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Masters Degrees (Legal Political Theory)

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This MA provides students with key analytical skills to study the ethical dimensions of public policy. The programme, drawing on three areas of excellence at UCL, is a unique mix of politics, law and philosophy, centred on the normative evaluation of public policy at both the domestic and international levels. Read more

This MA provides students with key analytical skills to study the ethical dimensions of public policy. The programme, drawing on three areas of excellence at UCL, is a unique mix of politics, law and philosophy, centred on the normative evaluation of public policy at both the domestic and international levels.

About this degree

The programme explores the moral quality of the decisions citizens and professionals take, and the justice of the legal and political structures within which they operate. Students develop the ability to analyse important modern political theories, and justify their position on issues concerning the relationship between politics, law and society.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core modules (60 credits), optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules

  • Meanings of Liberty: Applied Methods in Political Theory (30)
  • Seminars in Political Theory, Colloquium in Legal Philosophy and Peer Assisted Learning Sessions (30)

Optional modules

Students choose modules worth a total of 45 credits from the list below (the others remain available as options).

They also choose one further 15-credit module from a list available at: the programme website

  • Contemporary Political Philosophy I: Authority, Obligation & Democracy (15)
  • Contemporary Political Philosophy II: Social Justice and Equality (15)
  • Equality, Justice and Difference (15)
  • Global Ethics (15)
  • Jeremy Bentham and the Utilitarian Tradition I and II (30)
  • Jeremy Bentham and the Utilitarian Tradition I (15)
  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory I & II (30)
  • Jurispudence and Legal Theory I (15)
  • The Ethics of Poverty (15)
  • Public Ethics (15)
  • Theoretical Foundations of Human Rights (15)
  • The Ethics of Counterterrorism (15)

Dissertation/report

All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Teaching and learning

Teaching for all modules takes the form of seminars where time is dedicated both to introducing knowledge and materials, and allowing students to test their understanding, knowledge and evaluative skills, through discussion, criticism and debate. Assessment is primarily through long essays, coursework and the dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Legal and Political Theory MA

Careers

This MA provides an excellent foundation for further research in political theory, or a wide variety of careers in this field.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Leadership Fellow, Princeton University
  • Research Assistant, Labour
  • MPhil in International Relations and Politics, University of Cambridge
  • Journalist, BBC
  • Policy Adviser, HM Treasury

Employability

Students of the Legal and Political Theory MA acquire advanced analytical transferable skills and exposure to cutting-edge legal and philosophical work - problem-solving, logical skills - combined with deep understanding of challenges of the contemporary world. As a result our students have an excellent record of employability in leading professions - law, consultancy, politics, journalism and academic careers.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Political Science is recognised as a centre of excellence in the field and offers a uniquely stimulating environment for the study of legal and political theory.

Weekly interactive seminars offer students an unrivalled opportunity to meet and engage with some of the leading figures in the field.

The Legal and Political Theory MA benefits from the interdisciplinary research culture of the Department of Political Science, as well as from the participation of UCL Philosophy and UCL Laws.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Political Science

89% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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Normative issues - questions of right and wrong, of just and injust, of good and bad - often arise in, indeed often motivate, the study of social, legal and political institutions and policy. Read more

Normative issues - questions of right and wrong, of just and injust, of good and bad - often arise in, indeed often motivate, the study of social, legal and political institutions and policy. How should those institutions be arranged? By what moral criteria should we assess policy options? How should we act as individuals, citizens, politicians or judges? The MA in Political and Legal Theory is a fully and genuinely interdisciplinary course designed for students wanting to study political, legal and moral philosophy to an advanced level and to consider how normative analysis might be applied to address matters of public concern. It enables students to acquire knowledge and understanding of the central normative conceptions, the debates they have generated, and their implications of different approaches for public policy, institutional design and the law.

Programme content

If you want to study political, legal and moral philosophy to an advanced level and to consider how normative analysis might be applied to address matters of public concern, then this programme is for you. It will enable you to acquire knowledge and understanding of central normative conceptions, the debates they have generated, and their implications for different approaches to public policy, institutional design and the law.

Our MA in Political and Legal Theory is a fully interdisciplinary course. Unlike other programmes of this kind that offer a range of modules taught within various contributing departments, the core module for Political and Legal Theory will be taught in our department in collaboration with the School of Law and the Department of Philosophy. This interdisciplinary approach is supported by the close cooperation fostered by the Centre for Ethics, Law and Public Affairs, which is situated in our department

and which includes members from Law, Philosophy and Sociology.

This programme also provides an advanced education in normative issues that will prepare you for doctoral study that includes normative inquiry, giving you a wide range of experience that will be attractive to employers.

Students on the MA in Political and Legal Theory are taught in small group seminars and have the opportunity to mix with PhD students and staff in the Political Theory research cluster as well as attend weekly meetings of the Centre for Ethics, Law and Public Affairs (CELPA). The MA in PLT also provides an advanced education in normative issues that will prepare students for doctoral study that includes normative inquiry and give them a wide range of experience that will be attractive to employers.



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Learn to think in different ways about the deepest questions and problems of political life. The MA in Political Theory addresses some of the most pressing questions in political life. Read more
Learn to think in different ways about the deepest questions and problems of political life.

Overview

The MA in Political Theory addresses some of the most pressing questions in political life. What is politics for - to bring real freedom and equality for all human beings, to realise justice, or to prevent human beings from killing one another in large numbers? What do we owe the global poor? Can we close our borders? Where does power lie in democracies?

