Dissertation in Law (Canterbury) - LAWS8000

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 7 60 (30) Iain Frame checkmark-circle
Year 7 60 (30) Iain Frame checkmark-circle


This module requires students to submit a dissertation of no more than 15,000 words on a topic relevant to one of the subject specialisations of the degree programme and approved by the academic staff. It is conceived as that part of the degree programme where students have considerable leeway to follow their own particular interests, with guidance from staff. Students are assigned a supervisor upon submission of the dissertation proposal according to topic and staff expertise. Supervision of work on the dissertation is concentrated in the second half of the academic year and appropriate help will be given to the student. Original research is likely to be rewarded with high grades, but it is not a requirement at this level.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 21
Private study hours: 579
Total study hours: 600


Compulsory to the LLM in (Specialisation) and LLM in Law.

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Dissertation of no more than 15,000 words (100%)

Reassessment methods

Reassessment instrument: 100% project

Indicative reading

• Banakar, R., & M. Travers (eds.), Law and Social Theory, 2nd ed. (Hart Publishing 2014).
• Banakar, R., & M. Travers, Theory and Methods in Socio-Legal Research (Oxford, 2005).
• Hollis, M, The Philosophy of Social Science: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 1994).
• King, G., R. Keohane, and S. Verba, Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research (Princeton University Press, 1996).
• May, T., Social Research: Issues, Methods and Processes, 4th ed. (OUP, 2011).
• Potter, S. (ed.) Doing Postgraduate Research, 2nd ed. (Sage/Open University, 2006)
• Salter, M., Writing Law Dissertations: an Introduction and Guide to the Conduct of Legal Research (Pearson, 2007).
• Webb, K., An Introduction to Problems in the Philosophy of Social Sciences (Pinter, 1996).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate acute awareness of the difficulties involved in formulating a meaningful and feasible research question as well as of the ways
of overcoming these difficulties;
2. Conceptualise a dissertation topic, and to comprehensively design the appropriate research methodology;
3. Demonstrate acute awareness of the need to be methodical and systematic in their studies, and to be critical in their use of the work done
by other political and social scientists;
4. Understand, at a complex level, the relationship between a problem, theoretical approach, research design and analysis;
5. Systematically understand the key concepts, theories and methods used in the study of law and their application to the analysis of their
chosen area of specialisation;
6. Critically engage with social, political, economic and legal dynamics of interaction between people, events, ideas and institutions relevant
to their chosen area of specialisation;
7. Systematically understand the contestable nature of many concepts and different approaches to the study of areas of law relevant to the
student's specialisation;
8. Demonstrate effortless use of the various conventions of academic writing (style, citation, bibliography etc.)

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Apply their theoretical knowledge in an insightful and critical way;
2. Undertake a comprehensive and critical analysis of complex, incomplete or contradictory areas of knowledge and make carefully and
thoughtfully constructed arguments;
3. Demonstrate a level of conceptual understanding that will allow them to critically evaluate research, policies and practices;
4. Be reflective and self-critical in their work;
5. Use libraries, electronic and online resources to conduct effective research;
6. Demonstrate the independent learning ability required for continuing postgraduate and professional study


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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