SOAS University of London

School of Law

MA Legal Studies (General Programme) (2020 entry)

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning

Overview

Our MA in Legal Studies programme gives students the opportunity to study at our vibrant School of Law with its unique focus on the legal systems and legal challenges of the Global South generally and Asia, Africa and the Middle East in particular. The programme 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. In addition, students may be able undertake modules outside of the School of Law, opening up SOAS’ array of world-leading options in languages, cultures, arts, humanities, politics, economics and finance, and beyond. Students complete the MA in Legal Studies by undertaking a dissertation, developing an extended research project on a topic of their own choice.

The MA may be taken full-time over a period of one year, or part-time over a period of two, three or four years.

Why SOAS?

Our MA in law teaching reflects our research strengths in the laws of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and in Islamic, international, human rights, commercial and trade, comparative, and environmental law. Much of our teaching concerns the critical study of law and the ways that law can be used to marginalise or to empower individuals and communities. In today’s globalised environment, our teaching also explores the study of the society in which the law operates, and the relationship of law to other structuring forces such as gender, sexuality, race, and economic status. All teachers on modules offered at SOAS are experts in their designated field, and many have years of experience advising governments, international and non-governmental organisations, or in professional practise. Undertaking the MA in law at SOAS brings you into the heart of a world-leading, one-of-a-kind law school to study the world’s most pressing legal issues.

Why you?

The MA in Legal Studies programme is ideal for those who wish to study law at a post-graduate level but do not already possess an undergraduate law degree. It is designed for those who wish to enhance their knowledge of law-related subjects to benefit their careers(e.g., journalists, NGO/INGO workers), and to expand their knowledge of, and critical engagement with, law, particularly as it relates to the Global South. You will join an international alumni of LLM/ MA in law graduates at SOAS, many of whom are now working at the UN, in NGOs, in government, in private practice, in policy work or in academia. Since the MA in Legal Studies may be taken full-time or part-time, many students have been able to successfully combine their studies at SOAS with their existing careers.

Please note that 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.

If you would like to study within a specialism instead of a general study in the MA in Legal Studies, please make sure to check the specialism pages for the MA programmes in environmental law and sustainable development; human rights law; international law; and Islamic law.

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:ii (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 or three years (part-time, daytime only)

Convenors

Structure

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.

Dissertation

Students must complete a Dissertation (12,000 words) in Law, which should be on a topic relating to their chosen MA specialism.

Module Code Credits Term
MA Dissertation in Law 15PLAC999 60 Full Year
Pre-sessional Component
Module Code Credits Term
Preliminary Law, Legal Reasoning and Legal Methods 15PLAC162 0 Term 1
Taught Component

Students take the following compulsory modules

AND

  • Choose modules from the List A below to the value of 45 credits

  • Choose a modules from the List A or B OR Postgraduate Open Options to the value of 60 credits

List of Modules (subject to availability)
General Law Options
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Gender, Law and Society in The Middle East and North Africa 15PLAH056 15 Term 2
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 Investment Law 15PLAH063 15 Term 1
Law and Development in Africa 15PLAC160 30 Full Year
Law and Society in Southeast Asia 15PLAH049 15 Term 2
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, Religion, and the State in South Asia 15PLAC129 30 Full Year
Law, Environment and Social Justice 15PLAH067 15 Term 1
Colonialism, Empire and International Law 15PLAH025 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
Law and Natural Resources 15PLAC126 30 Full Year
Law and Postcolonial Theory 15PLAH050 15 Term 2
The Law of Armed Conflict 15PLAH022 15 Term 2
Water Justice: Rights, Access and Movements (Law) 15PLAH044 15 Term 1
Law and Global Commons 15PLAH070 15 Term 2
International Environmental Law: Principles, Institutions & Enforcement 15PLAH073 15 Term 1
Biodiversity, Nature and Wildlife Law and Policy 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 2
Gender and the Law of War 15PGNH005 15 Term 1
The Prohibition of Torture in International Law 15PLAH075 15 Term 2
Climate Change Law and Policy 15PLAH085 15 Term 2
International Protection of Human Rights (15Cr) 15PLAH086 15 Term 1
International Law: Contemporary Problems of World Order 15PFFH009 15 Term 2
Gender and the Law of Peace 15PGNH013 15 Term 2
Islamic Family Law 15PLAH087 15 Term 2
Islamic Legal Theory 15PLAH088 15 Term 1
Transnational Law, Finance and Technology 15PLAH089 15 Term 2
Colonial Geographies of International Law 15PLAH090 15 Term 2
Law and Society in The Middle East and North Africa 15PLAH091 15 Term 1
Research Methods in Law 15PLAC181 30 Full Year
Justice, Reconciliation and Reconstruction in Post-Conflict Societies 15PLAH040 15 Term 1
Artificial Intelligence: Power, law and resistance 15PMSH042 15 Term 2
Open Options Note

Open options from cross-Faculty list will need approval of deputy PG programme convenor (LLM or MA)

 

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

Contact Hours

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.

Transferable Skills

  • 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.

 Assessment

  • Through unseen examinations. Long essays,course work and dissertations may also be used/ required.

Find out more