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Birkbeck, University of London, Full Time Masters Degrees in Law

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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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This programme places the study of law in a historical, social and comparative context. You will develop advanced skills in legal writing, oral presentation and critical reasoning. Read more
This programme places the study of law in a historical, social and comparative context. You will develop advanced skills in legal writing, oral presentation and critical reasoning. The programme emphasises the importance of an academic and intellectually challenging approach to the study of law, and of its institutions and processes.

LLM Qualifying Law Degree graduate Adam says 'The LLM Qualifying Law Degree at Birkbeck is different from other Graduate Diploma in Law programmes. A Graduate Diploma in Law is very straightforward and case-based, whereas the LLM Qualifying Law Degree at Birkbeck puts the study of law within a wider socio-economic and political framework, allowing you to be more critical. The Qualifying Law Degree gives you a social-political grounding in the law, which is lacking in a lot of legal programmes.'

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

If you already have a degree in a subject other than law, and would like to become a lawyer, then this qualification will enable you to pursue that ambition.
Allows you to study the core courses you need to complete the academic stage of training for the profession, recognised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board.
A law degree is widely respected and you can use it to further your existing career or simply study out of interest.
Studying law at Birkbeck focuses on understanding law's social and political context; it is more than just 'professional' training.
Our staff are recognised internationally as experts in their fields, and are particularly well-known for addressing legal issues from a multidisciplinary, critical and sociolegal perspective.
We have extended office hours to reflect the needs of students who work during the day, and dedicated weekend skills workshops for law students. We use technology such as electronic learning environments to enhance teaching and learning. You can access one-to-one tutorial support for your core modules via the School of Law's telephone tuition line.
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.
We have a designated learning co-ordinator who runs a study skills programme. This includes advice on essay writing, time management, efficient reading and note-making, giving presentations and participating in seminars.
A range of extra-curricular activities are organised throughout the year. You will be able to hear guest speakers of international renown and you can participate in our Student Law Society. An annual retreat takes place at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park, which allows you to explore a range of contemporary issues in law with specialist speakers. You can also participate in our successful mooting programme, where advocacy training is given by experienced, practising barristers.

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.

Read less
Security is a major contemporary preoccupation; criminal law and criminal justice are key responses. This postgraduate degree in criminal law and criminal justice offers an exciting, challenging and distinctive opportunity to undertake advanced study in these areas. Read more
Security is a major contemporary preoccupation; criminal law and criminal justice are key responses. This postgraduate degree in criminal law and criminal justice offers an exciting, challenging and distinctive opportunity to undertake advanced study in these areas.

The central focus of the programme is the interface between criminal law and criminal justice. It offers a theoretically informed and multidisciplinary course of study. In addition to studying the now established critical and theoretical perspectives relevant to criminal law and criminal justice, the programme also has a humanities focus, which offers an opportunity to explore and engage with cutting-edge scholarship in criminal law and criminal justice studies.

The programme is delivered by staff from the School of Law, the Institute of Criminal Policy Research at Birkbeck, and a range of visiting international scholars and practitioners.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Designed for students who are passionate about criminal law and criminal justice, who want to face new challenges, and who are interested in exploring and developing new critical perspectives on major contemporary national and international debates.
Flexible learning, studying in the evening, makes it particularly attractive to legal and criminal justice professionals and practitioners.
The School of Law 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.
The School of Law is also the home of the Institute for Criminal Policy Research. Mike Hough and Paul Turnbull, its co-directors, lead a team of outstanding researchers. They bring a wealth of knowledge to the Master's programme, participating in core and specialist modules and providing dissertation supervision.
We use technology, such as electronic learning environments, to enhance teaching and learning. Birkbeck Library has an extensive teaching collection of books, journals and electronic resources in law and related disciplines, such as economics, politics and sociology. For example, it provides access to over 17,000 electronic journals, which are available online 24 hours a day. Find out more about our teaching and learning resources.
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.

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.

