SOAS University of London

School of Law

LLM Islamic Law (2020 entry)

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment

Overview

Overview and entry requirements

The SOAS LLM in Islamic Law offers a world-leading specialisation in a rapidly developing area of law that has increasing significance in Muslim majority countries as well as in the lives of many Muslims living elsewhere.

The LLM deals in depth with issues such as those relating to families, financial markets, philanthropy, inter-state and international relations and globalisation. It offers a platform for viewing and understanding different parts of the Muslim world from multifaceted and diverse perspectives.

Modules included in the programme investigate the meanings and applications of principles of Islamic law in South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and transnationally. They explore jurisprudence and methodologies, family law, criminal law and financial law, and consider critical areas of intersection with international human rights law.

Law and society more generally is a focus for the region-specific modules, interrogating the place and role of law in and its relationship with society, including but not limited to issues of gender, colonialism, constitutional law and plural legal systems.

See School of Law

Why study LLM Islamic Law at SOAS

We are UK Top 20 and World Top 200 for Law (QS World University Rankings 2021).

The LLM in Islamic law offers wide-ranging insights into the operation of norms and principles of Islamic law particularly in the global South and in its interaction with emerging international norms and regional mechanisms. Those who convene and teach these modules are acknowledged experts in their particular fields and usually also accomplished linguists. 

The teaching is thus closely informed and research-led, providing dynamic engagements in class on issues of immediate contemporary interest. Staff have years of experience advising governments, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, philanthropic foundations, law firms and financial institutions.

Some have been or are legal practitioners in their specialised fields. The modules attract students from across SOAS as well as from the School of Law, leading to vibrant, cross-fertilising discussions and exchanges that often add unexpected value to the learning experience.

Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law

Islamic law occupies an important place in the SOAS School of Law, which is home to the Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law. The Centre provides a focal point for research activities and regular events, and an opportunity for postgraduate students to become involved and engage with the SOAS research community and actors in the field. In an increasingly small and interdependent world, CIMEL operates as a scholarly legal bridge for research and practice at the crossroad of Islam, the Middle East and the West. 

Why you

The programme provides required expertise for anyone interested in pursuing a career in Islamic law or in law-related careers focused on Muslim majority countries or contexts. This expertise is much sought after in law, finance and media, international organisations and government.

Many students in the SOAS School of Law take at least one of the modules in this programme because of the way in which the substance of core modules engages with critical areas of law that are increasingly a focus of practitioners and policy makers.

The LLM in Islamic Law offers a unique insight into the richness of the subject matter that will compel your attention to the complexities of historical and current interpretations, usages and repertoires of this most exciting set of laws, legal systems and legal processes.

Each LLM student is required to successfully complete 180 credits, which comprises 120 credits of taught modules and a 60-credit 12,000-word dissertation on a topic related to his or her specialisation. Please see the 'Structure' tab for full information.

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Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

Entry requirements

  • We will consider all applications with 2:2 (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.

Featured events

duration:
One calendar year (full-time)
Two, three or four years (part-time, daytime only)
We recommend that part-time students have between two-and-a-half and three days a week free to pursue their course of study.

Convenors

Structure

Structure

Students must take modules to a total value of 180, consisting of a dissertation (60 credits) and 120 credits of taught modules. Taught modules are worth either 15 or 30 credits.

Students who wish to graduate with a specialised LLM are required to take at least 60 credits associated with his or her specialised LLM, a further 30 credits within the School of Law (General Law Postgraduate Taught Module List), and a final 30 unit which can either be taken within the School of Law or from the Language Open Options or Non-Language Open Options pages with the LLM Programme Convenor’s permission. The dissertation topic will be undertaken within the LLM specialisation.

There are no compulsory modules in the LLM Islamic Law.

Please note: Not all modules listed will be available every year. Please see the individual module page for information.

