Need opinions about a law degree, preferably from a UK perspective
Thread poster: Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:21
English to Polish
+ ...
Apr 9, 2014

Hi, Translators. There's that five-year master's degree in law that all lawyers in Poland have, which is also similar to the default degrees sported by our neighbours. I've generally rendered it informally as an M.A., as in M.A. in Law, but an M.A. on a lawyer looks like, I don't know, an M.A. on a GP?

I've seen people try and render it with LL.M. postnominals, but inside Poland it's generally understood to be in appropriate unless the lawyer actually has a degree that spells LL.M. on it, usually a 1-2-year master's-after-master's kind of degree. Not the basic one.

It is an integrated master's degree that takes 5 years, completes both tier 1 and tier 2 of university education (where tier 3 is doctoral), and requires no preceding bachelor's degree. Basically like the Italian laurea magistrale in giurisprudenza a ciclo unico or the German magister iuris.

The UK does have an MJur degree, but that's more like the LL.M., a very clear postgrad and not unique course.

Bottom line, five years of law straight out of grammar school, higher than a bachelor's but lower than a doctorate.

Sample description from my university's website (and they consider it to correspond to an M.A., it seems):

The syllabus (identical for both types of study) encompasses 10 terms. A term lasts 15 weeks and followed by an examination period. The curriculum accepted by the Law and Administration Faculty Committee resolution of 27/09/99 is modified and conforms to the demands of ECTS. A student is required to gain a minimum of 300 ECTS points over the period of 5 years; this makes 60 points a year.

The student can, over the course of subsequent years of study, gain a number of points greater than 60, but may not, however, cross a limit of 7 points. An exception is the first year of study, where the upper limit is 65. Extra points gained by the student in individual years over the required 60 points are carried over to the next year. Points gained over the stated limits are not carried over.,Info.html

Italian version:

[Edited at 2014-04-09 21:18 GMT]


Piyush Ojha  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:21
English to Hindi
+ ...
Undergraduate and postgraduate law degrees at Queen's University, Belfast Apr 9, 2014

I am not sure what information you are looking for but you may want to check the following links:

You'll see that QUB offers a 3-year LLB programme, some 3- or 4-year undergraduate programmes in law in combination with other subjects, and a number of 1-year full-time/ 2-year part-time LLM courses in specialised areas of law. I expect this is typical of UK universities.


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:21
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Difficult question, and I can't suggest an aswer. Apr 11, 2014

I had a similar problem on a CV - I do not remember the exact degree programme, but to my mind it was a hard-core technical-engineering type MSc.

To be helpful, as it was a rushed job, the holder of the degree had pencilled in some of the English translations of things like that, in fact correctly. When I baulked at this one and double checked, I found to my surprise that the University of Aarhus really does call it an MA in the English description.

The Danish is Cand. scient. (Candidatus scientarium) - which by default I would translate as MSc if the university has not already done so.
I would expect an MA to correspond to a five-year Cand. mag. (Candidatus magisterii).

In these days of having to comply with what people can find in the Internet, we do seem to have to live with it.

If you can't fudge around and call it a Master's degree in Law...

Otherwise it does highlight the fact that it is not a degree from a British university, which might be more important in Law than in Engineering.


Michael Barnett
Local time: 17:21
+ ...
Welcome to the wonderful world of international honorifics. Apr 14, 2014

Hi Lukasz,

I am no expert, but if the translation is for a British reader, and this 5 year Polish M.A. in Law is the basic law degree in Poland, then it would correspond functionally to the British LL.B.

In Canada, the LL.B. can be taken only after completion of a B.A., so we are looking at a minimum of seven years of scholarship.

Interestingly, in the United States, the basic law degree offered by many schools is the J.D. A Bachelor's degree is a prerequisite. Specialists may go on to earn an LL.M. which logically looks like they are going backward.

In medicine, the tradition is even more confused. In North America, medical schools offer the M.D. as the basic degree. This corresponds to the British M.B., Ch.B. Two Canadian schools offer the M.D., C.M as the basic degree (McGill and Queen's).

Even more interesting, British surgeons are referred to as Mr. even though they have as much or more training as their medical counterparts, who are called Dr. The tradition derives from the origin of surgeons as barbers.

Finally, in the USA, lawyers are often addressed with the honorific post-nominal Esq, but it is never used on stationery from the lawyer.


[Edited at 2014-04-14 00:36 GMT]


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