Introduction

Legal Studies and Philosophy at Aberdeen brings together close examination of the world of law – including topical and controversial issues – with a fascinating exploration of how we as humans approach the ‘big questions’ of fundamental importance to us throughout the ages. The combination of analytical and intellectual skills you will develop and their transferability will make you a very attractive graduate with wide career options, including in business.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
VM51
Degree marketing image

Legal Studies at Aberdeen gives you the benefit of studying a range of fascinating subjects in our highly-regarded Law School, established in the year 1495, now ranked 12th in the UK out of more than 90 law schools and scoring an impressive 95% for student satisfaction.

Although you won't be accredited to enter the legal profession in Scotland (or England), you will gain valuable knowledge of legal systems and important academic qualities that are greatly valued by employers.

Among topics you can study are commercial law, Government and law, legal theory, European and international law, human rights, EU law, environmental law, criminology and criminal justice and Scottish legal history. In Philosophy, you will look deeply at questions such as: What is knowledge? What is the nature of truth? Why should we act morally? Philosophy is just as much the study of reasoning and argument as it is the application of thought to specific problems.

What makes Philosophy at Aberdeen especially attractive is the breadth of courses, the user-friendly materials you will use and the experts who will teach you, with courses including How Should One Live? Controversial Questions, and Experience, Knowledge and Reality.

The intellectual skills you will develop through this combination will include thinking critically, analysing and solving complex problems and presenting arguments in a clear, reasoned and logical manner – all attributes greatly sought by employers. Your career options will include business, journalism, management, government service, service, the police force, marketing, human resources, and teaching.

What You'll Study

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses
Legal System (LS1025)

15 Credit Points

This course introduces the fundamental components and characteristics of the Scottish legal system. It includes a study skills programme which covers different facets of the study of law along with a series of practical workshops which introduce key legal information sources (both electronic and paper) and appropriate search strategies. Lectures and tutorials will cover topics such as the Scottish legal tradition, formal sources of Scots law, the legislative process, organisation of the courts, judicial precedent, civil procedure, alternative dispute resolution, the European legal order, legal services and access to justice.

View detailed information about this course
Foundations of Private Law (LS1022)

15 Credit Points

The course provides firstly a map of private law as drawn from the institutional scheme. It then progresses to an equivalent of the medical student’s study of anatomy in the sense that, concentrating on the law of property and obligations, it examines the main concepts of private law and how they operate together as a system to solve everyday legal problems.

View detailed information about this course
Academic Writing for Divinity, History & Philosophy (AW1007)

This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.

View detailed information about this course
Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD1002)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

View detailed information about this course
Experience, Knowledge and Reality (PH1023)

15 Credit Points

This course is an introduction to some of the main topics and problems of contemporary epistemology and metaphysics in a form suitable for students with little or no prior background in these disciplines. In the first part, the epistemological topics may include the analysis of knowledge, scepticism about knowledge, internalise and externalism, virtue epistemology, and social epistemology. In the second part, the metaphysical topics may include modality, universals and particulars, the nature of causation, free will, and the dispute over realism and anti-realism.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Select:

  • 30 credit points from LS courses below plus
  • 30 credit points from PH courses below plus
  • Further non-Legal Studies courses to make up 120 credit points.
Controversial Questions (PH1027)

15 Credit Points

Watch this course video! We examine questions such as: Is eating animals immoral? Is being a good or bad person a matter of luck? If so, are we justified in punishing bad people? Should anyone be able to set limits on what you can do with your own body, even if it's ‘for your own good’? Should everyone be allowed to state their mind, even if their views are harmful or offensive? Is censorship ever justifiable? Do you have a moral obligation to help those worse-off? Are you unknowingly biased against underprivileged groups?

