LLM Islamic Law
- One calendar year (full-time), two or three years (part-time, daytime only)
- Start of programme
- Attendance mode
- Full-time or part-time
- Russell Square, College Buildings
Home student fees: £15,130 per year
Overseas student fees: £25,740 per year
Please note that fees go up each year.
See postgraduate fees for further details.
- Entry requirements
A 2:1 degree in a relevant undergraduate degree.
If you have a lower degree classification, your application may be considered if you can present a strong case, either through relevant work experience, other legal qualifications, or a strong supporting statement. References are not required, but can help build a stronger application if you fall below the 2:1 requirement or have non-traditional qualifications.
The SOAS LLM 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 LLM 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 study LLM Islamic Law at SOAS?
- We are ranked in the UK top 20 (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.
- The LLM 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.
- Our 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.
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 LLM 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 LLM 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.
Please note that the LLM is restricted to applicants who hold an UK law degree or international equivalent. If you do not hold a law degree but are interested in pursuing a master’s degree in law at SOAS, please see details of our masters programmes.
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.
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.
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 (12,000 words), on a topic related to the specialism of the degree
|LLM Dissertation in Law||60|
120 credits total
Students take the following compulsory module (15 credits)
|Islamic Legal Theory||15|
- Choose modules from List A to the value of 60 credits
- Choose modules from List A and List B OR from postgraduate open options to the value of 45 credits
List A (subject to availability)
List B (subject to availability)
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.
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.
We recommend that part-time students have between two-and-a-half and three days a week free to pursue their course of study.
Knowledge and 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:
- Write clear research essays and dissertations.
- Research in a variety of specialised 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:
- 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 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.
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 Master provides 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
- British Medical Association
- Clifford Chance
- DAC Beachcroft LLP
- Department for Work and Pensions
- HM Treasury
- Latham & Watkins
- Legal Cheek
- Simpson Millar Solicitors
- The Economist
- Travers Smith
- World Cancer Research Fund
Find out about our Careers Service.
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