Law and Politics - LLB (Hons)

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This degree offers you the opportunity to study the closely related disciplines of Politics and Law in a three-year programme

Overview

You gain a solid grounding in politics, both national and international, and are able to choose modules that reflect your interests from the extensive range on offer. Our modules reflect the research interests of our staff, and cover areas including conflict resolution, federalism, comparative politics, European integration, ethnic conflict, terrorism, the theory of international relations, political theory, and the politics of countries such as China, Japan, Russia and the USA.

You also develop an understanding of the law, taught from a critical perspective which will allow you to engage in informed debate about contemporary legal issues (with an understanding of its history and development).

Kent Law School is renowned for its world-leading research and an approach which enables you to think critically about law within the broader context of society, considering it's role and impact, and the potential it has to change the world we live in.

Entry requirements

Make Kent your firm choice – The Kent Guarantee

We understand that applying for university can be stressful, especially when you are also studying for exams. Choose Kent as your firm choice on UCAS and we will guarantee you a place, even if you narrowly miss your offer (for example, by 1 A Level grade)*.

*exceptions apply. Please note that we are unable to offer The Kent Guarantee to those who have already been given a reduced or contextual offer.

Entry requirements

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Some typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes. Please note that international fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

Please note that meeting the typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.

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    A level

    AAA-ABB

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

    If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

  • medal-empty BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

    A typical offer would be to achieve Distinction, Distinction, Distinction

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 17 points at HL

  • medal-empty International Foundation Programme

    Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average including 60% in Academic Skills Development, 60% in the Law module and 60% in the Politics module if taken.

  • medal-empty T level

    The University will consider applicants holding T Level qualifications in subjects which are closely aligned to the programme applied for. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you do not meet our English language requirements, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

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Course structure

Duration: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time

The modules below are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules currently include

The module will introduce students to critical legal techniques grounded in critical legal and social theory. Throughout the course, concepts are introduced through socio-legal and critical investigation of selected case studies - such as new pieces of legislation, emerging political campaigns and prominent litigation - ensuring that the course maintains a focus on 'law in action'. Particular attention will be paid to developments in foreign jurisdictions and in the international arena. Accordingly, case studies will alter from year to year, and draw heavily on research projects on-going in the Law School. The course has a heavy focus on primary legal materials and core critical texts, but will also draw on film, museum artefacts, art and literature as appropriate.

Find out more about LAWS3130

Section 1 Introduction to Obligations

a)The nature of the common law and its development.

b)The idea of precedent and legal reasoning.

c)The distinction between public law and private law.

d)The main divisions of obligations.

e)Drafting case notes

Section 2 Introduction to the law of contract

a) The historical development of contract law and its functions in the modern world.

b) A special area of study in contract e.g. formation and modification of contracts.

Section 3 Introduction to tort

a) The historical development of tort. An overview of different types of tort. The centrality of the tort of negligence and its role in the modern world.

b) A special study in tort – e.g. trespass to the person.

Section 4 Conclusion

A summary; guidance to legal problem solving.

Find out more about LAWS3150

Following on from 'Introduction to Obligations', 'Foundations of Property' continues the study of private law by introducing students to property law. 'Property' is something we tend to presume we know about, and rarely examine as an idea or practice closely. Most often we use it to connote an object or 'thing', and presume that it has something to do with 'ownership' of that object; we use expressions such as, 'This is mine,' and often do not examine the detail of what that really means.

This module begins to unpack and examine the ideas and practices of property more closely, looking in particular at land to ask questions such as: what do we mean by 'ownership'? What happens when a number of competing ‘ownership claims’ in one object exist? What are the limits of 'ownership'? Does 'ownership' entail social obligation?

When preparing for the module it will be useful to think about (and collect material on) current debates over contested ownership (or use) of property and resources, especially in relation to land.

Find out more about LAWS3160

Part A: English Legal System

This module provides an overview of the English Legal System, including the following indicative topics:

1. An introduction to Parliament and the legislative process

2. The court structure and the doctrine of precedent

3. An introduction to case law, including how to identify and the importance of ratio decidendi and obiter dicta

Part B: Introduction to Legal Skills

The module also gives students an introduction to the basic legal skills that they will develop further in their other modules throughout the degree. The focus here is on specific exercises to support exploration and use of the library resources that are available, both in paper copy and electronically through the legal databases, and on understanding practices of legal citation.

Find out more about LAWS3270

TERM 1

• Constitutionalism: history, theories, principles and contemporary significance

• Models of Government at national, local and supra-national levels

TERM 2

• Human Rights – history and contemporary significance and deployment

• The scope of governmental authority and its limits

• Judicial review and other forms of citizen redress

Find out more about LAWS5880

This module introduces students to the empirical study of the key structures, institutions, processes, outcomes and behaviour in political systems. It familiarises students with both the content and shape of political life and how academic scholars study it. But it also introduces the data, methods and techniques that allow students to study it themselves. Students learn about political life by learning how to do basic political research.

Find out more about POLI3350

Stage 2

Compulsory modules currently include

Over the course of the late twentieth century the modern state was transformed in far-reaching ways. The deregulation and privatisation of national economies, the rise of risk governance, the proliferation of administrative agencies and the increasing the involvement of experts in public policy have all profoundly affected the practice of government. At the same time, states responded to global problems cutting across national boundaries (eg, in finance, security and the environment) by governing through transnational networks and global institutions far removed from conventional mechanisms of democratic and legal accountability. These changes have dramatically transformed the landscape of public law - broadly defined as 'the practices that sustain and regulate the activity of governing'.

