Financing an LL.M
Financing/funding is perhaps the toughest part of planning for an LLM from abroad. Most prospective LL.M. students worry about affording the high costs of studying for a postgraduate law course in a foreign university. Not many are in a position to muster their own financial resources in the form of savings, family assistance, etc. And so, outside sources of funding become critical. Ideally, a student would want to rely on a combination of grants, scholarships, awards offered by foreign Universities as well as organisations.
Merit-based scholarships for LL.M. programs are highly prestigious and competitive; and awards are given to candidates who can demonstrate an outstanding academic and/or professional record. Bear in mind that full-fledged scholarships to top law schools/faculties are not easy to get. Also the value of scholarship and the manner in which one can avail it will vary from one law school to another. Do your research well and apply for all the appropriate scholarships. You may get a full scholarship or a partial tuition fees waiver; or a fixed amount of grant depending on the law school you are applying to and your overall performance in LL.B, both academic as well as in extra-curricular sphere. Some scholarships will have a screening interview, and your performance in the same will have a substantial bearing on getting the grant.
A good starting point to search for financial support is by way of researching which grants and scholarships are offered by the following:
Let us look at each of them:
Universities/Law School Funding
Several Foreign universities/law schools offer merit-based scholarships and grants. These awards are highly competitive and are offered to the top LL.M applicants. It is advisable to establish contact with the “financial aid/assistance offices” of the law schools/ universities you wish to apply to. These offices are invariably useful and helpful in the hunt for funding sources. Infact, you may be able to get information about some of the obscure and unknown grants and scholarships offered by the concerned law school/university. Browse the law school/university website for exploring funding possibilities, and drop them a quick e-mail seeking further information.
Given below are the main scholarships offered by some of the LL.M programmes in UK*:
*Please note that the above list of scholarships is not exhaustive and is for reference purposes only. The specific details of the scholarships have been obtained from the relevant web-sites and may change from time to time. For further and up-to-date information, please contact the relevant Universities. Further, this list is in no particular order and is NOT an indication on the ranking of the college or the LLM Programme.
UK Government Scholarships & Grants
Some of the popular and sought after government scholarships for study of LLM in UK are:
British Chevening Scholarships
Chevening Scholarships are UK government’s global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The programme gives full or part funding to outstanding scholars for full-time courses at postgraduate level, normally a one-year Master’s degree, in any subject and at any UK university.
A number of higher educational institutions in the UK such as Kings College London, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the University of Edinburgh co-sponsor the Chevening Scholarships.
Notably, from 2 April 2012, the British Council has ceased to be the administrator of the Chevening Scholarships programme. The FCO and the Association Commonwealth Universities (ACU) have set up an email contact point for the management of 2013/14 Chevening application process. Enquiries may be sent to [email protected] – the new email gateway for Chevening enquiries.
Additional information can be found here.
Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CFSP)
The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) is an international programme under which member governments offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other Commonwealth countries. Commonwealth Scholarships for students from developing Commonwealth countries are offered for Masters as well as PhD study in the UK. These scholarships are funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
As a citizen of a developing Commonwealth country (which includes India), you can apply for any of the following:
The designated agencies for applying for these scholarships are:
1) Deputy Educational AdviserMinistry of Human Resource DevelopmentDepartment of Higher Education, New Delhi
2) Director GeneralIndian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR)New Delhi
For more information, visit here.
Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme
Commonwealth Shared Scholarships are a joint initiative between the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission with funding from Department for International Development (DFID) and participating UK universities. This scheme support scholarships for students from developing Commonwealth countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the UK.
Shared Scholarships are offered on an annual basis for Master’s study only. Candidates should normally be under 35 years of age, fluent in English language, and not employed by the government or by an international organization. Several UK Universities participate in the Shared Scholarship Scheme. Complete list of the participating UK Universities can be obtained from the British Council Office, and the British High Commission.
For more information, visit here.
The Rhodes Trust
The Rhodes Scholarships are postgraduate awards supporting outstanding all-round students at the University of Oxford. The Rhodes is the oldest and perhaps the most prestigious international graduate scholarship program in the world. A batch of 83 scholars is selected each year from a number of countries, including India.
A Rhodes Scholarship covers all University and College fees, a personal stipend and one economy class airfare to Oxford at the start of the Scholarship, as well as an economy flight back to the student's home country at the conclusion of the Scholarship.
Academic standing of the candidates must be sufficiently high to ensure admission to the University of Oxford, which itself has very competitive entry requirements. Additionally, the candidates must give the confidence that as Rhodes Scholars they will perform to a high academic standard in Oxford. For detailed information, see here.
The Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund
The Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund (TSCSF) is a registered charity. Under various Masters programmes, it offers postgraduate students from developing countries the opportunity to study in the United Kingdom, with the idea of making a long-term contribution to the development of their countries. Annually, 90 students are given major scholarships (for one year in the UK).Partners in the scheme are the University of Cambridge, Durham University, The University of Edinburgh, University of Leeds, The University of Oxford; and University College London. These universities also contribute to the funding of scholarships.
Scholarship covers tuition, accommodation, maintenance cost and a return airfare for the scholarship holder only. Notably, the applicant must be:
Information on how to apply can be obtained by visiting the above mentioned Partner Universities’ web-sites.
Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation
Inlaks Foundation is registered as a charitable trust and has now been renamed as the Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation. Scholarships are granted to Indian citizens for up to 2 years at top UK institutions (besides US and European Universities), for funding requirements including tuition fees, up to a maximum of $85,000 or equivalent. The scholarship is for pursuing post-graduate programme in certain subjects, including law.
Candidates must have prior admission to the Institution/University and course chosen, and the institution concerned must only be top rank. Applicants must be below 30 years of age on the first of July in the year of application. Preference is given to candidates who have not yet studied abroad.
Remember that preparing for an LL.M is a lengthy process. It starts much before the actual application process to the preferred foreign Universities. Any aspiring LLM student must first focus on obtaining good percentage in the LLB course; work towards publishing scholarly articles on law; participate in relevant extra-curricular activities, including moot court competitions; and if possible gather relevant work experience. If you dream of getting accepted to a top law school in US or UK with full or partial funding, you will have to begin the groundwork very early on in your LLB course.
Note from the Author: While every attempt has been made to accurately capture the various scholarships available for study in UK, the information provided herein is subject to change by the relevant organisation/institution. This piece is by no means exhaustive of all the scholarships available for higher studies in UK.
You can read Part I and Part II by clicking on relevant links.
Richa Kachhwaha is Managing Editor at Live Law and you can follow her on Twitter.