SOAS University of London

School of Law

MA International Law (2021 entry)

Select year of entry: 2022 2021

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment

Overview

Overview and entry requirements

The SOAS MA in International Law provides a diverse and unique range of courses that interrogate critically the theory and practice of international law and explore cutting edge topics of contemporary significance particularly as they relate to the global south: refugee law and the migrant crisis; climate change and natural resources; the rights of women; gender and armed conflict; international criminal law; the law of armed conflict; multinational enterprises and human rights; sustainable development; and conflict resolution, peace-building and transitional justice. 

At SOAS you will not only gain fresh insights into the fundamentals of international law; you will have the opportunity to engage with issues that reflect the research specialisms of our expert teaching staff.

Professor Gina Heathcote is the Programme Convenor in Term 1.

Dr Catriona Drew is the Programme Convenor from Term 2. 

See School of Law

Why study MA in International Law at SOAS

  • we are UK Top 20 and World Top 200 for Law (QS World University Rankings 2021)
  • The MA in international law adopts an innovative, interdisciplinary, and critical approach to teaching and learning that draws on the wider international community of academics, legal practitioners and NGOs both in London and internationally. The various courses deploy a range of innovative teaching and learning methods including:  student-led research conferences, student blogs; meet-the-author book review sessions; film reviews; re-enactments of historic international legal events; international law mooting or pleading; and simulated peace negotiations
  • in addition to your chosen courses, as an international law masters student you will join the International Law Master Class. This is a non-assessed course designed to build a research community and nourish your legal research and writing skills, your powers of critical thinking, and your international legal imagination
  • the Master class meets fortnightly and, in any year, may comprise: a walking tour of the international legal geography of London; an archival tour of the international legal history of London; a classroom tour of critical approaches to international law; a practitioner’s tour of contemporary cases in international law; dissertation speed dating; dissertation boot camp; writing retreats; and, uniquely, the opportunity to shape your own learning by selecting topics and speakers at the cutting-edge of international legal scholarship as part of the Afternoon Teas series of the Centre for the study of Colonialism Empire and International Law

Centre for the study of Colonialism, Empire and International Law

International Law occupies a central place in the SOAS School of Law and the SOAS School of Law occupies a central place in the wider international law community in London and internationally. The School of Law is home to the Centre for the study of Colonialism, Empire and International Law (CCEIL) ­– a hub for inter-disciplinary collaboration and research on international law and its historical and contemporary relationship to colonialism and empire.

The Centre (together with the LSE) is also the institutional home of the London review of international law. As a post-graduate student on the international law masters programme you will become a member of the Centre and join a vibrant research community of international legal scholars and a diverse community of students from all over the world.

Together with our Doctoral students, you will play a role in CCEIL’s research and other activities: hosting the Student Salon; assisting with CCEIL’s events; and organising Afternoon Teas as part of the International Law Master Class. You will also benefit from the various collaborations with other research communities in the Law School, at SOAS and beyond.   

Why you

This programme is ideal for graduates or professionals with no law background but an interest in the theory and practice of international law, particularly as it relates to the global south. You will join an international alumni of graduates from the MA at SOAS many of whom are now working at the UN, in NGOs, in government, in policy work or in academia.

Please note that the MA is tailored to applicants who do not hold a LLB. If you do hold a LLB and are interested in pursuing a masters degree in international law at SOAS see details of the LLM here.

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 the study of law, all MA students are required to attend a two-week Preliminary Law, Legal Reasoning and Legal Methods in the September before beginning the MA programme.

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 MA are required to take at least 60 credits associated with his or her specialised MA, 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 MA Programme Convenor’s permission. The dissertation topic will be undertaken within the MA specialisation.

Please note: Not all modules listed 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
Taught Component
Module Code Credits Term
Preliminary Law, Legal Reasoning and Legal Methods 15PLAC162 0 Term 1
AND

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 Options below to the value of 30 credits

AND

Choose a module(s) from the List of General Law 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
International laws on the use of force 15PLAH020 15 Term 1
Foundations of International Law 15PLAH021 15 Term 1
The Law of Armed Conflict 15PLAH022 15 Term 2
Colonialism, Empire and International Law 15PLAH025 15 Term 2
Law and Policy of International Courts and Tribunal 15PLAH026
International Criminal Law 15PLAH055 15 Term 1
Law and Global Commons 15PLAH070 15 Term 2
Mapping International Law in London - International Legal Geography in the Capital of Empire 15PLAH072 15
Business and Human Rights in the Global Economy 15PLAH079 15 Term 1
Israel, Palestine, and International Law (15Cr) 15PLAH081 15 Term 2
Palestine, Resistance, and the Law 15PLAH082- Not running in 2021/22 15
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

  • Students will acquire specialist knowledge of international law.
  • This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, knowledge and understanding of the following:
    1. the theoretical and practical underpinnings of international law;
    2. the context in which law is made, interpreted, adjudicated, and amended;
    3. the role played by law, particularly international law in different areas;
    4. the role and function of legal institutions in managing international 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:

  • Communicate effectively in writing.
  • Research in a variety of specialized 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:

  • Write clear research essays and dissertations.
  • 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 MA International Law 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. 

Recent School of Law 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

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