This module helps students to navigate this shifting constitutional terrain and grapple with the key legal and political challenges it poses. In Public Law 1 students learned about the core principles of constitutional and administrative law, exploring issues like parliamentary sovereignty, the separation of powers, judicial review, human rights and devolution. In the Law of the European Union students were introduced to the principle of multi-level governance through which the modern state operates. Public Law 2 builds on these insights by analysing the complexity of contemporary governance in detail. The aim is to have students think critically about (i) the changing nature of the state, global governance and regulation; (ii) how globalisation is changing the ways public law problems are governed; (iii) the key challenges these shifts pose for the protection of rights and (iv) the different techniques and processes for holding states and powerful actors to account.

Find out more about LAWS5920

This module will build on the knowledge that students will have acquired during Stage 1 [such as in LAWS5880 (LA588) Public Law 1] . This module will develop student learning by focusing on foundational legal aspects of EU law as well as rules governing selected substantive areas of EU law, also taking into account the relevance of these rules to the UK. The module convenor will set out specific areas of study in the relevant module guide.

Find out more about LAWS5930

This module will offer a one-week overview of Contract law doctrine by reviewing the essentials of contract law gained by students in Introduction to Obligations and provide an overview of the lectures to follow.

Thereafter, students will spend the majority of the time on contract doctrine and problem-solving in contract law, comprised of doctrinal topics not covered in LAWS3150 Introduction to Obligations e.g. breach of contract and remedies, contractual terms, misrepresentation, termination and frustration of contracts and policing bargaining behaviour.

The remainder of the module will focus on contract theory (e.g. freedom of contract, relational contract theory, contract and the vulnerable, contract and consumption). This section of the module will overlay the doctrine covered in the previous section with a basic theoretical framework, and ground students' understanding of critical essay writing in contract law. It will also build on discussion of the purposes of contract law in Introduction to Obligations.

Find out more about LAWS6500

The bulk of this module will concentrate on the Tort of Negligence in contrast to students' knowledge of the law of trespass to the person (gained in LAWS3150 Introduction to Obligations). Students will focus on the conceptual structure of the tort of negligence, its rise and dominance over other torts, its role in accident compensation, the funding of accident compensation and the role of insurance, and the system’s contribution to an alleged "compensation culture". The approach is primarily doctrinal but is informed by various theoretical perspectives examining differing notions of justice.

A smaller section of this module will contrast the predominantly case-based Tort of Negligence with various statutory torts. Students will also consider the Land Torts. This draws further attention to the diverse range of harms or interests protected by tort law and to the diverse conceptual structures of different torts.

Find out more about LAWS6510

This course builds on students' knowledge of the approaches and methods used in the study of politics and international relations introduced in the first year of the degree program and the foundation in the analysis of quantitative data established in the second year. Students will be asked to consider the nature and purposes of descriptive and causal analysis in politics and international relations. Students will develop skills in choosing, using and evaluating the research designs, and techniques for the collection and analyses of data used by researchers in these fields. Emphasis in the course will be placed on a mixed methods approach to political analysis that enables student to integrate, analyse and evaluate both qualitative and quantitative data. In addition to developing a conceptual and theoretical understanding of different approaches to evidence gathering and analyses and how they can be combined, students will also have the opportunity to extend their skills in practical data analyses.

Find out more about POLI6610

The study of social and political phenomena is a vast endeavour and this class will serve as an introduction to methods for social science research. It provides a basic, non-technical introduction to the use of quantitative methods in the political sciences for students from a variety of educational backgrounds (including those with very limited knowledge of mathematical terminology and notation). The progression of this course will address scientific research design and methodology and consider many examples of such research In short, it seeks to enable students to read, interpret, and critically assess arguments drawing on quantitative methods in Politics and International Relations. Students with some prior exposure to quantitative methods will have the opportunity to improve their command of statistical software as well as apply their general statistical skills to data sets commonly found in policy and academic work.

Find out more about POLI6870

Optional modules may include

The module seeks to provide an historical, legal and social understanding of the police, one of the key social and legal institutions of the modern state. The police are an integral part of the criminal justice system and as such, this module is a core element in a criminal justice course.

Find out more about LAWS5420

The module is taken over one term. Students will attend a small number of lectures introducing the trajectory of a research project, the use of library resources, primary and secondary material, use of citations and constructing a bibliography etc. The main experience of the module is found in the supervision process between supervisor and student, who between themselves decide on the specific plan for the research programme.

Find out more about LAWS5660

This module investigates the relationship between law and social change, and explores the political, economic and social dynamics that affect this relationship over time. The module will consider questions such as:

• Why is the law a terrain of social struggle?

• How does the law respond and/or contribute to social change?

• How do the values or worldviews that the law incorporates affect the legal advancement of social change?

• How does the character of the law change in relation to different political, economic and social contexts?

• What are the obstacles and limitations to the law contributing to and creating social change? How is the context in which the law operates important in this analysis?

• How can we engage with the law to pursue change towards social justice?

