Ask this mentor a question

Read more about my experiences

Please feel free to read my profile as it may help to answer any questions you have. You can also search for another ambassador who may be able to answer any further questions!

Back to Ambassador listing

Past Questions

  1. Hello, I wish to apply for the LLM International Law: Crime, Justice and Human Rights, but I am confused whether to opt for the part time course or full time course. Are there any major advantages of choosing full time courses? Also, how does the University help with the work placement after graduation? Thank You.

    Hi, students usually opt for the part time course if they have other responsibilities such as work, family, care etc. and can't commit to the full time course. The part time course provide that flexibility as it is done over a longer period while the materials and syllabus remain the same as the full time course. It's not that there are particular advantages or disadvantages to either mode of delivery but it rather depends on what suits the circumstances of the student.

    In regards to placements, the University runs a careers network which supports students with careers-related opportunities and provides advice on the matter.

    Best wishes, Kyros

  2. Hi, I am studying an LLB in Bangladesh from a renowned University. I want to study Law in the UK in order to start a career with a legal background in the UK, as I want to settle there. Which subject in postgraduate Law will be the best for me?

    Hi, if you are referring to studying a Masters and thinking about what area of law to focus on, I would say choose one that appeals to you the most and aligns with what you want to do after graduation. If not sure, then a General LLM which is more flexible in terms of specialisation may be more wide-ranging as an option. If you are referring to practising as a lawyer, in the UK there are the solicitor and barrister routes and each one requires specialised courses before the training can begin, that is the LPC and BPTC respectively.

    Best wishes, Kyros

  3. Hi Kyros I am from India. I just wanted to know what is the procedure to take an admission? And which subject is better to choose for LLM?

    Hi, I'm afraid I can't advise on the admissions procedure as a mentor but I'm sure the student admissions team would be happy to help you with that if you get in touch with them. In terms of what LLM specialisation to focus on, that depends on your own academic interests and career plans. The Birmingham Law School website explains that the following LLM are available (although it might be worth double checking with admissions whether the one you are interested in is currently on offer in case there have been any changes): General LLM Commercial Law LLM Criminal Law and Criminal Justice LLM International Commercial Law LLM International Law and Globalisation LLM International Law: Crime, Justice and Human Rights LLM International Trade Law LLM Energy and Environmental Law (Distance) LLM Responsible Data Science MSc As you can see this is a varied selection and it is indeed important to choose what you think best suits your own interests and aspirations. If you are more interested in commercial, company or business related law, either academically or in practice, then probably the commercial law option might be more suitable. If criminal law and associated criminal justice matters constitute you main areas of interest or you wish for example to go into further research in these areas then the criminal law and criminal justice one may be appealing to you. I did the International Law: Crime, Justice and Human Rights LLM which I found extremely interesting as the intersection of criminal justice and human rights is an academic and research area of particular interest to me. If you feel undecided then consider whether the General LLM would be a more flexible option which gives a broader selection and space to take a variety of modules. In any case, have also a look at the relevant website where the different LLM options are explained and see what modules are offered for each and that may help you make a well-informed decision. I include the relevant website below in case you haven't already looked at this:

    https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/law/courses/llm/index.aspx

    I hope this has been helpful and best of luck with your LLM!

    Best wishes, Kyros

  4. Hello! I am a Student pursuing 5 years integrated BA LLB(H) from India. I am interested in Human Rights and Crime and I wanted to ask about the procedure for applying, documents required, scholarships, and how the programme is? Thanks.

    Hello, thank you very much for your question and apologies in the delay getting back to you. My name is Emma from the Postgraduate Recruitment team, and I am replying on behalf of the mentor as they have not yet answered it.

    Please visit these webpages for help on how to apply: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/apply-pg/index.aspx and how to write a personal statement: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/help-advice/personal-statement.aspx

    Our international student pages will also be helpful to you: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/International/students/index.aspx as will our Document requirements explained page, which will help you figure out what you need to submit with your application: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/apply-pg/doc-requirements-explained.aspx

    There are various funding opportunities available for both home and international students. Please refer to our funding database (https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/pgfunding) for possible funding opportunities. You may also find information on our international pages useful, including our page on international scholarships (https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/International/students/finance/scholarships/index.aspx).