Course Content

You’ll be encouraged to explore these topics, and others, in greater depth and from different perspectives across a variety of optional modules which draw on our internationally recognized teaching and research strengths in analytical political philosophy, intellectual history and critical theory.

The MA also features a regular research seminar, where the best current work in political theory is presented by staff and eminent guest speakers from all over the world.

Modules
You'll study one core module:
-Approaches to Political Theory

Plus, five optional modules from a range of subjects:
-Analytical Political Philosophy
-Contemporary Issues in International Political Economy
-Critical Theory
-Critical Theories of International Political Economy
-Ethics and World Politics
-New Security Challenges
-State, Space and Globalisation
-Topics in the History of Political Thought
-PhD Proposal in Political Theory module

Our range of modules allow you to study issues connected with toleration, continental political theory, legal theory and political integrity.

A 10-12,000 word dissertation allows you to apply the relevant method to a problem of your choosing.

Careers

From political research to journalism, marketing and HR, a masters degree in Political Theory leads to a broad range of career opportunities. You might find yourself working for:
-Central or local government
-Non-governmental organisations
-Community and voluntary organisations
-A Social enterprise
-A university
-Accountancy and banking orgs
-Law firms
-Media companies
-International and global development bodies / organisations

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About the MSc programme. Political theory is the study of the good society. Public debate is dominated by controversies such as what justice requires of citizens and the state; what the most important rights and liberties are; and what protection there should be for minorities in majoritarian democracies. Read more

About the MSc programme

Political theory is the study of the good society. Public debate is dominated by controversies such as what justice requires of citizens and the state; what the most important rights and liberties are; and what protection there should be for minorities in majoritarian democracies.

Political theory provides a scholarly examination of these questions, informed by adjacent debates in moral philosophy, legal theory, historical study, and political science. Currently, there are eight political theorists in the Department of Government, which is one of the largest concentrations of specialists in the world. Staff research interests are in diverse areas including comparative political theory, contemporary normative theory, the history of political thought, feminist theory, and rational and social choice theory. We aim to address issues in a global context.

The programme includes a compulsory course and a wide range of optional courses, and you will also complete a dissertation on an approved topic of your choice. The programme is a good preparation for further research work, or for a career in education, public administration, NGOs or the private sector. 

Graduate destinations

This programme is a good preparation for further research work or for a career in education, public administration or the private sector.

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme



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Sophisticated politics involves communication, strategy and manipulation of the political agenda. This programme engages you in the practical issues of political delivery. Read more
Sophisticated politics involves communication, strategy and manipulation of the political agenda.

This programme engages you in the practical issues of political delivery. The areas of political communication, political leadership, strategy, crisis management, political branding, and public relations are all the leading vocational aspects of a developed academic understanding of politics and international relations. It is an area of growing importance that distinguishes our graduates as policy-relevant, engaged thinkers in the political arena.

- Extended programme

The extended programme allows students the opportunity to study their subject in greater detail, choosing a wider range of modules, and also provides the opportunity to spend one term at the Canterbury campus. The extended programme is ideal for students who require extra credits, or would like to have more time to pursue an internship.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/59/political-strategy-and-communication

Brussels School of International Studies

The Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS) is a multidisciplinary postgraduate School of the University of Kent bringing together the disciplines of politics, international relations, law and economics to provide in-depth analysis of international problems such as conflict, security, development, migration and the political economy and legal basis of a changing world order.

We are a truly international School, our students are drawn from over 50 countries. The strong international composition of our staff and student body contributes significantly both to the academic as well as to the social experience at BSIS. The value-added of a location in Brussels is the opportunity to expose students of international issues to the working of major international organisations such as the EU and NATO and the many international and non-governmental organisations based in Brussels. Students have the added opportunity of undertaking an internship with one of these organisations.

Course structure

We are committed to offering flexible study options at the School and enable you to tailor your degree to meet your needs by offering start dates in September and January; full- and part-time study; split-site options, and allowing students to combine two fields of study leading to a degree that reflects both disciplines.

The MA in Political Strategy and Communication allows students to choose secondary areas of specialisation from the range of programmes offered at BSIS (http://www.kent.ac.uk/brussels/studying/index.html). Thus, a focused programme of study can be constructed by studying Political Strategy and Communication in the context of International Relations; International Conflict and Security; Human Rights Law, and other subject areas we cover.

This leads to the award of an MA degree in, for example, 'Political Strategy and Communication with Human Rights Law'.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

- provide you with a research-active teaching environment which provides a good grounding in the study of social science in general, in political strategy, and in the communication of political positions in particular

- offer you a critical perspective of the interplay between international relations and European politics as they relate to the process of creating a strategy for dealing with political issues, and communicating effectively the issues and positions on the basis of that strategy, in order to influence outcomes at the European and national levels

- ensure that you acquire a solid understanding of methodologies for the study of social science in general, and in the application of those understandings to the study of political strategy in particular

- ensure that you acquire a solid understanding of major theoretical approaches to policymaking and policy analysis, the historical development of the contemporary European policy landscape, and the application of theoretical and historical knowledge to the analysis and understanding of contemporary issues and cases in the field, with particular emphasis on the manner in which policies, positions, perspectives, and attitudes are communicated

- ensure that you acquire the necessary skills for an advanced assessment of contemporary problems in European politics, society, and economy, and their solutions

- develop your general research skills and personal skills (transferable skills).