View detailed information about this course
How Should One Live? (PH1522)

15 Credit Points

What are the key elements of a good life? Freedom, happiness, acting in our own interests, doing good for others, or following moral laws? Philosophers have asked these questions for millennia, generating a large number of answers and a larger number of further questions. In this course, we will read and discuss theories of ethics from a range of times and cultures. We will read some of the most important works in the history of philosophy from Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Kant, and Mill, before turning to contemporary approaches including feminist ethics and virtue ethics. Throughout, we will consider and discuss our own views about the values of good and bad, right and wrong, and how to live a good life.

View detailed information about this course
Logic and Argument (PH1518)

15 Credit Points

What makes an argument a good argument? What are the correct rules for reasoning? How do the meanings of sentences relate to each other? How can the tools of logic be used in philosophy? This course provides an introduction to logic and tools for successfully evaluating arguments. Some of the topics covered include validity, soundness, consistency, entailment, provability, quantification, and identity. Two formal languages are introduced, the language of sentential logic and the language of quantified logic. The course develops the ability to symbolise English sentences into formal languages and to complete proofs in Natural Deduction. Logical concepts are applied to issues in philosophy of language, metaphysics, as well as philosophical puzzles and paradoxes.

View detailed information about this course
Criminal Law (LS1020)

15 Credit Points

This course is a compulsory course on the LLB degree introducing students to Scottish Criminal Law including its sources and current law. It examines various aspects of substantive law including crimes against the person, crimes of dishonesty, crimes against property and criminal defences enabling students to understand and apply the law in these areas. The course also develops student’s written, verbal and analytical skills utilising written course work and problem solving exercises in tutorial groups.

View detailed information about this course
Case Studies on Law in Society (LS1026)

15 Credit Points

This module examines, through the use of current, high-profile case-studies, the varying role played by law in wider society. The course departs from the traditional ‘black letter’ approach to studying law and will focus primarily upon current legal problems facing society and the related ethical, economic and social arguments. It will be seen that law is not merely a static body of rules but a mechanism for facilitating and inspiring change in all aspects of our society.

View detailed information about this course
Contract (LS1520)

15 Credit Points

Contract is one of the central subjects of private law and is one of the main branches of the law of obligations. Contract Law covers obligations which are voluntary in nature. Every day we make contracts from buying a newspaper to buying a house. Contract Law is an area where Scots law and English law are very similar and this course will cover Scots contract law but also highlight where English law differs with the aim of giving students a working knowledge of contract in both countries.

View detailed information about this course
English Criminal Law (LS1527)

7.5 Credit Points

This course is a compulsory course on the LLB with English Law degree introducing students to English Criminal Law including its sources and current law. It examines various aspects of substantive law including offences against the person, offences of dishonesty, offences against property and criminal defences enabling students to understand and apply the law in these areas. The course also develops student’s written, verbal and analytical skills utilising written course work and problem solving in tutorial groups.

View detailed information about this course
Introduction to English Legal System (LS1528)

7.5 Credit Points

This 7.5 credit course builds on knowledge gained in Legal System. It covers key elements of the English legal system. This includes sources of law, key institutions and roles, criminal and civil processes. It includes topical areas of relevance such as the future of legal aid, the diversity of judges and the present and developing nature of the different branches of the legal profession. Assessment is by research exercises OR an exam at the student’s choice.

View detailed information about this course
Delict and Unjustified Enrichment (LS1536)

15 Credit Points

This course introduces students to two of the key branches of the Scots law of obligations, namely Delict (which governs legal liability for situations such as the negligent infliction of harm upon others, or liability for breach of privacy) and Unjustified Enrichment (which is concerned with questions such as, if I pay you money in error, am I entitled to demand that you return it?).

View detailed information about this course
UK Constitutional Law (LS1537)

15 Credit Points

This course is an introduction to the law about government and the state in the United Kingdom. The course primarily cover UK constitutional law. Major topics include institutions of state, parliamentary sovereignty, Britain's relationship with the European Union, the rule of law, the separation of powers, and devolution. This area of law is fast-moving, and an effort is made to address current issues.

