MA Legal Studies (General Programme)


Read more about this programme on the institution's website

Programme Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time

The MA in Legal Studies allows students to create their own programme structure, choosing modules from a range covering comparative regional law, trade law, law and development, commercial law (including copyright and patent law), human rights, environmental law, Islamic law, dispute resolution, and international law.

All SOAS modules are designed not only to introduce students to the general fields of law, but also to provide an understanding of how generic legal structures and processes may operate in non-Western social and cultural settings. All teachers on modules offered at SOAS are experts in their designated field. Many have years of experience advising governments, international organisations or non-governmental organisation, and many also have been or continue to be legal practitioners.


To facilitate their study of law, all MA students are required to attend a two-week Preliminary Law, Legal Reasoning and Legal Methods in September before they begin their MA.

Students must take modules to a total value of 180, consisting of a dissertation (60 credits) and 120 credits of taught modules. Taught modules are worth either 15 or 30 credits.

Students must take a minimum of 60 credits from the School of Law General Postgraduate Taught Modules List.

A further 60 credits can be taken from the same list, or from the SOAS Open Option Module List.

Finally, all students must complete the MA Dissertation in Law, a 12,000-word submission based on a Law topic of interest to the student.

Please note: Not all modules will be available every year.


Students must complete a Dissertation (12,000 words) in Law, which should be on a topic relating to their chosen MA specialism.

  • MA Dissertation in Law

Pre-sessional Component

  • Preliminary Law, Legal Reasoning and Legal Methods.

Taught Component

  • Choose modules from the List of General Law Options below to the value of 60 credits.


  • Choose a module from the List of General Law Options below or from Postgraduate Open Options to the value of 60 credits.

List of Linguistics Modules (subject to availability)

  • General Law Options
    • Alternative Dispute Resolution
    • Gender, Sexuality and Law: Selected Topics
    • Gender, Sexuality and Law: Theories and Methodologies
    • Human Rights and Islamic Law
    • International Commercial Arbitration
    • International Human Rights Clinic
    • International Investment Law
    • Islamic Law (MA/LLM)
    • Law and Development in Africa
    • Law and Society in Southeast Asia
    • Law and Society in The Middle East and North Africa
    • Law, Rights & Social Change
    • Preliminary Law, Legal Reasoning and Legal Methods
    • International Migration Law
    • International Refugee Law
    • Law and Society in South Asia
    • Mapping International Law in London: International Legal Geography in the Capital of Empire
    • Law, Environment and Social Justice
    • Law and Justice in Contemporary China
    • Climate Change Law and Policy
    • Colonialism, Empire and International Law
    • Comparative Constitutional Law
    • Foundations of International Law
    • Human Rights Of Women
    • International Criminal Law
    • International Environmental and Sustainable Development Law
    • International Protection of Human Rights
    • Justice, Reconciliation and Reconstruction in Post Conflict Societies
    • Law and Natural Resources
    • Law and Policy of International Courts and Tribunals
    • Law and Postcolonial Theory
    • Law of Islamic Finance
    • Law, Human Rights and Peace Building: The Israeli-Palestinian Case
    • Multinational Enterprises and The Law
    • The Law of Armed Conflict
    • The Law of International Trade and/or Financial Regulation
    • Water Law and Development: Conflicts, Governance and Justice
    • Water Law: Justice and Governance

Open Options Note
Open options from the cross-faculty list will need the approval of deputy PG programme convenor (LLM or MA)

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

You can apply for this course via the online application form.

We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.

Consideration of Application

The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.

Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.

Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.

Entry Requirements

Minimum second class honours preferably in a related discipline.

English Language Entry Requirements

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated Nov 2019

About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read Less
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