    Best of luck, PG Recruitment

  5. I’m an international final year LLB student who would like to further their education with a LLM at Birmingham this year, but my certificate isn’t ready, can I still apply as an awaiting student?

    Hello, thank you very much for your question and apologies in the delay getting back to you. My name is Emma from the Postgraduate Recruitment team, and I am replying on behalf of the mentor as they have not yet answered it.

    Yes, you are still able to apply if you haven't finished your course yet. If you are offered a place, it will be a condition that you finish your degree to the required standard and provide proof of this before you enrol on the course.

    Best wishes, PG Recruitment

  6. Can I please know how students are assessed? Is it through written exams or assignments etc.? Is there a specific time period that exams are conducted in?

    Hello, thank you very much for your question and apologies in the delay getting back to you. My name is Emma from the Postgraduate Recruitment team, and I am replying on behalf of the mentor as they have not yet answered it.

    Masters courses are assessed through a mix of exams and assignments (both written and oral). For example, for the LLM course assessment information can be found here: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/taught/law/international-law.aspx#TeachingAndAssessmentTab

    On the course details tab, the modules section at the bottom links out to available modules which also says how they are assessed.

    Exams are typically completed in two periods, at the end of semester 1, in January, and at the end of semester 2, in May.

    I hope this helps! PG Recuitment

  7. Hi, I am a law student pursuing 5 years integrated BBA LLB (Hons) from India. I am in my fourth year now and have selected International Law as my honours elective. I have ardent interest in international and criminal law. I have seen that the University of Birmingham offers a course on LLM in Criminal Law, I would like to know more about this course and its outcomes please.

    Hi, thank you for your question. The LLM in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice is not the course I did, but as I did the one on International Law: Crime, Justice and Human Rights back in 2015 I may still have some insights to offer based on my experience.

    I would say the selection of modules is very good and covers most areas of criminal law and justice at Masters level, and provides a good understanding of debates, challenges and theories in the area. The fact that you've got a background on this as you are currently doing a law degree is great and I'm sure that knowledge will provide a good background to further develop your interests at Masters level. In regards to delivery, I'm quoting here what's on the website: "As a full-time student, you will typically take three modules in each term, followed by your dissertation. Depending on the modules you take, you can typically expect six hours of classroom time per week, two per module. If you are a part-time student, you will typically take three modules across each year, followed by your dissertation. Each module represents a total of 200 hours of study time, including preparatory reading, homework and assignment preparation. Birmingham offers small-group teaching on the LLM, and students opting for popular modules with large groups of students will receive (where possible) additional teaching time: classes will be split into two separate seminar groups so as to provide an equal opportunity for class interaction compared to those in smaller modules." I would also say get in touch with student services at Birmingham to confirm what arrangements are in place as a response to the current pandemic situation in case this has affected delivery modes or specific modules that you might wish to take as I don't have access to this information.

    As far as outcomes is concerned, I presume you mean what you can do with the degree after you graduate. I would say this Masters opens a variety of possibilities both in practice and academia. You might wish to progress to a PhD after the Masters if you find that an academic route and further research is what appeals to you, or go ahead and train/practice law. Please note though that in regards to the latter, a law Masters does not replace or provide for the professional practice degrees, i.e. LPC for solicitors and BPTC for barristers, that anyone who wishes to train and practice law in the UK have to take after their academic studies. Also, different countries have different requirements about practicing law and training so, make sure you research that well before making any final decisions.

    I'm further quoting here the website's details about Employability: "Our graduates move onto a diverse range of careers, with many going on to work in top law schools and law firms. Some examples of where our recent graduates have gone on to work include: Linklaters LLP, 5 Pump Court Chambers, Bar Pro Bono Unit and Squire Patton Boggs. A number of our postgraduate students go directly from Birmingham to complete the Legal Practice Course or the Bar Professional Training Course.

    Links to the Legal Profession

    The Law School maintains strong links with the professional world, through our network of alumni and contacts in the barristers’ and solicitors’ professions. These links allow us to put on a series of law careers events throughout the academic year.

