The MA in Legal Studies allows students to create their own programme structure, choosing modules from a range covering comparative regional law, trade law, law and development, commercial law (including copyright and patent law), human rights, environmental law, Islamic law, dispute resolution, and international law. All SOAS modules are designed not only to introduce students to the general fields of law, but also to provide an understanding of how generic legal structures and processes may operate in non-Western social and cultural settings. All teachers on modules offered at SOAS are experts in their designated field. Many have years of experience advising governments, international organisations or non-governmental organisation, and many also have been or continue to be legal practitioners.
Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings
Start of programme: September intake only
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- Upper second class honours preferably in a related discipline
- One calendar year (full-time);
Two or three years (part-time, daytime only)
To facilitate their study of law, all MA students are required to attend a two-week Preliminary Law, Legal Reasoning and Legal Methods in the September before they begin their MA.
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 must take a mimimum of 60 credits from the School of Law General Postgraduate Taught Modules List.
A further 60 credits can be taken from the same list, or from the SOAS Open Option Module List.
Finally, all students must complete the MA Dissertation in Law, a 12,000 word submission based on a Law topic of interest to the student.
Please note: Not all modules will be available every year. Please see the individual module page for information.
Students must complete a Dissertation (12,000 words) in Law, which should be on a topic relating to their chosen MA specialism.
Students take the following compulsory modules
List of Modules (subject to availability)
General Law Options
Open Options Note
Open options from cross-Faculty list will need approval of deputy PG programme convenor (LLM or MA)
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 & 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.
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 & Understanding
- Through attendance in all classes, independent and group study, and class preparation.
- In some subjects through non-assessed as well as assessed coursework.
- Through in course lectures/ seminars and through coursework.
- Through a compulsory but non-assessed presessional course on law and legal method.
Intellectual (thinking) Skills
- Through courses which introduce information and ideas that need to be assessed critically and analysed in context. Students are encouraged not
- simply to summarise evidence and arguments but also develop their own assessments as to the relative value of different strategies/ arguments/evidence.
- Through independent dissertation and course work which entail selecting,designing and refining topics [with advice and assistance from tutors] and elaborating precise research questions/hypotheses.
- Through the structure and content of courses of an interdisciplinary nature.
Subject-based Practical Skills
- Through the writing of long essays and dissertations.
- Through regular seminar presentations.
- Through seminar discussion.
- Through independent work for essays/ dissertations.
- Through independent work, departmental dissertation guidance notes and meetings, and meetings with supervisor.
- Through required regular readings for weekly seminar discussions.
- Through the holding of moots and debates in the law and legal method seminars and in some of the taught courses.
- Through preparation for seminars, writing of long essays and other coursework, dissertation and examinations.
- Through individual and /or joint seminar presentations and class participation.
- Through preparation for seminars, through discussion in seminars, through correction of course work by tutors and through preparation of answers to exam questions.
- Through the formation of study groups.
- Through unseen examinations. Long essays,course work and dissertations may also be used/ required.