SOAS University of London

School of Law

MA Legal Studies (General Programme) (2021 entry)

Select year of entry: 2022 2021

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment

Overview

Overview and entry requirements

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.

See School of Law

Why study MA Legal Studies (General Programme) at SOAS

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

Explore 

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

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

Choose modules from the List of General Law Options below to the value of 60 credits

AND

Choose a modules from the List of General Law Options below or from Postgraduate Open Options to the value of 60 credits

List of Modules (subject to availability)
General Law Options
Module Code Credits Term Availability
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
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
International Protection of Human Rights 15PLAC119 - not running in 2021/22 15
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
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
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- Not running in 2021/22 15
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
Open Options Note

Open options from cross-Faculty list 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

  • 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.

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 MA Legal Studies 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 organisations including:

  • 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

Roles

SOAS Law degree graduates gain positions including:

  • Trainee Solicitor
  • Barrister
  • Finance Manager
  • Legal Researcher
  • Paralegal
  • Financial Analyst
  • Procurement Manager
  • Tax Consultant
  • Business Developer
  • Recruitment Consultant

A Student's Perspective

After my introduction to the complexities of international environmental law at SOAS, I was inspired to not just learn about the law but be an active part in changing it. The impassioned and diverse perspectives from professors and classmates at SOAS have colored my continued focus on making connections between the laws of the world

Natalie Danielle McCauley

Find out more