Legal Studies and Philosophy, MA

Legal Studies and Philosophy, MA

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

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

Compulsory Courses

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.

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’.

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.

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.

Experience, Knowledge and Reality (PH1523)

15 Credit Points

How “real” is reality? How does the mind relate to the world? This course introduces two approaches to answering these questions: rationalism and empiricism. By reading Rene Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy, we learn about Descartes’ rationalist approach to knowledge, reality, mind-body dualism, and God’s necessary existence. Through David Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding see how Hume grounds knowledge in experience. We read Hume on impressions and ideas, induction, causality, miracles and critically compare and examine Descartes’ and Hume’s arguments by drawing on readers and critics.

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.

NOTE:

  • It may not be possible to combine every one of these options with the compulsory courses in the candidate’s other subject due to timetabling constraints
  • Students must check the necessary pre-requisites before registering for optional LS or LX courses – please refer to the Course Catalogue online.
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.

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.

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, the other being Delict and Unjustified Enrichment. 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.

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.

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 access to justice, the future of legal aid, the composition of the judiciary and the present and developing nature of the different branches of the legal profession. Assessment is by research exercises.

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 and defamation) 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?).

UK Constitutional Law (LS1537)

15 Credit Points

This course is an introduction to the laws and rules of the UK Constitution. Major topics include the institutions of state, parliamentary sovereignty, 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.

Controversial Questions (PH1027)

15 Credit Points

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?

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.

Logic and Argument (PH1034)

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.

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.

NOTE:

  • It may not be possible to combine every one of these options with the compulsory courses in the candidate’s other subject due to timetabling constraints
  • Students must check the necessary pre-requisites before registering for optional LS or LX courses – please refer to the Course Catalogue online.

Comparative Law II: The Romano-Germanic Tradition (LS2540)

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.

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.

Eu Institutions and Law (LS2026)

15 Credit Points

This course examines the law of the European Union and its relationship with the legal systems of the United Kingdom. Lecture topics include the composition and function of the EU Institutions, sources and effects of EU Law, state liability and judicial review. Other topics covered include human rights in the EU, the fundamental freedoms, and competition law. Each lecture topic includes consideration of the evolving relationship between the legal systems of the United Kingdom and the European Union.

The Law of Property (LS2031)

15 Credit Points

This compulsory LLB course is all about things. What items can you own? How do you become owner of property? What can you do as an owner of property? What can you do with the property of other people? And so on. An understanding of Scots property law is crucial to markets, commerce and domestic life. This course will give students a broad overview of the regulation of land, moveable items and incorporeal rights like intellectual property in Scotland.

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.

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.

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, the other being Delict and Unjustified Enrichment. 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.

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.

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 access to justice, the future of legal aid, the composition of the judiciary and the present and developing nature of the different branches of the legal profession. Assessment is by research exercises.

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 and defamation) 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?).

UK Constitutional Law (LS1537)

15 Credit Points

This course is an introduction to the laws and rules of the UK Constitution. Major topics include the institutions of state, parliamentary sovereignty, 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.

Commercial Organisations and Insolvency (LS2525)

15 Credit Points

This course is compulsory for LLB students. It consists of various elements split broadly into three parts: (1) the law of agency and the law of partnership; (2) company law; and (3) debt 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, particularly due to insolvency.

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.

Introduction to Legal Theory (LS2527)

7.5 Credit Points

The course provides students with an introduction to some of the topical issues of legal theory combining theoretical discussion with practical examples. The course aims to give students an accessible introduction to some important theoretical concepts and help them to develop their skills in critical thinking. The modular structure of the course makes sure that students will be exposed to a wide range of theoretical concepts and approaches. Theoretical concepts will be discussed in the context of practical issues helping students to see the relevance of those concepts. The course consists of four modules and each module consists of three lectures and one tutorial. At present, the four modules are as follows: (Judicial decision-making, Feminist legal theory, Law and technology, Truth in law and science.)

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.

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. Not less importantly, we examine relevant international conventions that have been adopted under the auspices of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

This is an exempting course for the Faculty of Advocates exam on private international law.

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.

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.

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 knowledge of the law governing civil liability. More particularly, it aims to provide knowledge and understanding of the conceptual structure of the English law of torts in comparison with the corresponding branch of Scots law, and deals in detail with a few specific areas of tort liability, such as trespass, occupiers’ liability and nuisance.

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

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.

LX401H Abortion Laws Honours
LX453F Shipping Law
LX4067 Corporate Finance Law

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.

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.

