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School of Law

Dissertation in Law

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Full Year

The purpose of the Dissertation is to enable students to demonstrate their capacity to carry out a substantial piece of independent academic research on a selected topic. Students will be assessed on their capacity to define a topic for examination, to articulate a coherent scheme for examining this topic, to gather the necessary information, and to analyse and present this information in a way which satisfactorily assesses the topic which they have set themselves.

The course is compulsory for students on all MA in Law Degrees. Regulations relating to choice of topic, the role of the supervisor and presentation are set out in the MA Programme Handbook. 


  • 'There must be a member of SOAS staff competent and willing to supervise the topic, and available at the times when supervisions are required.'
  • 'Students cannot expect supervisors to be necessarily available over the summer.'

All LLM students are expected to audit this course in order to assist them in preparing the dissertation element of their degree. Regulations relating to the LLM Dissertation are set out in the LLM Student Guide.


Students are required to attend three research and writing skills sessions over the academic year.

Method of assessment

This course is assessed by submission of a 10,000 word dissertation submitted by September 15. 

Note: different regulations apply to dissertations for LLM students.