LLM by Coursework and Research Report (LLM)


Program Description

The LLM programme is suitable for law graduates and legal professionals who are interested in research and writing and who have the time as well as the ability to undertake fairly extensive legal research at an advanced academic level. Because of the demanding nature of the research component, entry to the programme is limited to applicants with an excellent academic record in the LLB. However, there are alternative entry routes for applicants who are able to demonstrate their suitability for the programme.

The coursework component consists of four courses, which may be taken either in a specialized field or in the general field. The research component consists of an attendance course in Research Methodology, two research essays of 5 000 words each and a Research Report of 10 000 words.

Benefits of the programme:

The LLM by Coursework is an excellent way to build expertise in a specific area of the law, thus enhancing one’s marketability as a legal practitioner. By honing their research and writing skills, the LLM gives lawyers the tools they need to deepen their legal knowledge throughout their careers. These skills enable them to contribute to the growth of knowledge in the legal community and to build their reputations as experts in particular fields of legal interest.

Curriculum Outline:

The combination of subjects taken for the LLM by Coursework and Research Report depends on the field chosen. Programmes are offered in the following fields:

General This is the most flexible of the fields, allowing students to choose four courses from any of the other fields.

Commercial & Business Law Catering to the business lawyer who requires specialized knowledge in a highly competitive area of the law, this field allows students to choose four courses from a range of commercial subjects.

Corporate Law This very popular field is aimed at commercial lawyers who want to focus on company law in particular.

Environmental Law This burgeoning and exciting field offers lawyers the opportunity to specialize in environmental law and sustainable development.

Human Rights Advocacy & Litigation Human rights and public- interest litigation is at the forefront of legal development worldwide. This field gives lawyers the practical as well as the theoretical knowledge needed to practice in this vibrant area of the law.

Information & Communications Law This field offers cutting-edge expertise to lawyers interested in the vast technological advances of the past two decades.

International Law This field gives lawyers an excellent understanding of public international law and its significant implications for our globalized world.

International Economic Law (formerly International Law & Economics) This field prepares lawyers for a rewarding career in international trade by deepening their knowledge of the law and economics of global commercial relations.

Note: Students who have not completed Economics at third-year undergraduate level must complete the Mandela Institute course Economics for Law in addition to the prescribed courses for this field.

Labour Law The dynamic nature of the labor market and its regulation presents a perpetual challenge to the legal practitioner. This field provides lawyers with up-to-the-minute knowledge of South African labor law and gives them the tools they need to cope with future legal development in this area.

Pensions Law This field answers to a need from practice for specialized learning in an area of law that has seen enormous growth in the last decade.

Tax Law This field builds on the excellent reputation of the School's Higher Diploma in Tax Law, which it effectively replaces.

Closing dates:

  • 31 August 2015 (International students)
  • 30 September 2015 (South African students)


The programme may be taken over one year (full-time) or two years (part-time).


Most of our LLM students work as legal practitioners, but the degree is also a very good foundation for an academic or a research career in law.

Entry Requirements

Enrolment criteria/Admission requirements:

  • An average of 65% in the final year of the LLB plus evidence of the applicant’s ability to conduct scholarly research and writing; or
  • An average of 70% in the final year of the LLB without further evidence of ability to conduct scholarly research and writing.

Alternative entry routes:

  • Two equivalent Mandela Institute or Postgraduate Diploma courses with an average of at least 70% overall.
  • In exceptional circumstances, applicants may be accepted without an LLB degree, based on their other qualifications and experience. Such entrants will, however, be required to complete the Mandela Institute course Introduction to the law for Non-Lawyers.
Last updated Jun 2019

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About the School

Wits is strategically located in Johannesburg, a world class city, with countless opportunities for students and staff to engage with and present solutions that will contribute to our country's knowle ... Read More

Wits is strategically located in Johannesburg, a world class city, with countless opportunities for students and staff to engage with and present solutions that will contribute to our country's knowledge-base and build our future. With its more than 130 000 graduates in its 91-year history, Wits has made and will continue to make its mark nationally and internationally. Read less