Introduction

Human Rights and Criminal Justice at Aberdeen offers a fascinating programme that explores the underlying philosophies and policies of criminal procedures and investigates how human rights impact on criminal justice systems around the world.

This programme is studied on campus.

With the increasing global demand for criminal justice to comply with human rights, now is the perfect time to study these two disciplines together. Within small teaching groups, you will have the opportunity to share knowledge and experiences of criminal justice with students from various countries. This programme explores human rights and criminal justice from an international viewpoint and will give you the opportunity to use your critical thinking to full effect. You will have the opportunity to study subjects such as Criminal Law, The Politics of Human Rights, Intellectual Property, Human Rights and Development.

This programme was designed with the assistance of human rights and criminal justice experts as well as our internal staff at the University. This collaborative approach will provide you with valuable insights into both subjects and will advance your understanding of factors that influence them. The programme has been carefully coordinated to align with the competencies of top employers in the legal profession.

The University of Aberdeen is known for attracting world-class teaching staff with international experience in their specialist subjects. You will have access to first rate teaching from globally respected staff, such as Programme Director Professor Pete Duff, who specialises in criminal justice, evidence and procedure. He has also worked at the Centre for Criminological Research in the University of Oxford, the City University of Hong Kong and the University of the South Pacific.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
LLM
Duration
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
January or September

Study Options

LLM 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time January
Semester 1

Semester 1

For January students, the first semester covers courses with the prefix LS55 and there is the compulsory course LS551T Critical Legal Thinking and Scholarship.

Compulsory Courses

Critical Legal Thinking and Scholarship (LS551T)

This compulsory course provides students from diverse legal and educational backgrounds with a common understanding of the core research, analytical, and writing skills which would be required to excel in LLM-Taught courses. It commences with a few lectures and progresses to working within smaller groups in a workshop environment and finally to the submission of an individual assignment. It also incorporates elements such as library workshops to provide students with hands-on experience with the resources available for course and dissertation work.

View detailed information about this course

International Human Rights Law (LS5590) - 30 Credit Points

The course was designed to help students build competence in dealing with the doctrinal issues about international human rights. It involves understanding the place of human rights in public international law, finding one’s way around the foundational human rights documents and the jurisprudence of human rights bodies. The course delivery puts heavy emphasis on classroom discussion on the controversial issues on contemporary human rights law that shape doctrinal development in this field: the justifiability of torture, the limits of freedom of religion, the justiciability of social rights, etc

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

Thereafter three optional courses must be selected over semesters one and three.
At least one must be selected from the Human Rights programme (LS501D, LS5068, LS5549, LS5590, LS551G) and at least one from the Criminal Justice programme (LS5096, LS501R, LS551R, LS551S, LS5597). One course may be selected from another LLM programme (excluding, LS501E, and LS551K).

International Humanitarian Law (LS551G) - 30 Credit Points

The course explores the history, nature and salient features of the the laws and customs of war, also called international humanitarian law (IHL). The laws are enshrined, inter alia, in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977. The principles of distinction, humanity, necessity and proportionality as applied to contemporary armed conflicts are examined. The course emphasises the rules and challenges pertaining to civilian immunity, occupation, legal controls on weapons and how IHL is implemented and enforced. It also clarifies the differences/complementarity between IHL and international human rights law and the law on the use of force.

View detailed information about this course

The use of Force in International Law (LS5549) - 30 Credit Points

The course analyses how international law regulates the use of armed forces between States. It is of interest to students who want to understand the legal considerations which frame contemporary conflicts. The course will study the fundamental principle of the prohibition on the use of inter-State force. It will examine the current exceptions to this principle, and how States try to justify the use of force. Consequently, the course will study the most recent recourses to force on the international plane, in particular in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. Teaching will be delivered mainly through discussion based seminars.

View detailed information about this course

Criminal Evidence and Proof (LS551R) - 30 Credit Points

This course is comparative in nature and examines in depth various, key evidentiary doctrines, focussing upon the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and differences in the approaches adopted by national jurisdictions. Topics addressed include: the nature of proof; expert evidence; vulnerable witnesses; hearsay; the right to confrontation; similar facts evidence; corroboration; and the presumption of innocence. The emphasis is not so much on ‘black-letter law’ but on the principles and policies, often clashing, which underlie the detailed legal rules and regulations governing the relevant types of evidence.

