Also consult General Regulations G.30-G.56 as well as the LLM Policy Document of the Faculty of Law.
Also consult General Academic Regulations G30-G55 as well as the LLM/MPhil Guideline document of the Faculty of Law.
The primary purpose of an LLM by dissertation is to educate and train law graduates as researchers who can contribute to the development of knowledge at an advanced level which is predominantly focused on one or more legal disciplines or prepare graduates for advanced and specialised professional employment.
The minimum duration of the programme is 1 year (2 semesters) and the maximum duration is 2 years (4 semesters). The study period may only be extended in an individual case with the approval of the Faculty Postgraduate Committee on recommendation of the relevant head of department, based on good reason shown and if the student has a reasonable prospect of completing the programme in a further year of study.
Registration and renewal of registration
If admitted, a student can register immediately for the LLM by dissertation programme. The following two or three modules must be registered for and completed within one year of registration:
1. Research methodology (RHP 802) (non-credit bearing) offered by the Faculty of Law
If the student can show sufficient evidence of competence in research skills required at postgraduate level the Faculty Postgraduate Committee, on recommendation of the supervisor, may exempt the student from this module.
2. Research proposal and oral defence of the research proposal (RHP 804) (non-credit-bearing)
An oral defence of the research proposal including an assessment of the feasibility of the dissertation statement, research question or questions and argument to be developed in the LLM dissertation is required.
The supervisor convenes an adjudicating panel which is chaired by the head of department and includes the supervisor, at least one more internal adjudicator and at least one external adjudicator. An adjudicator should hold at least a master’s degree.
A draft research proposal including a bibliography that covers the main fields to be covered by the study, the dissertation statement, research question or questions and argument must be sent to the examination panel three weeks prior to the oral defence. (Such a draft research proposal must first be approved by the supervisor.) The student must convince the adjudicating panel of the feasibility of the topic and his or her knowledge of the research subject and ability to conduct the research. Where required by the panel, the draft proposal must be further reworked in light of the comments at the oral defence and a final proposal submitted to the satisfaction of the supervisor before the student may embark on the writing of the dissertation. (No exemption can be granted from this requirement.)
A proposal may only be submitted for oral defence with the written permission of the supervisor. Should the supervisor refuse to grant permission for submission, the candidate may request permission to submit from the Faculty Postgraduate Committee. The Faculty Postgraduate Committee considers the request and may allow the proposal to be submitted for defence or may turn down the request. Should the Faculty Postgraduate Committee turn down the request, the candidate may refer the matter to the Dean, who must consider the matter based on reports from the candidate, the supervisor and the Faculty Postgraduate Committee.
A student who does not complete the abovementioned two modules within one year of registration may be excluded from the Faculty and if he/she seeks readmission to the Faculty, may submit a written request to the Dean that his/her application for readmission to the Faculty be considered in terms of the set procedure.
3. Structured research proposal preparation (RHP 806) (non-credit-bearing)
The supervisor may prescribe that a particular student must follow a structured programme to be determined by the supervisor and approved by the Faculty Postgraduate Committee. The supervisor may also set the requirements, as approved by the Faculty Postgraduate Committee, for complying with the module.
- LLB degree or BProc degree or relevant degree from a foreign university that allows entrance to a master’s degree
- A weighted average of at least 65% at final-year level or a weighted average of below 65%:
- relevant work experience
- other academic qualifications
- An admissions examination may be required
- A portfolio consisting of:
- recent research-based essays or assignments
- a letter of motivation
With regard to the abovementioned curriculum, the relevant General Academic Regulations. apply and the dissertation counts 100% for the final mark. The dissertation consists of 36 000-48 000 words – including footnotes but excluding the table of contents and the bibliography. The final copy of the dissertation must be accompanied by a proof of submission of an article to a journal accredited by the Department of Higher Education and Training. The article must be based on the research that the student has conducted for the dissertation and be approved by the supervisor. The Faculty of Law guideline document on co-authorship with students applies.
A written agreement between the student and supervisor must be signed. The document serves as the basis for the interaction between the student and the supervisor. It indicates their individual roles, responsibilities and expectations and makes it clear that they are entering into a binding undertaking with each other. The supervisor has the responsibility to ensure that the dissertation is properly prepared by the student.
Pass with distinction
For the degree to be awarded with distinction a student must obtain a minimum of 75% for the dissertation.
University of Pretoria Programme Qualification Mix (PQM) verification project
The higher education sector has undergone an extensive alignment to the Higher Education Qualification Sub-Framework (HEQF) across all institutions in South Africa. In order to comply with the HEQSF, all institutions are legally required to participate in a national initiative led by regulatory bodies such as the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the Council on Higher Education (CHE), and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The University of Pretoria is presently engaged in an ongoing effort to align its qualifications and programmes with the HEQSF criteria. Current and prospective students should take note that changes to UP qualification and programme names, may occur as a result of the HEQSF initiative. Students are advised to contact their faculties if they have any questions.