Another dissertation or Project course must not be undertaken alongside the Philosophy Dissertation

Law of Sales Honours (LX4011)

30 Credit Points

This course examines the law of sales in both a Scottish and international context. Seminar topics will give students a good working knowledge of issues that occur when a difficulty arises (e.g., non-conformity of goods, passing of risk, damages, exemption, avoidance) and the role of important European law as well as international treaties and conventions. The precise focus of the course varies from year to year and depending on the teaching staff involved there may be a greater or lesser focus on Scots law.

Criminal Justice (LX4019)

30 Credit Points

This course looks in depth at the main aspects of the Scottish criminal justice process, focussing upon its mainly adversarial nature. Topics addressed include: prosecution systems; the position of the accused; the status of 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.

Gender, Law and Society (LX401E)

30 Credit Points

The issue of how gender impacts upon and interrelates with law and legal processes is topical and socially important, with questions relating to gender equality and gender-based violence currently attracting a high degree of academic, media and government attention. Through examining topics connected to the themes of criminal justice and family law, this course will introduce students to current legal dilemmas and legal responses in the area of gender and the law, in addition to sociolegal and feminist approaches to law.

International Law: A Time of Challenges (LX401F)

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, and climate change. The course encourages the student to think creatively as an international lawyer to resolve contemporary international dilemmas. Teaching will be delivered through lectures and discussion-based seminars.

International Human Rights (LX401P)

30 Credit Points

The course is intended to offer insights into the dynamics of the development of international human rights law. It provides advanced instruction in several key aspects of international human rights law (freedom from torture, freedom of religion, social rights, right to self-determination, etc.) in order to develop a critical understanding of the protection of human rights at the global level. It also seeks to shed light on the way the forces of globalisation and global civil society activism shape the conditions under which human rights law can be created and maintained.

Private International Law of Commercial Law (Honours) (LX401Q)

30 Credit Points

The course will provide a clear overview of the commercial law aspects of private international law in international commercial litigation and arbitration. The course will cover issues of jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in international commercial litigation, and private international law matters in international commercial arbitration.

UK Constitutionalism: Past, Present and Future (Honours) (LX401R)

30 Credit Points

The UK Constitution has long been shrouded in controversy and uncertainty. Through an exploration of some of some of the key aspects of, and issues arising under, the UK Constitution, this course will seek to evaluate critically the nature of the contemporary constitution, with a particular emphasis on the desirability of its arrangements in the twenty-first century.

American Constitutional Law (LX4021)

30 Credit Points

The aim of this course is to introduce students to American constitutional law through the study of landmark Supreme Court decisions on controversial moral issues. The material on the course will be organised in relation to broad themes that will enable students to develop and refine their understanding of major issues in American Constitutional Law. The themes include abortion; homosexuality and same-sex marriage; freedom of religion; affirmative action. The course will also help students to familiarise themselves with the main approaches to constitutional interpretation.

Company Law (Honours) (LX402F)

30 Credit Points

This course seeks to guide students through the core aspects of company law and corporate governance including, inter alia, corporate legal personality, directors’ duties, the protection of minority shareholders, and the basics of corporate finance. The legal study will be combined with commercial and strategical scenarios such as private equity deals, initial public offerings (IPOs), and corporate control battles. Major policy debates will also be engaged. There are numerous career opportunities associated with this course

Civil Law Honours (LX402G)

30 Credit Points

This course offers an introduction to study of the civil law tradition and may be taken by students with no prior knowledge of the subject. The two seminars in the first part of the course examine the sources and literature through which the tradition has taken shape. The two seminars in the second part examine selected topics from the law of property, and the two seminars in the third part selected topics from the law of obligations. In each part some attention is paid to the relationship between Scots law and the civil law tradition.

Law and Economics: Selected Topics (LX402V)

30 Credit Points

This course engages students with the economic underpinnings of different aspects of the law. Why and when should property be privately, communally, or publicly owned? How can a legal system minimise the social costs of accidents? Why and to what extent do we need the law to regulate contracts? These are some of the questions that the course will address. Each seminar will focus on a legal topic that will be analysed through an economic lens. No prior knowledge of economics is needed.

Delict (LX402X)

30 Credit Points

This course builds upon the introduction to Delict provided in LS2025 and LS1536 examines a number of aspects of the law of delict in greater detail. Topics will be discussed in a comparative, historical and/or theoretical context. The specific topics covered will vary on a year-by-year basis as the course aims to examine issues of topical interest. Some of the topics covered in previous years include: causation; product liability; liability for breach of privacy; liability for pure economic loss; psychiatric injury; advocates' immunity and the liability of the police for negligently-conducted investigations.

