How do I apply?
Applications are made online. Click on the how to apply button on any of the prospectus pages.
We aim to make a decision on each application within 21 days of receipt of a complete application. It may be a little slower at present due to Covid-19.
What documents do I need for a complete application?
- A transcript (showing individual marks awarded) from your Bachelor’s degree (interim ie. showing all marks to date if not completed degree).
- An English language certificate if applicable – but your application can be processed without one.
- A personal statement (one to two pages only) - you should include why you are applying for the programme, why you are applying to the University of Bristol, why you think you are a suitable candidate for your programme of study, and how your choice of programme fits with your future career plans.
- Two academic references - ideally these should be from academics who taught you most recently. It is essential that we have academic rather than professional references. We accept professional references if it is more than 5 years since graduation. We will process an application with only one reference at this stage in the admissions cycle.
What are your entry requirements?
English Language requirement
Our English Language requirement is the same for all PGT Law programmes:
IELTS 7.0 overall, minimum 6.5 in all bands.
We accept other language tests, our requirement is called Profile B internally, and all the tests accepted are listed on profile B page.
MA in Law – A 2.1 honours degree (or international equivalent) in any discipline.
Is LNAT required for the MA in Law – No. Offers are made on the basis of academic and language requirements, the personal statement and references are also considered.
All LLMs (except the ones listed below) – A 2.1 honours degree (or international equivalent) in law or a degree with an adequate law component.
Please note for the following pathways:
LLM in European Legal Studies, Human Rights Law, International Law, Law & Globalisation, Public Law, Labour Law & Corporate Governance.
Exceptionally, we will also consider applicants who have:
- an upper-second class honours degree that included content relevant to the applicant's proposed field of study; or
- an upper second-class honours degree in any subject, along with relevant experience in a discipline closely related to the focus of this programme.
Applicants in either of these two exceptional cases must make a case explaining why their qualifications or experience fall into category (1) or (2) in their personal statement.
LLM in International Law and International Relations – A 2.1 honours degree (or international equivalent) in law or politics, or another relevant discipline
LLM in Health, Law and Society–A 2.1 honours degree (or international equivalent) in any discipline associated with the focus of the programme.
What do I write in my personal statement?
In your statement you should describe the reasons for your choice of postgraduate programme and why this is important to you. Please also explain why you are applying to the University of Bristol, why you think you are a suitable candidate for your programme of study, and how your choice of programme fits with your future career plans.
How many students are admitted each year?
For all the LLM programmes combined we admit between 180 and 280 students in any year. LLM students come from approximately 40 countries.
For the MA in Law we admit between 50 and 80.
Do you accept deferrals?
We usually allow applicants to defer an offer for one year (only unconditional offers can be deferred and for international students, deposits of £1500 must be paid in advance). Deferrals can be requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Is legal work experience essential for MA in Law applications?
No, it is not a requirement. We suggest you might find it useful to undertake some legal work experience to help you make up your mind that studying law is for you, but it does not make any difference to whether you receive an offer.
University of Bristol Law School
How highly is the University of Bristol Law School rated?
The Law School is committed to excellence and innovation in teaching, and to ensuring that law students’ learning experience is both stimulating and challenging. The Law School is currently in the top 50 in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings for Law 2020) and top 10 in England and Wales (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020). In its most recent Teaching Quality Assessment it was awarded a rating of ‘Excellent’. In the most recent assessment of research, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, the Law School was confirmed to be among the very best law schools in the UK in terms of research capacity and performance. From a student perspective, studying law at the University of Bristol means being taught by a range of able academics working at the cutting edge of their research fields, bringing world-class legal expertise directly into the classroom.
Course delivery and support
What LLM programmes do you offer?
