The MA programmes are designed primarily for students who wish to study law at a post-graduate level but do not already possess an undergraduate law degree. The programmes may be completed either through one year of full-time study or, through two or three years of part-time study. To facilitate their study of law, all MA students are required to attend a two-week Law and Legal Methods Pre-sessional Module in the September before they begin their MA.
SOAS offers nine different MA programmes in legal studies. Eight of the programmes are specialised, focusing on clusters of expertise within the Law School. The ninth programme, the MA in Legal Studies, is a general programme designed for students who want to study a variety of different subjects that do not fall within a particular specialisation. MA students take the same modules as LLM students, although a small number of Law modules are only open to students enrolled in the LLM.
All nine MA programmes have a common structure. In addition to a pre-sessional module, each MA student is required to successfully complete four (4.0) units of coursework and a 12,000 word dissertation on a topic related to his or her specialisation. Year-long modules are worth one (1.0) unit, while single-term modules are worth 0.5 units. A student will thus complete between four and eight taught modules during his or her MA programme.
Within the four taught modules, each student is required to take at least two (2.0) units associated with his or her specialised MA, a third unit within the School of Law, and a fourth unit which can be taken outside of the School of Law with the MA tutor’s permission. The dissertation will be worth an additional 2.0 units and will be undertaken within the student's desired area of specialisation in the School of Law.