Read less
This innovative LLM enables you to tailor your studies to your professional and research interests. You choose 1 out of 2 critical pathways, electing to combine the study of international economic law with either finance and global markets or with justice and development. Read more
This innovative LLM enables you to tailor your studies to your professional and research interests. You choose 1 out of 2 critical pathways, electing to combine the study of international economic law with either finance and global markets or with justice and development. Both pathways draw on cutting-edge critical research to examine contemporary issues and problems.

If you are interested in finance, global markets and international economic institutions, you may select the LLM International Finance and Economic Law (Intensive).

If you wish to study global development issues and economic institutions you should consider the LLM International Economic Law, Justice and Development (Intensive).

LLM International Finance and Economic Law (Intensive)

What is it about finance that makes it appear powerful? How does finance relate to different senses of law, norms and regulation?

The first time the concept of 'freedom' was written down, in Mesopotamia c.2400 BC as ama-gi, its use did not relate to liberty from tyrannical rule, but to freedom from debt-slavery. Why is it that from the first civilisations to the present, debt-finance has exercised such power over peoples that it has led thinkers as diverse as Hindu theologians and classical economists to link finance to power?

Adopting an avowedly critical perspective, this programme refuses simply to accept current financial law and economics as given. The programme develops an understanding of the conditions in which financial crises develop. It is designed to examine the nature of finance and the power it exercises within society. Focusing on the law, economics and practice of international finance leading up to the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, you will be presented with critical theoretical tools with which to interrogate the role of finance in society, and in particular its effects on value systems. This programme’s critical depth and breadth affords you a unique opportunity to concretise and engage with the questions you have asked about the failures of finance.

To achieve this, you will be given a solid grounding in the legal and economic principles of finance. We examine the practice of finance in today’s financial capitals with their money markets and complicated corporate structures. You will develop practical knowledge and the theoretical tools necessary to critique finance as such: from questioning the concepts of money and value, to the power of finance with respect to time and space, the nexus of finance and consciousness, to the deep relations between finance, consumption, desire and life itself.

The study of finance will be combined with that of international economic institutions, and a range of specialised modules that you can choose based on your individual interests.

LLM International Economic Law, Justice and Development (Intensive)

Should those who are relatively poor regard international economic law as a means, end, obstacle or irrelevance to improving their lives? What role do international economic institutions play in shaping and responding to global events and crises?

The impact of international economic law and institutions upon justice and development justifiably commands increasing attention from all quarters: local politicians and international celebrities, savvy pharmaceutical companies and bewildered farmers, moral philosophers and foreign investors.

This is the only postgraduate programme in the UK to address the law, institutions and practices that constitute global and local economies from an avowedly critical perspective. It is particularly well suited to (current and aspiring) lawyers and non-lawyers within non-governmental organisations, government departments and in-house corporate social responsibility departments who wish to critically reflect on their role as practitioners. It also offers an opportunity for research and study for those considering a career change in the direction of working in, and with, international economic institutions or international development.

Preliminary reading is sent to new students in January, with the first block of intensive, face-to-face teaching in March/April.

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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.

Read less
Should those who are relatively poor regard international economic law as a means, end, obstacle or irrelevance to improving their lives?. Read more
Should those who are relatively poor regard international economic law as a means, end, obstacle or irrelevance to improving their lives?

From Shock Therapy 1992, to Seattle 1999, to Shock and Awe 2003, to Live8 2005, to Financial Crisis 2007, to G20 2009, to Haiti 2010, the impact of international economic law and institutions upon justice and development justifiably commands increasing attention from all quarters: local politicians and international celebrities, savvy pharmaceutical companies and bewildered farmers, moral philosophers and foreign investors.

This is the only postgraduate programme in the UK to address the law, institutions and practice which constitute global and local economies from an avowedly critical perspective, part- and full-time, in face-to-face evening sessions. It is particularly well suited to (current and aspiring) lawyers and non-lawyers within non-governmental organisations, government departments and in-house corporate social responsibility departments, who wish to critically reflect on their role as practitioners.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

A unique programme, training you in the critical examination of the law, institutions and practice that constitute global and local economies.
Taught by established experts on theory and practice in the field.
Introduces you to a broad geographical and institutional spectrum, from Latin America to Africa, from the European Union to the World Bank, and onwards to the World Social Forum.
The School of Law 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.

