UCT Law offers Master's programmes in 18 specialisations. These can be pursued along various routes, including a Master's degree by coursework only; a Master's (LLM or MPhil) degree by coursework and dissertation; and a Master's (LLM or MPhil) by research only. 

1. Professional Masters (coursework only)

2. LLM and MPhil programmes with coursework & dissertation

To graduate with an LLM or MPhil degree (coursework & dissertation) from the Faculty of Law, students must select and complete four courses and submit a dissertation of up to 25 000 words on a topic of their choice. Full-time students are expected to complete the programme requirements within one academic year and part-time students are expected to complete the requirements within two years (except that the dissertation component may be submitted by not later than: the Friday before the first term starts the year following the completion of the coursework for students who have completed their coursework in December; and 15 September of the same year for students who have completed their coursework in June).

Students who register for a general LLM or MPhil in Law are free to choose from the numerous courses on offer. However, students wanting to pursue a specialist LLM or MPhil programme (options are detailed in this linked table) will need to ensure that they take the courses prescribed for that specialisation, as detailed in the Law Faculty Handbook

Our specialised programmes are listed here, with links to programme detail and course information.

Additional information on LLM / MPhil by coursework & dissertation

3. Master of Laws by dissertation (LLM or MPhil)

Applicants for the LLM or MPhil by research only may qualify for admission provided that they have:

  • a law degree of the University or equivalent degrees from another university recognised by Senate for this purpose, or
  • in any other manner attained a level of competence which, in the opinion of Senate (which acts on recommendation by the Law Faculty), is adequate for purposes of admission.
  • or, in the case of the MPhil, candidates may qualify if they have an honours degree from UCT or another university recognised by Senate.

Although originality in postgraduate research is always desirable, it is not an exclusive requirement for an LLM degree. Instead, a dissertation should constitute a significant advance in knowledge on the subject, of such a standard that publication in a reputable journal would be justified.

Candidates must therefore show that they have:

  • a thorough knowledge of the chosen subject
  • mastered techniques required for competent research in law
  • the capacity for independent thought and sound reasoning
  • satisfactorily presented the results of research

An LLM or MPhil dissertation must not exceed 40 000 words in length.

For more information on research degrees in the Faculty of Law, what is required and how to apply, have a look at:


Law Research Degree guidelines - PhD & Master's

Thesis proposal 

Ethics approval 


Examination Procedures

Key dates for Research Degree Programmes - Submission etc