As part of the international legal education report, the FT has compiled its fifth annual listing of Master of Laws (LLM) programmes.
The ranking table includes the details of courses offered by 86 law schools from 19 countries, gathered from their answers to our questionnaire.
The number of LLM programmes continues to grow, with 24 listed institutions reporting new courses this year. Among the 72 schools that were also featured in last year’s listing, there was an 18 per cent increase in the number of LLMs compared with 2011.
Expansion in school portfolios, however, has far outpaced the increase in student numbers over the same period.
Across listed schools that took part in 2011, there was an overall increase in students of only 4 per cent. This is half the number reported between 2010 and 2011. Moreover, there is a stark contrast between the 9 per cent increase in student numbers across European schools and the 2 per cent increase reported by their US counterparts.
This disparity in demand is reflected in the change in full-time programme fees during this period. US schools have only increased their full-time LLM tuition fees – currently averaging at $42,900 – by 2 per cent over the past year. This contrasts with the 8 per cent increase in tuition costs by their European peers, whose average tuition costs only $14,100.
While also reflecting these regional disparities in price, part-time programmes cost almost one-third less than their full-time equivalents. Across all featured schools, part-time courses cost an average of $20,100, compared with $29,300 for full-time options. To ensure a degree of open access, 90 per cent of listed institutions - including all of those in the US – offer merit-based scholarships to prospective students.
Three-quarters of listed schools offer general LLM programmes and four-fifths offer LLMs specialised in a sub-field of law. Programmes launched in 2012 – the vast majority of which are specialised courses – range from University College London’s LLM in maritime law to an LLM in environmental and energy law at the University of San Diego.
In addition to accommodating specialisation within the legal field, almost half of all schools partner with at least one non-law school, often within their university, to offer programmes combining multiple disciplines.
Of these, 25 law schools partner with a business school to offer joint masters degrees, such as the University of Oxford’s masters in law and finance, and the dual JD/MBA qualification provided by several US universities.