The first part of the module examines the relationship between law and social change as addressed by key classical and contemporary social theorists. This exploration is then extended with an analysis of how and to what extent social movements can affect legal reform and eventually contribute to social change. The second part of the module investigates a number of concepts and areas in relation to which the approaches and ideas explored in the previous part can be applied, questioned, reframed or expanded. These concepts and areas are morality, democracy, globalisation, rights and citizenship, and the role of legal professions in social change.

Find out more about LAWS5700

This module considers how criminal law makes use of science. Forensic evidence is a rapidly developing area in criminal trials – new techniques are continually being developed and forensic evidence such as DNA profiling is increasingly presented as evidence. This rapid expansion has resulted in forensic evidence becoming increasingly debated in the media and by the criminal justice process – from articles hailing DNA profiling as preventing or undoing miscarriages of justice to those questioning a lay jury's ability to make a judgement in cases involving highly complex scientific or medical evidence.

The module will be broken down into 4 parts:

1. Initially, analysis of the historical development of the use of forensic evidence will be made along with explanation of both what constitutes forensic evidence and the basic scientific techniques involved.

2. Consideration of the way in which forensic science has developed as a useful tool within the criminal justice process

3. Analysis of the difficulties of placing emphasis on forensic science within the trial system – cases in which forensic science has resulted in subsequently questioned decisions.

4. Current issues surrounding the use of forensic science: This section of the course will be devoted to considering the questions which arise out of the use of forensic evidence such as:

• Who should decide whether a new scientific technique should be admissible evidence,

• Who are the experts who present the evidence to juries

• To what extent does the admission of forensic evidence assists juries.

Find out more about LAWS5840

Weeks One-Four: Introduction to the broad field of Science and Technology Studies (STS), and how this body of work is relevant for the study of law; introduction to law and anthropology studies that engage STS

Weeks Five-Ten: Specific and topical case studies relating theory to concrete examples, including debates over genetically modified foods; legal-political disputes over ownership of biogenetic materials in context of pharmaceutical industry and agricultural sector; reproductive technologies, and others.

Find out more about LAWS6000

In recent times, 'alternative' forms of dispute resolution (ADR) have been widely recognised as possessing the potential to limit some of the damage caused by civil disputes. Therefore, a lawyer’s skill-set ideally should include a well-developed ability to analyse, manage and resolve disputes both within and outside the usual setting of the courtroom. Thus, the module’s primary aim is to introduce students to the legal and regulatory issues surrounding methods of dispute resolution aside from litigation. Specifically, the module focuses on the practical factors relevant to selecting appropriate dispute resolution in distinct circumstances, including, for example, the employment and family law arenas.

Students will be provided with the resources to acquire a detailed theoretical and practical understanding of the contextual constraints associated with the use of different forms of dispute resolution and will be encouraged to develop their ability to evaluate the effectiveness of particular interventions, especially when used as an adjunct to court proceedings. The module tracks historic and current developments in relation to the use of ADR, highlighting how government policy and courts appear, increasingly, to sanction failure to use ADR. This may well enhance students’ opportunities to hone career-advancing expertise in the field.

Find out more about LAWS6260

This module introduces the origins, evolution and impact of international economic law—that is, the regulation by (primarily) states and international organisations of international economic activity, such as the movement of goods, services, capital and people.

It takes a critical socio-legal approach to the field in the sense that it considers economic, social, political and cultural dimensions; and emphasises the existence of multiples perspectives, in particular of individuals and organisations; in the public, private, and third sectors; in relatively poor and relatively rich economic contexts; in times of calm and of crisis; and on local, national, regional and global levels.

Find out more about LAWS6320

The module will examine the role and function of international law in the use of force between states as well as non-state actors. It will provide students with detailed knowledge and understanding of the origins and development of international law on the use of force and of its concepts, principles and rules governing the use of force (jus ad bellum) and the conduct of armed conflict (jus in bello). The module will enable students to consider the relevance, or otherwise, of international law on the use of force to contemporary international disputes and to critically assess its limitations and effects. This will be achieved through a range of topics and case studies.

Find out more about LAWS6430

This course explores selected global problems in their historical, social, political and economic contexts in light of international legal frameworks. The course begins with an examination of key critical perspectives in international law, such as Third World Approaches to International Law, before moving on to specific topics of historical or contemporary concern. Attention will be paid in particular to systemic problems of the global legal order and students are encouraged to analyse the limits and potential of international law to present solutions to global problems as well as the role played by international law in framing and constituting those problems in the first place.

Find out more about LAWS6450

This module will provide students with a strong grounding in the technical law relating to homelessness, as well as an understanding of some of the key policy debates which underlie this legal framework. The module opens with discussion of social understandings of home and homelessness, before moving to a detailed assessment of the current framework of England's homelessness law. It will examine statute and case law relating to the duties on local authorities to respond to homelessness, including the definition of homelessness; who is "eligible" for housing; the key concepts of priority need and the meaning of vulnerability; what happens when someone is considered to be “intentionally homeless”; and the impact of a connection to another local authority. The review of the contemporary legal structure closes with discussion of the procedure which homeless applicants will undergo and a review of the law and policy relating to allocation policies. The second part of the module places this legal structure in context by examining the history of homelessness provision and regulation; considering responses to homelessness in other jurisdictions and examining the regulation and perceptions of street homelessness.