    Each autumn, the University hosts the Law Fair, in which we welcome over 50 law firms, including some of the largest law firms in the world, to the University's Great Hall. The attendees represent law firms of all sizes and most areas of practice.

    Each year, the Law School hosts an “Employability Fortnight”. The events which run in this fortnight have included an Applications Process Panel Session, a Midlands Circuit Court Visit followed by an Inner Temple Drinks Reception in the evening, an Alternative Dispute Resolution Workshop by Herbert Smith, and dedicated Careers Advice Drop-in Sessions.

    The Careers Network

    The Careers Network organises regular events including presentations by top law firms and the annual Law Fair. It also runs workshops to help students prepare effective applications and to prepare for their next move. Its events on non-law careers, including journalism, marketing and working with charities, can be of interest to law students.

    Mooting

    The Law School organises a range of mooting opportunities and students have the opportunity to participate (a moot is a mock trial of a legal issue). The Moot Room is a state-of-the-art court room, complete with audio-visual equipment for recording moots. The Law School operates four mooting competitions, and students regularly represent the University at regional and national competitions, with notable success."

    I hope this has been helpful and wish you all the best with your studies.

    Best wishes, Kyros

  8. Hello, I wanted to know when do we get to choose our LLM specialisation? I want to take up Criminal Law and Criminal Justice. So, is there a separate application form for it or I will get to choose after I start my LLM classes?

    Hi, if I’m not mistaken, you normally choose the specialisation of your LLM at the application stage i.e. there should be an option to apply for the LLM in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice without any need for further forms; I’m not aware if this has now changed at all as this is more of an administrative matter with which we as mentors are not involved or updated.

    I think there is some grace period after you have started the course during which you can change the specialisation of your LLM but again I’m not sure how long that is or if there is one at all. I would suggest you contact the Student Services or Admissions who would be in a better position to advice in regard to your enquiry as this mentoring platform is more about questions relating to student experience so, I wouldn’t want to say anything that may not apply or be valid in your situation.

    All the best, Kyros

  9. Greetings Kyros!

    I want to know about the scope of doing LLM International Law: Crime, Justice and Human Rights through the University of Birmingham, like will I be able to secure/locate a good job or placement after graduating and is this field equally competent or withstanding to the commercial side of law in the UK? How's the exposure and the crowd at the university?

    Thank you.

    Hi, our graduates move onto a diverse range of careers, with many going on to work in top law schools and law firms. Some examples of where our recent graduates have gone on to work include: Linklaters LLP, 5 Pump Court Chambers, Bar Pro Bono Unit and Squire Patton Boggs. A number of our postgraduate students go directly from Birmingham to complete the Legal Practice Course or the Bar Professional Training Course.

    The Law School maintains strong links with the professional world, through our network of alumni and contacts in the barristers’ and solicitors’ professions. These links allow us to put on a series of law careers events throughout the academic year.

    Each autumn, the University hosts the Law Fair, in which we welcome over 50 law firms, including some of the largest law firms in the world, to the University's Great Hall. The attendees represent law firms of all sizes and most areas of practice.

    Each year, the Law School hosts an “Employability Fortnight”. The events which run in this fortnight have included an Applications Process Panel Session, a Midlands Circuit Court Visit followed by an Inner Temple Drinks Reception in the evening, an Alternative Dispute Resolution Workshop by Herbert Smith, and dedicated Careers Advice Drop-in Sessions.

    Best wishes, Tom

  10. I am from India and I want to do LLM in Criminal Law. I want your guidance on the LLM (Part-time) which is for 2 years, is it also available for international students? and what is the total fees? Is there any difference between fees of two year or one year LLM taught courses?

    Hi, thank you for your email and I am glad to hear you are interested in the LLM in Criminal Law.

    The LLM course is available to international students too and as far as I'm aware you should be able to do it part-time. Fees are calculated and are different based on whether you are a home/UK or international student and whether the course is full- or part-time. I include below the relevant university websites where the relevant fees and mode of study are explained in more detail:

    https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/taught/law/criminal-law.aspx?OpenSection=FeesAndFunding

    https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/International/students/finance/fees.aspx

    I hope this answers your question but if you need any further information please do not hesitate to contact me or the Postgraduate Student Services.