Research areas

Our research interests span a broad spectrum of the discipline, with particular strengths in the fields of conflict analysis and resolution, political theory and European politics. The strength of the School’s research culture is reflected in the numerous books and articles published and in the existence of its three core research groups: Conflict, Security and Human Rights; Comparative Politics; and Political and Social Thought. We also host four University-recognised research centres: the Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC), the Global Europe Centre (GEC), the Centre for Critical Thought (CCT), and the Centre for Federal Studies (CFS).

All members of staff can supervise theses leading to research degrees. We encourage potential research students to refer to our postgraduate research handbook (pdf) for detailed information (http://www.kent.ac.uk/politics/postgraduates/research-programmes/pgrhandbook.pdf).

In 2011, the University successfully applied for ESRC recognition as a provider of doctoral training in political science and international studies (and other areas of the social sciences) as part of a consortium. As a result, we are now part of the South East ESRC Doctoral Training Centre, making us one of the key training outlets in our subject in the UK.

Careers

The School of Politics and International Relations has a dedicated Employability, Placements and Internships Officer who works with students to develop work-based placements in a range of organisations. Centrally, the Careers and Employability Service can help you plan for your future by providing one-to-one advice at any stage of your postgraduate studies.

Many students at our Brussels centre who undertake internships are offered contracts in Brussels immediately after graduation. Others have joined their home country’s diplomatic service, entered international organisations, or have chosen to undertake a ‘stage’ at the European Commission, or another EU institution.

Our graduates have gone on to careers in academia, local and national government and public relations.

Kent has an excellent record for postgraduate employment: over 94% of our postgraduate students who graduated in 2013 found a job or further study opportunity within six months.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

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Combine a year of study in the heart of England and a year studying by the sea in Cataluña at two of Europe's leading politics departments through two exciting pathways offered jointly by Warwick and the Political and Social Sciences Department at . Read more

Combine a year of study in the heart of England and a year studying by the sea in Cataluña at two of Europe's leading politics departments through two exciting pathways offered jointly by Warwick and the Political and Social Sciences Department at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona.

Studying in two different countries is inherently beneficial: in addition to exploring your subject from two different starting points, you will develop your intercultural skills and experience and enhance your ability to adapt to new situations. Furthermore, you will be able to improve your prospects beyond the MA course as employers and reputable universities worldwide recognise the academic excellence of Warwick and UPF graduates.

Programme content

If you want to really specialise in the theoretical and philosophical aspects of politics, then you have the opportunity to follow a double theory-philosophy programme by taking the MA in Political & Legal Theory at Warwick as well as the Masters in Political Philosophy at UPF. As with the custom route, you can further specialise through choosing optional modules, allowing you to enrich your strongly philosophical dissertation with viewpoints from other areas of politics studies.

You will be able to start your studies either at Warwick or at UPF. You will follow the taught component of your first year before moving on to your second year university; the summer in between is a great opportunity to take advantage of internship opportunities in the UK, Spain, or further afield. During the second year, you will follow a second round of taught modules before moving on to a joint 15,000 word dissertation, allowing you to combine the knowledge and insight gained from both institutions into one jointly-marked piece of academic research.

Full details on the course structure can be found here.



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This programme offers a combined competency in economics and politics, enriched with the study of law. Read more
This programme offers a combined competency in economics and politics, enriched with the study of law. Additionally, it allows for a specialisation in a subfield such as development, environmental policy, migration, conflict and security, political strategy and European public policy, and so equips you with cutting-edge qualifications.

The exposure you are given to policy practice at the international institutions based in Brussels - together with high-quality education - prepares you for a challenging and fulfilling career in international and domestic public policy, diplomacy, non-governmental organisations, as well as in the private sector.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/58/international-political-economy

- Extended programme
The extended programme allows students the opportunity to study their subject in greater detail, choosing a wider range of modules, and also provides the opportunity to spend one term at the Canterbury campus. The extended programme is ideal for students who require extra credits, or would like to have more time to pursue an internship.

About the Brussels School of International Studies

The Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS) is a multidisciplinary postgraduate School of the University of Kent. We bring together the disciplines of politics, international relations, law and economics to provide in-depth analysis of international problems such as conflict, security, development, migration, the political economy and the legal basis of a changing world order.

We are a truly international School: our students are drawn from over 50 countries. The strong international composition of our staff and student body contributes significantly to the academic and social experience at BSIS. Being located in Brussels allows us to expose students to the working of major international organisations, such as the EU and NATO, and to the many international and non-governmental organisations based here. Students also have the opportunity to undertake an internship with one of these organisations.

Course structure

We are committed to offering flexible study options at the School and enable you to tailor your degree to meet your needs by offering start dates in September and January; full- and part-time study; split-site options, and allowing students to combine two fields of study leading to the award of a degree that reflects both disciplines.

Specialisations

The MA in International Political Economy allows students to choose secondary areas of specialisation from the range of programmes offered at BSIS (http://www.kent.ac.uk/brussels/studying/index.html). Thus, a focused programme of study can be constructed by studying International Political Economy in the context of International Relations; Conflict and Security; International Law and other subject areas we cover.

This leads to the award of an MA degree in, for example, 'International Political Economy with International Law'.