Find out more about LAWS6460

This module engages with the matter of asylum and refugeehood in both a national and international context. The module offers a thorough introduction to the sources of asylum and refugee law (UK and international) and a critical consideration of the relevant jurisprudence. The module employs at times interdisciplinary material to aid understanding and reflection and engages with the historical and socio-cultural evolution of the government and regulation of asylum and refugee subjects. In addition, the module devotes time to key contemporary problems in asylum and refugee law and current developments and debates in the field.

Find out more about LAWS6470

The module will provide an introduction to immigration law in the United Kingdom. It covers key concepts; the development of the field of law viewed in historical and political context; questions of nationality and the system of immigration control and enforcement. It also considers how EU law and human rights standards impact(ed) UK law governing immigration. In particular, the course covers: The Immigration Debate in the UK: Are Immigration restrictions justified?; The Evolution of Migration Law and Policy in Britain; an appreciation and understanding of the subjects to Immigration Control; the multiple sources of Immigration Law; the case of Long-term Residence Rights; the matter of Family Migration; an outline of Labour Migration; relevant aspects of EU Migration and Free Movement; case studies on Detention and Deportation; as well as an appreciation of the Appeals Process and Judicial Review. Drawing on a range of contextual accounts, policy documents, case law and critical analysis of developments at the national, regional and to a more limited extent the international level, the module enables students to acquire both sound knowledge of the law and critical awareness of the biases, gaps and challenges in the current immigration system. This is complemented by a clinic element that offers some students the opportunity to gain fist-hand experience of applying immigration law through working the Kent Law Clinic.

Find out more about LAWS6480

The overall objective of the module is to provide an exposition and appreciation of Sports Law, considering key elements of the legal and institutional framework. Sport in the UK (as elsewhere) is now subject to a very wide range set of systems of supervision involving the application of principles and institutional governance subject to a wide spectrum of legal sources, including public and private law, national and international law as well as sui generis dispute resolution systems such as the Court of Arbitration for Sport based in Switzerland. The module will develop student learning by focusing on a range of legal topics and issues, which constitute integral key components of Sports Law.

Find out more about LAWS6550

From the introduction of writing in criminal trial processes, right through to use of AI to machine-analyse legal documents, the law has always transformed its own practice through the adoption of "non-legal" technologies. Today, blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies have made possible the creation of new kinds of legal documents—for example, “smart contracts” that are self-executing and self-enforcing. Hand-held mobile devices and instant messaging have transformed lawyer-client relations. Beyond new documents or networked communication mechanisms, however, new technologies like algorithmic machine learning are changing the way lawyers, courts and intermediaries do their work. Tomorrow's lawyers, as recent scholarship has argued, will need a new set of skills and ways of working that are fit for the coming age of human-machine hybridity. This module aims to introduce students to some of the major technologies currently being integrated into legal practice, as well as the ways that they are transforming the way law works—and possibly, according to legal scholars, what we mean by “law” itself. By critically situating these new technologies in relation to previous technological (r)evolutions in legal practice—major changes precipitated by technologies like writing, the invention of forms, or the media technology of legal files—this module asks what implications those technologies might have for the lawyer, the court, and for other governmental institutions whose work has traditionally been defined by the pursuit of justice.

Find out more about LAWS6580

Surveillance Platform Capitalism (SPC) is the use of highly sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence to "mine" or extract commercial value from personal data and information about the behaviour of consumers online. The aim of the module is to examine SPC through a socio-legal lens and to provide students with key concepts and interdisciplinary insights to understand and reflect critically on the on the nature and effects of SPC on individuals and society.

The module is divided into three parts. The first section will define and place SPC in historical and socioeconomic context. It will place SPC within the context of the emergence of the surveillant society, drawing on scholarship from Surveillance and Critical Surveillance Studies. It will then define and explore its ideological logic and algorithmic techniques (e.g., online behavioural tracking and targeting, personalisation and recommendation systems, choice-engineering, nudging) informed by scholarship from Algorithmic Governance Studies.

The second part of the module will look at the effects of SPC on individuals and society, using social media as a case study and drawing on New Media & Society Studies. It will examine the effects of SPC on mental health and self-representation and explore its intersection with questions of identity, particularly gender and race. It will then examine the effects of SPC on the production and consumption of journalistic and political communication (e.g. the challenges of echo-chambers, fake news, political advertising).

The final part of the module will look at the regulatory and governance challenges SPC poses, focusing on social media as a case study. It will examine the potential and limitations of different governance models (e.g., state vs self-regulation) to regulate the algorithmic techniques, operators, and digital content of SPC.

Find out more about LAWS6600

This module builds on the understanding developed in 'LW641Privacy, Data Protection and Cybersecurity Law', which introduces students to the key concepts and issues in the regulatory framework governing including privacy, data protection, and developments in cyber-crime and cyber security. The module promotes in depth, critical enquiry and insight in the subject area using current issues and case studies as a platform for developing specialist knowledge. The module adopts a research led approach engaging students in more tightly focussed study of emerging current issues in the area of data and cyber law than is possible in LW641. The topics treated each year will be subject to annual revision to meet and engage with current issues in the areas of data protection and cyber law.

These topics will take the form of several case studies during the course of the term and will cover such issues as:

• Changes to the use and understanding of privacy.

• Emerging issues in data protection – how do we use of data and what can we consent to?

• For example - tracking apps and health data

• International developments in the protection of data.

