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Home>Study at York>Postgraduate taught>Courses 2019/20>Legal and Political Theory (LLM)

LLM Legal and Political Theory

Question the fundamental aspects of political life and gain a firm grounding in key legal issues

Year of entry: 2019


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time


York Law School

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

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Governments and international institutions regulate our lives, from what we wear in public, to what we say about others. This raises profound questions about how we relate to each other and to our government.

By what right do some people rule over others? Do citizens have an obligation to obey the law? Ultimately, how can we live together peacefully in circumstances in which we disagree about how best to live?

This course explores the core issues of political and legal theories and the relationship between them. By studying the works of theorists both past and present, you'll delve into the fundamental questions of jurisprudence

Leading research

The Department was equal fifth in the Times Higher Education's rankings of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessment results and had the highest overall proportion of research designated as internationally excellent or world-leading.

Course content

Your six core modules will introduce you to the fundamental questions of legal and political theory. By choosing from a range of options for the rest of your modules, you can focus your studies on what interests you most

You'll learn about the fundamental issues and theories of jurisprudence, alongside looking into the most important approaches to political theory. In your option modules, you'll be able to develop skills that interest you, and learn about topics such as pluralism, terrorism and ethics.

You'll also develop your research skills in preparation for a 12,000 word dissertation, which you will write during the summer term.


In the Autumn term, you will study three core modules:

In the Spring term, you will study one core module:

Advanced Issues in Legal Theory (20 credits)

You will also choose two 20 credit option modules from the following list including:

In the Summer term, you will study one core module:

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.


You'll write a 12,000 word dissertation on a topic of their choice, incorporating a legal dimension, under the supervision of a faculty member. You'll be supported in the preparation of the dissertation proposal by specialist research training. Students have a wide flexibility in choosing their topic and they are encouraged to make the most of the broad range of expertise made available by the collaborative nature of the programme.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the central questions of legal and political theory and the works of the great legal and political theorists both past and present who have examined these questions.
  • Discuss and critically evaluate the fundamental principles and theories of common, civil and international law systems and apply a comprehensive understanding of the operation of such principles to the analysis of legal and commercial problems.
  • Apply and adapt problem-solving skills working efficiently and effectively to develop effective solutions to diverse, complex and integrated legal, practical or societal problems.
  • Influence debate in chosen areas of specialisation by developing well-reasoned, critical and creative arguments, theories and solutions to broader legal issues within society, supported by researched evidence, with the capacity to draw on these to produce original responses.
  • Evaluate propositions and solve complex problems by reflexively drawing upon and applying a broad awareness of perspectives and interests in their work, capable of taking into account key considerations (such as: ethical, social, political, professional, commercial, financial, business, international, policy, human rights, ethnic, gender and client interest considerations).
  • Record, reflect on, and evaluate the strengths, weaknesses and progress in their own personal learning and professional development.
  • Develop legal research skills including: the use of computer databases and search strategies; critical evaluation of normative research questions, determine research methodologies which can be used to successfully address such questions, apply the skills and knowledge developed on the programme to a selected problem, and plan, project manage and implement a substantial project with minimal guidance.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year) £7,810£17,370
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

You'll receive innovative, practical and relevant teaching integrating problem-based learning, simulations and student law firms. You'll also attend masterclasses from legal practitioners and academics.

You'll develop an understanding of business organisations, commercial law, intellectual property, employment, litigation and property law, as well as the legal profession and the legal services market. You'll be supervised by a designated tutor acting as senior partner for your student law firm who will provide regular support and feedback on your client work.

You'll advise clients and progress transactions and matters, interacting with simulated clients, drafting client communications and legal documents, negotiating with other law firms, and presenting arguments to resolve disputes.

Teaching location

York Law School is located on Campus East. Nearly all of your teaching will take place within the Law and Management building or nearby on Campus East.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

As you progress through your modules, you will compile your work in a portfolio. Individual modules are then assessed by reflective reports demonstrating understanding of required knowledge, skills and commercial awareness, evidenced by chosen outputs your portfolio. These are followed by the independent learning project, where you will create 15,000 dissertation in an agreed format on two defined areas of corporate commercial legal practice.

Careers and skills

Throughout your time at York, you will receive active support in careers and development planning from the York Law School employability tutor.

We encourage you to get involved with our Careers and Development Programme. The programme includes several employers, providing an insight into the legal profession and the relevant recruitment processes.

There is also help available for those of you who are thinking about non-legal employers or academic routes following your LLM. 

Career opportunities

  • Lawyer 
  • Litigation Paralegal Solicitor
  • Commercial in-house lawyer
  • Attorney-at-law

Some of our students also go onto work in sectors not directly related to law such as:

  • Finance
  • Health and Social Work
  • Public Administration
  • Retail

Transferable skills

  • Research skills
  • Communication and presentation skills
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Project management
  • Reasoning and judgement
  • Document and case analysis
  • Negotiation and mediation
  • Advocacy

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer

Minimum 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Law, Management or a related Social Science.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. 

  • IELTS: 7.0, with a minimum of 7.0 in Writing and no less than 6.5 in all other components
  • PTE Academic: 67, with a minimum of 67 in Writing and no less than 61 in all other components
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 185, with a minimum of 185 in Writing and no less than 176 in all other components
  • TOEFL: 96 with a minimum of 24 in Writing and no less than 23 in all other components
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Distinction in all components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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