Breadcrumbs

Master of Laws (LLM)

There are several ways to conduct research for your postgraduate degree at Waikato.

The Master of Laws has a flexible programme structure and suits the objective of a number of students; those who seek to upgrade their skills and knowledge through specialist taught papers, those who wish to combine taught papers with a significant piece of independent research or those students who wish to engage in research only.

Students who have already demonstrated strength in independent research may be permitted to complete the degree by thesis only, an alternative which comprises an advanced investigation under the guidance of a supervisor. It is, therefore, appropriate for a student who wishes to carry out intensive research in a specific area, and to build the skills necessary to contribute original ideas to legal thinking.

Entry criteria

Candidates must have completed the LLB degree, or a combined degree in Te Piringa - Faculty of Law, or an equivalent qualification. Admission is subject to a minimum 'B' grade point average. The thesis-only option is available to candidates who have:

  • completed an LLB (Hons); or
  • completed a combined degree in Te Piringa - Faculty of Law with Honours in law; or
  • completed an LLB (Hons) at another university; or
  • achieved comparable levels of attainment in LLB studies at another university.

The subject of the thesis must be developed and defined in close consultation with relevant staff. The research topic is subject to the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies who is responsible for the appointment of a supervisor(s). If more than one supervisor is appointed, one will be designated as the Chief Supervisor.

Course requirements

The LLM degree comprises the equivalent of four Level 5 papers. The four papers amount to the equivalent of one year's full-time work. The papers may be taken over a minimum of two full-time semesters, or a maximum of eight consecutive semesters of part-time study. The papers offered are all internally assessed. There are no final examinations. An approved paper at a comparable level in another faculty may be substituted for one of the law papers.

LLM by taught papers

Te Piringa - Faculty of Law offers papers that are taught on an intensive basis and semester long papers.

Intensive Papers

These papers may be taught prior to or during both semesters. Classes are usually held over a 4 or 5 day period. The papers are taught by Te Piringa - Faculty of Law staff as well as guest lecturers from New Zealand and overseas.

View list of LLM Taught papers »

Full Semester papers

Papers are generally offered over one semester. Lecturer contact time is generally 24 hours per paper, with a Semester A or B class meeting for two hours per week and conducted seminar style. Students may also be asked to present their papers in a seminar.

View list of LLM Taught papers »

LLM by Research

A dissertation may be taken in place of one or two of the four papers. In either case, enrolment will be subject to the definition of a research subject that can be properly supervised in the Faculty. In the thesis-only option, the research findings are presented in the form of a major thesis which is weighted as equivalent to either three or four Level 5 papers and is, therefore, considered as the result of the equivalent of one year's work by a research student. Students are required to enrol for a minimum of two semesters of full-time study, or a maximum of four consecutive semesters of part-time study.

Research Options

There are several ways to conduct research for your LLM.

  • 120 point (4 paper) Thesis
    Maximum 50,000 words
    The LLM degree thesis requires completion of a full-length research thesis on a topic approved by the Graduate Studies Committee.
    Approval to undertake the degree by thesis is normally given only where the student has completed the LLB degree and has a grade point average of B+ or equivalent.
    Approval from the Law Graduate Admissions Committee is required prior to enrolling.
  • 90 point (3 paper) Thesis
    Maximum 38,000 words
    The LLM degree may be completed by one 30 Level 500 taught paper and a 90 point thesis (LAWS593) on a topic approved by the Graduate Studies Committee.
    Approval to undertake the degree by thesis is normally given only where the student has completed the LLB degree and has a grade point average of B+ or equivalent.
    Approval from the Law Graduate Admissions Committee is required prior to enrolling.
  • 60 Point (2 paper) Dissertation
    Maximum 25,000 words
    Students may complete a 60 point dissertation as part of the LLM degree.
    Approval to undertake part of the degree by dissertation is normally given only where the student has completed the LLB degree and has a grade point average of B+ or equivalent.
    Approval from the Law Graduate Admissions Committee is required prior to enrolling.
  • 30 Point (1 paper) Dissertation
    Maximum 12,500 words
    Students may complete a 30 point dissertation as part of the LLM degree.
    Approval to undertake part of the degree by dissertation is normally given only where the student has completed the LLB degree and has a grade point average of B+ or equivalent.
    Approval from the Law Graduate Admissions Committee is required prior to enrolling.

LLM student exploring geothermal framework

A lack of clarity surrounding geothermal resource management prompted new research by LLM student Phoebe Parson.

She’s carrying out the research to provide clarity for organisations such as regional councils and other commercial users of geothermal resources. The research is focusing on information sharing about different geothermal systems that are in commercial production.

Phoebe enjoys researching an aspect of law she particularly likes; "I enjoy the interface between environmental law, private and public interest in resource use and how it all comes together".

As part of her masters’ study, Phoebe has analysed the Resource Management Act and compared it with other regimes for managing natural resources, including overseas legislation.

Phoebe received support for her research, becoming the first New Zealander to receive a prestigious scholarship from the International Bar Association's Section on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law.


Double LLM: Waikato + Arizona

University of Waikato Te Piringa Faculty of Law and University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law

Interested in holding two LLMs from internationally highly regarded Faculties of Law in significantly less time and in two different countries?

If you’re a dedicated, engaged student then this is the opportunity for you. If you hold an LLB degree (from us or somewhere else), and you have been admitted to our LLM – you could be on your way. Once you’ve completed at least 75% of our LLM you are eligible to receive 6-8 credits towards the requirements for the Arizona LLM. Whether you decide at the beginning of your LLM, or later on; you’ll need to fill out an application that will be carefully considered. If you’re nominated, you’ll need to apply to enroll at Arizona and they’ll make the final decision.

The LLM in Arizona is composed of 24 credit hours (Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy) or 26 credit hours (International Trade and Business Law). If you’ve successfully completed 90 points our LLM, you will receive a credit of 6 hours to the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy LLM OR 8 hours to the International Trade and Business Law LLM at Arizona. This will leave you with just 18 credit hours to complete the Arizona LLM in either of these 2 specialised LLMs.