Introduction

Legal Studies and Politics at Aberdeen combines close examination of the world of law – including topical and controversial issues – with exploration of national, European and global politics taught by highly-regarded experts who regularly comment in the media on events unfolding in the world today. You will gain a great foundation the perfect foundation for a wide range of careers, including politics, media and business, government service and many other fields.

This programme is studied on campus.

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.

You won’t be accredited to enter the legal profession in Scotland (or England), but 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 Politics, you will be right at the front of debate on current world events – including Britain’s relationship with the European Union and its neighbours on mainland Europe and movements of regionalisation within the UK.

You will explore voting behaviour, different political systems, making and implementing policy, nationalism, concepts of democracy and ever-present concerns of conflict and peace.

You can also take advantage of unique options made possible by the research pedigree of our academic team with a strong track record in publishing international papers and articles.

The combination of intellectual skills that you will develop and their transferability will be a great foundation for a wide range of careers, including politics, media, business, government service, NGOs, charities and many other fields.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
ML12

What You'll Study

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Academic Writing for Law (AW1004)
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.

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Politics & International Relations 1: Democracy and Governance (PI1018) - 15 Credit Points

Politics and International Relations impacts on all parts of our lives, with more specifically it being the study of ideas, events, institutions and choice. Studying these provides us with both knowledge of the world and also how it operates and functions. It also changes our perception of our surroundings and makes us aware of an ever changing global context. This course will introduce students to concepts and ideas that form the basis for the study of these disciplines while simultaneously also helping us understand our own place within a global context.

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Legal Method (LS1522) - 15 Credit Points

This course develops key legal research skills by taking students through a research project from initial conception to final written product, including: research design; research ethics; identifying and locating primary sources; interpreting and evaluating primary sources; identifying and locating secondary sources; critically analysing secondary sources; use and interpretation of data, statistics and other (non-legal) evidence; and effective writing. It will teach students the comparative and doctrinal-historical legal methods critical to legal research. Students will develop their own research project throughout the semester in light of this learning, building their project step by step under the guidance of the teaching team.

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Politics & International Relations 2: Power and Conflict (PI1518) - 15 Credit Points

Politics and International Relations impacts on all parts of our lives, with more specifically it being the study of ideas, events, institutions and choice. Studying these provides us with both knowledge of the world and also how it operates and functions. It also changes our perception of our surroundings and makes us aware of an ever changing global context. This course will introduce students to concepts and ideas that form the basis for the study of these disciplines while simultaneously also helping us understand our own place within a global context.

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Professional Skills Part 1 (PD1001)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students and above, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

  • Select 30 credit points from the following courses:
    • Criminal Law (LS1020)
    • Foundations of Private Law (LS1022)
    • Case Studies on Law in Society (LS1026)
    • Contract (LS1520)
    • Public Law and Human Rights (LS1521)
    • Alternative Methods of Dispute Resolution (LS1523)
    • English Criminal Law (LS1527)
    • Introduction to English Legal System (LS1528)
  • Select a further 30 credit points from courses of choice.
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Public Law and Human Rights (LS1521) - 15 Credit Points

This course is an introduction to the law about government. The course covers three main areas of law: constitutional law; human rights law; and, to a lesser extent, administrative law. Major topics include parliamentary sovereignty, Britain's membership in the European Union, the rule of law, the separation of powers, devolution (especially in Scotland), the Human Rights Act, freedom of expression, and the right to protest. This area of law is fast-moving, and an effort is made to address current issues such as prisoner voting, the deployment of armed forces, and the impact of the referendum on Scottish independence.

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Alternative Methods of Dispute Resolution (LS1523) - 15 Credit Points

Alternative Methods of Dispute Resolution is a very practical course designed to give students a first-hand interaction with a number of the different structured ways to resolve disputes that exist. The course is taught by way of a weekly lecture which focuses on an explanation of theory and rationale followed by role play tutorials, where students engage in negotiations and mediations in particular.

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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.

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Introduction to English Legal System (LS1528) - 7.5 Credit Points

This 7.5 credit course introduces key elements of the English legal system, building on points considered in the Legal System course. It considers sources of law (with a focus on the common law and doctrine of precedent), key institutions and personalities (eg police, jury, Lord Chancellor), criminal and civil processes, key controversies (eg the future of legal aid, the place of social media and the diversity of judges) and the present and developing nature of the different branches of the legal profession, particularly in the face of evolving technologies. Assessment is by research exercises OR an exam at the student’s choice.

