspectives and case studies to illustrate, explore, compare and contextualise topical legal issues. You will explore the interaction of law, law making bodies, institutions and regulators in an international context, the role and function of law in an increasingly global society, and the role of states, international institutions and multi-national companies. You will also consider contemporary legal issues such as corporate social responsibility, trans-national crime, humanitarian aid and security.

You must complete your study by 31 December 2027. If you would like to discuss your options with one of our advisers, please contact us.

Key features of the course

  • Explores methods of reasoning and analysis in law, and evaluates the complexities inherent in law, regulation and legal study 
  • Develops a range of transferable skills, including advanced legal research, that are attractive to employers
  • Concludes with an in-depth piece of independent research on a topic within your chosen specialist subject area.

Masters degree

Course code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
3–5 years
Read more about how long it takes
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
Postgraduate loan available
See Fees and funding
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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Course details


You must start your studies with one of the compulsory law modules. Your final module will be The law dissertation (W800).

To gain this qualification you need 180 credits as follows:

90 credits from the following:

Compulsory modules Credits Next start
Exploring legal meaning (W820)

This module looks at different legal research methods, including doctrinal, socio-legal and comparative, to see how they can be used to explore the place and meaning of law in the modern world.

See full description

30 04 Nov 2023
Exploring the boundaries of international law (W821)

This module examines the complexities of twenty-first century international law by exploring the evolving role and function of international law in the modern world.

See full description

30 06 May 2023
*Business, human rights law and corporate social responsibility (W822)

This module examines the nature of corporate commitment to principles of corporate social responsibility in different contexts and its inter-relationship with human rights law.

See full description

30 04 Nov 2023

*Or the discontinued module Continuing professional development in practice (UYA810) if previously studied as part of the Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Professional Practice (Employment Law Advice) which is only available to those working for ACAS.

Plus either 30 credits from the following:

Optional undergraduate-level modules Credits
European Union law (W330)
Exploring legal boundaries (W350)
Law, society and culture (W340)

Or 30 credits from the following:

Optional postgraduate-level modules Credits Next start
Contemporary issues in organisations (BB853)

This module will help you become a knowledge leader within your organisation by demonstrating that you’re ahead of current organisational and business challenges.

See full description

15 04 Nov 2023
Entrepreneurship in context (BB851)

This module will equip you with an entrepreneurial mindset and help you learn about entrepreneurship as well as different forms of entrepreneurial practice.

See full description

15 04 Nov 2023
Leadership and management of public services (BB852)

In this elective module you’ll study the many dimensions of managing public services, which may be public, private for-profit or not-for profit.

See full description

15 06 May 2023
Advance your independent learning (YXM830)
This innovative module allows you to take a topic of your choosing and focus on it in depth while developing your postgraduate study skills.

See full description

30 07 Oct 2023
Continuing professional development in practice (U810)

This module allows you to evaluate and assess 150 hours prior learning and identify and progress appropriate development opportunities for future continuing professional development. 

See full description

30 06 May 2023
Environmental monitoring and protection (T868)

This engaging online module will equip you with information on monitoring, modelling, and preventive technologies for water, noise, air, and wastes pollution.

See full description

30 01 Nov 2023
Making environmental decisions (T891)

This module teaches you to use a systems framework to integrate environment with other considerations when making decisions in complex environmental management situations.

See full description

30 01 Nov 2023
Strategic capabilities for technological innovation (T849)

This module draws on a range of theoretical perspectives from both strategic and innovation management to produce a multi-layered, practical, approach to strategic management of technological innovation.

See full description

30 01 May 2023
Sustainable organisations: theory and practice (T892) NEW

This module provides the background knowledge and a practical skill-set to lead the way in transforming or creating sustainable organisations of the future.

See full description

30 01 May 2023

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules B866, D864, D867, D872, D873, T863, T867, T877, T878, T879, TD866, TU870, TU871, TU872 and TU875

plus 60 credits from the following:

Compulsory module Credits Next start
The law dissertation (W800)

The Law dissertation is the final module of the LLM and is designed to support you in completing a legal research project based on your LLM studies.

See full description

60 04 Nov 2023

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes.

Credit transfer

If you’ve successfully completed some relevant postgraduate study elsewhere, you might be able to count it towards this qualification, reducing the number of modules you need to study. You should apply for credit transfer as soon as possible, before you register for your first module. For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.

On completion

On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Master of Laws. You’ll be entitled to use the letters LLM (Open) after your name.

If your masters degree is awardable with a distinction or a merit, the qualification regulations explain how you can achieve these.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 15 March 2022.

Entry requirements

You should hold a UK honours degree (or equivalent or recognised overseas qualification) or relevant professional legal experience. Various higher education and professional qualifications are considered equivalent to an honours degree. If you hold a qualification that you believe is an equivalent level to a UK honours degree or if you lack formal academic qualifications but have relevant work experience, please speak to an adviser.

The modules are taught in English, and your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you seek assessment under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see their website for details.

How long it takes

Each module will involve around 12 hours of study per week. Most students study this qualification in three years which is the minimum time for completion. The maximum time to complete is five years.

Career relevance

There is a growing demand for professionals who have an in-depth understanding of the role and purpose of law in our increasingly global society, and the associated advanced legal research and reasoning skills.

This degree will contribute to your career development by providing transferable skills that are highly valued by employers. Typically, holders of the LLM will:

  • deal with complex legal issues both systematically and creatively
  • communicate their subject knowledge clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems
  • act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks
  • reflect on the responsibilities linked to the application of knowledge
  • demonstrate the ability to conceive, design, implement and adapt a substantial piece of independent research with scholarly integrity
  • exercise initiative and personal responsibility
  • be able to develop a persuasive legal argument based on evidence
  • demonstrate independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

If you are interested in becoming a lawyer (solicitor or barrister) you need to study our undergraduate Bachelor of Laws (LLB) (Hons).

Careers and Employability Services have more information on how OU study can improve your employability.