Introduction

Combine the key specialist topic of criminal justice with some of today’s most powerful human rights issues, studying cases from around the world in a variety of contexts. With our carefully designed LLM, you’ll have the opportunity to further your understanding of how the two areas impact each other whilst expanding your employability prospects.

Study Information

Study Options

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

One of the biggest changes in recent times has been the increasing global demand for criminal justice systems to comply with human rights. Whether you’re studying international conventions to confront human trafficking or legal frameworks to investigate war crimes, this programme will help you explore both Criminal Justice and Human Rights in depth and breadth and will identify how the two topics impact each other. You will have the opportunity to study subjects such as Criminological Theories, Criminal Evidence and Proof and The Use of Force in International Law.

This programme was designed by our academic staff in collaboration with criminal justice and human rights experts as. With this combined input, you will gain unique insights into both subjects from an international perspective, which will advance your understanding of the factors that influence them. The programme has been carefully coordinated to align with the competencies required for today’s international job market.

Available Programmes of Study

Please note: Students staring their LLM programme in January write their Dissertation project during the Summer semester.

Criminal Justice and Human Rights

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

Programme Information

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. Please note that all January Start Students must produce their Dissertation Project during the Summer Semester, preparation for which begins in January.

Information for part-time students: This route will run over three academic years. Candidates can take up to 60 credit points in Year 1, 120 credit points in Year 2, and 60 credit points in Year 3. LS551T and PD5506 must be taken in Year 1, and LS5904 must be taken in Year 2. Candidates must take a remaining 120 credit points. At least 60 of these must be obtained from the courses in the Criminal Justice programme, and at least 30 from the courses in the Human Rights programme - see more information in semester 1 and 3 optional courses tabs. The remaining credit points may be obtained from either list below or any Level 5 30 credit on campus Law course.


Compulsory Courses
  • PD5506: Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen
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 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 four optional courses must be selected over semesters one and three.
At least two must be selected from the Criminal Justice programme (LS5096, LS551R, LS551S) and at least one from the Human Rights programme (LS501U, LS551G, LS5549, LS5590). One course may be selected from another LLM programme (excluding, LS501E, and LS551K).

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 current debates in criminal law from theoretical and comparative perspectives – drawing on insights from different jurisdictions. Topics include: principles of criminalisation (i.e. discussion of what types of conduct should be criminalised, the moral justification for creating criminal laws and what limits should be set on the state’s power to enact criminal laws); mental capacity, age and criminal responsibility; current definitions of (and proposals to reform) the crimes of murder and rape; necessity and coercion defences; and homicide by victims of domestic abuse.

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 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
International Humanitarian Law (LS551G)

30 Credit Points

The course explores the history, nature and salient features of the principles of ‘the laws and customs of war’, also called IHL; they 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/similarities between IHL and international human rights law and the law on the use of force.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 2

Semester 2

The compulsory dissertation provides the opportunity to research and explore in more detail a specific legal area of your choice. Please note that all January Start Students must produce their Dissertation Project during the Summer Semester, preparation for which begins in January.


Compulsory Courses
Master of Laws 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

In September, January start students will take courses starting with LS50.


Optional Courses

Four optional courses must be selected over semesters one and three.
At least two must be selected from the Criminal Justice programme (LS5096, LS551R, LS551S) and at least one from the Human Rights programme (LS501U, LS551G, LS5549, LS5590). One course may be selected from another LLM programme (excluding, LS501E, and LS551K).

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. The course encourages the participant-student to think creatively as an international lawyer to resolve contemporary international dilemmas.

View detailed information about this course

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £22,400
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
Home / RUK £11,500
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
LLM 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September View

Programme Information

Semester 1

Semester 1

The information listed below is for September start students.

Information for part time students: This route will run over two years minimum. Candidates can take up to 120 credit points in an academic year. LS501T and PD5006 must be taken in Year 1, and LS5904 must be taken in Year 2. Candidates must take a remaining 120 credit points. At least 60 of these must be obtained from the courses in the Criminal Justice programme, and at least 30 from the courses in the Human Rights programme - see more information in semester 1 and 2 optional courses tabs. The remaining credit points may be obtained from either list below or any Level 5 30 credit on campus Law course.