    Best wishes, Kyros

  11. What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?

    My main motivation has been my academic interest in issues relating to crime and criminal justice. I believe criminal justice policy is a seminal component of societies in general and determines many aspects of our everyday life. The international law background of the course has also been another appealing factor to me as it gives a new dimension to the understanding of the legal responses to crime. Further the fact that it combines the criminal justice with human rights concerns under the umbrella of international law gives the opportunity to expand my career prospects to international organisations and other relevant bodies.

  12. What, for you, are the best things about the course?

    One of the best things about the course, and my personal favourite, is how versatile it can be. Due to the long list of module options, it is entirely up to you which way you want to draw your specialisation to, even within the specialised LLMs themselves! This is important as it offers me the chance to be exposed to highly specialised areas of law and also allows me to focus and prepare on the issues and material I will need when writing my dissertation. Another thing is how the course is designed to support your academic and personal development. With seminars forming the main mode of delivery of the modules, you learn through your own initiatives, the discussions with your classmates and the guidance of the seminar leaders which create an environment of active and productive participation.

  13. Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?

    I chose the University of Birmingham because of my experience with the institution during my undergraduate studies. I have been more than satisfied with the level of expertise of the staff, the support and feedback given to us as well as the structure and teaching of the modules which altogether made my decision rather an easy one. It is also the case that the university enjoys a strong academic reputation especially in criminal justice and international law research which gave me the assurance of a well made choice.

  14. How will your degree prepare you for what you want to do afterwards?

    I believe that no matter what I want or end up doing afterwards, the knowledge and analytical and research skills developed during my degree can be incorporated and utilised, basically, in any career path, whether in academia or practice.

  15. Have you joined any clubs or societies, gone on any research trips or done any volunteering?

    Over my time at Birmingham Law School I have participated in mooting sessions and competitions, commercial workshops, case studies, debate events, charity work and various career orientated sessions through which essential planning and networking opportunities have become available. It goes without saying that extra-curricular activities are an invaluable asset not only in terms of career prospects but also as means of personal development. The university organises and offers various such opportunities for students to get involved with which have been beneficial and informative to me on many different levels.

  16. Is it advisable to have a reserach proposal already done when applying for the course?

    If you are referring to the application requirements of the LLM course, you are not expected to have a research proposal for your dissertation topic already done when applying for the course. That is required later in your LLM year (normally mid March) but it does not include elements like literature review etc and essentially constitutes a presentation of the topic and main issues to be explored. Then it is up to you to find an appropriate supervisor and discuss with them the merits and prospects of your research proposal before it is officially accepted.

    As such I would not advise an applicant to have a research proposal from such an early stage as the application process. During the LLM course, you will be exposed to a variety of legal areas and debates within the any specialised or general LLM. I think having actually done the relevant reading and attended the seminars for the modules gives you a better foundation and understanding of the legal areas which in turn makes a research proposal more informed and better resourced/referenced. That, however, does not mean that if you already know the area of your preference and have a possible topic in mind from the very start of the course you cannot discuss it with prospective supervisors. If you intend to undertake qualitative/quantitive research that might raise any ethical issues then you are encouraged to approach prospective supervisors and discuss dissertation topics as early as possible but that type of research does not form a formal requirement of the LLM dissertation.

  17. Hi, I am considering applying to the Birmingham Law School for a PhD in International Criminal Law and Humanitarian Law. Would you recommend me to apply to the school? Also how are the lecturers? Are they helpful enough? I am asking this because although I know the field, I am having difficulties with determining my PhD topic and I would appreciate so much if an expert can give me guidance.

    Hello, thank you for your enquiry.

    I would like to emphasise from the outset that I am currently a Masters student at the Birmingham Law School so I can only give you generic and empirical advice on what a PhD application process may entail.

    I notice you intend to specialise in International Criminal Law and Humanitarian Law regarding your prospective doctoral research. The Birmingham Law School has indeed a long tradition and enviable reputation on the relevant areas of law and as such I would recommend it to you. The research strength of the university is also ranked quite high globally and the access to resources and online research material for graduate/doctoral students is both extensive and readily available. It is noted that law students also have access to the Harding Law Library which not only can be a quiet study area during the busy exam period but it also offers a wide range of law sources and materials that you can borrow on short or long loan according to availability and demand.