Criminal Law (LX4035)

30 Credit Points

The course builds upon the basic understanding of criminal law acquired in LS1020 although it is very important to understand that the topics are approached from a much more theoretical perspective. The course examines in detail selected principles of criminal liability, including the role and limits of the criminal law, the defence of mental disorder, murder, rape, provocation and the limits of excusability. Comparative material from a variety of jurisdictions is included.

Scottish Legal History (Honours) (LX4037)

30 Credit Points

This course provides students with a knowledge and understanding of certain key points in Scottish legal history. Seminar topics have been chosen to show students how to evaluate primary material as well as to engage with academic debate. Students will also in some seminars engage with research projects based at Aberdeen.

Animal Welfare Law (LX4039)

30 Credit Points

This course examines the way in which the law regulates the treatment of animals in Britain. Topics include: historical development; legal and moral status of animals; the basis and nature of regulation; the legal and political framework, including the impact of the WTO and the EU; the legal meaning of unnecessary suffering; the scientific concept of animal welfare; enforcement; and legislation relating to animals in specific contexts. Consideration is also given to relevant political, scientific, ethical and commercial issues which influence the substantive law. Students are expected to undertake significant personal research under the guidance of the course coordinator.

While self-evident from the Course Description, students should be aware that this course includes consideration of the ill-treatment of animals.

Social, Ethical and Legal Aspects of International Commerce (LX403A)

30 Credit Points

The course aims to introduce legal, ethical, and social implications of international commercial relationships.

The course will cover the concept of global value chains and the drivers behind global value chains structures, such as globalization, development, and sustainable development.

It will then focus on the negative impacts that the production processes in global value chains have on individuals, communities, and the environment in, primarily, low-and middle-income countries. Examples include labour and working conditions, overexploitation of resources and pollution, project-related human rights impacts including forced labour and child labour.

Finally, the course will cover policy, regulatory, and litigation response to these challenges in their socio-economic, legal, and ethical contexts.

Free Speech Challenges in A Comparative Context (LX403B)

30 Credit Points

This course engages with the overarching question of the appropriate limits on freedom of expression in liberal democracies in the digital age. It does so through a comparative constitutional approach to the regulation of extreme speech in different jurisdictions, including the US, Canada, the EU, and the UK (among others), with a particular focus on the regulation of online speech. It examines existing constitutional frameworks for the regulation of extreme speech as well as proposals for reform.

International Criminal Law (LX403C)

30 Credit Points

This course offers students the opportunity to engage with the history and nature of international criminal law, to develop their understanding of the core crimes, how these offences have evolved, and the road to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Through traditional seminar discussions, students can discuss their informed views on issues as varied as the role of international cooperation to suppress international crimes, how this has worked (and where it has failed) and to research their ideas on contemporary problems in the area, from a critical perspective.

International Law of the Sea (LX403D)

30 Credit Points

The ocean by providing oxygen, freshwater, and food, is crucial for sustaining life, yet is under increasing pressure from human activities: including climate change, overfishing, and pollution. This course focuses on the international legal framework for the ocean based on the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other legal instruments including climate, biodiversity and human rights.

European Economic Law (LX4050)

30 Credit Points

Historically, markets of the EEC/EU were integrated mainly on the basis of the ECJ case law of using fundamental freedoms as a tool for integration. Today, these freedoms are still an important pillar of the economic constitution, but free trade and competition between Member States’ undertakings have to be supported by other policies and the creation of competition in markets that suffer from market failure. This course looks at the integrating function of fundamental freedoms and fundamental rights. And develops further insights into policies creating the common market (state aids, regulating network industries).

Corporate Finance Law (LX4067)

30 Credit Points

This is an optional course at honours level for students interested in how companies finance their business activities and would be suitable for those students seeking to specialise in finance or corporate law. The course examines the law concerning the financing of companies of all sizes, from small and medium-sized companies to the largest public limited companies. Various forms of debt and equity finance will be considered, including share capital and raising finance on stock markets, unsecured borrowing, securitisations and secured finance.

Comparative Constitutional Law (LX4078)

30 Credit Points

Today there is a global dialogue on constitutionalism and judges extensively borrow doctrinal concepts and arguments from each other. This makes the study of comparative constitutional law ever more relevant and has contributed to the rapid evolution of the discipline. The aim of this course is to introduce students to the methods and main themes of comparative constitutional law. The topics include constitutional borrowing; federalism; the comparison of presidential and parliamentary governments; the types of judicial review; different approaches to constitutional interpretation.

