Wananga landing Wananga landing

Master's and doctoral study in Law

29 September 2023

Our Faculty of Law offers a varied postgraduate programme. Our academic strength and the flexibility of our degrees make our postgraduate programme attractive for students keen to develop their research skills and gain a valuable postgraduate qualification in any area of legal study. Learn more about Master's and doctoral study in Law at UC.


The Faculty's academic strength and the flexibiliy of the degrees we offer make our postgraduate programme an attractive option for students wanting to develop their research skills and to gain a valuable postgraduate qualification in any area of legal study.

To develop a career in the fields of policy, politics, or government, a postgraduate qualification is all but essential.


Diverse fields of research

Our academics have wide research interests and our research groups are working on diverse issues of Law. Find out more about our academic interests.


Degree options

Master of Laws - LLM

The Canterbury LLM programmes offer a wide choice of topics for either general study or specialised research drawing on particular academic strengths in the Faculty. Students can tailor their course content to enable them to develop their own interests and achieve personal benefit.

Two masters programmes are offered by the Faculty of Law at UC:

  • LLM by Thesis - gives candidates the flexibility to thoroughly research an area of particular interest. In certain circumstances and with approval, students enrolled for the LLM by thesis can transfer to the PhD degree. Candidates can begin study at any time.
  • LLM in International Law and Politics - is a multi-disciplinary degree, partly taught and partly research-based. Candidates may begin study in February (recommended) or July.

Full and part-time study is possible. The LLM degree can ordinarily be completed in one year of full-time study.

LLM by Thesis

The LLM may be taken by thesis alone. The thesis should be a significant piece of research of 35,000 to 50,000 words.

Before enrolling in the LLM by Thesis prospective students must contact and must submit a 500 word research proposal.

Starting dates

The programme runs over one year. Candidates are encouraged to start in February, but a July start can also be authorised by the Executive Dean of Law.

Broad research options

We cater for a wide variety of research interests and offer supervision in all of the core areas, including the New Zealand Legal System, Public Law, Torts and Accident Compensation, Law and Medicine, Arts and Media Law, Legal Philosophy, Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, International Law, Business and Commercial Law, and Intellectual Property.

International Law and Politics

The LLM (International Law and Politics) is a partly taught and partly research-based interdisciplinary degree for students with a law background who are interested in developing their knowledge of international law and in examining the political nature of the international order.

The degree requires students to complete four courses and a dissertation on a topic of their choice. Courses cover a wide range of topics, such as International Criminal Law, Law of the Sea, International human Rights and Law of International Trade.

Entry requirements

Positions in the programme are limited and are allocated according to undergraduate academic achievement. Applications for admission to all LLM programmes are invited from law graduates or from students who are about to graduate. Students from relevant backgrounds other than law may apply to the Executive Dean of Law for admission.


PhD research

The Faculty of Law offers a full range of supervision for doctoral studies. PhD enquiries should be made in the first instance to the Postgraduate Administrator.

Approximately 20 PhD students are studying in the Faculty of Law at any one time. Full and part-time study options are available. With approval, extramural enrolment is possible.

The minimum requirements are the equivalent of a Bachelor's degree (with a sufficient grade of Honours) or a Masters degree in Law (or a relevant subject).

Applicants will also need to show a sufficient level of competence in written and spoken English. In Law we require a level 7 IELTS with no section under 6.5 for Postgraduate study.

Applications to enrol can be made at any time. 


Regulations and guidelines

Apply for postgraduate study

Privacy Preferences

By clicking "Accept All Cookies", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.