    In terms of lecturers, the matter is rather subjective. All Birmingham Law School lecturers are highly regarded in their respective fields and possess extensive knowledge and expertise in relation to their research areas and interests. From personal experience I have found that they are helpful and approachable as well as resourceful and insightful which is readily important when undertaking research as a graduate student. But again I would say it depends on your personal beliefs and opinions of what makes a 'good lecturer' that could potentially aspire to your expectations.

    I also understand that you have some difficulties approaching your PhD topic and formulating a research question. Indeed as far as a PhD application is concerned, your research question needs to be as precise, specific and well-thought as possible. Although a prospective supervisor would be happy and willing to discuss your ideas with you and offer general guidance on prospects of originality etc it is not common practice for them to determine which topic you should or should not do research in. It is rather expected that as a prospective PhD applicant you would have done some further reading and initial research into the area you intend to specialise in before approaching a supervisor or lecturer to discuss the merits of your proposal.

    Given the stage you are currently at, I would suggest in the first instance that you start doing some specific and in-depth reading around the topic you are interested in. International Criminal Law and Humanitarian Law are by their nature vast and inclusive areas that range from crimes against humanity to genocide and from means of warfare to belligerent occupation respectively. It is imperative that you decide whether you want to do research in a specific area of either or whether you would prefer some sort of crossover between them.

    Then it would be helpful to browse the personal profiles of the university's lecturers that specialise in the above areas and see whether they match your research interests. Remember that the success of any PhD application really depends on the availability of suitable supervisors that can adequately support you throughout your doctoral research. The fact that a lecturer specialises in International Criminal Law does not by itself mean that they can supervise all prospective PhD applicants that are interested in the area in question. In any case, as soon as you have done your research and narrowed down your topic, try contacting prospective supervisors initially by email with the relevant information so they can comment on prospects and merits before you formally submit an application.

    For your ease of reference, I have also attached below some relevant university websites that may be relevant; although the modules list refers to the LLM course, I think browsing the module descriptions and leaders can still give you an idea of the research interests of the respective lecturers.

    - http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/law/courses/llm/modules.aspx - http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/law/staff/index.aspx - http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/research/law/law.aspx

    I hope this helps and addresses a part of your concerns. Best of luck with your applications.

    Regards,

    Kyros

  18. Hello Kyros, I have received an offer for LLM Law and I would like to know if you would suggest this type of course or if it risks being too wide. Do you know if I can decide which pathway I’ll do with my exams? Or will the final degree be written only LLM in Law? Thanks in advance and best regards.

    Hi, thank you for your question.

    This really comes down to what you want to do with your LLM and what are your future career plans. The General LLM is indeed what it says on the tin and is intended to cover a broad spectrum of areas rather than specialise in a given topic.

    Career-wise it might be preferable to choose an LLM that will further develop your knowledge and expertise in the area you intend to specialise in. So, for example if you are looking to practice in commercial law, an LLM in Commercial Law may be more suitable for you and also evidence your commitment to the area. In the same way, if you are looking to do doctoral research in criminal justice, a more crime-focused LLM may provide you with a good foundation and preparation to your further studies. So it might be worth looking at the academic requirements of the organisations, law firms or universities which you intend to apply to following the completion of your LLM to get an idea of what sort of specialisation they are looking for.

    On the other hand, it is also about what you would enjoy more on an academic level. If you are looking into exploring a range of areas which a specialised LLM could not accommodate then the General LLM may be a good idea. There is always some room for specialisation even within the General LLM due to the wide range of modules the school provides and your dissertation which is another opportunity to explore a more specific area but in any case your degree will show as General LLM if that's the pathway you register with.

    I hope this helps and answers your question. I include below the websites including the different LLM courses you can choose from as well as the modules available for each pathway:

    https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/law/courses/llm/index.aspx

    https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/law/courses/llm/modules.aspx

    Best wishes, Kyros