View detailed information about this course

Criminal Law (LS551S) - 30 Credit Points

The course examines topics of current interest in criminal law from a theoretical perspective. The course focuses on the moral principles and policy considerations underlying specific criminal laws, rather than taking a purely “black-letter law” approach. It considers how some of the most serious offences, such as murder and rape, should be defined and also examines various defences such as provocation, diminished responsibility, mental disorder, coercion and necessity.

View detailed information about this course

Semester 2

Semester 2

Semester 2 for January starts is the summer period during which time students write their dissertation.

Compulsory Courses

Master of Law Dissertation (LS5904) - 60 Credit Points

Between May and mid-August students prepare a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic of their choice related to their specialist LLM programme. Students are instructed through the delivery of a preparatory lecture, two supervisory meetings and a two hour dissertation planning workshop in a small group setting. Students are expected to spend considerable time on independent research throughout the course of the dissertation module, including; preparation of dissertation plan, amendment of plan in accordance with supervisory comments, preparation for the dissertation workshop, and, of course, in the final 10,000 word dissertation itself.

View detailed information about this course

Semester 3

Semester 3

Optional Courses

Oil and Minerals for Good (LS501D) - 30 Credit Points

The course examines the relationship between law, energy and natural resources, ethics, governance and development at the national and international levels on the one hand and variable developmental outcomes, particularly the resource curse phenomenon, on the other hand. The course then proceeds to apply advanced academic and experiential knowledge to formulate the fundamentals for overarching legal frameworks that will enable the good exploitation and development of energy and natural resources, thereby producing enduring benefits for all key stakeholders.

View detailed information about this course

The Politics of Human Rights (LS5068) - 30 Credit Points

The course addresses the political processes by which human rights law is created and sustained (e.g. by exploring the main drivers of the change in human rights norms – like global civil society activism). Classroom discussions look into the ways in which international human rights law shapes controversial issues of international politics (like the problems of international development or humanitarian intervention). Two seminars are dedicated to ‘case studies’ on human rights politics: (1) the practice of human rights activism, and (2) the relevance of human rights for dealing with the social and political tensions generated by the oil industry in Nigeria.

View detailed information about this course

Issues in Criminal Justice (LS5096) - 30 Credit Points

This course is comparative in nature and examines in depth certain aspects of the criminal justice process, focussing upon differences between the adversarial and inquisitorial models. Examples are mainly drawn from Scotland, England and continental Europe. Topics addressed include: prosecution systems; the position of the accused; the status granted to the victim; plea-bargaining; the trial process; and appeals. The emphasis is not so much on ‘black-letter law’ but on the principles and policies, often clashing, which underlie the detailed legal rules and regulations governing the relevant institutions and processes.

View detailed information about this course

International Law: A Time of Challenges (LS501U) - 30 Credit Points

The course analyses recent developments in public international law. It first considers the sources of public international law. The question is then asked whether traditional public international law can regulate pressing issues on the international plane. Examples of these problems are: international terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation, protection of human rights, ethnic conflicts, climate change, and energy security supply. The course encourages the student to think creatively as an international lawyer to resolve contemporary international dilemmas. Teaching will be delivered through discussion based seminars. Assessment is based on the drafting of an essay and an exam.

View detailed information about this course

LLM 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time January or September
Semester 1

Semester 1

The information listed below is for September start students. Information for January starts can be found under "Other Ways to Study".

Compulsory Courses

All candidates must take the following course:

Critical Legal Thinking and Scholarship (LS501T)

This compulsory course provides students from diverse legal and educational backgrounds with a common understanding of the core research, analytical, and writing skills which would be required to excel in LLM-Taught courses. It commences with a few lectures and progresses to working within smaller groups in a workshop environment and finally to the submission of an individual assignment. It also incorporates elements such as library workshops to provide students with hands-on experience with the resources available for course and dissertation work.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

Thereafter three optional courses must be selected over semesters one and two.
At least one must be selected from the Human Rights programme (LS501D, LS5068, LS5549, LS5590, LS551G) and at least one from the Criminal Justice programme (LS5096, LS501R, LS551R, LS551S, LS5597). One course may be selected from another LLM programme (excluding, LS501E, and LS551K).