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Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Ideas and Ideologies in Politics and International Relations (PI2009) - 30 Credit Points

Ideas and ideologies are core to teaching, learning and research in Politics and International Relations. Theoretical developments are at the forefront of academic debates within the discipline, demonstrated by the appearance of a number of new approaches as more traditional theories have struggled to account for an ever changing world. This course will introduce students to these with profound questions and struggles over identity, belonging, justice and rights underpinning these theoretical debates.

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Global Politics: Equality and Inequality (PI2508) - 30 Credit Points

Equality and inequality are at the forefront of many debates within contemporary Politics and International Relations. This course will examine the historical context, theoretical underpinnings, and also key concepts which continue to uphold equality and inequality on a global scale.

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Optional Courses

  • Select 60 credit points from the following courses (listed here and below):
    • Commercial Organisations & Insolvency (LS2525)
    • Family Law (LS2526)
    • Succession & Trusts (LS2528)
    • English Property Law (LS3529)
Delict and Unjustified Enrichment (LS2025) - 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?). The course will be taught primarily by means of lecture and tutorial. There will also be one compulsory interactive workshop illustrating how to quantify the amount of damages payable for personal injury.

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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.

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Scottish Legal History (LS2028) - 15 Credit Points

This course will introduce students to the main points of Scottish legal history from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries. In weeks one to eight, lectures and tutorials will provide a general overview as well as more detailed coverage on particular topics e.g. the legal literature and notable jurists, the development of the courts and procedure, and periods of flux and reform of the law. Workshops held in weeks nine and ten allow students to work on a (non-counting) group project charting the history of a legal rule.

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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. Areas such the use of force and self-defence are covered to enable students to understand why and how international law regulates the behaviour of its actors with respect to some specific subject areas.

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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.

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Evidence (LS3025) - 15 Credit Points

This course deals with the rules of evidence as they apply in the courtroom. The rules in both criminal and civil cases will be analysed. The legal requirements for leading real evidence, documentary evidence and witness testimony are considered. Topics include: relevancy, the corroboration rule, hearsay evidence, expert evidence, lawyer-client privilege, vulnerable witnesses, confession evidence and search evidence. Debate on the more controversial areas of the subject, such as sexual history evidence and admissibility of previous convictions, is encouraged. The subject is highly topical, controversial and practically important to all lawyers. Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and examination.

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Land Law (LS3027) - 15 Credit Points

The course will build upon student's existing knowledge of property law. The course will use the legal issues arising when land is to be commercially developed as a means of teaching a range of topics pertaining to title to land, land registration, the planning system and rights in land. The precise topics selected may vary from year to year.

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The Law of Equity and Trusts of England and Wales (LS3030) - 15 Credit Points

This course considers Equity and Trusts, which in its content, teaching, and nature of its development makes clear key differences between Scots law and English law. We will consider the history of Equity and its relationship with the common law; the meaning, creation and practical impact of trusts (express, implied, resulting and constructive) with both family disputes and commercial sagas having a key role; charitable and non-charitable purpose trusts; rights of beneficiaries; appointment and responsibilities of trustees; fiduciary relationships, and equitable remedies (in particular injunctions, and freezing and search and seize orders). Assessment is by an essay and an exam.

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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 structure and function of rights; 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).

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Introduction to German Law (LS2530) - 15 Credit Points

This course aims to give students an overview of the law of Germany. Both private law and public law aspects will be covered and knowledge of German whilst useful is not essential.

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Introduction to Spanish Law (LS2531)
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, Intellectual Property, Trusts, Partnership and Company Law.

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The Governance of Scotland (LS2535) - 15 Credit Points

The focus of this level 2 course is the background to, and the significance of, recent developments in the governance of Scotland, together with the implications of proposals for further change. The topics studied include the historical background to the present position; the political factors which led to devolution; the Scotland Act 1998; developments since the implementation of the 1998 Act; the outcome and consequences of the referendum; and the ongoing debate regarding the governance of Scotland. Because of the topicality of the course, the precise syllabus may be subject to change in the light of developing circumstances.