Dissertation

Dissertation (12,000 words), on a topic related to the specialism of the degree

Module Code Credits Term
LLM Dissertation in Law 15PLAD178 60 Full Year
Taught Component
Guided Option

Choose modules from the List A below to the value of 60 credits

AND

Choose a module(s) from the List A or General Law PGT Options below to the value of 30 credits

AND

Choose a module(s) from the List of General Law PGT Options below or from Postgraduate Open Options to the value of 30 credits

List of Modules (subject to availability)
List A
Module Code Credits Term
Islamic Law (MA/LLM) 15PLAC121 30 Full Year
Human Rights and Islamic Law 15PLAC150 30 Full Year
Islamic Law in Global Financial Markets 15PLAC159 30 Full Year
Gender, Law and Society in The Middle East and North Africa 15PLAH056 15 Term 2
General Law Options
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Gender, Law and Society in The Middle East and North Africa 15PLAH056 15 Term 2
Alternative Dispute Resolution 15PLAC104
Gender, Sexuality and Law: Selected Topics 15PLAH061 15 Term 2
Gender, Sexuality and Law: Theories and Methodologies 15PLAH062 15 Term 1
Human Rights and Islamic Law 15PLAC150 30 Full Year
International Commercial Arbitration 15PLAC153 30 Full Year
International Human Rights Clinic 15PLAC145 30 Full Year
International Investment Law 15PLAH063 15 Term 1
Islamic Law (MA/LLM) 15PLAC121 30 Full Year
Law and Development in Africa 15PLAC160 30 Full Year
Law and Society in Southeast Asia 15PLAH049 15 Term 2
Law and Society in The Middle East and North Africa 15PLAC130 30 Full Year
Law, Rights & Social Change 15PLAH064 15 Term 1
Preliminary Law, Legal Reasoning and Legal Methods 15PLAC162 0 Term 1
International Migration Law 15PLAH068 15 Term 2
International Refugee Law 15PLAH069 15 Term 1
Law and Society in South Asia 15PLAC129 30 Full Year
Mapping International Law in London - International Legal Geography in the Capital of Empire 15PLAH072 15
Law, Environment and Social Justice 15PLAH067 15 Term 1
Law and Justice in Contemporary China 15PLAH071 15
Climate Change Law and Policy 15PLAC154 15 Term 2
Colonialism, Empire and International Law 15PLAH025 15 Term 2
Comparative Constitutional Law 15PLAH046 15 Term 2
Foundations of International Law 15PLAH021 15 Term 1
Human Rights of Women 15PLAC112 30 Full Year
International Criminal Law 15PLAH055 15 Term 1
International Protection of Human Rights 15PLAC119 - not running in 2021/22 15
Justice, Reconciliation and Reconstruction in Post Conflict Societies 15PLAC123 30 Full Year
Law and Natural Resources 15PLAC126 30 Full Year
Law and Policy of International Courts and Tribunal 15PLAH026
Law and Postcolonial Theory 15PLAH050 15 Term 2
Islamic Law in Global Financial Markets 15PLAC159 30 Full Year
Israel, Palestine, and International Law (30Cr) 15PLAC133 30 Full Year
Multinational Enterprises and the Law 15PLAC140
The Law of Armed Conflict 15PLAH022 15 Term 2
World Trade Organisation Law 15PLAH038 - Not running in 2021/22
Water Justice: Rights, Access and Movements (Law) 15PLAH044 15 Term 1
Intellectual Property Law (PG) 15PLAC182 30 Full Year
Human Rights of Women 15PLAH065 15 Term 1
Law and Global Commons 15PLAH070 15 Term 2
International Environmental Law I: Principles, Institutions & Enforcement 15PLAH073 15 Term 1
International Environmental Law II: Biodiversity, Wildlife & Habitats 15PLAH074 15 Term 2
Water and Development: Commodification, Ecology and Globalisation (Law) 15PLAH076 15 Term 2
Multinational Enterprises and the Law I 15PLAH077 15 Term 1
Multinational Enterprises and the Law II 15PLAH078 15 Term 2
Business and Human Rights in the Global Economy 15PLAH079 15 Term 1
Comparative Company Law 15PLAH080 15 Term 2
Israel, Palestine, and International Law (15Cr) 15PLAH081 15 Term 2
Palestine, Resistance, and the Law 15PLAH082 15 Term 2
Alternative Dispute Resolution I 15PLAH083 15 Term 1
Alternative Dispute Resolution II 15PLAH084 15 Term 2
International laws on the use of force 15PLAH020 15 Term 1
Gender and the Law of War 15PGNH005 15 Term 1
Open Options Note