• Ethical issues in AI and machine learning

• Cyber law – issues in regulating the internet

• Understanding cyber-crime – prosecuting cyber enabled and cyber dependent crime

The choice of specific case studies in the module will be made annually by colleagues involved in delivery of the module, based on current cases, issues and research projects.

Find out more about LAWS6610

The law of succession (also known as inheritance) is a core area of legal and socio-economic practice enabling, and sometimes mandating, the transfer of wealth from one generation to another. Common law jurisdictions, such as England, Australia and America, are often described as upholding the principle of 'freedom of testation'. This course provides a critical introduction to the law of succession, in particular the nature of wills, will formation, and the administration of estates; it will assess the problem of intestacy (dying without a will); it will critically evaluate the principle of ‘freedom of testation’ with regard the limitations placed on freedom of testation and through comparative analysis with other jurisdictions.

Find out more about LAWS6620

Stage 3

Compulsory modules currently include

This module introduces the student to the jurisprudence of equity and trusts. Building on knowledge and understanding developed in LAWS3160/LAWS5316 Foundations of Property and LAWS5990 Land Law, but also LAWS6500 Law of Contract and private law more generally, the module examines equity's contributions to private law and jurisprudence. The module is designed to challenge the somewhat dull image of this area of law and to encourage a critical and imaginative understanding of the subject. Departing from conventional approaches, this module does not study equity merely in regards to its role as originator of the trust. Equity is instead acknowledged to be what it really is a vital component of the English legal system, a distinct legal tradition possessing its own principles and method of legal reasoning, and an original and continuing source of legal development in the sphere of remedies. The law of equity and trusts is contextualised within a historical and jurisprudential inquiry, providing a wider range of possible interpretations of its development and application. What then becomes central to the module’s approach is the complex interrelation of law with ethical, political, economic and jurisprudential considerations, and of that between legal outcomes, pragmatic concerns and policy objectives.

The module begins with the problem of equity as a problem of definition, of jurisprudence, and of jurisdiction – and identifies a set of questions that will animate the course, before turning to the nature and range of equitable remedies. Students will then examine equitable remedies concerned with reviewing intentions so as to undo or unwind transactions, such as gifts and contracts, and remedies concerned with enforcing informally expressed intentions. The course then turns to the trust and fiduciary obligations, looking at the transformation of the trust, both in terms of its functions and its management, and the remedies available to enforce trust and fiduciary obligations. The course ends by returning to the problem of equity and asking, in the context of restitution and contemporary understandings of the role of law, the extent to which equity continues to have a role in modern law.

Find out more about LAWS5980

The focus of the module is private property in English land: title by registration; squatting; owner-occupation; leases; covenants and land development. It builds on the Foundations of Property module to develop an in-depth understanding of English land law, its conception of property and its politics and effects. And it gives experience in how to advise clients on land law problems – and on how to avoid problems for clients.

Find out more about LAWS5990

In contrast to LAWS5080 Criminal Law (at Level 5), this Level 6 module will consider each of the following discrete, but identical, topics to a much greater depth making use of, and improving, skills developed in earlier years of their degree programme:

• Introduction to the concept of crime, the structure of criminal justice and the general principles of liability

• Harm and the boundaries of criminal law

• Considering cases – how to effectively summarise cases and write a case note

• Murder

• Defences to murder

• General defences

• Manslaughter

• Non-fatal offences against the person

• Sexual offences

• Inchoate offences

• Complicity

• Property-related offences

Find out more about LAWS6010

Optional modules may include

One of the strengths of the Liberal Arts programme is its ability to draw connections between various fields of knowledge of disciplines that have become increasingly fragmented. By focusing on great books of the past and present that straddle across disciplinary boundaries, this module helps students build bridges between various areas of knowledge. While the content will differ from year to year, depending on student and staff interests, this module will explore key themes in philosophy, history, social and political sciences, humanities, literature, art, and the hard sciences. It will aim to show that these disciplines have a great deal in common, and that understanding across great works help create a deeper understanding of contemporary issues. By engaging students with qualitative and quantitative data, it will also allow them to interpret and reflect on information coming from a wide range of sources.

Find out more about LART6850

The module seeks to provide an historical, legal and social understanding of the police, one of the key social and legal institutions of the modern state. The police are an integral part of the criminal justice system and as such, this module is a core element in a criminal justice course.

Find out more about LAWS5420

The module is taken over one term. Students will attend a small number of lectures introducing the trajectory of a research project, the use of library resources, primary and secondary material, use of citations and constructing a bibliography etc. The main experience of the module is found in the supervision process between supervisor and student, who between themselves decide on the specific plan for the research programme.

Find out more about LAWS5660

This module investigates the relationship between law and social change, and explores the political, economic and social dynamics that affect this relationship over time. The module will consider questions such as:

• Why is the law a terrain of social struggle?

• How does the law respond and/or contribute to social change?

• How do the values or worldviews that the law incorporates affect the legal advancement of social change?

• How does the character of the law change in relation to different political, economic and social contexts?

• What are the obstacles and limitations to the law contributing to and creating social change? How is the context in which the law operates important in this analysis?

• How can we engage with the law to pursue change towards social justice?