Our LLM programmes include:
Banking and Finance Law (LLM) – new in 2018
Commercial Law (LLM)
Company Law & Corporate Governance (LLM) – new in 2020
Employment, Work and Equality (LLM) – new in 2020
European Legal Studies (LLM)
General Legal Studies (LLM)
Health, Law, and Society (LLM) – new in 2017
Human Rights Law (LLM)
International Law (LLM)
Law and Globalisation (LLM)
Public Law (LLM)
MA in Law
Can I study part-time?
The LLM is offered part-time over two years. Two units are studied each year, and the dissertation is written after the year 2 exams.
The MA can be studied part-time over 4 years. Two units are studied each year – see the programme catalogue for more information.
What is the difference between the MA in Law and the LLM programmes?
The MA is for either non-law graduates or non-UK lawyers wanting to get a qualifying law degree; the LLM is aimed at law graduates who are keen to specialise and enhance their CV.
How many contact hours will I have per week?
LLM programme - 4 optional units (30 credit points each) and a dissertation (60 credit points). From October 2020, the University of Bristol in response to Covid-19 is offering flexible, blended learning with a mixture of online and face to face activity. We will be reviewing future course delivery, based on government guidance for academic year 2021/22 and beyond. The approach aims to ensure students receive an interactive and rich learning experience. Weekly contact hours will vary, and students will still be expected to undertake independent study each week to supplement taught activity.
MA programme – 4 compulsory units in year 1, 3 compulsory units and 1 optional unit in year 2. From October 2020, the University of Bristol in response to Covid-19 is offering flexible, blended learning with a mixture of online and face to face activity. We will be reviewing future course delivery, based on government guidance for academic year 2021/22 and beyond. The approach aims to ensure students receive an interactive and rich learning experience. Weekly contact hours will vary, and students will still be expected to undertake independent study each week to supplement taught activity.
How is the LLM classified?
Classifications are as follows:
Distinction at least 65 out of 100 for the taught component overall and, at least 70 out of 100 for the dissertation.
Merit at least 60 out of 100 for the taught component overall and, at least 60 out of 100 for the dissertation.
Pass at least 50 out of 100 for the taught component overall andat least 50 out of 100 for the dissertation.
How are the programmes structured?
Units currently expected to be offered in each LLM programme can be found in the programme catalogue.
For choosing your dissertation topic, we produce a list of suggested topic areas and initial readings. You can choose one of these areas, or submit your own title for approval.
MA in law
MA in Law structure can be found here
MSc in Socio-Legal Studies structure
MRes in Sustainable Futures structure
What support is available for postgraduate students?
There are a range of ways in which we aim to support our students in the Law School; who come from a diverse range of backgrounds. In the Law School, we have a personal tutor system – each student is allocated to a personal tutor, who is responsible for their academic and pastoral well-being, and monitors their progress through the degree programme. This is overseen by the Senior Tutor and we also have a Law School Disability Adviser, who works closely with the university disability services, for students with declared disabilities. Since 2018-19, we have had dedicated Faculty Student Wellbeing Advisers (counsellors) with a School-based office, for law students.
There is also a range of university support for student wellbeing – Counselling service; Student health service including on campus GP service; Big White Wall, Just Ask.
The MA in Law has a mentoring scheme, where second year MAs support the first years.
We provide extra language support (via the Academic Language and Literacy programme) to students who need that.
We provide specific Postgraduate Study skills sessions – ‘Mastering your Masters’ for example Common Law Studies, The Doctrine of Precedent, Judiciary and Judicial Reasoning, Civil Justice System, Writing and researching Law Essays.
Progression and future opportunities
How will a postgraduate degree from Bristol Law School make me employable?
The variety of practical skills and networking that you can gain through activities delivered by the Law School and Careers Service provide a solid foundation for you to further explore career paths open to you. We recognise that your postgraduate degree can open many doors for you in a variety of sectors and we are here to support you on that journey. We traditionally offer a wide range of initiatives such as mentoring, advocacy, international mooting opportunities and the chance to work in our pro bono law clinics. Our Law Spotlight Series hosts over 80 top law firms and chambers, including virtual breakout talks in a diverse range of topics. We hope to offer activities in a virtual format, where possible to widen scope for student participation. Find out more about our careers and employability provision via our webpages here.
