SOAS University of London

School of Law

MA Islamic Law (2020 entry)

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning

Overview

MA in Islamic Law

The SOAS MA in Islamic Law offers a world-leading specialisation in a rapidly developing area of law that has increasing significance in Muslim majority countries as well as in the lives of many Muslims living elsewhere. The MA deals in depth with issues such as those relating to families, financial markets, philanthropy, inter-state and international relations and globalisation. It offers a platform for viewing and understanding different parts of the Muslim world from multifaceted and diverse perspectives. Modules included in the programme investigate the meanings and applications of principles of Islamic law in South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and transnationally. They explore jurisprudence and methodologies, family law, criminal law and financial law, and consider critical areas of intersection with international human rights law. Law and society more generally is a focus for the region-specific modules, interrogating the place and role of law in and its relationship with society, including but not limited to issues of gender, colonialism, constitutional law and plural legal systems.

Why SOAS?

The MA in Islamic law offers wide-ranging insights into the operation of norms and principles of Islamic law particularly in the global South and in its interaction with emerging international norms and regional mechanisms. Those who convene and teach these modules are acknowledged experts in their particular fields and usually also accomplished linguists.  The teaching is thus closely informed and research-led, providing dynamic engagements in class on issues of immediate contemporary interest.  Staff have years of experience advising governments, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, philanthropic foundations, law firms and financial institutions. Some have been or are legal practitioners in their specialised fields. The modules attract students from across SOAS as well as from the School of Law, leading to vibrant, cross-fertilising discussions and exchanges that often add unexpected value to the learning experience.

Why You?

The programme provides required expertise for anyone interested in pursuing a career in Islamic law or in law-related careers focused on Muslim majority countries or contexts. This expertise is much sought after in law, finance and media, international organisations and government.

Many students in the SOAS School of Law take at least one of the modules in this programme because of the way in which the substance of core modules engages with critical areas of law that are increasingly a focus of practitioners and policy makers. The MA in Islamic Law offers a unique insight into the richness of the subject matter that will compel your attention to the complexities of historical and current interpretations, usages and repertoires of this most exciting set of laws, legal systems and legal processes.

Each MA student is required to successfully complete 180 credits, which comprises 120 credits of taught modules and a 60-credit 12,000-word dissertation on a topic related to his or her specialisation. Please see the 'Structure' tab for full information.

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 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.

There are no compulsory modules in the MA Islamic Law

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
Pre-sessional Component
Module Code Credits Term
Preliminary Law, Legal Reasoning and Legal Methods 15PLAC162 0 Term 1

AND

  • Choose modules from List A below to the value of 60 credits

  • Choose modules from List A or B or from Postgraduate Open Options to the value of 30 credits

List of Modules (subject to availability)
List A
Module Code Credits Term
Islamic Law (MA/LLM) 15PLAC121 30 Full Year
Law, Religion, and the State in South Asia 15PLAC129 30 Full Year
Human Rights and Islamic Law 15PLAC150 30 Full Year
Islamic Law in Global Financial Markets 15PLAC159 30 Full Year
Gender, Law and Society in The Middle East and North Africa 15PLAH056 15 Term 2
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 2
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
International Law: Contemporary Problems of World Order 15PFFH009 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

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

Find out more