Postgraduate
Study

The opportunity to further develop research skills and facilitate specialisation in an area of law.

Benefits of Postgraduate Study

Though the LLB provides all the tools needed to join the legal workforce, however, continuing study towards a Masters and eventually a PHD can be highly beneficial. Career-wise, further study is essential for those interested in academia. Additionally, a degree from an overseas university can make securing a job in a different country much easier.

Qualifying for a Masters

Every law school has different criteria for admission into postgraduate programmes. New Zealand programmes generally require candidates to have completed an LLB or LLB(Hons) degree, and maintain a grade point average in the B to B+ range or above. Applications can be strengthened by undertaking a judicial clerkship and having work published. Despite high standards, postgraduate opportunities are not exclusive to top-tier students. There are countless law schools around the world, and capable students should consider applying for postgraduate studies overseas. Those planning on pursuing postgraduate study must prepare from the outset of their LLB. Focus on maintaining good grades and developing relationships with academic staff (as they have usually been through the process themselves). Researching different universities is also important, to gain an understanding of the specific application process and requirements.

Paying for Postgraduate study

Local postgraduate study can be supported by StudyLink, however overseas postgraduate study must be self-funded. Despite this, there are numerous scholarships that exist which can remove or reduce the costs of an LLM. Scholarship information is easily found online, which will come from:

  • Your current university.
  • Your destination university (such as Oxford’s Rhodes Scholarship and Harvard’s Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship).
  • Third parties (such as the Fullbright Scholarship for study in the US).

NOTE: Scholarship dates do not always coincide with application dates, so plan your application in advance.

New Zealand
Law Schools

The University of Auckland:

Though the LLB provides the expertise and the skill set needed to join the legal workforce, continuing study towards a Masters and eventually a PhD can be both rewarding and career enhancing. Postgraduate study is a perfect opportunity to develop research skills and focus on specialisation in an area of law of your preference. Career-wise, further study is essential for those interested in academia. Additionally, a degree from an overseas university can make securing a job in a different country much easier. 

Qualifying for a Masters 

Every law school has different criteria for admission into postgraduate programmes. New Zealand programmes generally require candidates to have completed an LLB or LLB(Hons) degree and maintain a grade point average in the B to B+ rangeApplications can be strengthened by undertaking a judicial clerkship and having work published. Despite high standards, postgraduate opportunities are not exclusive to top-tier students. There are countless law schools around the world, and capable students should consider applying for postgraduate studies overseas. 

Those planning on pursuing postgraduate study must prepare from the outset of their LLB. Focus on maintaining good grades and developing relationships with academic staff (as they have usually been through the process themselves). 

Researching different universities is also important, to gain an understanding of the specific application process and requirements. 

Paying for Postgraduate study 

Local postgraduate study can be supported by StudyLink, however overseas postgraduate study must be self-funded. Despite this, there are numerous scholarships that exist which can remove or reduce the costs of an LLM. Scholarship information is easily found online, which will come from: 

  • Your current university.
  • Your destination university (such as Oxford’s Rhodes Scholarship and Harvard’s Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship).
  • Third parties (such as the Fullbright Scholarship for study in the US). 

NOTE: Scholarship dates do not always coincide with application dates, so plan your application in advance. 

LLM 

The LLM is designed to provide an advanced level of study for both full-time students and those who are legal practitioners or engaged in other full or part-time employment. The LLM research allows you to conduct in-depth study in an area of personal interest to enhance employment opportunities either professionally or academically. 

Qualifying for an LLM: 

A candidate usually needs a law GPA of 5.0 from the last year of law study.  

The LLM programme: 

  • LLM by major thesis: 120-point thesis of 40,000 words.
  • LLM by minor thesis: 30-point taught course and a 90 point thesis of 30,000 words.
  • LLM by coursework: 120-point taught courses, 90 points of taught courses and a 30 point dissertation or 105 points of taught courses and a 15 point Directed Study of 7500 words.  

Specialisations 

  • Environmental Law 
  • Corporate and Commercial Law 
  • International Law 
  • Public Law 
  • Litigation and Dispute Resolution  
  • Human Rights Law 
Auckland University of Technology (AUT):

Admission Requirements to the LLM 

To qualify for an LLM, you need a Bachelor of Laws or Bachelor of Laws (Honours) or equivalent; you must also demonstrate an ability to undertake study at postgraduate level.  

Areas of Study 

In addition to a general LLM, it is possible to achieve an LLM that concentrates on one of the following areas of study:  

  • Climate change law • Corporate and commercial law 
  • Criminal law
  • Employment law 
  • Environmental and resource management law
  • Human rights law
  • Indigenous rights and law
  • Intellectual property
  • International law 
  • Jurisprudence 
  • Non-adversarial justice 
  • Private law
  • Property and development
  • Public law
  • Regulation and competition law
  • Trusts/trusts and fiduciary obligations 

Methods of study  

AUT’s LLM can be completed through full-time or part-time study, and can involve the following structures:  

  • 120-point thesis 
  • 90-point thesis and30 points from courses  
  • 60-point dissertation and60 points fromcourses   
  • 120 pointsfrom courses(which may include a 30point research project) 

Other postgraduate law programmes available 

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Law (60 points) 
  • Master of Philosophy 
  • Doctor of Philosophy 

Scholarships 

AUT offers several scholarships including the AUT Research Masters Scholarships – Faculty of Business, Economics and Law. This is available to full-time students undertaking a programme of research at level 9 with a thesis component of 90 points or 120 points who have demonstrated the potential to achieve highly. https://aut.ac.nz/rms-bel  

Find out more http://www.aut.ac.nz/llm 

The University of Canterbury:

Qualifying for an LLM

Students must have a Bachelor of Laws degree (or equivalent) with good grades.