Oil and Minerals for Good (LS501D) - 30 Credit Points

The course examines the relationship between law, energy and natural resources, ethics, governance and development at the national and international levels on the one hand and variable developmental outcomes, particularly the resource curse phenomenon, on the other hand. The course then proceeds to apply advanced academic and experiential knowledge to formulate the fundamentals for overarching legal frameworks that will enable the good exploitation and development of energy and natural resources, thereby producing enduring benefits for all key stakeholders.

View detailed information about this course

The Politics of Human Rights (LS5068) - 30 Credit Points

The course addresses the political processes by which human rights law is created and sustained (e.g. by exploring the main drivers of the change in human rights norms – like global civil society activism). Classroom discussions look into the ways in which international human rights law shapes controversial issues of international politics (like the problems of international development or humanitarian intervention). Two seminars are dedicated to ‘case studies’ on human rights politics: (1) the practice of human rights activism, and (2) the relevance of human rights for dealing with the social and political tensions generated by the oil industry in Nigeria.

View detailed information about this course

Issues in Criminal Justice (LS5096) - 30 Credit Points

This course is comparative in nature and examines in depth certain aspects of the criminal justice process, focussing upon differences between the adversarial and inquisitorial models. Examples are mainly drawn from Scotland, England and continental Europe. Topics addressed include: prosecution systems; the position of the accused; the status granted to the victim; plea-bargaining; the trial process; and appeals. The emphasis is not so much on ‘black-letter law’ but on the principles and policies, often clashing, which underlie the detailed legal rules and regulations governing the relevant institutions and processes.

View detailed information about this course

International Law: A Time of Challenges (LS501U) - 30 Credit Points

The course analyses recent developments in public international law. It first considers the sources of public international law. The question is then asked whether traditional public international law can regulate pressing issues on the international plane. Examples of these problems are: international terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation, protection of human rights, ethnic conflicts, climate change, and energy security supply. The course encourages the student to think creatively as an international lawyer to resolve contemporary international dilemmas. Teaching will be delivered through discussion based seminars. Assessment is based on the drafting of an essay and an exam.

View detailed information about this course

Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

All candidates must take the following course:

International Human Rights Law (LS5590) - 30 Credit Points

The course was designed to help students build competence in dealing with the doctrinal issues about international human rights. It involves understanding the place of human rights in public international law, finding one’s way around the foundational human rights documents and the jurisprudence of human rights bodies. The course delivery puts heavy emphasis on classroom discussion on the controversial issues on contemporary human rights law that shape doctrinal development in this field: the justifiability of torture, the limits of freedom of religion, the justiciability of social rights, etc

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

Criminal Evidence and Proof (LS551R) - 30 Credit Points

This course is comparative in nature and examines in depth various, key evidentiary doctrines, focussing upon the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and differences in the approaches adopted by national jurisdictions. Topics addressed include: the nature of proof; expert evidence; vulnerable witnesses; hearsay; the right to confrontation; similar facts evidence; corroboration; and the presumption of innocence. The emphasis is not so much on ‘black-letter law’ but on the principles and policies, often clashing, which underlie the detailed legal rules and regulations governing the relevant types of evidence.

View detailed information about this course

Criminal Law (LS551S) - 30 Credit Points

The course examines topics of current interest in criminal law from a theoretical perspective. The course focuses on the moral principles and policy considerations underlying specific criminal laws, rather than taking a purely “black-letter law” approach. It considers how some of the most serious offences, such as murder and rape, should be defined and also examines various defences such as provocation, diminished responsibility, mental disorder, coercion and necessity.

View detailed information about this course

The use of Force in International Law (LS5549) - 30 Credit Points

The course analyses how international law regulates the use of armed forces between States. It is of interest to students who want to understand the legal considerations which frame contemporary conflicts. The course will study the fundamental principle of the prohibition on the use of inter-State force. It will examine the current exceptions to this principle, and how States try to justify the use of force. Consequently, the course will study the most recent recourses to force on the international plane, in particular in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. Teaching will be delivered mainly through discussion based seminars.

View detailed information about this course

International Humanitarian Law (LS551G) - 30 Credit Points

The course explores the history, nature and salient features of the the laws and customs of war, also called international humanitarian law (IHL). The laws are enshrined, inter alia, in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977. The principles of distinction, humanity, necessity and proportionality as applied to contemporary armed conflicts are examined. The course emphasises the rules and challenges pertaining to civilian immunity, occupation, legal controls on weapons and how IHL is implemented and enforced. It also clarifies the differences/complementarity between IHL and international human rights law and the law on the use of force.