The first part of the module examines the relationship between law and social change as addressed by key classical and contemporary social theorists. This exploration is then extended with an analysis of how and to what extent social movements can affect legal reform and eventually contribute to social change. The second part of the module investigates a number of concepts and areas in relation to which the approaches and ideas explored in the previous part can be applied, questioned, reframed or expanded. These concepts and areas are morality, democracy, globalisation, rights and citizenship, and the role of legal professions in social change.

Find out more about LAWS5700

So much of law is about text and the manipulation of language: Becoming sensitive to the construction of narratives in judgements, learning to read argument in its many forms, recognising the ways in which words, and patterns of words, can be used to create effect, playing with ambiguities or seeking to express an idea with clarity, all these are fundamental skills for a lawyer. Law is also about performance, the roles which are assigned to us and the drama of the court room. And law, as text and performance, carries fundamental cultural messages about the society we live in and the values we aspire to. During this module, we will examine some of the many ways in which reading, viewing and listening to, 'the arts' helps us to think more concisely as well as more imaginatively about law. We welcome on to the module anyone who shares, with us, an enjoyment of reading, viewing and listening – this is a chance for students to be introduced to material they may not be familiar with as well as a chance to pursue an interest they may already have. Although the module is designed primarily for law students, it is also open to undergraduates from other degree programmes.

The module focuses on a small number of key texts through which to explore the themes and develop student skills. These vary from year to year.

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The module will be divided into three main sections. The first section will involve an examination of the banker-customer relationship, including the rights and obligations of the parties in that relationship, the use of different methods of payments and remedies. The second section will focus on the provision of credit by banks to customers. This section will look at the types of credit facilities provided by banks, the taking of security by banks and the enforcement of such security. The final section will focus on money laundering regulation within the banking industry.

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This module considers how criminal law makes use of science. Forensic evidence is a rapidly developing area in criminal trials – new techniques are continually being developed and forensic evidence such as DNA profiling is increasingly presented as evidence. This rapid expansion has resulted in forensic evidence becoming increasingly debated in the media and by the criminal justice process – from articles hailing DNA profiling as preventing or undoing miscarriages of justice to those questioning a lay jury's ability to make a judgement in cases involving highly complex scientific or medical evidence.

The module will be broken down into 4 parts:

1. Initially, analysis of the historical development of the use of forensic evidence will be made along with explanation of both what constitutes forensic evidence and the basic scientific techniques involved.

2. Consideration of the way in which forensic science has developed as a useful tool within the criminal justice process

3. Analysis of the difficulties of placing emphasis on forensic science within the trial system – cases in which forensic science has resulted in subsequently questioned decisions.

4. Current issues surrounding the use of forensic science: This section of the course will be devoted to considering the questions which arise out of the use of forensic evidence such as:

• Who should decide whether a new scientific technique should be admissible evidence,

• Who are the experts who present the evidence to juries

• To what extent does the admission of forensic evidence assists juries.

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The overall objective of the module is to provide an exposition of Environmental Law which seeks to assess the functioning of the law alongside the environmental problems that it seeks to address. Many of these problems admit scientific, economic and administrative responses as readily as legal ones. However, the underlying premise is that, alongside other disciplines, law has an essential part to play in the protection of the environment. Within law, various strategies that may be applied to environmental problems have different strengths and weaknesses. In each case the options must be reviewed and it must be asked, which is the most appropriate legal approach to a particular kind of environmental problem?

To some extent this eclectic perspective spans traditional legal boundaries emphasising features which may be overlooked in customary treatments of subjects such as criminal law, tort, administrative law and European Union law, but it is a subject which has a distinctive identity determined by the specific problems that the law seeks to address. Environmental Law seeks to examine and assess laws, of widely different kinds, from a uniquely environmental perspective. Taking the broadest possible view, it must be asked what legal mechanism is best used to restrict emissions causing deterioration in the quality of the three environmental media of water, air and land and how the law can provide appropriate redress for environmental harm.

Environmental Law I is broadly concerned with environmental quality law, particularly the different ways in which environmentally damaging activities are addressed through legal mechanisms. The module commences with a discussion of foundational issues concerning basic concepts in Environmental Law and the range of legal approaches that are adopted in national, European Union and international law. Thereafter, the main focus is on the protection of the environmental media of water, land and air to prevent pollution and to secure environmental quality objectives. The module concludes by examining some cross-cutting issues, such as enforcement, information access, participation and alternative strategies for environmental protection.

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The curriculum is in three parts:

(1) A historical, sociological and political contextualisation of argument and arguing. The aims of argument will be investigated through these perspectives, enabling students to develop a critical approach to argument, and supplementing the skills of argument by raising students' awareness of the premises and assumptions within which argument takes place. The distinction of argument from other modes of interaction and expression will be considered by relation to these contexts.

(2) The second part of the module treats argument and arguing formally, both by mapping the standard forms of argument, and by showing formally how to pick out a bad argument from a good one. This part of the module thus investigates deductive and inductive reasoning, argument by analogy, and the use of supportive evidence and the structure of justification, and attends carefully to the set of formal fallacies in argumentation. These topics are illustrated throughout by attention to real examples from law and elsewhere, with attention given to how formal argument is constructed and to the skills required to identify formal fallacies. This knowledge base is used by students to develop their own skills of formal argument and their ability to critique the argument of others.