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.

Read less
This programme builds on the School of Law's experience in providing postgraduate legal education at Master's level. Studying over 1 or 2 years, you will have an opportunity to tailor your programme of studies to your own professional or research interests. Read more
This programme builds on the School of Law's experience in providing postgraduate legal education at Master's level. Studying over 1 or 2 years, you will have an opportunity to tailor your programme of studies to your own professional or research interests. A personal supervisor will help you choose your best path through a wide range of options. If you so wish, your personal supervisor will also provide you with support if you undertake a research dissertation option.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Benefit from sophisticated learning resources and the expert direction of high-level research academics.
Designed to give you maximum flexibility in your choice of modules.
The School of Law 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 teaching collection of books, journals and electronic resources in law and related disciplines, such as economics, politics and sociology. For example, it provides access to over 17,000 electronic journals, which are available online 24 hours a day. Find out more about our teaching and learning resources.
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.

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.

Read less
This innovative course offers a unique insight into the global dimensions of crime and punishment in today's world. Read more
This innovative course offers a unique insight into the global dimensions of crime and punishment in today's world.

Exploring both cutting-edge criminological theory and current real-world phenomena related to crime and punishment, the programme provides a multidisciplinary platform for you to engage with the complexity of contemporary criminological challenges.

You will be introduced to the theoretical debates that underpin understanding of the relationship between global, national and local questions of crime and punishment. You will also learn about the range of research methods that are used to explore such questions.

In addition to the 3 modules that form the compulsory core of the programme - International Criminological Theory, Research Methods in Criminology and the Global Criminology Dissertation - you will choose a further 3 option modules from a wide range offered within the School of Law, including an internships option that will give you the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of the reality and importance of the idea of 'the global' for organisations engaged in criminal justice and related work.

By insisting on a genuinely international perspective that looks at, but also beyond, the experiences of affluent societies that have characteristically dominated criminological scholarship to date, the programme encourages you to think broadly and innovatively about this dynamic, burgeoning field of study.

The course will appeal to those seeking to develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of the key theoretical and practical issues that have shaped and currently play a major role in influencing matters of crime and punishment from a global perspective.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

This programme offers a unique combination of cutting-edge theory, research methods training, an integral dissertation component, and an optional internship module.
Teaching on the programme is provided by experts in respective subjects, including by members of the renowned Institute for Criminal Policy Research, which has long contributed to policy-making, scholarship and public debate about crime and criminal justice.
Birkbeck's School of Law is also home to the Birkbeck Criminology Seminar Series, which provides a platform for leading and cutting-edge research and features guest speakers from around the world.
The Institute for Criminal Policy Research and, within it, the International Centre for Prison Studies, make the School of Law a dynamic and prestigious hub for criminological research and study, as well as an exciting arena for global criminological scholarship and teaching more particularly.
The School of Law is home to an exceptionally international range of empirical and theoretical scholarship conducted by its members, which is reflected in the teaching offered.
The School is also an internationally recognised centre for critical and interdisciplinary research in law, which provides a highly stimulating environment for research and teaching. It is the home of Birkbeck Law Press and publishes Law and Critique: The International Journal of Critical Legal Thought.
IT resources, such as electronic learning environments, are used at Birkbeck to enhance teaching and learning. Birkbeck Library has an extensive teaching collection of books, journals and electronic resources in law and related disciplines, such as economics, politics and sociology. It provides access to over 17,000 electronic journals, which are available online 24 hours a day. Find out more about our teaching and learning resources.
Students 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.
Birkbeck’s commitment to flexible learning and provision of evening teaching makes it an appealing choice for professionals and practitioners and is ideal if you want to combine studying with working during the day.

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.