Open options will need approval of deputy PG programme convenor (LLM or MA)

 

Programme Specification

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

All Masters programmes consist of 180 credits, made up of taught modules of 30 or 15 credits, taught over 10 or 20 weeks, and a dissertation of 60 credits. The programme structure shows which modules are compulsory and which optional.

Contact hours

As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study, including reading and research, preparing coursework, revising for examinations and so on. It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others. At SOAS, most postgraduate modules have a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week, but this does vary.

More information is on the page for each module.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Students will acquire specialist knowledge of Islamic law.
  • This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, knowledge and understanding of the following:
    1. the theoretical and practical underpinnings of Islamic law;
    2. the context in which law is made, interpreted, adjudicated, and amended;
    3. the role played by law, particularly Islamic law in different areas;
    4. the role and function of legal institutions in managing Islamic law
    5. the weight and significance of different sources and methodologies.
  • Students will develop knowledge of how to locate relevant materials and assess their relevance and/or importance.

Intellectual (thinking) skills

  • Students should develop rigor in analysis and assessment of legal arguments.
  • Students should develop the ability to understand, summarise and critically assess differing perspectives on theoretical debates.
  • Students should develop independence of thought and the confidence to challenge the accepted wisdom.
  • Students should learn to identify issues and formulate questions for further research through independent work.
  • Students will be encouraged to bring to bear their own previous experience and knowledge in addressing legal issues in an interdisciplinary manner.

Subject-based practical skills

The programme will help students develop the ability to:

  • Write clear research essays and dissertations.
  • Research in a variety of specialised research libraries and institutes and online, and retrieve, sift and select information from a variety of sources.
  • Present seminar papers and defend the arguments therein.
  • Discuss ideas introduced during seminars.
  • Develop essay and dissertation research questions.
  • Read legal source materials rapidly and critically.
  • Present legal arguments in moots and debates.

Transferable skills

The programme will enable students to:

  • Communicate effectively in writing.
  • Structure and communicate ideas and arguments effectively both orally and in writing.
  • Read and comprehend significant quantities of reading rapidly and effectively and develop critical faculties.
  • Find and use a variety of written and digital materials, especially legal materials, in libraries and research institutes.
  • Present (non – assessed) material orally.
  • Develop teamwork skills.

SOAS Library

SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.

Employment

Employment 

SOAS Law graduates leave SOAS as civic minded and critically engaged individuals who can effectively contribute to their communities and societies. With a thorough understanding of the legal dimensions underlying many of our global challenges today, our Law students are valued by employers due to their analytical skills, specialist knowledge, and global perspective.

SOAS Law graduates have found the LLM a vital boost to their work as legal professionals and that this Law Masters is an excellent base for further study towards a research degree such as a PhD leading to an academic career. 

Careers

Recent School of Law SOAS graduates have been hired by:

  • PwC LLP
  • BLM Law
  • BloombergNEF
  • British Medical Association
  • Clifford Chance
  • DAC Beachcroft LLP
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • EY
  • HM Treasury
  • Latham & Watkins
  • Legal Cheek
  • Simpson Millar Solicitors
  • The Economist
  • Travers Smith
  • Vodafone
  • World Cancer Research Fund

Visit SOAS Careers Service

A Student's Perspective

One of my fondest memories of SOAS is the International Students Welcome ceremony where I met a few of my friends. Freshers’ Week overall was pretty fun and my classes are incredibly involving and interesting.

Alexis Berko, Wesleyan University

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