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    18 January 2019

Law is a fascinating, complex and practically significant social phenomenon. From the regulation of private conflicts to the structure of government, virtually no aspect of our social lives is outside its grasp. The LLM in Law and Society at Keele allows students to gain a rigorous understanding of law and legal institutions from an interdisciplinary perspective. It is a small and selective programme that delivers high quality postgraduate training to students wishing to pursue a PhD in law and socio-legal studies or a career in the public and NGO sectors as well as a career at the bar.


The LLM embeds rigorous training in innovative methods, the acquisition of transferable skills, and genuine interdisciplinarity. It combines a set of foundational core modules in law and society with a flexible choice of electives. The course is particularly attractive to emergent researchers who desire to pursue an intensive programme of study in law and society.

The programme provides an approach to legal studies that is innovative in the UK context. It focuses on the wide range of research addressing the relation between law and its social, political, economic and cultural contexts, from empirical studies of the workings of law to cultural studies of law. The course will enable students to think critically about the wide range of research methods and approaches that are used by those interested in Law & Society.

Postgraduate students will find a range of support structures, including: research training; accessible staff supervisors; good library resources; access to postgraduate study rooms; and access to IT and legal research tools.

Students on the LLM will be taught by leading researchers in Law and Society. Keele hosts a wide range of seminars, workshops, lectures and visiting fellowships. Most of these activities are available without charge to Keele postgraduates.

'The seminars pushed my knowledge. They were relevant to a plethora of topics' - Student evaluation 2014.

'A very interesting course with a wide range of subject options in a very supportive and friendly department.’

Abigail Pearson, 2014 LLM graduate, and current PhD candidate.


The programme will introduce students to a wide range of research methods and socio-legal theory informing a critical analysis of the relationship between legal institutions and society. Students will apply these theories and research methods to current legal problems in a variety of subject areas, depending on their own interests and reasons for enrolling on the programme.

The programme also provides a solid foundation for pursuing further study at doctoral level.

The aims of the LLM in Law and Society are to support students to:

  • Develop a systemic and interdisciplinary understanding of the relationship between legal institutions and society in the context of one or more broad areas of socio-legal scholarship.
  • Engage in critical analysis of current socio-legal problems.
  • Engage in original thinking about the complex issues relating to research in law and society and an ability to communicate those issues to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Develop a critical understanding of socio-legal research methods and theory.
  • Develop the ability to work independently and in a coherent, focused and productive way.
  • Achieve a strong educational foundation that enhances students’ prospects of professional, third sector or academic employment.


This programme may be studied over a period of time of 1 year (full-time) or up to a maximum of 5 years, 2 years (part-time) and up to 5 years (modular), to fit with other commitments such as full-time employment.

The LLM consists of 180 M-level credits, made up of 120-credit taught modules and a 60-credit dissertation. There are compulsory taught modules on research in law and society. The remainder can be chosen from a broad range of elective modules offered by the Law School.

If students do not wish to complete the full 180 credits, they may choose to exit with a Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) or a Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits). A student must complete all taught modules before they may proceed to the dissertation module.


We offer two pathways for the LL.M. that cater for different career paths:

  • Pathway One offers a balance between core foundational modules and wide selection of elective modules.
  • Pathway Two is a research methods intense pathway for students who intend to pursue a Ph.D. and intend to apply for PhD funding.

Students choose their pathway after enrolment during the first two weeks of study. Students receive the same award title for both pathways.


The programme is taught principally through semester-long modules. During each taught module, students take part in a variety of different learning environments, from lectures to seminars and discussions to small group exercises. Each module is accompanied by extensive independent study and throughout the course students are encouraged and required to undertake independent reading both to supplement and consolidate the classes and to broaden individual knowledge and understanding of the subject.

The programme is assessed through written work and examinations. Exams are predominantly unseen. They require students to demonstrate their ability to identify and to critique socio-legal theoretical approaches and to critically engage with key concepts in socio-legal research. Written work may be in the form of research essays, critical book reviews and dissertation proposals. Through these written assignments students demonstrate their awareness of current socio-legal problems and a comprehensive understanding of socio-legal research methods and theory as well as their ability for original thinking and high-level written communication skills.


This programme will equip students for further postgraduate research (e.g. a Ph.D.), by providing comprehensive research training and an introduction to key socio-legal thinkers and scholarship. This dynamic and vibrant degree course will also provide those who wish to work in the public and NGO sectors with valuable research skills and transferable skills.

Visit the Law and Society LLM/PgCert/PgDip/CPD page on the Keele University website for more details!




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