Choosing the Right Postgraduate Qualification

There are a variety of postgraduate qualifications all of which provide very different experiences.

Before deciding what sort of postgraduate study to embark on you need to be clear in your own mind what you want out of it and how much time you have got to devote to it.

Taught Masters

A Taught Masters degree provides the opportunity to learn more about a particular topic which enables you to become a specialist in your chosen area, Aberystwyth Law School offers On Campus Courses and Courses by Distance Learning.

Aberystwyth Law School also offers a taught Masters degree in Research Training designed for students either contemplating doctoral research through a PhD programme, or gaining a free standing qualification for purposes of becoming a research professional. 

Masters by Research

At Aberystwyth you can register for LLM (Research) for the Mphil, which is recognised in this country as a research qualification, whereas the LLM is usually reserved for Taught Masters.  You would produce a thesis of about 50-60,000 words and work under the direction of one or more supervisors but are not required to attend any classes.  After the year at Aberystwyth you have up to two years to write up your research.

Studying for a Research Masters offers many of the attractions of studying for a PhD. It would be wrong, however, to think of a Masters dissertation as a short PhD. A Masters thesis should provide a detailed overview and critique of any area of law but it is not intended to provide an in-depth analysis in the same way as a PhD.  The main advantage of the Research Masters, therefore, is that it enables you to complete a piece of research and obtain a qualification for it in a relatively short period of time.


A PhD is awarded upon the satisfactory completion of a thesis of about 80-100,000 words followed by viva voce examination. The normal period of registration is three years and it is expected that the thesis will be submitted within four years of initial registration. As explained above, much of the first year is spent undertaking research training, leaving the second and third years for full-time research into the chosen topic. A PhD enables you to become expert in your chosen subject and to explore the intricacies of the law in context.

A PhD is regarded as a major stepping stone in academic and academic-related careers. It signifies that you are capable of undertaking detailed research and of presenting the results of that research in an understandable way. 

Please see Courses for more information.