Standard and extended versions

The LLM is offered in both a standard version (90 ECTS credits) and an extended version (120 ECTS credits) and in each case students may take the programme with or without a secondary specialisation. Those on the extended version will take more modules to gain extra credit.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- provide you with a research-active teaching environment which gives you a good grounding in the study of study of social science in general and international political economy (IPE) in particular

- offer a critical perspective of the interplay between structures and actors in the global economy, political systems and processes, individuals and the institutions of civil society

- ensure that you acquire a solid understanding of methodologies for the study of social science in general, and in the application of those understandings to the study of international political economy in particular

- ensure that you acquire a solid understanding of major theoretical approaches to international political economy, the historical development of the contemporary global economy, and the application of theoretical and historical knowledge to the analysis and understanding of contemporary issues and cases in the field

- ensure that you acquire the necessary skills for advanced assessment of contemporary problems in IPE and their solutions

- develop you general research skills and personal skills (transferable skills).

Research areas

Our research interests span a broad spectrum of the discipline, with particular strengths in the fields of conflict analysis and resolution, political theory and European politics. The strength of the School’s research culture is reflected in the numerous books and articles published and in the existence of its three core research groups: Conflict, Security and Human Rights; Comparative Politics; and Political and Social Thought. We also host four University-recognised research centres: the Conflict Analysis Research Centre (CARC), the Global Europe Centre (GEC), the Centre for Critical Thought (CCT), and the Centre for Federal Studies (CFS).

All members of staff can supervise theses leading to research degrees. We encourage potential research students to refer to our postgraduate research handbook (pdf) for detailed information.

In 2011, the University successfully applied for ESRC recognition as a provider of doctoral training in political science and international studies (and other areas of the social sciences) as part of a consortium. As a result, we are now part of the South East ESRC Doctoral Training Centre, making us one of the key training outlets in our subject in the UK.

Careers

The School of Politics and International Relations has a dedicated Employability, Placements and Internships Officer who works with students to develop work-based placements in a range of organisations. Centrally, the Careers and Employability Service can help you plan for your future by providing one-to-one advice at any stage of your postgraduate studies.

Many students at our Brussels centre who undertake internships are offered contracts in Brussels immediately after graduation. Others have joined their home country’s diplomatic service, entered international organisations, or have chosen to undertake a ‘stage’ at the European Commission, or another EU institution.

Our graduates have gone on to careers in academia, local and national government and public relations.

Kent has an excellent record for postgraduate employment: over 94% of our postgraduate students who graduated in 2013 found a job or further study opportunity within six months.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

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Taught in the critical tradition of Kent Law School, this programme examines the theory and practice of human rights law, international criminal law, humanitarian law, transitional justice, migration law and other fields in the context of different policy areas and various academic disciplines. Read more
Taught in the critical tradition of Kent Law School, this programme examines the theory and practice of human rights law, international criminal law, humanitarian law, transitional justice, migration law and other fields in the context of different policy areas and various academic disciplines.

It is particularly suited to those who currently work in, or hope to work in, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, international law firms and foreign affairs departments.

The programme is delivered at our Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS) in conjunction with our law school.

- Extended programme

The extended programme allows students the opportunity to study their subject in greater detail, choosing a wider range of modules, and also provides the opportunity to spend one term at the Canterbury campus. The extended programme is ideal for students who require extra credits, or would like to have more time to pursue an internship.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/772/human-rights-law

Course structure

We are committed to offering flexible study options at the School and enable you to tailor your degree to meet your needs by offering start dates in September and January; full- and part-time study; split-site options, and allowing students to combine two fields of study leading to a degree that reflects both disciplines.

Specialisations

The LLM in Human Rights Law allows students to choose secondary areas of specialisation from the range of programmes offered at BSIS. Thus, a focused programme of study can be constructed by studying Human Rights Law in the context of International Relations; International Conflict and Security; International Migration, and other subject areas we cover.

This leads to the award of an LLM degree in, for example, 'Human Rights Law with International Migration'.

Standard and extended versions

The LLM is offered in both a standard version (90 ECTS credits) and an extended version (120 ECTS credits) and in each case students may take the programme with or without a secondary specialisation. Those on the extended version will take more modules to gain extra credit.

Research areas

- European and Comparative Law

European and Comparative Law is being conducted both at an individual level as well as at the Kent Centre for European and Comparative Law, which was established in 2004 with a view to providing a framework for the further development of the Law School’s research and teaching activities in this area. Research and teaching reaches from general areas of comparative and European public and private law to more specialised areas and specific projects.

- Governance and Regulation

Legal research involves studying processes of regulation and governance. This research cluster focuses on the character of regulation and governance to critically understand the different modes through which governing takes place such as the conditions, relations of power and effects of governance and regulation. Work within this area is methodologically diverse.

Intellectually, it draws on a range of areas including socio-legal studies; Foucauldian perspectives on power and governmentality; Actor Network Theory; feminist political theory and political economy; postcolonial studies; continental political philosophy; and cultural and utopian studies.

- International Law

The starting point for research in international law at Kent Law School is that international law is not apolitical and that its political ideology reflects the interests of powerful states and transnational economic actors. In both research and teaching, staff situate international law in the context of histories of colonialism to analyse critically its development, doctrines and ramifications.

Critical International Law at KLS engages with theories of political economy, international relations and gender and sexuality to contribute to scholarly and policy debates across the spectrum of international law, which includes public, economic, human rights, criminal and commercial law. Scholars at the Centre for Critical International Law engage in the practical application of international law through litigation, training, research and consultancies for international organisations, NGOs and states.