Compulsory Courses

All candidates must take the following courses:

  • PD5006: Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen
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 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 four optional courses must be selected over semesters one and two.
At least two must be selected from the Criminal Justice programme (LS5096, LS551R, LS551S) and at least one from the Human Rights programme (LS501U, LS551G, LS5549, LS5590). One course may be selected from another LLM programme (excluding, LS501E, and LS551K).

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. The course encourages the participant-student to think creatively as an international lawyer to resolve contemporary international dilemmas.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 2

Semester 2

Optional Courses

Four optional courses must be selected over semesters one and two.
At least two must be selected from the Criminal Justice programme (LS5096, LS551R, LS551S) and at least one from the Human Rights programme (LS501U, LS551G, LS5549, LS5590). One course may be selected from another LLM programme (excluding, LS501E, and LS551K).

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 current debates in criminal law from theoretical and comparative perspectives – drawing on insights from different jurisdictions. Topics include: principles of criminalisation (i.e. discussion of what types of conduct should be criminalised, the moral justification for creating criminal laws and what limits should be set on the state’s power to enact criminal laws); mental capacity, age and criminal responsibility; current definitions of (and proposals to reform) the crimes of murder and rape; necessity and coercion defences; and homicide by victims of domestic abuse.

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 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
International Humanitarian Law (LS551G)

30 Credit Points

The course explores the history, nature and salient features of the principles of ‘the laws and customs of war’, also called IHL; they 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/similarities 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

The compulsory dissertation provides the opportunity to research and explore in more detail a specific legal area of your choice.


Compulsory Courses
Master of Laws 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

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £22,400
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
Home / RUK £11,500
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year

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

In addition to being taught through traditional lectures and seminars, the University Law School employs a range of teaching methods to suit your learning style. 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
  • Seminars

Assessment Methods

Assessment: 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 Criminal Justice and Human Rights?

A foundation discipline in 1495, the Law School is now considered one of the UK’s elite training grounds for lawyers - and there’s no substitute for experience.

  • Study Law at a School ranked Top 100 in the World (Times Higher Education World University Subject Ranking 2022)
  • We are 2nd in the UK of over 100 Law Schools for Overall Student Satisfaction (NSS 2021) 

  • There are over 40 nationalities within the School of Law 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:

  • Gain an advanced understanding of how both criminal justice and human rights are two of the key drivers for change in today’s world.
  • Develop your critical thinking and deepen your knowledge of the relationship between criminal justice and human rights, which will help establish your career as a legal professional.
  • Benefit from studying at one of the oldest universities in the UK where teaching is always modern and forward-thinking.
  • Benefit from the inclusive teaching approach that our staff adopt, ensuring that you will learn in a way that suits your learning style.
  • Have access to our faculty experts whenever you need, which will maximise the interaction of ideas and create a relaxed, informal forum for learning.
  • Study alongside a diverse mix of international students and gain a deeper understanding of how criminal justice and human rights interact in different countries and cultures.
  • Benefit from the opportunity to attend our Research Seminar Series, which will provide you with unique insights into current legal issues.

You will be part of a vibrant, close-knit community of students that provides a personal and friendly atmosphere where staff have the opportunity to know students by name and can closely monitor progress.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

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

Normally a 2:1 honours degree in Law (or another related discipline) or equivalent.

Document requirements application, we require at least:

  • A full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and marks you achieved in your degree(s).
  • A detailed personal statement explaining your reasons for choosing this programme.
  • CV/Resume optional.
  • Reference letter from your university discussing your academic ability.

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

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 6.0; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 21; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 169; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

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. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

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

Fee Information

Additional Fee Information

  • Fees for individual programmes can be viewed in the Programmes section above.
  • 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.

Funding Opportunities

The James Carnegie maintenance scholarship for postgraduate students is available with this degree.

Scholarships

Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

Careers

By studying Criminal Justice and Human Rights 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.

Students Rate Programmes as Excellent

95% said programmes met their expectations, 94% would recommend to others, 93% felt they had value for money

We are Top 100 in the World for Law

Our Law School is ranked in the Top 100 globally, according to the Times Higher Education World University Subject Rankings 2022.

2nd in the UK for Overall Student Satisfaction

We are ranked 2nd in the UK for Overall Student Satisfaction in Law (National Student Survey 2021)

Our Experts

Other Experts
Isla Mairi Fraser Callander
Elizabeth Eleanor Ruth Shaw
Ilona Catherine MacDonald Cairns
Programme Coordinators
Peter Robert Duff
Matyas Bodig

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.

Get in Touch