View detailed information about this course
Year 2

Year 2

Optional Courses

Select:

  • 60 credit points from the following courses
  • Plus further courses of choice to make up 120 credit points, of which 45 credits must be from level 2 Philosophy courses.
Criminal Law (LS1020)

15 Credit Points

This course is a compulsory course on the LLB degree introducing students to Scottish Criminal Law including its sources and current law. It examines various aspects of substantive law including crimes against the person, crimes of dishonesty, crimes against property and criminal defences enabling students to understand and apply the law in these areas. The course also develops student’s written, verbal and analytical skills utilising written course work and problem solving exercises in tutorial groups.

View detailed information about this course
Case Studies on Law in Society (LS1026)

15 Credit Points

This module examines, through the use of current, high-profile case-studies, the varying role played by law in wider society. The course departs from the traditional ‘black letter’ approach to studying law and will focus primarily upon current legal problems facing society and the related ethical, economic and social arguments. It will be seen that law is not merely a static body of rules but a mechanism for facilitating and inspiring change in all aspects of our society.

View detailed information about this course
Eu Institutions and Law (LS2026)

15 Credit Points

This course examines the composition and function of the EU Institutions (including preliminary rulings), sources and supremacy, direct effect of EU Law, state liability and judicial review. Other topics covered include human rights in the EU, persons and citizenship, establishment and services, free movement of goods, and competition law.

View detailed information about this course
Public International Law (LS2032)

15 Credit Points

The course aims to systematically and critically introduce the foundations of Public International Law (PIL). The history, nature, legal personality, statehood and recognition, sources, the law of treaties and how PIL interacts with domestic law are considered in-depth. These are followed by topics such as jurisdiction, sovereignty, the role of the United Nations, the law of state responsibility and peaceful settlement of disputes between states. The contents of the course are designed to enable students to understand why and how international law regulates the behaviour of its actors with respect to some specific subject areas.

View detailed information about this course
Administrative Law and Civil Liberties (LS2033)

15 Credit Points

This course will examine in detail both administrative law and civil liberties under the constitution of the United Kingdom. Major topics include judicial review (scope, standing and grounds), the European Convention on Human Rights, the Human Rights Act 1998, voting rights, and common law rights. This area is fast-moving, and an effort is made to address current issues.

View detailed information about this course
Contract (LS1520)

15 Credit Points

Contract is one of the central subjects of private law and is one of the main branches of the law of obligations. Contract Law covers obligations which are voluntary in nature. Every day we make contracts from buying a newspaper to buying a house. Contract Law is an area where Scots law and English law are very similar and this course will cover Scots contract law but also highlight where English law differs with the aim of giving students a working knowledge of contract in both countries.

View detailed information about this course
English Criminal Law (LS1527)

7.5 Credit Points

This course is a compulsory course on the LLB with English Law degree introducing students to English Criminal Law including its sources and current law. It examines various aspects of substantive law including offences against the person, offences of dishonesty, offences against property and criminal defences enabling students to understand and apply the law in these areas. The course also develops student’s written, verbal and analytical skills utilising written course work and problem solving in tutorial groups.

View detailed information about this course
Introduction to English Legal System (LS1528)

7.5 Credit Points

This 7.5 credit course builds on knowledge gained in Legal System. It covers key elements of the English legal system. This includes sources of law, key institutions and roles, criminal and civil processes. It includes topical areas of relevance such as the future of legal aid, the diversity of judges and the present and developing nature of the different branches of the legal profession. Assessment is by research exercises OR an exam at the student’s choice.

View detailed information about this course
Delict and Unjustified Enrichment (LS1536)

15 Credit Points

This course introduces students to two of the key branches of the Scots law of obligations, namely Delict (which governs legal liability for situations such as the negligent infliction of harm upon others, or liability for breach of privacy) and Unjustified Enrichment (which is concerned with questions such as, if I pay you money in error, am I entitled to demand that you return it?).