- Law and Political Economy & Law and Development

Law and its relation to political economy are addressed from a variety of angles, including the exploration of the micro- and macrolevel of economic regulations as well as theoretical aspects of law and political economy.

- Legal Theories and Philosophy

Identifying the fact that several academics do work in cultural theory and political theory (including on normative concepts, religion and the state). While feminist and critical legal theories are focal points at Kent Law School, the departmental expertise also covers more essential aspects such as classical jurisprudence and the application of philosophy to law.

Other research areas within KLS include:

- human rights
- labour law
- law and culture
- law, science and technology
- legal methods and epistemology
- public law
- race, religion and the law.

Careers

Employability is a key focus throughout the University and at Kent Law School you have the support of a dedicated Employability and Career Development Officer together with a broad choice of work placement opportunities, employability events and careers talks. Details of graduate internship schemes with NGOs, charities and other professional organisations are made available to postgraduate students via the School’s Employability Blog.

Many students at our Brussels centre who undertake internships are offered contracts in Brussels immediately after graduation. Others have joined their home country’s diplomatic service, entered international organisations, or have chosen to undertake a ‘stage’ at the European Commission, or another EU institution.

Law graduates have gone on to careers in finance, international commerce, government and law or have joined, or started, an NGO or charity.

Kent has an excellent record for postgraduate employment: over 94% of our postgraduate students who graduated in 2013 found a job or further study opportunity within six months.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

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The Birkbeck School of Law has an excellent reputation. Its body of research students has grown dramatically over the last few years, and competition for places is high. Read more
The Birkbeck School of Law has an excellent reputation. Its body of research students has grown dramatically over the last few years, and competition for places is high. Our research community now comprises people from around the globe, researching in diverse legal areas and with different methodologies. We encourage and assist researchers to publish articles. Many of our graduates have become professional academics after, and even during, their studies here.

MPhil/PhD students benefit from the supervision of internationally renowned experts and secondary supervisors, classes in legal theory and research and presentation skills, seminars and extensive library facilities. Moreover, we offer financial assistance for conference attendance where appropriate, a comprehensive programme of independent monitoring of each student's yearly progress, and postgraduate student representation on the School board. In addition, our present body of researchers constitutes a vibrant community that organises, with the support of the School, a series of workshops, reading groups and a work-in-progress group, as well as frequent social events.

We encourage applications for research in the areas listed below, but it is important to stress that we can only offer supervision in areas where members of the School are actively working.

Areas of research interest include: legal theory; public law; language and law; law and literature; law and film; law and development; gender, sexuality and law; socio-legal studies; environmental law; company law; legal history; medical law and ethics; criminology; European law; intellectual property; insurance law; media law; law and bioethics; constitutional theory and national identity; human rights; criminal justice; feminist legal theory; post-colonial theory; legal aesthetics; law and political economy; race and law; child law; access to justice; international economic law; international refugee law; law and multinational corporations.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Research students in the School of Law are an important part of our research culture. We have succeeded in recruiting very high-quality research students and the number of UK and overseas PhD students has increased fivefold since 2001. This reflects the School's growing reputation as a training ground for early-career academics working from critical and socio-legal perspectives.
The PhD programme is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the UK's leading research council addressing economic and social concerns. The PhD is tailored to students' needs and can include generic modules from our postgraduate Master's programmes such as Research Frameworks and Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods. In-house seminars, the Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Interdisciplinary Research Training Network also provide additional training. Students have received awards from the AHRC, British Academy, Overseas Research Students Awards, ESRC, Natural Environment Research Council and internal Birkbeck and Law School Studentships.
Reading groups are encouraged, focusing on particular writers such as Agamben, Foucault and Deleuze as well as issues such as critical international law, feminist theory, Latin American culture and politics and Continental philosophy. There is an informal doctoral 'work-in-progress group' open to staff and research students, allowing the latter to develop their presentation skills and invite general comment on projects. There are a number of other events designed to support research students. Additionally, an annual postgraduate conference is held to showcase current doctoral research. The upgrade viva examination, whereby students progress from MPhil to PhD registration, gives students experience of a more formal arena in which they have to defend their work to academic staff.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

We are among the top 10 law schools in the UK and in the top 3 in London in the Times Higher Education 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) rankings, while our research environment was judged conducive to producing research of the highest quality.

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The shifting balance between the state and the economy has given rise to new challenges at the intersections of law, business and government. Read more
The shifting balance between the state and the economy has given rise to new challenges at the intersections of law, business and government. Addressing these issues calls for professionals who understand their complexity and have the necessary legal skills and management capacities. The Master’s Programme in International Law (MIL) combines a specialist legal education with essential aspects of business and politics. We prepare our graduates for a wide range of careers in the corporate world, in government, diplomacy, international organisations, compliance and regulatory affairs and other public and private sector institutions.

Curriculum: structure and contents

The MIL offers students enormous latitude and flexibility in choosing courses from the programme’s rich and diverse curriculum to put together a degree course that meets their professional objectives and personal preferences. A distinctive feature of the MIL curriculum is the carefully arranged combination of compulsory courses and electives. Three compulsory courses ensure that students will acquire a sound general understanding of the normative and analytical Framework of international law. At the same time, a wide range of electives enables them to specialise in selected topics and, if they so wish, to complement their legal education with courses from related areas such as management studies or political science.

Compulsory courses
The three compulsory courses are foundational in character. They provide students with the knowledge, the analytical tools and the practical skills required for a general grasp of the theory and practice of international law. The compulsory courses are the basis upon which students can build when they attend more specialised legal classes in subsequent semesters.

