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Master of Laws

Course Description

Master of Laws

This taught masters degree is a flexible modular qualification designed to consider the role and place of law in an increasingly globalised world. A critical legal approach is taken and the modules use different perspectives and case studies to explore, contextualise and illustrate a number of contemporary issues challenging the international community. Study on the degree is also designed to develop key postgraduate transferable skills, including advanced legal research, which are attractive to employers and which assist with professional advancement. It is designed for law graduates, non-law graduates and lawyers wanting to develop their interests in law at postgraduate level.

There is an increasing demand for professionals who have an in-depth understanding of the role and purpose of law in the increasing global society and the associated advanced legal research and reasoning skills.

This qualification enables you to pursue advanced legal study and gain those sought after postgraduate legal skills in a challenging but supportive environment. The approach taken throughout the qualification is the critical study of law and you will be encouraged to take both comparative and contextual perspectives.

As part of your studies you will explore the interaction of law, law making bodies, institutions and regulators in an international context, the role and function of law in an increasingly global society, the role of states, international institutions and multi-national companies. You will consider a range of contemporary legal issues such as corporate social responsibility, trans-national crime, humanitarian aid and security issues providing you with an opportunity to engage with topical legal issues. You will also explore current and possible future developments; receive grounding in law and its place in society; study methods of reasoning and analysis in law and evaluate the complexities inherent in law, regulation and legal study At the end of your studies you will have the opportunity to undertake an in-depth piece of independent legal research.

As part of your studies you will develop key legal transferable skills which are widely sought after in a wide range of legal and non-legal careers, both with a national and international dimension. You will become skilled in legal reasoning and engage in sustained, independent research.

The qualification will predominantly focus on common law systems although a comparative approach will be taken throughout. It is suitable for study whether you are a law graduate, non-law graduate or lawyer and on successful completion of the qualification you will be able to demonstrate an impressive array of transferable skills to employers.

If you are interested in becoming a lawyer (solicitor or barrister) you need to study our undergraduate Bachelor of Laws (LLB) (Hons).

Career relevance

This degree will contribute to your career development by providing academic knowledge and a number of highly sought after transferable skills valued by employers. Typically holders of the LLM will:

-deal with complex legal issues both systematically and creatively
-communicate their subject knowledge clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences
-demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems
-act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks
-reflect on the responsibilities linked to the application of knowledge
-demonstrate the ability to conceive, design, implement and adapt a substantial piece of independent research with scholarly integrity
-exercise initiative and personal responsibility
-be able to develop a persuasive legal argument based on evidence
-demonstrate independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

Visit the Master of Laws page on the Open University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Raymond Taylor

My first degree was a BA (Hons) Humanities that combined History (major) and law. That was way back in 1986 but I have maintained an interest in law ever since, and for the past few years have been writing court reports on a freelance basis for an online publisher. I was a journalist many years ago. It provides some much needed extra cash and helps me keep my hand in. My employer is happy to let me do this as it does not take up much of my time and there is no conflict of interest. I have also reviewed a couple of law-related books for the Prison Service Journal. So it was a natural progression to think about how I could extend my legal knowledge on a more formal basis.

Taking a Masters degree with a regular University would have proved difficult to fit in with my shift patterns, which are subject to constant change. So the OU approach is ideal for me. I can fit my study in between my working shifts.

I find the subject matter highly relevant to my work. Although a detailed knowledge of law is certainly not a requirement it adds another dimension of interest to what is a fascinating area of work. Furthermore, my second and current module is one of the optional modules: Forensic Psychology, which is of course highly relevant to the various areas of work within a prison.

Developing academic skills has helped me in my work in a number of ways. It helps me to think more about what I do and how it fits into the broader picture of custodial care. And when I research a topic for, say, a course assignment, I often stumble across articles of interest to my work in the prison service.

From a personal perspective, the main benefit of postgraduate education is that it helps me to extend my reading and research skills. Just as it is good for the body to do physical exercise and push yourself just that bit further, so it is good to extend intellectual skills by pushing the mind.


Entry Requirements

You should hold a UK honours degree (or equivalent or recognised overseas qualification) or relevant professional legal experience. You will be expected to follow the suggested study pathway, although there is some flexibility.

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