View detailed information about this course
UK Constitutional Law (LS1537)

15 Credit Points

This course is an introduction to the law about government and the state in the United Kingdom. The course primarily cover UK constitutional law. Major topics include institutions of state, parliamentary sovereignty, Britain's relationship with the European Union, the rule of law, the separation of powers, and devolution. This area of law is fast-moving, and an effort is made to address current issues.

View detailed information about this course
Commercial Organisations and Insolvency (LS2525)

15 Credit Points

This is a second level course, which is compulsory for LLB students planning to become professional lawyers. The course consists of four elements: the law of agency, the law of partnership, company law and insolvency law. The lectures will focus on the creation of agency, partnership and companies of different types; the rules that enable these commercial organisations to function; and the law concerning the termination of these commercial organisations. One reason for these organisations coming to an end is that they become insolvent. The rules on insolvency and bankruptcy will be a significant element of the course.

View detailed information about this course
Family Law (LS2526)

15 Credit Points

This course is divided into two principal parts. In the first part, students will be introduced to the key facets of the law governing the formation of adult relationships, including the constitution of marriage and civil partnership, legal rights and duties of spouses and civil partners, same sex marriage, the grounds for divorce and the financial aspects of breakdown of marriage and relationships of cohabitation. The second part focuses on the relationship between children and adults and the legal rights of children, including parental rights and responsibilities, court orders relating to children and the welfare principle.

View detailed information about this course
Introduction to Legal Theory (LS2527)

7.5 Credit Points

This course aims to provide student with an accessible introduction to some of the central themes of legal theory. The material will be organised around broad themes that will enable students to understand the basic concepts of legal theory. The themes include: the authority of law (including the obligation to obey the law, civil disobedience, the limits of law); the fundamental values of law (justice, rule of law); the theoretical foundations of legal reasoning (including deductive reasoning, the limits of rule-based decision-making, the institutional aspects of legal reasoning and the explanation of judicial decisions).

View detailed information about this course
Succession and Trusts (LS2528)

7.5 Credit Points

Students studying for the Aberdeen LLB are required to take this course if they wish to use their degree to enter the Scottish legal profession. The course will examine both testate and intestate succession, in the context of the general principles of the law of succession, including legal rights. Furthermore, it will introduce the functions of trusts, the rights of beneficiaries and the powers and duties of trustees. The course is available only to LLB students in Programme year 2 or above and graduates on the 2 year degree.

View detailed information about this course
Private International Law (LS2532)

15 Credit Points

The course introduces the student to the way in which foreign legal issues affect the domestic litigation and legal practice of selected issues of private law. We examine issues such as establishing and defending jurisdiction, deciding what law should be applied to a given matter, and how to enforce or otherwise use any resulting judgment or settlement across borders in other legal systems. We will look at how Scotland, England & Wales and the EU use private international law to address these issues. This is an exempting course for the Faculty of Advocates exam on private international law.

View detailed information about this course
Business Law (LS2533)

15 Credit Points

This course is designed to provide non-LLB students with an understanding of the main issues in business law. Topics will cover elements of the Scottish law and legal system concerning Contract Law (including the unfair contract terms), Agency, Delict, Employment Law, Partnership, Bribery Act and Company Law.

View detailed information about this course
Introduction to Comparative Law (LS2536)

7.5 Credit Points

This is a foundational course that introduces students to the basics of comparative law. The first part of the course focuses on the various methods to analyse differences and similarities between legal rules across nations and cultures. It also introduces students to various efforts to map and explain legal diversity. The second half of the course includes a range of case studies to showcase how the comparative method can be used in different areas of the law and across nations and regions.

