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LLM vs PhD

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hejonas
Joined: 07 Oct 2009
Posts: 104
LLM vs PhD
Thu Apr 01, 2010 06:13 PM
Hi
I am currently studying for my master's degree in Switzerland. After that I'd like to pursue either a career in the foreign office or in academia, would you recommend rather a LLM or a PhD? with my degree I would be eligible for both. …and then there's also the possibility of the cam Diploma in Intl Law

Both of them I'd love to do in the UK… it's public international law that I am most interested in.

thanks and happy easter! J

[Edited by hejonas on 01 Apr 2010]

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dam
Joined: 01 Feb 2006
Posts: 121
LLM vs PhD
Tue Apr 06, 2010 02:10 PM
Hejonas,
I did both of them. They are quite different pursuits. The LLM involves one intense year (actually, slightly less than a full year) of studying but also of close contacts with other students, human interactions that are a sizeable part of what the LLM gives you (and - absent scolarships - gets paid for) in the end.
A phD, although usually involving deep (especially from an intellectual standpoint) exchanges with other people, and although being the occasion for starting strong friendships, is mostly a solitary endeavour (especially when the first half-study-half-refining-your-dissertation-proposal year ends and most efforts are to be concentrated towards writing down your dissertation).
This requires a lot of discipline, focus and, if you already have a job, a sizeable amount of sacrifice. And it lasts years (at least three, or more).
By and large, LLMs are for people who like to study. PhDs are for people that love books above (almost) anything else.
Be sure you do love your subject before entering a PhD program, otherwise there's a fair chance that it converts into suffering and, in the worst cases, withdrawal.
If you want to access fast to your preferred career, a prestigious LLM is quite fine, at least most of the times.

That said, they are both wonderful experiences and a lot can be gained from either one.

Hope I've been somewhat helpful.
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hejonas
Joined: 07 Oct 2009
Posts: 104
LLM vs PhD
Tue Apr 06, 2010 02:30 PM
thanks very much, dam, that was indeed very helpful. I'm drawn to both possibilities alternately and I have still a few months to decide.. may I ask where you did your LLM and doctorate? Please pm if preferred. Do you think to pursue a phd at a UK uni while working around 60% in another country is doable? Did you manage to work? At swiss universities, most phd students work as research assistents at uni, ie more or less 50%.
I am also 'already' 24, which leads me more to starting a doctorate after graduation.. However, I've heard so many good things about some LLM programmes that I may end up in the same situation as you obviously did. Would you do it again, ie both LLM and PhD? I understand that eg at Cambridge, doctoral students also take LLM courses...
thanks again!
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Holygrail
Joined: 28 Apr 2010
Posts: 1
LLM vs PhD
Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:22 PM
Hi hejonas,
I'm starting my LLM studies in Sept here in Ireland. I'm going for the part-time (2yr) option; i work full time so its not going to be easy, sometimes we just have to step out of the comfort zone to reach our dreams.
Wish i was your age, i'd go for the LLM first, see how it goes, then consider Phd, the years fly by, make the most of your time; academic year is short, fun time is more enjoyable when you feel you deserve it.

[Edited by Holygrail on 28 Apr 2010]

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P_Martini
Joined: 28 Sep 2006
Posts: 272
LLM vs PhD
Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:19 PM
Could anyone tell me what the general admissions requirements are for Ph.D. programs (e.g., with respect to performance on the LL.M.)?
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hejonas
Joined: 07 Oct 2009
Posts: 104
LLM vs PhD
Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:46 PM
thanks for your responses.

I understand the general requirements are a Master's degree in law, the suitability of proposed research to the institution and the availability of a suitable supervisor.

I probably opt for a specific one-year research degree during which I would be able to attend LLM courses as well, and then return to Switzerland to complete a PhD here, as I was lucky to be offered a PhD position in my current university just today :) …that should take me not much more than 3 years hopefully and would be the ideal situation

decided against a three-year phd programme in the uk for I would miss my girlfriend just way too much–she is currently doing a semester in Paris which is already bad enough

[Edited by hejonas on 28 Apr 2010]

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