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Master of Laws

This LLM enables you to pursue further legal study at postgraduate level. It is suitable whether you intend to work in a legal field or are considering an academic career. The LLM is designed for law graduates, non-law graduates and lawyers wanting to develop their interests in law at postgraduate level. It is equally suitable if you are a recent graduate or have obtained your degree some time ago and want to update your skills. You will develop key transferable skills which will be attractive to employers and assist with professional advancement.

The LLM enables you to pursue legal study at an advanced level in a challenging but supportive environment whether you are a law graduate, non-law graduate or lawyer. You can choose subject areas relevant to contemporary issues through specially designed study and supervised research. Through your study you will have the opportunity to enhance your legal research skills and develop expertise in a chosen field.

You will explore the interaction of law, law making bodies, institutions and regulators in an international context and the role and function of law in an increasingly global society, in which both states and multi-national companies compete.

The approach taken throughout this LLM will be the critical study of law. You will be encouraged to take both comparative and contextual perspectives on the law during your studies. You will study contemporary subject areas 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. The LLM will predominantly focus on common law systems although a comparative approach will be taken throughout.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Career relevance and employability

This degree will contribute to your career development by providing academic knowledge and a number of 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 legal issues
  • act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks
  • reflect on the responsibilities linked to the application of their knowledge
  • demonstrate the ability to conceive, design, implement and adapt a substantial piece of 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.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Modules

For this 180-credit postgraduate degree you require:

120 credits from the following compulsory modules

Postgraduate compulsory modules Credits Next start
Exploring legal meaning (W820) 30-credit module planned for first presentation in November
Exploring the boundaries of international law (W821) 30-credit module planned for first presentation in May
The law dissertation (W800) 60-credit module planned for first presentation in November

And at least 30 credits from Group A modules

Group A

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Business, human rights law and corporate social responsibility (W822)

This course examines the nature of corporate commitment to principles of corporate social responsibility in different contexts and its inter-relationship with human rights law.

See full description.

30 May

Or the 30-credit module Continuing professional development in practice (UYA810).

Please note that UYA810 is part of the Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Professional Practice (Employment Law Advice) qualification only available to those working for ACAS. Therefore if you do not hold this qualification W822 is currently a compulsory module in Group A.

And up to 30 credits from Group B modules

Group B

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Capacities for managing development (TU870)

This course provides development practitioners with a conceptual framework for analysing development management practice; and develops skills and capacities for analytical thinking and strategic action.

See full description.

30 May
Continuing professional development in practice (U810)

Audit and assess the impact that your continuing professional development (CPD) activity has had on your work, and evaluate ways of sharing your learning.

See full description.

30 May
Critical criminological perspectives (D867)

This course introduces the challenging and thought-provoking approaches of critical criminology and their application to key issues in crime and justice.

See full description.

30 Nov
Development: context and practice (TU871)

This foundation course for our MSc in Development Management gives a grounding in development studies and explores the meaning and challenge of international development today.

See full description.

30 May
Forensic psychology: crime, offenders and policing (D872)

This course explores important and fascinating questions and issues in the psychology of crime, offenders and policing

See full description.

30 May
Forensic psychology: witnesses, experts and evidence on trial (D873)

Examine important questions and issues in the psychology of witnessing, legal decisions and expertise in court.

See full description.

30 Nov

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued module D864

Please note that U810 and UYA810 cannot both be counted towards this qualification.

Educational aims

The qualification provides a broad education in lawand postgraduate legal research. It is designed for those with a personal or professional interest in law and will be suitable for study by both law and non-law graduates. The qualification develops key postgraduate legal skills and knowledge alongside specialisation in an area of law.

On completion of the LLM you will be able to demonstrate

  • an ability to apply legal knowledge and understanding, in new or unfamiliar environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts
  • problem solving abilities in new or unfamiliar environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts
  • an ability to integrate knowledge, handle complexity and formulate judgements with incomplete or limited information
  • an ability to communicate your conclusions and the knowledge and rationale underpinning these, to specialist and non-specialist audiences clearly and unambiguously
  • skills and knowledge which can usefully be applied in the legal profession, public services or industry.

You will also be able to:

  • act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks
  • deal with complex legal issues both systematically and creatively
  • construct and develop a persuasive legal argument based on evidence
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving legal problems
  • reflect on the social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of your knowledge
  • undertake critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas
  • learn independently, required for continuing professional development.

In relation to research you will be able to demonstrate:

  • the skills required for postgraduate legal research
  • a comprehensive understanding of the techniques and methods applicable to postgraduate legal research and legal methodology
  • the ability to conceive, design, implement and adapt a substantial piece of research with scholarly integrity
  • an ability to evaluate and critique research methodologies.

Learning outcomes

The qualification provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes as follows:

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of the LLM you will be able to demonstrate:

    • knowledge and understanding of your chosen specialism, informed by current practice, scholarship and research
    • critical awareness of current issues and developments in the area of your chosen specialism
    • the application of research to practical and theoretical situations
    • the use of a range of techniques and research methods
    • the ability to complete a research project in the your chosen specialism, which may include a critical review of existing literature or other scholarly outputs
    • a systematic understanding of the role of law
    • a critical awareness of current legal issues and developments
    • an ability to critically evaluate current laws, legal thinking and research
    • advanced intellectual engagement with difficult issues in law.

Cognitive skills

On completion of the LLM you will be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • solve legal problems in creative and innovative ways
  • undertake crucial analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas
  • make decisions in complex and challenging situations
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving advanced legal problems
  • reflect on the social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of your knowledge
  • act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional level.

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of the LLM you will be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • exercise initiative and personal responsibility
  • continue to study in a self directed or autonomous manner
  • learn independently and continue to develop professionally.

Key skills

On completion of the LLM you will be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • communicate effectively, with colleagues and a wider audience, in a variety of media
  • communicate your conclusions and the knowledge and rationale underpinning these, to specialist and non-specialist audiences clearly and unambiguously
  • construct and develop a persuasive legal argument based on evidence
  • use initiative and take responsibility.

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