View detailed information about this course
Tort in A Comparative Context (LS2537)

7.5 Credit Points

The aim of this course, open to students who have already studied the Scots law of delict (and compulsory for those on the ‘Law with English Law’ programme), is to extend their expertise to embrace the English law of torts. More particularly, it aims to provide knowledge and understanding of the conceptual structure of this branch of English law in comparison with the corresponding branch of Scots law, and deals in detail with a few specific areas of tort liability, such as environmental torts, occupiers’ liability and trespass to land.

View detailed information about this course
Comparative Law II: the Romano - Germanic Tradition (LS2540)

7.5 Credit Points

This course introduces students to the core features of legal systems of the Romano-Germanic tradition, focusing in particular on legal systems which have been imitated elsewhere in the world, namely those of Germany, France and Spain. The course complements LS2536 Introduction to Comparative Law, and is a compulsory component of the LLB with German Law, the LLB with French Law and the LLB with Spanish Law.

View detailed information about this course
Year 3

Year 3

Optional Courses

Select 60 credit points from Legal Studies LX Honours courses, plus 60 credit points from level 3 courses in Philosophy.

Year 4

Year 4

Optional Courses

Select one of the following dissertation options:

  • Dissertation in Legal Studies (LX4025)
  • Philosophy Dissertation (PH402D)

Plus select further credit points from Honours courses in Legal Studies and level 4 courses in Philosophy to gain a total of 60 credit points in each discipline.

You are required to gain a minimum of 90 credit points from level 4 courses.

Dissertation (LX4025)

30 Credit Points

This course, that is only available to final year honours students, allows you to write a 10,000 word piece on an aspect of law that you choose with the help of a supervisor. Once your topic and plan are approved by the law school you work independently and hand in the dissertation shortly before the Easter Break.

View detailed information about this course
Dissertation (PH402D)

30 Credit Points

The dissertation is on a topic in philosophy. The specific topic will be chosen by the student with the approval of the supervisor. The choice of topics is restricted insofar as it must fall within the teaching competence of the supervisor.

View detailed information about this course

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

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • Coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course.
  • Practical assessments of the skills and competencies they learn on the course.
  • Written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Legal Studies and Philosophy?

Why Philosophy

  • Ranked top in Scotland for teaching and course content in the last National Student Survey.
  • Famous philosophers who worked at the University include Thomas Reid, founder of the 18th century Scottish School of Common Sense Philosophy, and Alexander Bain, who helped lay the foundations for modern scientific psychology.
  • The Aberdeen Philosophy in Education Group (APEG), which is unique in Scotland, trains students to discuss philosophical questions with local primary and secondary school pupils.
  • Café Philosophique brings philosophers and the local community together, using popular films and novels to explore philosophical puzzles in an informal atmosphere.
  • The Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine acts as the focus for research, teaching and engagement in the history, philosophy, ethics, literature and museology of science, technology and medicine.
  • The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library offers superb collections, including early printed works of natural philosophy and medicine, the archives of Thomas Reid, and records of the Aberdeen Philosophical Society.
  • We offer a packed programme of public events, lectures and debates, including the annual May Festival, which attracts high profile scientists, scholars, authors, actors and broadcasters discussing and debating the big issues of today.
  • The skills you learn in Philosophy—for example, to think and write clearly, to explain complex ideas, to challenge orthodoxy—lend themselves to many careers.
  • Studying Philosophy will change how you think about things and how you approach life's challenges.
  • Philosophy is interesting! Students from all disciplines often report that studying Philosophy was the most rewarding experience of their studies.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

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


General Entry Requirements

2020 Entry
2021 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above).

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.


English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate 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 - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 54 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 51; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

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

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

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

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU £1,820
All Students
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2020/21
International Students £17,200
Students Admitted in 2020/21

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

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.

Little Lectures

We are hosting a series of Little Lectures to mark our 525th anniversary.

The lectures are a great opportunity to get to know our experts.

View Lecture Schedule

Careers

There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers and Employability Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Our Experts

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.

Discover Uni

Discover Uni draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX