An LL.M., derived from the Latin Legum Magister which means Master of Laws, is an internationally recognized law degree. Many universities offer law programmes at the Master’s level for students that have completed an appropriate undergraduate (Bachelor’s) or graduate degree in law or another relevant field.
An LL.M. programme is especially useful for students who wish to further develop their expertise in a specialised field of law such as tax law, international law, or European law. LL.M. degrees are offered at a number of universities in the Netherlands and are generally year-long programmes that can be taught in English or Dutch.
LL.M. programme costs and requirements
Currently, there are 10 Dutch universities offering an LL.M. programme in various fields of expertise. The majority of these programmes take one year to complete and range in cost from €1,900 to €18,000 for EU students and €9,500 to €29,000 for non-EU students.
Completing an LL.M. degree often gives students an advantage in the field, especially when entering the job market. Many law firms prefer candidates that have put in the work required to attain a Master’s of Law degree as it indicates an advanced, specialised legal education. An LL.M. also provides the skills necessary to work in a multinational legal environment.
In order to enroll in an LL.M. programme at most Dutch universities, the following basic requirements are applicable:
- a previous professional law degree of an appropriate level (generally a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in Law), or a degree in a related field with sufficient expertise in law,
- sufficient English proficiency level (IELTS 6.5-7),
- sufficient finances to pay for tuition, accommodation, expenses, and any residence visa permits applicable to non-EU citizens.
Graduation requirements vary based on the programme and can range anywhere from completing a specified amount of credits for the degree to writing a research-based thesis.
While an LL.M. programme doesn’t necessarily allow a graduate to practice law immediately, it does often provide students with the knowledge and legal principles required to work as a lawyer in a particular country. Some additional examinations may be applicable in some countries.
In order to work as a lawyer in the Netherlands, students must complete both their Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in the Dutch language. In case students complete their LLM programme in English, they can find a job in the international companies.
To find more about a particular programme’s requirements and the application process, it is advised to check the particular university’s website and programme page.
Dutch university rankings in the field of law
The QS World University Rankings placed three universities in the Netherlands offering law degrees in the top 50 institutions worldwide in their 2014 ranking by subject. Leiden University was ranked 23rd in the Law category, scoring 76.4 points. Utrecht University was ranked 48th with a score of 68.0 and the University of Amsterdam (UvA) followed shortly after in 50th place, scoring 67.3.
Erasmus University Rotterdam and the University of Groningen scored in the top 150 of the best law schools worldwide and Radboud University Nijmegen made the top 200 list.
Duisenberg school of finance also offers a career-oriented LLM program in Finance and Law, which is taught by professors from top Dutch (UvA, VU, RSM) and international (Columbia, Yale, Cambridge) universities.