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LLM by Coursework

The closing date for applications to the LLM by Coursework and Research Report is 31 October 2016 for South African students and 30 September 2016 for international students.

General Structure

The LLM by Coursework and Research Report and the Postgraduate Diploma are very similar in structure and content. The main difference is that the LLM by Coursework & Research Report carries additional research requirements.

For both programmes students must take four (4) courses chosen from a list of compulsory and elective courses prescribed for a specific programme (coursework component).

Students registered for the LLM by Coursework & Research Report must in addition complete the following research component:

A Research Essay of 5 000 words in two of the prescribed courses (designated as 'core courses')

A Research Report of 10 000 words in the area of specialisation

An attendance course in Research Methodology

Admission requirements

  • An average of 65% in the final year of the LLB plus evidence of ability to conduct scholarly research and writing
  • An average of 70% in the final year of the LLB without evidence of ability to conduct scholarly research and writing

Conversion from Mandela Institute course to LLM or Postgraduate Diploma and accreditation of certificate courses

A student who has performed well in Mandela Institute Certificate of Competence courses may be granted admission to the  Postgraduate Diploma in Law or LLM by Coursework & Research Report programme. (Note: this rule does not apply to certificates from institutions other than the Mandela Institute at the Wits School of Law.)

  • To convert to the Postgraduate Diploma in Law, the student must achieve a mark of 60% or above in at least one Mandela Institute course (provided the course is equivalent to a Postgraduate Diploma course).
  • Completion of the Mandela Institute certificate courses does not guarantee automatic acceptance into the LLM or Postgraduate Diploma programmes.  Admission to the LLM and Postgraduate diplomas is governed by the general admission requirements as applied by the Director
  • If granted permission to convert, the student will receive credit for a maximum of two Mandela Institute courses towards the Postgraduate Diploma (subject to equivalency). In addition, the student will have to complete two or three courses (making a total of four courses) in the Postgraduate Diploma in Law programme to be awarded the degree.
  • Where credits have been granted for a Mandela Institute certificate course, the certificate must be surrendered to the School before credits are loaded onto the academic record.

Fields of study

Both the LLM by Coursework and Research Report and the Postgraduate Diploma in Law can be completed as a general degree, or in an area of specialisation.  For each field, there is a list of compulsory and elective courses from which students must choose their four coursework courses.

Please note that not all fields are available in a particular year.

Attendance Course in Research Methodology

All LLM students have to attend a course in Research Methodology to improve their research skills. The course covers topics such as choosing a Research Report topic, methods of finding information, proper citation, plagiarism and so forth. The course also contains information on the nature of the relationship between supervisor and student, including what students can expect of their supervisors.

Satisfactory attendance of the Research Methodology course entails that students should attend at least 75% of all lectures in the course. A student who has not attended the required number of lectures will be required to reregister for the course in the following year. Students must sign the Attendance Register at every lecture to prove attendance. No other form of proof of attendance will be accepted.

NB: ALL LLM STUDENTS MUST ATTEND THE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY COURSE. NO CONCESSIONS WHATSOEVER WILL BE MADE FOR FAILURE TO ATTEND THE REQUIRED NUMBER OF LECTURES.

Research Report Component

The Research Report is the final component of the degree, weighted at approximately one-third of the total requirements for the degree. The Research Report is compulsory and counts 60 points towards the degree.  The Research Report should comprise approximately 10 000 words (approximately 30-40 pages of typescript). The word count includes footnotes but excludes illustrative material and appendices.

Core and non-core courses

Most of the LLM courses can be done at either core or non-core level. The distinction is in the amount of research required. More specifically, in addition to what is required for a specific subject at non-core level, a student will have to complete a research essay of at least 5 000 words. For example, if the non-core assessment consists of a written exam and a short assignment, those students who take the subject at core level must complete the written exam, the short assignment and an additional research essay of 5 000 words.

Students must ascertain the specific examination requirements for core and non-core courses from their lecturers. These requirements will also be set out in the course outlines of the relevant courses.

Please note not all subjects are offered every year.

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