Core electives
Core electives are courses designed to deepen students’ understanding of specific international law topics. Courses are organised in clusters, each concentrating on a particular subject area. Some courses seek to familiarise participants with the practical approaches to problem-solving at the intersections of law, business and politics. Others encourage theoretical reflection on basic legal issues or help to develop students’ professional skills. Students choose courses according to their own individual interests.

Legal electives
Legal electives enhance students’ legal expertise and allow them to specialise while granting great freedom of choice. Students may attend various courses from the MLaw and MLE. In addition, they are invited to participate in a variety of practice workshops, especially Moots, in which the Law School regularly takes part. They also benefit from special courses offered by visiting professors.

Independent electives
Independent electives present a wide range of options. Students choose courses according to their own preferences. They may wish to attend further core electives, legal electives, or courses offered throughout the other Master’s programmes, or they can opt for additional courses offered by the Law School.

Master’s thesis
The Master’s thesis allows students to concentrate on a research question in a specialised subject area of their own choice. Students develop their topic in consultation with their supervisor. While the subject may stem from the core studies or from a contextual discipline, it must focus on a research topic broadly related to international law. The thesis must normally be written in English.

Contextual Studies
The University of St. Gallen considers it essential that its graduates should be able to look beyond their academic specialisation and adopt a more comprehensive perspective that enables them to place contemporary issues in their wider cultural, social and historical settings. Contextual Studies complement the MIL’s core studies. Students can choose from a rich variety of options.

Exchange and double degrees

• CEMS Master’s in International Management (MIM)
• Exchange programmes with approx. 200 partner universities worldwide
• Double degree programme in preparation

Career perspectives

The MIL curriculum combines a specialised legal education with interdisciplinary training, an international perspective and an emphasis on practical problem-solving. With its innovative curriculum, the MIL opens the door to a wide array of attractive positions, preparing graduates for professional careers in multinational corporations, government, diplomacy, international organisations, compliance and regulatory affairs, business consulting, law firms, NGOs, as well as other public and private institutions. Given its strategic focus on international law and the interdependencies with global business and government, the MIL differs from standard legal programmes that focus on domestic law and are intended for students who, after their Bar exams, will go on to work as legal practitioners, particularly as attorneys or law clerks, in their national jurisdictions. Some law graduates, after completing their MLaw or MLE, might think about pursuing an international corporate or public-sector career in order to practise law in a global context. They may find that the MIL is just the academic programme they are looking for as it can make an essential contribution to fulfilling their international aspirations. Subject to the grades achieved, the MIL degree will also enable students to start a promising academic career as it provides access to Ph.D. programmes.

Language

The programme is taught in English.

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Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study Development and Human Rights (Extended) at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017). Read more

Visit our website for more information on fees, scholarships, postgraduate loans and other funding options to study Development and Human Rights (Extended) at Swansea University - 'Welsh University of the Year 2017' (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017).

The Extended MA in Development and Human Rights examines the comparatively new interface between Human Rights and International Development.

Key Features of Extended MA in Development and Human Rights

This MA in Development and Human Rights is a multi-disciplinary programme combining insights from the fields of development studies, politics, political theory and international law. The Development and Human Rights programme examines some of the key issues confronting twenty-first century global societies through a dynamic programme that combines theoretical and applied perspectives and is taught by a team of leading academics in their fields of development and human rights.

Students on the MA in Development and Human Rights will be encouraged to apply legal theory, social and political theory and research tools in analysing and understanding development and human rights, as well as being taught key historical and policy dimensions and concepts.

The Extended MA (EMA) in Development and Human Rights is a 240-credit postgraduate qualification that is equivalent to 120 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) and is thus a recognised Masters qualification throughout the European Union. The EMA is a standard UK MA plus an additional 60 credits (30 ECTS) and this additional coursework is undertaken in one semester at a partner institution overseas. The EMA is therefore not only an EU recognised postgraduate qualification it also adds a study abroad experience thus enhancing the qualification’s employability credentials.

The partner institution for EMA Development and Human Rights is the Department of Political Science and the Institute of Human Rights in the College of Law at the University of the Philippines, Diliman (UPD). The Department of Political Science was established in 1915 and is the only Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) Center of Excellence in Political Science in the Philippines. The College of Law admitted its first students in 1911 and a century after it was founded, the College of Law can point to its alumni in the highest positions of the government: Four became President of the Philippines and thirteen served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The University of the Philippines is the country’s national university, with UPD its biggest campus and the physical seat of its Administration. UPD occupies 493 hectares of prime land in Quezon City, it has in excess of 25,000 students and the library resources are the largest in the country.

Modules

Modules on the MA in Development and Human Rights typically include:

• Human Rights and Humanitarian Intervention

• Rights Based Approaches to Development

• International Human Rights Law

• Approaches to Political Theory

• International Security in the Asia Pacific

• Postcolonialism, Orientalism and Eurocentrism

• Critical Security

• War, Identity and Society

• Civil Society and International Development

• European Union Governance and Policy Making

• War in Space

Development and Human Rights MA Aims

- To develop critical, theoretical and analytical skills and improve written and oral communication skills.

- To acquire research skills and research methodologies.

- To appreciate the role of development and human rights within wider social, economic and political contexts and the implications for policy formation.

Who should Apply?