Copyright and Allied Rights (LX451K)

30 Credit Points

This course considers various aspects of copyright law including subject matter, the term of protection, criteria for protection, infringement and defences, and the moral rights of authors. Copyright is of importance given the value of the digital economy and the significance of the cultural industries. In terms of career opportunities, students may practice in large intellectual property firms or provide advice to large entertainment companies etc.

Voluntary Scotland, Scottish Charities, Clubs, Community Organisations (LX451P)

30 Credit Points

Many students will be members of clubs and societies and will go on to become board members for clubs and charities, or community organisation chairpersons and secretaries.

The aim of this course is to ensure that potential future practising lawyers can develop a good grounding in a commercially and socially important field of law. In this respect it worth noting that the Third Sector is a growing area of specialism in law firms.

International Family Law (Honours) (LX451T)

30 Credit Points

The course will provide a clear overview of the successful family law conventions made at the Hague Conference on Private International Law, as well as an analysis of the working methods of the Hague Conference in making, reviewing and helping to ensure uniform interpretation of Conventions. Students will acquire a thorough knowledge of the Hague Conventions on child abduction (1980), intercountry adoption (1993), child protection (1996) and maintenance (2007); a good understanding of private international law relating to surrogacy with an international element, and an appreciation of the options for the legal regulation of family agreements at the global level.

International Trade Law (LX451U)
Criminal Evidence (Honours) (LX451V)

30 Credit Points

The course seminars will engage students with; understanding the rules of evidence and the regulation of the admissibility of evidence; the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial; issues surrounding evidence from vulnerable witnesses; issues with expert evidence; hearsay evidence and the reverse burdens of proof; corroboration and similar fact evidence.

Corporate Governance (LX452C)

30 Credit Points

This course will discuss the trajectory of the development of corporate governance over the past three decades, especially in the UK and the US, with a view to understanding the extent to which underlying theoretical assumptions and policy decisions impact legislative, regulatory and self-regulatory arrangements as well as reform options. Students will gain an understanding of why the company as a legal entity has the shape and form that it does; why certain actors are regarded as internal to corporate governance arrangements and others external; and why ongoing (and sometimes apparently futile) reform efforts take the form that they do.

Contemporary Legal Issues in European Integration (LX452E)

30 Credit Points

The course develops knowledge of EU law acquired at Level 2. Students are invited to engage with timeless questions of European integration which remain of current concern, such as the legitimacy of law-making and the appropriate means of achieving integration. Discussions will address contemporary issues in European Union law diagnosing the present state of the law, and determining how the constitutional settlement of the EU should be developed. This will enable students to articulate their own views of what the EU is, and what it should be. Topics include economic law, family law, human rights law, institutional law and democratization.

Children, Young People and Crime Honours (LX452K)

30 Credit Points

This course examines the way in which children and young people interact with the justice system, from a domestic, comparative, and international perspective.

International Cybersecurity Law (LX452L)

30 Credit Points

The course addresses international legal issues raised by the increasing need to secure information and communication technology. It explores the modalities of international cyberattacks; discusses data protection in the EU and UK; questions the scope of the obligation of States to secure cyberspace; studies the role of private companies in monitoring online content and reacting to international cyberattacks; analyses how cyberoperations can be attributed to States; examines what cyberoperations violate international law and how States could react to unlawful international cyberoperations; and gives a comprehensive map of the governance and standards organisations in the cyberspace ecosystem.

Unjustified Enrichment (Honours) (LX452N)

30 Credit Points

Unjustified enrichment is a relatively new addition to Scots private law. In spite of its novelty, or perhaps because of it, the subject has attracted a significant degree of academic attention over the past thirty to forty years, having stirred up a number of academic debates, ranging from the national to the existential (i.e. ‘Does unjustified enrichment even need to exist in a modern legal system?’). This course aims to confront at least some of these debates.

History of Contract Law Theory (LX452S)

30 Credit Points

This course will focus on how the basic theoretical concepts underpinning contract law have been developed historically, in both common law jurisdictions and continental Civilian tradition. Students will be shown how the historical development of these concepts continues to influence contemporary debates on contract law, such as the place of relational contracts and the extent to which courts should intervene in unequal exchanges.

Law of the Digital Economy (LX452U)

30 Credit Points

The course aims to introduce students to the legal aspects of the digital economy. The course will first explore the historical and economical dimension of the ‘platformisation’ of the digital market, to then dig into the relevant areas of law invested by the “disruptive” intervention of online platforms. The course will have a focus on domestic and European Law.