The LLM Courses

LLM by Thesis: The LLM by thesis gives candidates the flexibility to thoroughly research an area of particular interest. In certain circumstances and with approval, students enrolled for the LLM by thesis can transfer to the PhD degree. Candidates can begin study at any time.

LLM by Research Papers and Dissertation: The LLM by Research Papers and Dissertation is a research based LLM programme, attracting students from many parts of the world including Britain, Germany, Malaysia, Australia and the United States of America. Candidates may begin study in February or July.

LLM in International Law and Politics: The LLM in International Law and Politics is a multi-disciplinary degree, partly taught and partly research-based. Candidates may begin study in February or July.

Other Programmes

Master of Criminal Justice: UC’s Master of Criminal Justice offers students advanced working knowledge of the criminal justice system. For further details, please see the following website: https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/law/postgraduate-options/

Scholarships

The University of Canterbury has a number of scholarships available. For detailed information, please see the following website: https://scholarshipscanterbury.communityforce.com/Funds/Search.aspx

The University of Otago:

Qualifying for an LLM

A candidate needs at least a B+ law average across their 300 and 400 level papers and a B+ in two pieces of sustained writing involving legal research.

The LLM Courses

LLM by thesis: 120 point thesis of 45,000 words.

What can you specialise in?

Candidates can complete their LLM in a wide range of topics, subject to supervision capacity. We recommend any potential candidates view the Faculty of Law staff profiles to find out more about their areas of expertise: www.otago.ac.nz/law/staff and contact our postgraduate director to discuss topics (postgraduate. law@otago.ac.nz).  

Other Programmes

Master in Bioethics and Health Law (MBHL)  

This is an interdisciplinary postgraduate programme which consists of writing a supervised research dissertation and completing taught papers worth an additional 120 points. These will be specified papers in law or bioethics. The degree draws on the resources of both ethical and legal theory, and attends to bioethical problems arising from the increasing use of technology in medicine and changes in the resourcing and delivery of health care. Details of this programme are here. 

Scholarships

Otago has a number of scholarships available, including the University of Otago Research Master’s Scholarship and a number of other scholarships. For more information and to see full eligibility criteria, visit the University of Otago scholarships page www.otago.ac.nz/study/scholarships 

The University of Waikato:

Admission Requirements to the LLM

To qualify for an LLM, you need a Bachelor of Laws or Bachelor of Laws (Honours) or equivalent at a B grade point average; you must also demonstrate an ability to undertake study at postgraduate level. 

Areas of Research

  • Cyber law, information technology and intellectual property.
  • Environmental, resources and energy law.
  • International law, human rights and humanitarian law, international trade,
  • Law of the sea, space law, and international and transnational criminal law.
  • Maori and indigenous governance.
  • Public law and policy – administrative law, constitutional law and criminal justice.

Methods of Study

UoW’s LLM can be completed through full-time or part-time study, and can involve the following structures: 

  • 15point (0.5 paper) Directed Study – maximum 10,000 words
  • 30point (1 paper) Dissertation – maximum 12,500 words
  • 60point (2 paper) Dissertation – maximum 25,000 words
  • 90point (3 paper) Thesis – maximum 38,000 words

Other Postgraduate Law programmes available

  • Master of Laws (LLM) 
  • Master of Legal Studies (MLS) 
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil) 
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 
  • Doctor of Laws (LLD) 

Scholarships

UoW has many Postgraduate Scholarships available. These are available on the University of Waikato main website or by clicking here 

Victoria University of Wellington:

Our Law School offers a range of flexible, relevant study options—from advanced degrees of international reputation, to short courses for busy professionals. Our courses reflect our capital city status and research strengths in public law, regulation, criminal law, intellectual property, international law, and indigenous law. 

www.wgtn.ac.nz/law 

As part of your LLM at Victoria University of Wellington, you can also opt to build your cross-disciplinary knowledge in subjects such as Criminology, Economics, Public Policy, or International Relations—by incorporating non-law postgraduate courses into your degree.  

We are the only university in New Zealand which offers accredited courses under the trans-Tasman patent attorney registration scheme, allowing students to become registered patent attorneys and be eligible to practise in both New Zealand and Australia.  

www.wgtn.ac.nz/postgraduate-law  

Qualifying for an LLM 

Candidates need at least a B average in law, but recognition can be given for other practical, professional, or scholarly experience.  

Qualification options 

  • LLM by coursework: Six 20-point taught courses.  
  • LLM by dissertation and coursework: 30-point taught courses and a 90-point thesis of 35,000 words.  
  • LLM by thesis: 120-point thesis of 45,000 words.  
  • LLM by research portfolio: Two separate but related research pieces, each 12,000 words, and one 2,500-word research paper justifying the link between the two pieces.