Contact hours and independent study
In half unit courses, on average, you can expect 20-30 contact hours in total. The format of contact hours will vary from course to course but usually takes the form of sessions such as lectures, classes, seminars or workshops. Contact hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide.
Independent study outside of class time is an essential part of the LSE LLM. The nature of the required independent study varies for each course, but overall, the LLM requires you to manage the majority of your study time yourself, engaging in activities such as reading, note-taking, thinking, class preparation and research.
The majority of courses on the programme are offered in seminar format with a maximum class size of 30 students, allowing you to be actively involved in class discussions and to interact both with the teacher and fellow students. You can expect a challenging, but also thought-provoking and ultimately rewarding experience.
A limited number of courses are offered through larger lectures which are accompanied by back-up classes of a maximum of 15 students, where the teacher will review and elaborate on issues discussed in the lectures.
Please note that places are limited on some optional courses. Admission onto any particular course is not guaranteed and may be subject to timetabling constraints and/or students meeting specific prerequisite requirements.
Formal study is supported by several series of evening 'LLM Specialist Seminars' in which leading practitioners, judges and scholars in various legal fields discuss matters of current controversy or special complexity with students in informal small group sessions. LLM students are also encouraged to engage in the many and varied LSE Law departmental events which run through the academic year, including public lectures and seminars.
LSE is internationally recognised for its teaching and research and therefore employs a rich variety of teaching staff with a range of experience and status. Courses may be taught by individual members of faculty including associate professors and professors. Many departments now also employ guest teachers and visiting members of staff, LSE teaching fellows and graduate teaching assistants who are usually doctoral research students and in the majority of cases, teach on undergraduate courses only. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide.
All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which allows the teacher to give you feedback but which is unassessed, in the sense that it does not count towards your final grade. Formative coursework is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of types of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams, class presentations and many others. Summative assessment may be conducted during the course or by final examination at the end of the course. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.
The majority of taught LLM courses will be assessed by written two-hour examinations, which will be held during Summer Term in May/June. Summative essays are submitted in May and dissertations in August. To prepare for the exams, you will have access to past exam papers from our library website and you will undertake appropriate formative coursework.
The compulsory course is assessed via a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic of your choice and will be supervised by one of our faculty members who is an expert in the relevant area.
You will be assigned an academic mentor who will be available for guidance and advice on academic or personal concerns.
There are many further opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the usual services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE; effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork. In relation to the dissertation, LSE LIFE offers a range of relevant support. In previous years, this has included workshops on choosing a topic and planning research and writing, and bookable one-on-one appointments to discuss your writing and research individually.
LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.