View detailed information about this course

Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Master of Law Dissertation (LS5904) - 60 Credit Points

Between May and mid-August students prepare a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic of their choice related to their specialist LLM programme. Students are instructed through the delivery of a preparatory lecture, two supervisory meetings and a two hour dissertation planning workshop in a small group setting. Students are expected to spend considerable time on independent research throughout the course of the dissertation module, including; preparation of dissertation plan, amendment of plan in accordance with supervisory comments, preparation for the dissertation workshop, and, of course, in the final 10,000 word dissertation itself.

View detailed information about this course

Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Distinct from some other esteemed law schools, students at Aberdeen benefit from very personal, high contact teaching and enjoy active engagement with academics. Even when studying independently, you will benefit from having regular contact with your course coordinator and other members of the teaching staff.

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

By course work, by written examination, or by a combination of these, as prescribed for each course. The degree of LLM shall not be awarded to a candidate who fails to achieve a CGS grade of D3 or above in the specified dissertation course, irrespective of their performance in other courses: such candidates may, at the discretion of the Examiners, be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.

Why Study Human Rights and Criminal Justice?

Ever since the University’s opening in 1495, the Law School has played a pivotal role in Aberdeen’s history - and there’s no substitute for experience.

  • Our Law School is ranked 10th in the UK, out of more than 90 law schools (The Complete University Guide 2018).
  • In an LLM exit survey we carried out in 2016, 98% of students felt that their LLM had added value to their career prospects and 97% would recommend their course to others.

  • There are over 40 nationalities within the School of Law postgraduate community, so you will benefit from the experiences of international students from all over the world.

Students choose to study Law at Aberdeen because of our reputation for academic excellence and unrivalled student experience. At Aberdeen, you will:

  • Develop a solid grounding to pursue a career in the legal profession through developing your critical thinking and deepening your knowledge of how human rights affect criminal justice systems.
  • Have access to the University’s Law Library and its law collection, which houses official publications and the European Documentation Centre.
  • Benefit from the inclusive approach to teaching adopted by our staff, which will ensure that you learn in a way that suits your learning style.
  • Benefit from being taught in small groups, which will maximise the interaction of ideas and create a relaxed, informal forum for learning.
  • Be part of a diverse student cohort and will study alongside classmates from over 40 different nationalities within our School of Law.

The University also has a leading Law careers service that organises events focused on providing you with the additional skills needed to make the most of your career potential.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Normally a 2(i) Honours degree in Law, or another related discipline, or equivalent.

International applicants must also meet the English Language Requirements of the University.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.

Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Arts and Social Sciences Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.

If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.

Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempted from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme.

Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
Reference
a reference letter from your university discussing your academic ability. If you have been out of education for a long time you may wish to use your current or most recent employer, or another professional person

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

LLM 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time January

Fee Information

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £6,000
Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year
International Students £14,300
Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year
Home / EU / RUK Students £6,300
Tuition Fees for 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £15,000
Tuition Fees for 2018/19 Academic Year
LLM 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time January or September

Fee Information

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £6,000
Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year
International Students £14,300
Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year
Home / EU / RUK Students £6,300
Tuition Fees for 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £15,000
Tuition Fees for 2018/19 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

By studying Human Rights and Criminal Justice at Aberdeen, you will gain a unique insight into the two disciplines from an international perspective. You will benefit from having a competitive advantage in the job market, particularly in careers related to foreign and security policies and international organisations. The programme will also provide a solid grounding for an academic career and help you prepare for a PhD.

Our Experts

Dr Mátyás Bódig is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Aberdeen. At the Law School, he is Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes, as well as Programme Coordinator for LLM in Human Rights.

Professor Duff specialises in criminal justice, evidence and procedure. He worked at the Centre for Criminological Research in the University of Oxford, the City University of Hong Kong and the University of the South Pacific.

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Study Law With Over 40 Nationalities

Our Law School has over 40 different nationalities of students, delivering some of the world's best judges and legal professionals in their area of Law.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
School of Law
University of Aberdeen
Taylor Building
Aberdeen
AB24 3UB