SOAS University of London

School of Law

Taught MA programmes in Law

Taught MA programmes in Law

Our MA in law programmes are designed for students without a background in legal studies but who want to combine their previous studies in related disciplines with an understanding of the role of law in society, politics, or the economy, with special focus on the Global South. This MA opens up career opportunities in local NGOs, international organisations, and a host of other private and public bodies. In an increasingly competitive market, the SOAS MA in Law will give you a comparative advantage. 

The MA in law programmes may be completed either through one year of full-time study or, through two or three years of part-time study. To facilitate their study of law, all MA students are required to attend a two-week Law and Legal Methods Pre-sessional Module in the September before they begin their MA.

SOAS offers five different MA programmes in law. Four of the programmes are specialised, focusing on clusters of expertise within the Law School. The fifth programme, the MA in Legal Studies, is a general programme designed for students who want to study a variety of different subjects that do not fall within a particular specialisation. MA students take the same modules as LLM students, although a small number of Law modules are only open to students enrolled in the LLM.


All five MA programmes have a common structure. In addition to a pre-sessional module, each MA student is required to successfully complete four (4.0) units of coursework and a 12,000 word dissertation on a topic related to his or her specialisation. Year-long modules are worth one (1.0) unit, while single-term modules are worth 0.5 units. A student will thus complete between four and eight taught modules during his or her MA programme.

Within the four taught modules, each student is required to take at least two (2.0) units associated with his or her specialised MA, a third unit within the School of Law, and a fourth unit which can be taken outside of the School of Law with the MA tutor’s permission. The dissertation will be worth an additional 2.0 units and will be undertaken on a topic within the student's desired area of specialisation in the School of Law.

Why an MA in law at SOAS?

Are you wondering about the role of law in society? Does it restrain the powerful, does it really help the weak? What are the effects of legal arrangements on the distribution of resources? on racial profiling? on the construction of gender identities? on war and peace? on our understanding of ourselves? How does law shape our lives, interests, and perceptions of reality? How does law facilitate or obstruct our goals? Our MA in Legal Studies might be the answer.  

Are you inspired by the extinction rebellion and concerned about climate change? Our MA in Environmental Law and Sustainable Development might be the answer.

Are you inspired by recent revolts against autocratic regimes in Sudan and Algeria? Are you concerned about human rights violations in Burma? Are you concerned about stop and search police powers in the London Tube? Our MA in Human Rights Law might be the answer.

Are you concerned about Britain's rejection of the International Court of Justice ruling on the Chagos Islands, and Britain's arms sales to Saudi Arabia's war on Yemen? Are you wondering whether law can restrain powerful states like the United States under President Trump? Our MA in International Law might be the answer.

Are you interested in the interaction between law and religion? Are you wondering about the meaning of Islamic legal precepts and their effect on human rights? Our MA in Islamic Law might be the answer.     

Please make sure to visit the web pages for these specialisms and the course offerings so you can choose the programme that suits your needs best.