The MA in Islamic Law allows students to study Islamic law and its application in a broad range of legal areas, including Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic family law, and human rights, and in different jurisdictions, as well as law in its relationship to society in the Middle East and North Africa. 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 in their specialised fields.
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 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.
Students must complete a Dissertation (12,000 words) in Law, which should be on a topic relating to their chosen MA specialism.
Choose modules from the List A below to the value of 60 credits
Choose a module(s) from the List A or General Law Options below to the value of 30 credits
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)
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
- Students will acquire specialist knowledge of Islamic law.
- This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, knowledge and understanding of the following:
- the theoretical and practical underpinnings of Islamic law;
- the context in which law is made, interpreted, adjudicated, and amended;
- the role played by law, particularly Islamic law in different areas;
- the role and function of legal institutions in managing Islamic law
- 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.
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.