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This qualification will be available only until 31 December 2023. You must complete all your modules by this date, so you should plan your studies carefully. Contact us if you'd like to discuss your options with one of our advisers.

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.

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.

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

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

• Knowledge and understanding

• Cognitive skills

• Practical and professional skills

• Key skills

On completion

On successful completion of the required number and type of modules you will be awarded a Master of Laws entitling you to use the letters LLM (Open) after your name. Your degree will be classified: distinction, merit or pass. The classification will be based on your best 90 credits but must include W800.

Recognition in your country

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.

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.

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.


3 - 5 years.

Each module will involve around 12 hours of study per week. Most students study this qualification in 3 years. The minimum time to complete is three years, the maximum time to complete is five years.

Number of credits

180 credits

Careers or further progression

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.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399

Fax: (01) 678 5442


Subjects taught


There is a choice of routes through the qualification. You can start your studies with any of the compulsory modules. If you are claiming credit transfer from another postgraduate provider you may not need to study an optional module. Your final module to complete this masters degree will be The law dissertation (W800).

To gain this qualification you need 180 credits as follows:

90 credits of compulsory modules:

Compulsory modules Credits

Exploring legal meaning (W820) 30

Exploring the boundaries of international law (W821) 30

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

*Or 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.


30 credits from:

Optional modules Credits

Capacities for managing development (T878) 30

Conflict and development (T879) 30

Continuing professional development in practice (U810) 30 Development: context and practice (T877) 30

Environmental monitoring and protection (T868) 30

Institutional development (TU872) 30

Making environmental decisions (T891) 30

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules D864, D867, D872, D873, T863, TD866, TU870, TU871, TU875


60 credits from the compulsory module:

Compulsory module Credits

The law dissertation (W800) 60

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.

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!