School of Law, Centre for Human Rights Law & Centre on Conflict, Rights and Justice

LLM Human Rights, Conflict and Justice

Key information

Duration
One calendar year (full-time), two, three or four years (part-time, daytime only). We recommend that part-time students have between two-and-a-half and three days a week free to pursue their course of study.
Start of programme
September intake only
Attendance mode
Full-time or part-time
Location
Russell Square: College Buildings
Fees

Home student fees: £14,550 per year
Overseas student fees: £24,750 per year

Please note that fees go up each year. 
See postgraduate fees for further details.

Entry requirements

We will consider all applications with a 2:2 (or international equivalent) or higher in a relevant Social Sciences subject. In addition to degree classification in a relevant subject we take into account other elements of the application such as supporting statement. References are optional, but can help build a stronger application if you fall below the 2:2 requirement or have non-traditional qualifications.

See international entry requirements and English language requirements.

Course overview

The SOAS LLM in Human Rights, Conflict and Justice provides a specialisation in a constantly evolving area of law that covers a range of issues at the heart of major contemporary developments and debates.

This programme offers a wide range of distinctive modules that combine a focus on core subjects in the field alongside a critical inquiry into the theory and practice of human rights law and related fields, particularly as they relate to the global South. Options include core international modules on international human rights law, international criminal law, international refugee and migration law, international humanitarian law, and justice, reconciliation and reconstruction in post conflict societies.

The degree also offers singular modules on specific legal approaches, settings, and cross-cutting themes such as Human Rights and Islamic Law; Law, Rights & Social Change; Law, Human Rights and Peace-building: the Israeli-Palestinian case; Darfur: Anatomy of a Human Rights Emergency; and Human Rights of Women.

Why study LLM Human Rights, Conflict and Justice at SOAS?

  • We are ranked in the UK top 20 (QS World University Rankings 2023).
  • We are ranked 6th in the UK for employability (QS World University Rankings 2023)
  • Our research publications have been rated first in the UK - and our School of Law rated sixth in the UK - in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021.
  • We provides a unique environment and opportunity to engage with relevant issues taught by our expert staff who bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experience of working and teaching in the field. 
  • The programme uses a range of teaching methods and approaches, which draw on the wider, global community of academics, legal practitioners and NGOs, to foster an engaged, critical learning environment.

SOAS Centre for Human Rights Law

The area of human rights, conflict and justice occupies an important place in the SOAS School of Law, which is home to the SOAS Centre for Human Rights Law. The Centre provides a focal point for research activities and regular events, and an opportunity for postgraduate students to become involved and engage with the SOAS research community and actors in the field.

Why you

The programme is ideal for LLB graduates or legal professionals with an interest in the theory and practice of human rights law and related fields, particularly as they relate to the global south. You will join an international alumni of graduates from the LLM at SOAS, many of whom are now working at the UN, in NGOs, in government, private practice, policy work or academia.

Please note that the LLM is restricted to applicants who hold an UK law degree or international equivalent. 

Global Partnerships

This programme can be offered as part of a dual LLM degree with University of Bergen.

Through the dual LLM, University of Bergen LLM students can spend either Year Four or Year Five of their five year programme at SOAS studying for an LLM and gain an award from both institutions. For more information and eligible programmes included in the dual LLM, please see the SOAS-Bergen partnership on the Global Partnerships website.

For any queries, please contact globalpartnerships@soas.ac.uk.

Structure

Students must take modules to a total value of 180 credits, 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 LLM are required to take at least 60 credits associated with their specialised LLM, and the dissertation topic will be undertaken within the LLM specialisation.

Please note that not all modules listed will be available every year.

Important notice

The information on the website reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. The modules are indicative options of the content students can expect and are/have been previously taught as part of these programmes. However, this information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change. 

Dissertation

Dissertation (12,000 words), on a topic related to the specialism of the degree

Module Credits
LLM Dissertation in Law 60

Taught component

120 credits total

Students take the following compulsory module (15 credits)

And

  • Choose modules from List A to the value of 60 credits and
  • Choose modules from List A and List B OR from postgraduate open options to the value of 45 credits

List B (subject to availability)

Module Credits
Gender, Law and Society in The Middle East and North Africa 15
Gender, Sexuality and Law: Selected Topics 15
Gender, Sexuality and Law: Theories and Methodologies 15
Human Rights and Islamic Law 30
International Commercial Arbitration 30
Law and Development in Africa 30
Law and Society in Southeast Asia 15
Law, Rights & Social Change 15
International Migration Law 15
International Refugee Law 15
Law, Religion, and the State in South Asia 30
Law, Environment and Social Justice 15
Colonialism, Empire and International Law 15
Foundations of International Law 15
Human Rights of Women 30
International Criminal Law 15
Law and Natural Resources 30
Law and Postcolonial Theory 15
The Law of Armed Conflict 15
Water Justice: Rights, Access and Movements (Law) 15
Law and Global Commons 15
International Environmental Law 15
Biodiversity, Nature and Wildlife Law and Policy 15
Water and Development: Commodification, Ecology and Globalisation (Law) 15
Multinational Enterprises and the Law I 15
Multinational Enterprises and the Law II 15
Business and Human Rights in the Global Economy 15
Comparative Company Law 15
Israel, Palestine, and International Law (15Cr) 15
Palestine, Resistance, and the Law 15
Alternative Dispute Resolution I 15
Alternative Dispute Resolution II 15
International laws on the use of force 15
Gender and the Law of War 15
The Prohibition of Torture in International Law 15
Law and the Climate Crisis 15
International Protection of Human Rights (15Cr) 15
International Law: Contemporary Problems of World Order 15
Gender and the Law of Peace 15
Islamic Family Law 15
Islamic Legal Theory 15
Transnational Law, Finance and Technology 15
Colonial Geographies of International Law 15
Law and Society in The Middle East and North Africa 15
Justice, Reconciliation and Reconstruction in Post-Conflict Societies 15
Artificial Intelligence: Power, law and resistance 15
International Investment Law 15
International Human Rights Clinic 30
Comparative Constitutional Law 15
Intellectual Property Law (PG) 30
Israel, Palestine, and International Law (30Cr) 30

Open options

Open options will need approval of deputy PG programme convenor (LLM or MA)

Teaching and 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.

Knowledge and understanding

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

  • Write clear research essays and dissertations.
  • 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:

  • Communicate effectively in writing.
  • 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

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 LLM 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:

  • 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

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