Students interested in Development and Human Rights, from a development studies, law, politics, international relations, humanities, social science, international business or related backgrounds. Students interested in preparation for postgraduate research, MPhil or PhD, or who wish to develop skills and knowledge related to Development Studies.

Research Interests

The following research groups at Swansea provide a distinct international and multi-disciplinary forum for the advancement of study,

including:

• Development Studies

• International Communication

• Cultural Political Economy

• Software Studies

• Digital Theory

• Policy and Governance

• International Relations & Security

Regular research seminars and lectures are run through these groups and also through the Research Institute for Arts and Humanities (RIAH) which students are encouraged to attend.

Work-based Placements

Development and Human Rights students are offered opportunities (awarded on a competitive basis) for work-based placement learning either through the Study in Gambia programme or placements arranged with government organisations in Wales.

Careers

Career expectations are excellent for Development and Human Rights graduates. MA degree holders may move on to doctoral study or enter employment sectors such as the diplomatic corps, the armed forces, intelligence and risk analysis, relief and humanitarian organisations, law and finance, government and politics and international business.



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This MSc aims to educate a new generation of public policymakers and policy analysts, familiarising them with the necessary concepts, theories, methods and principles involved in the formulation and analysis of public policy. Read more

This MSc aims to educate a new generation of public policymakers and policy analysts, familiarising them with the necessary concepts, theories, methods and principles involved in the formulation and analysis of public policy. The programme draws on many disciplines, including political science, economics, law, public management and public health.

About this degree

Students develop a working knowledge of many aspects of political science theory relevant to understanding how public policies are formulated, implemented and evaluated. They gain a basic understanding of economic approaches to public policy analysis and of the concepts of economic efficiency and equity as societal objectives. Students also learn extensively about research methods which gives them the tools necessary to understand political processes and to analyse important policy issues.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four core modules (75 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules

  • Theories and Actors of the Policy Process (30)
  • Public Policy Economics and Analysis (PPEA) (15)
  • Introduction to Qualitative Methods or Advanced Qualitative Methods (15)
  • Introduction to Quantitative Methods or Advanced Quantitative Methods (15)

Optional modules

  • Choose one of the following 15 credit modules (the other two remain available as options):
  • Law and Regulation (15)
  • Public Management: Theories and Innovations (15)
  • Agenda Setting and Public Policy (15)
  • Choose further modules up to a value of 30 credits in total from a list available on the departmental website
  • The following are suggestions:
  • Health, Policy and Reform (15)
  • Non-Profit and Voluntary Sector Policy and Management (15)
  • Energy and Climate Policy (15)
  • Making Policy Work (15)
  • Policy-Making & Regulation in Europe (15)
  • The European Union in the World (15)
  • Public Ethics (15)
  • British Government and Politics (15)
  • International Political Economy (15)
  • The Political Economy of Development (15)
  • Democratic Political Institutions (15)
  • Foreign Policy Analysis (15)
  • Gendering the Study of Politics: Theory and Practice (15)
  • Democracy and Accountability: Holding Power to Account (15)

Dissertation/report

All MSc students undertake an individual research project, which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and case studies, and is taught by scholars who have carried out theoretical and empirical research in the field. Students will be assessed by a variety of methods: unseen examinations, long essays, course work and the dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Public Policy MSc

Funding

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Careers

Graduates go on to a range of destinations both nationally and internationally including:

  • civil servants in central or local government in the UK and overseas, think tanks, NGOs and consultancies
  • policy officers and researchers for UK members of parliament and members of the European Parliament
  • the European Commission
  • other public and private sector organisations in a range of sectors, for example, Universities UK, Transport for London, the Legal Services Commission, Accenture, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Overseas Development Institute, United Nations Development Programme, Deloitte and Touche, Serco, KPMG, Confederation of British Industry, Civil Service Faststream, the Institute of Government, the Legatum Institute
  • further research study at UCL or elsewhere.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Assistant Economist, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • Economics Officer, Ministry of Finance
  • Implementation Manager, NSPCC
  • Research Analyst, World Bank Group
  • Strategy and Communication Officer, Labour

Employability

The training that students receive in policy analysis, research methods, political science, economics and other disciplines equips them to work in a range of different organisations engaged in policy-making and policy analysis. Additionally, the emphasis on independent research, through the dissertation, enables students to think critically about policy problems and devise innovative solutions to such problems.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Political Science is recognised as a centre of excellence in the field and offers a uniquely stimulating environment for the study of public policy.

The interdisciplinary aspect of this programme provides participants with the opportunity to address some of the key issues of contemporary governance and public sector reform.

UCL is uniquely well placed to draw together theory and practice in the field of public policy in health, where perhaps the most far-reaching of all public sector reforms has taken place.



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This is a unique programme in London, reflecting the traditional neglect of constitutionalist approaches to politics in Britain - something which is now changing fast. Read more
This is a unique programme in London, reflecting the traditional neglect of constitutionalist approaches to politics in Britain - something which is now changing fast. As the utopia of the ‘end of history’ falters, the rhetoric of security and risk, of crisis in the relation between financial markets and sovereign states, of perpetual war, and of corruption in politics brings about a relentless desire for law and constitutional reform. These expectations, however, are often at odds with the way contemporary social and political theories, and a growing number of constitutional law specialists, conceptualise the sphere of the political. The focus is on 2 related but distinct processes: the crisis of law and the shift towards exceptional modes of state power; and the demand that law mitigates manifold crises. Questions are raised about law as solution, about its role in the violent imposition of liberal social and market relations, and whether or not we may be able to imagine a different sort of crisis, a different relation between law and the future.

