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Constitutional Politics, Law and Theory (LLM)

Course Description

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.

Visit the Constitutional Politics, Law and Theory (LLM) page on the Birkbeck, University of London website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Irina Durnova

4061.jpg My first choice university was Birkbeck because of its unique constitutional law programme.

I was really surprised when I found out that one of my professors, Bill Bowring, speaks Russian and has professional connections with the Russian Federation. I am happy that he was appointed as a supervisor for my dissertation.

I enjoy the critical thinking approach, and I feel that my way of thinking and outlook is changing constantly here. I have two compulsory modules on the constitutional law and four optional modules.

(Student Profile)

Renato Morales

4093.jpg Renato Morales came across Birkbeck when he was investigating postgraduate law programmes in the UK. He thought that the content of Birkbeck’s LLM programme was extremely interesting and so he applied to the programme. He also received a Chevening scholarship from the British Council.

Renato knew that studying at Birkbeck would aid him in his career in his native Argentina. He said: 'A University of London qualification on my CV will really help me looking for jobs back home. It’s an internationally recognised award and very well respected.'

During the LLM programme Renato developed a good relationship with the tutors. He comments: 'The lecturers were incredibly interesting and I was introduced to new ideas and areas which I was then able to research in more detail. The tutors were always willing to answer questions and were very supportive and friendly.'

The other students on the course also provided support. Renato says: 'There was a mixture of people on the course. People from India, New Zealand, Brazil and the UK, and ages from 20 upwards. There was a nice, supportive atmosphere, and we often went out for a drink after class'

One of the most impressive things that Renato encountered at Birkbeck was the facilities. He says: 'Everything, from the library, to the electronic submission of assignments worked perfectly and made things so easy.'

Reflecting on what he got from his time at Birkbeck, Renato says: 'I know so much more about politics, law and human rights and that knowledge is going to be really helpful in my future career. I also feel much more confident about writing in English, and in my profession that will be a real advantage.'

For now, Renato is going to return to Buenos Aires and his job at the National Audit Office, but he is already thinking of returning to Birkbeck for a PhD in the future.


School of Law Postgraduate Fee Awards - 2 Awards

Law Postgraduate Fee Awards may be awarded by the College on the recommendation of the School’s Research Committee to candidates with an outstanding academic record who shows high potential for strong performance on one of the School’s Master's programmes.
The awards will cover the cost of fees only at the home/EU rate. Where an award is made to an international student, the student will be liable for the balance of their fees for the duration of their programme of study.
There is no maintenance award.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Cost of fees at the home/EU rate only


Awards may be made for full-time or part-time study and to Home, EU students or International students. Where an award is made to an international student the student will be liable for the balance of their fees for the duration of their programme of study.
Candidates will be expected to fulfil similar academic criteria to those demanded by external funding bodies. They will normally possess at least an upper second class honours degree or equivalent and not normally have previously completed a Postgraduate Taught Programme.
The competition is open to new students only.

Application Procedure

Before you can apply for this funding, you must submit an application to the College for one of our eligible master's programmes. Candidates will be considered for admission first, and for the award only after they have been offered a place (at least conditionally) onto the programme.
Once you have been offered a place, you can apply using the relevant application form

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Good second-class honours degree in law or a related discipline. Degrees from overseas institutions must be equivalent to a UK second-class degree. Other relevant qualifications and appropriate professional training and experience welcome. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

Course Fees

Part-time home/EU students: £ 3975 pa Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa

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