Space Law: Public International Law (LX452W)

30 Credit Points

This course addresses the international legal rules and principles applicable to activities in outer space, including the UN-based space treaties and international customary (space) law, and also the many specialised regimes such as those applicable to the protection of the outer space environment, the regulation of military activities and the peaceful settlement of international space law disputes.

Legal Storytelling (LX452Z)

30 Credit Points

Storytelling is firmly embedded within the law. Advocates use narrative techniques to present their clients’ stories and to evoke responses from audiences. Histories of our laws and legal institutions are taught to us from an early age. But who has the power to decide which stories get told? Which stories are ignored, forgotten, or marginalised?

The aim of the course is to critically examine the use of legal storytelling in scholarship and practice. Through close readings of texts and other media, it will encourage students to reflect on how legal stories are created and challenged.

Law and Medical Ethics (LX4553)

30 Credit Points

Changes in medical technology frequently cause changes in ethical attitudes and in the content of the law. The purpose of this course is to explore the interaction between law, ethics and medicine with an emphasis on the ethical aspects.

Administrative Law (Honours) (LX4557)

30 Credit Points

This course examines the relationship between the law and the exercise of public power. Topics covered include: the nature of public administration and administrative law; mechanisms by which public administrative power is regulated; the development, role and impact of judicial review in both Scotland and England.

European Legal History (Honours) (LX4559)

30 Credit Points

Great diversity can be traced to the historical development of the legal systems of modern Europe. That diversity has been shaped by various common traditions of legal ideas and intellectual movements, influential across the continent at different times and in different ways. This course aims to understand how such traditions helped to shape contemporary law as it conceptualised, practised, and taught in many different jurisdictions. It will focus on the period ca.500 BC to 1800.

Media Law (Honours) (LX4561)

30 Credit Points

Through a series of seminars, this course engages students with a body of ‘media law’ which covers topics such as the freedom of the press, freedom of expression, access to information, open justice principle on the one hand, and on the other hand,the right to fair trail, right to privacy, right of publicity, right against defamation, and the regulation of obscene publications. The focus is on the regulation of media contents. While the course follows the relevant current developments in the law, it also lays the foundation and the broader social and historical contexts within which these developments take place.

Corporate Insolvency Law (LX4573)

30 Credit Points

This course explores various aspects of corporate insolvency law, which is an important area in practice. Among the topics that will be covered are theories of corporate insolvency law, types of insolvency process (including corporate rescue processes), creditors’ claims and security rights (especially floating charges), challengeable transactions, and liability of directors. While the principal focus will be law in the UK, references will also be made to other jurisdictions, including the USA.

The use of Force in International Law (LX4584)

30 Credit Points

The course aims to develop an in-depth and critical appreciation of current issues in the area of the use of armed force in International Law.

The course will first analyse the fundamental principle of the prohibition of the use of force between States. It will then examine the current exceptions to this principle; further, what types of arguments States tend to use to “justify” the recourse to force - and how scholars of International Law have addressed this question. The course will also study how the international community has reacted to the most recent cases involving the use of force on the international plane (in particular, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Libya, Ukraine, and Syria) and what the implications are for the evolution of International Law in the field of recourse to force.

Civil Liberties Political Rights and Human Rights Law (LX4591)

30 Credit Points

This constitutional law course considers how core political freedoms are protected by human rights law in the UK. The course takes the form of seminar discussion, based on prescribed reading, of civil liberties such as freedom of expression; freedom of thought; freedom to protest; and the right to vote. Students are encouraged to reflect critically on how the law guarantees those rights. The broader context of class discussion includes the relationship between the law of the ECHR and domestic law on human rights; and the balance of power between courts, Parliament and government to determine the scope of civil liberties.

We will endeavour to make all course options available. However, these may be subject to change - see our Student Terms and Conditions page.

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

2024 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 achieve BB over S4 and S5 and who meet one of the widening access criteria are guaranteed a conditional offer. 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.

2025 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: BBBB

Applicants who have achieved BBBB (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 achieve BB over S4 and S5 and who meet one of the widening access criteria are guaranteed a conditional offer. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

Foundation Apprenticeship: One FA is equivalent to a Higher at A. It cannot replace any required subjects.

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

A LEVELS

Standard: BBC

Minimum: BCC

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

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 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
RUK £9,250
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year
EU / International students £20,800
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year
Home Students £1,820
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year

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 Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

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. However, these may be subject to change - see our Student Terms and Conditions page.

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
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX

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