Constitutional Politics, Law and Theory (LLM)

Birkbeck, University of London, School of Law

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This unique Master's degree in law reflects the traditional neglect of constitutionalist approaches to politics in Britain - something which is now changing fast. As the utopia of the ‘end of history’ falters, the rhetoric of security and risk, of crisis in the relation between financial markets and sovereign states, of perpetual war, and of corruption in politics brings about a relentless desire for law and constitutional reform. These expectations, however, are often at odds with the way contemporary social and political theories, and a growing number of constitutional law specialists, conceptualise the sphere of the political.

The focus is on two related but distinct processes: the crisis of law and the shift towards exceptional modes of state power; and the demand that law mitigates manifold crises. Questions are raised about law as solution, about its role in the violent imposition of liberal social and market relations, and whether or not we may be able to imagine a different sort of crisis, a different relation between law and the future.

This programme adopts a critical, interdisciplinary approach and gives equal weight to theory and comparative case studies from across the world.

Highlights 

  • Studying the interrelation of law and politics requires, by definition, an interdisciplinary and critical approach - the Birkbeck School of Law specialises in this kind of approach.
  • Our School is an internationally recognised centre for critical and interdisciplinary legal research. It provides an exciting and innovative environment for a wide range of research with a strong theoretical and policy focus, and our academic staff have valuable experience of constitutionalist politics in regions across the globe. The School is the home of Birkbeck Law Press and publishes Law and Critique: The International Journal of Critical Legal Thought.
  • We use technology, such as electronic learning environments, to enhance teaching and learning. Birkbeck Library has an extensive collection of books, journals and electronic resources in law and related disciplines such as economics, politics and sociology. You can also take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including those of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Senate House Library, the British Library of Political and Economic Science (LSE Library) and the British Library.
  • Applicants with a strong academic background may be eligible to apply for AHRC/ESRC awards (UK and EU-based applicants only).
  • Candidates with an outstanding academic record who demonstrate high potential for strong performance on one of our Master's degrees can apply for School of Law Postgraduate Fee Awards.
  • Find out more about why you should study law at Birkbeck.

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If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests. 

If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

 

Graduates go in to careers in local or national governments, international organisations, research institutes, public interest advocacy, or political activism. Possible professions include constitutional law expert, higher education lecturer, Civil Service administrator, or human resources officer.

Find out more advice and information about careers in law.

We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

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