Read less
The School of Law is proud to offer this exciting and innovative Master’s programme, leading to the award of an LLM or MA Human Rights. Read more
The School of Law is proud to offer this exciting and innovative Master’s programme, leading to the award of an LLM or MA Human Rights. The distinctive focus of the programme is on theoretically informed and multidisciplinary approaches to human rights. It aims to expose you to a critical and contextual engagement with the subject. You will study human rights in their legal, political, sociological, anthropological and philosophical contexts.

Political, social and economic challenges are frequently articulated through the language of human rights. Is the rise of human rights discourse an emblem of hope and a political horizon, mobilising resistance to human need and suffering? Or do human rights claims deflect more radical political demands and block real transformation? Can the manifold crises of contemporary life be made more intelligible through the frame of human rights? These are some of the questions taken up in this programme.

You will be introduced to a wide variety of approaches to research across a range of disciplines, and to the theoretical frameworks for advanced legal scholarship. You will also take specialist courses, choosing from a wide range of subjects in the area of human rights.

The programme is particularly attractive to legal professionals, and to non-lawyers who work, or would like to work, in the field of human rights, allowing them to reflect critically on their role as human rights activists and practitioners.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

The programme has close ties to a number of leading human rights NGOs and is informed by critical engagement with, and analysis of, human rights practice.
Designed for students who are interested in exploring in depth the major contemporary debates concerning the theory and practice of human rights.
Unique programme, focusing on the study of human rights from a critical, contextual and multidisciplinary perspective.
Critical introduction to the vibrant world of human rights practice.
The School of Law 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 IT resources, such as electronic learning environments, to enhance teaching and learning. Birkbeck Library has an extensive teaching collection of books, journals and electronic resources in law and related disciplines, such as economics, politics and sociology. For example, it provides access to over 17,000 electronic journals, which are available online 24 hours a day. Find out more about our teaching and learning resources.
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.

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.

Read less
Birkbeck's School of Law is proud to offer this exciting and innovative Master’s programme, leading to the award of an LLM or MA Human Rights. Read more
Birkbeck's School of Law is proud to offer this exciting and innovative Master’s programme, leading to the award of an LLM or MA Human Rights. The distinctive focus of the programme is on theoretically informed and multidisciplinary approaches to human rights. It is also practical, setting out the impact of human rights on business, with some case studies. It aims to expose you to a critical and contextual engagement with the subject. You will study human rights in their political, legal, sociological, anthropological and philosophical contexts.

Human rights has emerged as the dominant discourse through which political, social and economic challenges are articulated. Is the rise of human rights as emblem of resistance and political horizon a reflection of the exponential rise of human need and suffering, or is it a convenient means of deflecting more radical political demands and transformation? What are the mechanisms through which various crises are made intelligible through human rights? What about the convergence of human rights and corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the implications of the growth of 'business and human rights' in international media? These are among the questions taken up in this programme.

You will be introduced to a wide variety of approaches to research across a range of disciplines, and to the theoretical frameworks for advanced legal scholarship. You will also take specialist courses, choosing from a wide range of subjects in the area of human rights.

The programme has close ties to a number of leading human rights NGOs and is informed by critical engagement with, and analysis of, human rights practice.

This programme will be attractive to those who wish to develop a career in the human rights field. It is especially aimed at more established participants in human rights practice across the spectrum of professional, NGO, governmental and inter-governmental activity, as well as CSR professionals in the private sector, who wish to take time to reflect and to deepen their understanding.

Preliminary reading is sent to new students in January, with the first block of intensive, face-to-face teaching in March/April.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Our new intensive programme is ideal if you are unable to follow a weekly course of study (for example, due to your work or family circumstances).
Designed for students who are interested in exploring in depth the major contemporary debates in human rights.
Unique programme, focusing on the study of human rights from a critical, contextual and multidisciplinary perspective.
The School of Law 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 IT resources, such as electronic learning environments, to enhance teaching and learning. Birkbeck Library has an extensive teaching collection of books, journals and electronic resources in law and related disciplines, such as economics, politics and sociology. For example, it provides access to over 17,000 electronic journals, which are available online 24 hours a day. Find out more about our teaching and learning resources.
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.

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.

Read less

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