We also have a dedicated Law School Employability Adviser, on hand to provide one-to-one careers support throughout your time as a student here. We also have a flourishing alumni network who provide guest lectures throughout the year and many of whom are also part of our mentoring schemes.
Student societies play a big role in the student experience in the Law School with over 10 societies currently active. They can offer you the chance to take part in mooting, debating, negotiation and commercial awareness activities plus much more. Read more about the student societies and partnerships here.
Do you offer a law conversion course?
Yes. The postgraduate MA in Law programme. It is a two-year accelerated Master of Arts in law, suitable for non-law graduates of any discipline. The degree is a qualifying law degree, which offers the opportunity for more sustained engagement with core legal areas than is possible on one year 'conversion' course.
It is particularly attractive to those who wish to enter the English legal profession. For those students, it is an alternative to a graduate-level CPE/GDL programme. By studying over 2 years of intensive postgraduate-level work, students gain a greater depth of understanding than is possible in 1 year CPE programmes, together with experience in a specialist area of their choice.
On completing the MA in Law you will have a postgraduate degree rather than another UG degree.
Why do a two year MA conversion course instead of the one year GDL/CPE?
Both the GDL and the MA in Law are qualifying Law degrees. The main differences are duration, costs and level of qualification. The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) lasts for one year and is a diploma, and is purely vocational. The MA in Law is a two year programme, and is an academic qualification at master’s level as well as being the academic stage of qualifying to practice in Law.
The benefit of the MA in Law is that by spreading the study over two years of intensive postgraduate-level work, students gain a greater depth of understanding than is possible in one year CPE/GDL programmes (they can focus on thinking like a lawyer); an opportunity to specialise in an area of their choice and, as this is a postgraduate degree, it is recognised in the Government Postgraduate Loan scheme. MA students are also actively involved in the co-curricular centres and clubs in the Law School, e.g. the pro-bono Law Clinic, the Human Rights Implementation Centre, Lawyers without Borders, Law Club, Bar Society and Mooting. This enhances their employability after graduation.
What does the SQE mean for the MA in Law?
The MA in law is a qualifying law degree. This means that our students are currently exempt from the academic stage of professional legal training. From the Autumn of 2021, the route to qualifying as a solicitor is changing, with the Solicitors Regulation Authority introducing a new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE).
If you have accepted an offer of a place on a QLD, or paid a non-refundable deposit on or before 21 September 2021, and commence your studies before 31 December 2021, you will be able to continue on the traditional route outlined above. Read more about the new route to qualification and how this may affect you in the future.
For more information, please contact the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Fees and funding
What are my funding options?
The majority of home students can now apply for a Postgraduate Study Loan (amount and process varies by country of residency – for example £11,222 in England in 2020). For the MA in Law or part-time study on an LLM course, the loan is paid in 50% instalments over the two years).
Visit our PG funding page for links to each home country’s application and eligibility.
For details of awards, bursaries and scholarships, please visit the Fees and Funding website.
What are the fees for 2021 entry?
MA in Law (per annum, expect 5% increase in year 2)
MRes Sustainable Futures
PhD in Law/PhD in Sustainable Futures
What facilities are available for disabled students?
The University of Bristol welcomes applications from disabled students. We strongly encourage you to tell us about your disability so that we can prepare to support you. No applicant will be disadvantaged in the admissions process due to a disability, learning difficulty, health or mental health condition. When you disclose a disability, the admissions process we follow is identical to the process for all applicants. For more information visit the Disability Services web page.
The Law School is committed to sustaining a positive and mutually supportive working environment for staff and students, ensuring individuals are treated equally and are able to access the same opportunities. To support this, the School's Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) Committee provides a point of contact for staff, students and external persons if they have issues or ideas concerning LGBTQ+, Income, Gender, Disability or Racial inequalities, and to address ways to improve Law School policies in these areas.