(3) The third part of the module turns to the skills of rhetoric and persuasion, including examination of the ploys and devices that are often used to give bad or weak arguments persuasive force. Attention will be given to aspects of coherence and cogency arising from studies in linguistics and the philosophy of language, and a particular focus will be given to arguments drawing on authority, using law in illustration. Again, students will be expected to develop their own skills in these regards, using rhetoric and other devices both to support good argument and to lend weak argument greater persuasive force.

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This module will focus on the way in which the law defines and constructs the family, and the way in which it regulates family breakdown. The module will examine, broadly, the institution of marriage and relations between partners, which might include definitions of the family, marriage, civil partnerships and cohabitation, domestic violence, divorce and family dispute resolution. The module will also examine the relationship between parents, children and the state, which might include reproductive technology, parenthood, children's rights, and private law disputes over post-separation arrangements for children.

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Weeks One-Four: Introduction to the broad field of Science and Technology Studies (STS), and how this body of work is relevant for the study of law; introduction to law and anthropology studies that engage STS

Weeks Five-Ten: Specific and topical case studies relating theory to concrete examples, including debates over genetically modified foods; legal-political disputes over ownership of biogenetic materials in context of pharmaceutical industry and agricultural sector; reproductive technologies, and others.

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Block 1. Critical introduction to major theories of morality: virtue theory (incl. feminist ethics of care), deontological theory (incl. natural law theory and Kantian theory) and consequentialism (utilitarianism).

Block 2. A historical/contextual examination of the development of a particular moral concept; that of individual rights

Block 3. Oral presentations by students in pairs

Block 4. An analytical examination and critique of modern theories of rights and their relationship to law

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The module is taken over one term. Students will attend a small number of lectures, introducing the trajectory of a research project, the use of library resources, primary and secondary material, use of citations and constructing a bibliography etc. The main experience of the module is found in the supervision process between supervisor and student, who between themselves decide on the specific plan for the research programme.

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The first half of the module will provide students with detailed knowledge and understanding of the idea of development, the international development project, the main international development institutions and the international context in which they developed; the national effects of the development project; and the movement of Law and Development. The second half of the module will examine contemporary topics in law and international development, including (but not limited to) human rights and development; decentralization and local development; sustainability and development; law and the informal sector; rule of law promotion; and the intersection between security and developmental concerns and discourses.

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This course will afford students the opportunity to explore the moral and ethical questions surrounding legal practice in both a theoretical and a practical way. Starting with some philosophical arguments about whether and how lawyers might have specifically moral responsibilities, they will then be equipped to test such arguments in the context of case studies from real legal practice. This course will provide an intellectually demanding introduction to the academic study of legal ethics, which will push students to hone their skills of argumentation, analysis and critique.

Block 1. Why Legal Ethics? The course will start with an exploration of the moral reasoning and arguments that justify the notion of 'legal ethics'. This first block of seminars will introduce students to the theoretical questions which precede any acceptance of the practice of law as having a moral dimension.

Block 2. Case Studies and the Ethical Issues they raise. Starting with the case of the so-called ‘torture lawyers’ from the ‘war on terror’ of the American Bush administration, students will be asked to reflect on and discuss several case studies as starting points for discussion of issues in ‘legal ethics’ broadly conceived, including: responsibility for ‘doing wrong’, complicity, upholding human rights, conflicts of interest, integrity, the adversarial system as an excuse for moral neutrality or worse and confidentiality.

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This module is concerned with contemporary labour law. It combines legal analysis and the transmission of practical legal skills with a highly contextual and interdisciplinary understanding of the labour law and regulatory debates around labour regulation. To that end, workshops will feature extended discussion on key aspects of contemporary labour legislation using scholarly texts. Students will also study key legal aspects of the modern employment relationship including the contract of employment, statutory employment protection provisions (for example unfair dismissal and redundancy protection), anti-discrimination legislation and provisions for reconciling work and family life (e.g. pregnancy protection and parental leave). The module will also explore selected aspects of collective labour law including the role and status of trade unions, the legal regulation of collective bargaining and/or the regulation of industrial conflict. The module seeks to combine a detailed knowledge of fundamental key aspects of labour law with the development of broader conceptual, critical and evaluative perspectives on workplace regulation.

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In recent times, 'alternative' forms of dispute resolution (ADR) have been widely recognised as possessing the potential to limit some of the damage caused by civil disputes. Therefore, a lawyer’s skill-set ideally should include a well-developed ability to analyse, manage and resolve disputes both within and outside the usual setting of the courtroom. Thus, the module’s primary aim is to introduce students to the legal and regulatory issues surrounding methods of dispute resolution aside from litigation. Specifically, the module focuses on the practical factors relevant to selecting appropriate dispute resolution in distinct circumstances, including, for example, the employment and family law arenas.

Students will be provided with the resources to acquire a detailed theoretical and practical understanding of the contextual constraints associated with the use of different forms of dispute resolution and will be encouraged to develop their ability to evaluate the effectiveness of particular interventions, especially when used as an adjunct to court proceedings. The module tracks historic and current developments in relation to the use of ADR, highlighting how government policy and courts appear, increasingly, to sanction failure to use ADR. This may well enhance students’ opportunities to hone career-advancing expertise in the field.

