Degree of Master of Laws by Research


The Degree of Master of Laws by Research is governed by Resolution No. 538(A) of the University Court, the provisions of which are as follows:

1.   The Degree of Master of Laws (LLM) by Research may be awarded by the University of Glasgow in the College of Social Sciences.

2.   The Senate may make Regulations governing the award of the Degree which are subject to the approval of the University Court. Until such time as the Senate has integrated and rationalised these statements, the Regulations shall consist of the statement of provisions and the statement of regulations.

3.   The Degree shall in no case be conferred on persons who have not satisfied the conditions of these Regulations and shall not be conferred honoris causa tantum.


1.   Candidates shall normally hold a first or second class honours degree in Law of a United Kingdom university or a qualification deemed by the Senate of the University of Glasgow to be equivalent. Exceptionally, candidates with a Law degree other than an Honours degree, or with a non-Law degree, may be considered at the discretion of the Head of the School of Law.

2.   Candidates who are not EU nationals and whose language of instruction in their first degree was not English are required to possess an acceptable qualification in the English language as determined by the College. There is no such requirement for EU nationals.

3.   A candidate shall pursue a full-time course of research in the University of Glasgow during a period which shall normally be one academic year or shall pursue a part-time course of research in the University of Glasgow during a period which shall normally be two academic years but the Senate for special reasons (a) may permit a candidate to pursue any part of the period of research elsewhere than in the University of Glasgow and (b) may reduce or extend the relevant period of study or research by a period not exceeding one year, so however that a candidate may not normally spend less than one academic year of study in the University of Glasgow.

4.   The Senate shall designate a Professor, Reader or Lecturer in the University to supervise the research of each candidate. The supervisor shall report at least once a year to the Senate on the progress of the candidate. The Senate may at any stage exclude from further research for the Degree any candidate whose conduct or progress is unsatisfactory.

5.   On completion of the prescribed period of research a candidate shall present a thesis embodying the results of their work. A candidate may also be required to undergo an oral or practical examination.

6.   The Examiners for the Degree shall be such Professors, Readers and Lecturers of the University as the Senate shall designate and such additional examiners as the University Court on the recommendation of the Senate shall appoint.


1.   Admission to study for the Degree will normally be granted only from the beginning of the academic year.

2.   The normal standard of admission will be that of a Degree with First or Second Class Honours of a Scottish university or an approved equivalent qualification. Every candidate must if required satisfy the Senate that they have a sufficient command of the English language profitably to pursue the research proposed. A candidate who appears to be deficient in this respect may be required to complete satisfactorily a probationary period of study of up to one year before being admitted to study for the Degree.

3.   The candidate shall prosecute their research under the supervision of a member of staff from the appropriate subject area appointed by the College Higher Degrees Committee (or equivalent) on the recommendation of the Head of School. The College Higher Degrees Committee shall have power, for special reasons, to permit a candidate to conduct research elsewhere for part of the prescribed period.

4.   On completion of the candidate's research the candidate shall present to be examined for the Degree a thesis which may embody the results of the candidate's original research or may be a critical review of existing knowledge. The thesis must be written in English and will normally be 30,000 words in length.

5.   Submission of the thesis should be completed electronically as directed by the Graduate School and must conform to University Library specifications published at: https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/research/enlighten/theses/formattingyourthesis/ and must include an adequate and informative summary (250-500 words). 

If approved for the degree, one hard bound copy of the thesis and one electronic copy shall be deposited in the University Library. Where agreed by the Graduate School and the Library, hard bound submission may be waived in favour of solely electronic submission. Any hard copy shall generally conform to the standard defined in BS4821:1990 available from the University Library or from the College Graduate School. The electronic copy must confirm to University Library specifications published at https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/research/enlighten/theses/formattingyourthesis/. It is the University’s normal practice to make the bound copy available for consultation in the Library, and to permit computer download of the electronic copy through its repository service, Enlighten. Such access may, however, be restricted under provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 or the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004.

The thesis must be accompanied by a declaration by the candidate that the research has been carried out and the thesis composed by themself and that the thesis has not been accepted in fulfilment of the requirements of any other degree or professional qualification. It must also state the extent to which the candidate has availed themself of the work of others and which portions of the thesis, if any, are claimed as original.

6.   Except by permission of the Senate a thesis may not be presented later than six months from the date when the candidate ceases to be a registered student.

7.   If the Examiners consider that the thesis, portfolio, or project work has not achieved the standard required for the award of the Degree, the candidate may be permitted to revise the thesis, portfolio or project and resubmit it, on one occasion only, under such conditions as the Examiners may prescribe in each particular case. Normally, resubmission should be no later than six months after the date of the meeting of the Board of Examiners.

8.   The degree will normally be awarded with Distinction where the submitted thesis displays all of the following qualities:

Knowledge of the field of study: The thesis displays exceptionally comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the subject matter and of relevant interpretive and critical points; and

Exercise of independent critical ability: The thesis either displays genuine originality or outstanding critical ability in terms of the independence of thought demonstrated. Independence of thought may mean that the candidate has produced new arguments of their own but may equally be a matter of making arguments from the literature ‘one’s own’ by, for example, subjecting them to thorough critical examination or using one’s own expression and organisation and one’s own examples; and

Appropriate methods of performance and recording of research: The thesis is fully and properly referenced, in terms of legal authority and/or existing literature as appropriate. If the thesis involved empirical research, the methodology chosen was appropriate and properly defended; and

Ability in writing style and presentation: The thesis is exceptionally clearly and concisely written. It is well constructed and contains clear conclusions supported by sound arguments.

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