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    Birmingham Law School Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    Law

  • Start Date

    September

  • Course Duration

    1 year full time, 2 years part time

  • Course Type

    LLM

  • Course Fees

    website

  • Last Updated

    10 August 2018

Course content

This pathway draws upon Birmingham Law School’s (BLS) long standing research strengths in the areas of criminal law and criminal justice. Criminal Law is concerned with the most potentially invasive assertion of authority by the state: if you fail to comply with the law you will be punished. This pathway provides a holistic analysis of the criminal process through an analysis of the law, its philosophical underpinnings and its operation in practice.

Students can study to attain a broad overview of criminal justice processes or specialise in particular aspects as diverse as underpinning theories, policing, health aspects of criminal justice or indeed international aspects of law enforcement co-operation. Many modules have been created and are taught by leading scholars of the particular field and students benefit from close contact with researchers.

For those wishing to gain in-depth understanding of criminal law and criminal justice, this pathway offers the opportunity for broader or deeply specialised study within an innovative research-led teaching environment which benefits from BLS’s longstanding stature in this field and our staff’s dedication to ensuring it lives on; also in our LLM graduates.

Course details

At Birmingham Law School we research into topics as diverse as the ever widening net of criminalisation and (at least quasi-) criminal justice processes, to money saving tactics and their effect on the very philosophy which underpins our criminal law and justice system, the justice which emerges from it and effects.

These specialisations flow into the modules on this LLM which will allow you to study the five separate objectives used in enforcement of Criminal Law; retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation and restitution taught. All of these are subjects of great debate and controversy across all jurisdictions and students benefit from debating these informed by and in exchange with our broad range of experts.

Learning and teaching

Birmingham's LLM pathways have been designed to provide in-depth analysis of important legal topics. Modules are all 20 credits in value, comprising 10 two-hour seminars to enable students to develop significant expertise in each area of law.

Birmingham offers small-group teaching on the LLM, and students opting for popular modules with large groups of students will receive (where possible) additional teaching time: classes will be split into two separate seminar groups so as to provide an equal opportunity for class interaction compared to those in smaller modules. 

The LLM course last 12 months, running from September to September. All LLM pathways follow the same basic structure:

  • In part I of the course, you take six 20 credit modules: the range available depends on the pathway you decide to follow. Assessment in those modules, by essay or formal examination, is in May and June.
  • In part II of the course, you research and write a 15,000-word dissertation on a selected topic of law under the supervision of a member of staff. 

The LLM pathways enable you to develop expertise in a range of subjects. You will acquire a systematic understanding of these along with a critical appreciation of the problems that arise in these fields. You will be encouraged to demonstrate originality in the application of knowledge together with a practical understanding of how established research techniques are used to create and interpret knowledge.

Law School induction

At the start of the course there is a comprehensive welcome and induction programme designed to help you settle in and gain an understanding of the Birmingham LLM. You will familiarise yourself with the various ways in which we can support you throughout the year to ensure that your LLM course is an exciting and rewarding experience.

Students can register for modules before arrival as well as at the start of the academic year. As part of the induction process you will get the opportunity to learn more about the various modules available and make choices that correspond to your interests. 

Studying part-time

All the LLM pathways may be taken part-time and completed over a period of two years. This mode of study is particularly suitable for barristers and solicitors who wish to combine professional practice with university-level study, gaining CPD points in the process.

Classes for part-time students on the LLM will be scheduled between 9am-6pm and students will typically have between 2-4 hours of teaching each week. Fees are the same as for full-time study but are split over two years. 

International students

For students from outside the UK, there will be an opportunity during induction to familiarise themselves with the English legal system, as it forms the basis for the modules on offer. The English for International Students Unit provides a range of support in reading and writing academic English.


Visit the Criminal Law and Criminal Justice - LLM page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

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