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Introduction to Comparative Law (LS2536) - 7.5 Credit Points

This is a foundational course that introduces students to the two dominant legal traditions of the world - the civil law tradition and the common law tradition. The first half of the course provides an introduction to Comparative Law with a focus on the civil law tradition. The second part of the course is concerned with the common law tradition, whilst exploring also the differences between the Scots and English legal systems. In addition, the course examines the interaction between the civil law tradition and the common law tradition within the European Union.

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Introduction to French Law (LS2539) - 15 Credit Points

The course provides an introduction to French Law, both private and public law aspects. It outlines the study of the law in France, the French legal professions, the French court system, the structure of the French legal system, the territorial organisation of France, as well as key aspects of French constitutional law, administrative law, contract law and tort liability. Knowledge of French is not necessary. Teaching will be delivered through two hour lectures and seminars. Attendance to both lectures and seminars is compulsory. Assessment is based on the drafting of an essay and an exam.

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Year 3

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

Researching Into the 21st Century (PI3069) - 30 Credit Points

Research methods and techniques are fundamental to the study of Politics and International Relations. In addition, they are highly desired by employers. This course will introduce students to a number of different research techniques which they will use throughout their studies at Honours and in particular their Honours dissertation. Moreover, they will also constitute a significant part of their graduate attributes.

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Optional Courses

  • Select 60 credit points from Legal Studies LX Honours courses.
  • Select a further 30 credit points from Level 3 courses in Politics & International Relations.
Year 4

Year 4

Optional Courses

One of the following Options:

Option 1:

  • Dissertation in Legal Studies (LX4025)
  • Select a further 30 credit points from level 4 courses in Legal Studies.
  • Select a further 60 credit points from level 4 courses in Politics & International Relations.

Option 2:

  • Dissertation (Politics) (PI4071)
  • Select a further 60 credit points from level 4 courses in Legal Studies.
  • Select a further 30 credit points from level 4 courses in Politics & International Relations.
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.

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Dissertation (Politics) (PI4071) - 30 Credit Points

This course affords students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and research skills in the broad field of Politics & International Relations to an individual piece of research, focusing on a topic selected by the student and approved by the Dissertation supervisor. Over the course of the project, with guidance from a supervising member of staff, the student will conduct a literature review of relevant material, select appropriate research methods, gather data where necessary, analyse data, and write a final analysis in the form of the Dissertation. Particular emphasis will be given to helping students develop their own skills.

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Course Availability

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

How You'll Study

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 Politics?

Why Politics and International Relations

  • A core curriculum with topical themes of conflict and security, representation and democracy, comparative politics and policy.
  • Special focus on the Middle-East, Latin America, North and South Asia, the Nordic Countries, Central and Eastern Europe – as well as Scotland, the UK and the EU.
  • Staff with specialist expertise in political parties and elections, democracy, energy politics, European integration and regionalism, human rights and development issues, interest groups, nationalism, conflict resolution and more.
  • A vibrant Politics & International Relations Society – voted Aberdeen ‘Society of the Year’ for the last three years, and Best Event 2013-14 for The Legacy of Nelson Mandela.
  • Opportunities to take advantage of spending your second year studying abroad, in Europe, Japan, Hong Kong or North America.
  • The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library, combining a top-class study environment with state-of-the-art technology, and extensive reference collections for your studies.
  • A packed campus programme of events, seminars, invited speakers and the annual May festival, engaging prominent influencers, interest groups and public in debating major political issues such as Scottish independence and EU membership.
  • All the history and legacy of being part of a university developed over 500 years of national and international political turbulence, social change, and emerging democracy.

Entry Requirements

You will find all the information you require about entry requirements on our dedicated 'Entry Requirements' page. You can also find out about the different types of degrees, offers, advanced entry, and changing your subject.

Qualifications

SQA Highers - AABB
A Levels - BBB
IB - 32 points, including 5, 5, 5 HL
ILC - 5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above)

Further detailed entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees.

English Language Requirements

To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen, it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

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

Fee Waiver

For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.

Most RUK students (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a four year honours degree will be eligible for a full-fees waiver in their final year. Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU £1,820
All Students
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £14,600
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year

Additional Fees

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

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Undergraduate Open Day

Our next Open Day will be on

Find out More

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 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.

Key Information Set (KIS)

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

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