This Master's degree in law is distinctive in 3 respects: it adopts a critical, interdisciplinary approach; it gives equal weight to theory and comparative case studies from across the world with the possibility for you to write a specialist dissertation; and it is available either part-time or full-time and delivered through face-to-face evening classes.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Studying the interrelation of law and politics requires, by definition, an interdisciplinary and critical approach - the Birkbeck School of Law specialises in this kind of approach.
Our academic staff have valuable experience of constitutionalist politics in regions across the globe.
Our School is an internationally recognised centre for critical and interdisciplinary legal research. It provides an exciting and innovative environment for a wide range of research with a strong theoretical and policy focus. The School is the home of Birkbeck Law Press and publishes Law and Critique: The International Journal of Critical Legal Thought.
We use technology, such as electronic learning environments, to enhance teaching and learning. Birkbeck Library has an extensive collection of books, journals and electronic resources in law and related disciplines such as economics, politics and sociology. You can also take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including those of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Senate House Library, the British Library of Political and Economic Science (LSE Library) and the British Library.

Our research

Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated ‘world-leading’ or internationally excellent.

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The LLM in Law is a new programme that enables you to develop a personal programme of study and further your interests in areas of law from across our LLM programmes. Read more
The LLM in Law is a new programme that enables you to develop a personal programme of study and further your interests in areas of law from across our LLM programmes. Your programme will be underpinned by two core modules: on law and legal systems, and on research methods and skills. You will add your choice of modules from our LLM in International Corporate and Commercial Law, LLM in Legal and Political Theory, and LLM in International Human Rights Law and Practice. You will complete the programme with a supervised dissertation on a topic inspired by one or more of your chosen modules. Overall, therefore, you can tailor your own programme of study, to prepare yourself for further academic study or for a range of legal careers including progression to the next stage of professional qualification, or for a wide range of other employment opportunities. At the same time, you can enjoy the benefits of world-class research-led teaching, problem-based learning, and learning law in context.

Structure of the Programme

The LLM in Legal and Political Theory taught programme of one year (or two years if taken part time). The LLM is made up of 180 credits. 120 credits are studied through a mix of compulsory and optional taught modules. The remaining 60 credits are obtained through undertaking a 12,000-15,000 word dissertation.

A stimulating environment for postgraduate study

York Law School has developed a reputation for offering academically rigorous, innovative, practical and stimulating programmes of study. We offer a rounded student experience – reflecting the best of academic and professional practice – and have a friendly and dynamic team of experienced academics, committed to the best methods of legal education.

In addition, we enjoy a close relationship with the legal profession, with practitioners involved in the design and delivery of key aspects of all our programmes, and have forged collaborative links in teaching and research across the University as a whole. You'll find studying here a stimulating and rewarding experience which will equip you for your chosen career.

Careers options and employability

It is widely known in the legal sector that those graduating from York Law School with a postgraduate degree possess legal minds of the highest calibre and, as such, our graduates are always in demand.

On average, an outstanding 94.2% of those graduating with a postgraduate degree in Law between 2009 and the present day had secured employment or further study after leaving York.

While most of our postgraduate students choose to enter legal fields, others go on to gain employment in the following sectors: finance, health and social work, public administration and retail.

Notable employers include: DWF LLP, the Home Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Parabis Group, Amnesty International.

The most common job titles are: Lawyer, Litigation Paralegal, Solicitor, Commercial in-house lawyer and Attorney-at-Law.

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This programme provides you with an excellent preparation for further research in Law, serving as a qualification in its own right and a platform for PhD study. Read more

This programme provides you with an excellent preparation for further research in Law, serving as a qualification in its own right and a platform for PhD study.

Why this programme

  • There is a strong emphasis on research training, in order to help you develop generic research knowledge and skills.
  • You will be introduced to legal research methodologies, the ethics of legal research, key traditions of legal inquiry and basic concepts of legal thought.
  • You will benefit from our excellent facilities including the dedicated School of Law library; our main University library also contains our extensive collection of legal materials and official publications and is a European Documentation Centre. 
  • We have a very vibrant mooting programme and a dedicated Moot Courtroom. We have an outstanding record of success and you can participate in internal, national and international mooting competitions. 
  • We organise a series of lectures featuring talks from highly successful judges and lawyers.

Programme structure

You will take a combination core and optional courses, followed by a dissertation on a specialised topic.

Core courses

  • Advanced legal methods 1A: Legal research methodologies OR Advanced legal methods 1B: Traditions of legal enquiry
  • Advanced legal methods 2: Jurisprudence of concepts
  • Qualitative research methods OR Quantitative data analysis.

Optional courses may include

  • Applied qualitative methods
  • Comparative European politics
  • EU in international politics and development
  • Fundamentals of international law
  • Intellectual property law and the market*
  • International competition law*
  • International security and global politics
  • International theory 
  • International trade law*
  • Internet and civil society 
  • Media and democracy
  • Metaphysics
  • Mind in the Scottish Enlightenment
  • Moral philosophy
  • Philosophy of art
  • Philosophy of language
  • Philosophy of mathematics
  • Philosophy of mind
  • Political legitimacy: contemporary perspectives
  • Political philosophy
  • United Nations law.

*requires a prior degree in Law or a degree with a 50% law component

Career prospects

This programme provides an excellent foundation for an academic career in this field.



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