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.
Teaching, learning and assessment methods
Assessment will be undertaken through a variety of methods including:
- essay assignments
- practical reports
- problem-solving exercises
- group work
- a dissertation or other output from research/project work.
Teaching will be undertaken through specially designed study materials including study guides, interactive module websites, online discussion forums, access to an extensive on-line library and tutor support.
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.
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.
You will also need to be proficient in English, to an IELTS standard of 6.0. If you are unsure you will be able to take a free English test as part of the registration process.
There is a choice of routes through the qualification. You can start your studies with either of the compulsory modules Exploring legal meaning (W820) or Exploring the boundaries of international law (W821). These modules provide core postgraduate skills in legal methodology and research and knowledge of international law and legal thinking. They include a comparative approach.
Or you can start your studies with Business, human rights law and corporate social responsibilities (W822), or an optional module from another faculty. Please note that if you are claiming credit transfer from another postgraduate provider you may not need to study an optional module.
The law dissertation (W800) is the final module of the qualification and provides an opportunity to undertake a significant piece of independent legal research in a topic within a chosen specialist legal subject from the qualification.
Each module will involve around 12 hours of study per week.
You will typically take three years to gain this qualification and it must be completed within seven years.
You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.
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