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The module focuses on current issues in the law and practice of international business and trade law from critical perspectives. This includes exposing deficiencies in the regulation of international trade finance, international marketing operations, countertrade, international commercial dispute settlement mechanisms and corruption in international business. The module considers the peculiar problems that emerging business and financial jurisdictions face in their involvement in international trade. It broadly explores the inequities of global integration of international trade law and considers the influences of European Community law and those of leading developed economies and financial jurisdictions on regulation and actual practice of the field of international business transactions. Attention will be given to specialist and emerging areas of law such as international mergers and acquisition as well as philosophical aspects of international trade such as the lex mercatoria. It seeks to provide a comparative overview of emerging trends in international business regulation and aims to make students aware of ethical dimensions of international business transactions.

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This module introduces the origins, evolution and impact of international economic law—that is, the regulation by (primarily) states and international organisations of international economic activity, such as the movement of goods, services, capital and people.

It takes a critical socio-legal approach to the field in the sense that it considers economic, social, political and cultural dimensions; and emphasises the existence of multiples perspectives, in particular of individuals and organisations; in the public, private, and third sectors; in relatively poor and relatively rich economic contexts; in times of calm and of crisis; and on local, national, regional and global levels.

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The module will cover the historical development of mental health law (in brief), the Mental Health Act 1983, civil and criminal admissions to hospital, consent to treatment, capacity, sections of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 relating to deprivation of liberty, discharge (including the role of the Mental Health Review Tribunal) and care in the community; proposals for reform; interaction with the criminal justice system.

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A central question of this module is whether, and to what extent, there is anything distinctive about legal reasoning compared to other forms of reasoning. That question is posed from the perspective of a legal practitioner, in particular, an advocate. The aim of the module is to equip students – as potential advocates, but also in general – with a range of tools and skills of argument that are easily transferrable across legal and non-legal contexts. In short, to teach transferrable critical thinking skills within a legal context.

It is a premise of the module that any competent advocate, or indeed lawyer, must demonstrate a proficient grounding in basic logic. The module introduces students to basic forms of logical argument and explores the role and limits of logical inference in legal reasoning and generally. It considers both logical and psychological factors that may lead to flawed reasoning. The module also touches on other forms of reasoning of particular relevance to law including practical, statistical, policy-based and rhetorical forms.

The aim of most reasoning, including legal reasoning is to persuade. The module will therefore introduce students to the skills of legal persuasion via written and oral advocacy.

The theoretical background will provide the basis upon which students will learn to construct effective (legal) arguments and to practice the skills learned in a variety of written and oral contexts including skeleton arguments and mooting.

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This module will focus on the way in which the law defines and constructs privacy, breach of confidence, cybersecurity threats, and e-surveillance in the UK, EU and elsewhere as appropriate (e.g. North America, Australia) and how the law regulates data protection, freedom of information, consent for digital and personal information collection, use and sharing, and e-surveillance. Students will be asked to critically examine whether privacy protection laws, consent, and confidentiality measures are fit for purpose and proportionate given demands of the market, the state, and public administrations to collect, use, and share personal information for reasons of commerce, service provision, and security protection. Students will be challenged to critically examine how personal, financial, health, and economic transactional data are managed, who has access to this information, and for what purposes. The module will require students to assess emerging legal, regulatory, data protection and personal privacy issues raised by widespread access to personal information, including data generated by social media, electronic commerce, state security agencies, and health administrations. The curriculum will explore rapidly changing privacy and data protection issues including the 'right to be forgotten', the Internet of Things (IoT), cybersecurity law in a post-Snowden world including Safe Harbours, data retention and reuse implications of the UK National DNA database, biobanks, and digital interconnectivity of social media.

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The module will examine the role and function of international law in regulating relations between States and resolving international disputes. It will introduce students to a number of theoretical frameworks through which to understand and critically evaluate international law historically and in context. It will provide students with knowledge and understanding of the origins and development of international law and of its key concepts, principles and rules. The module will enable students to consider the relevance, or otherwise, of international law to contemporary international problems and to critically assess its limitations and effects. This will be achieved through a range of topics and case studies.

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The module will examine the role and function of international law in the use of force between states as well as non-state actors. It will provide students with detailed knowledge and understanding of the origins and development of international law on the use of force and of its concepts, principles and rules governing the use of force (jus ad bellum) and the conduct of armed conflict (jus in bello). The module will enable students to consider the relevance, or otherwise, of international law on the use of force to contemporary international disputes and to critically assess its limitations and effects. This will be achieved through a range of topics and case studies.

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The module will examine the evolution, principles, institutions and functions of international human rights law in their political, social and economic contexts. It will provide students with detailed knowledge and understanding of the origins and development of human rights law through critical study and analysis of key theoretical perspectives and debates. The module will enable students to consider the relevance, or otherwise, of international human rights law to historical and/or contemporary challenges and to critically assess its limitations and effects.

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This course explores selected global problems in their historical, social, political and economic contexts in light of international legal frameworks. The course begins with an examination of key critical perspectives in international law, such as Third World Approaches to International Law, before moving on to specific topics of historical or contemporary concern. Attention will be paid in particular to systemic problems of the global legal order and students are encouraged to analyse the limits and potential of international law to present solutions to global problems as well as the role played by international law in framing and constituting those problems in the first place.

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This module will provide students with a strong grounding in the technical law relating to homelessness, as well as an understanding of some of the key policy debates which underlie this legal framework. The module opens with discussion of social understandings of home and homelessness, before moving to a detailed assessment of the current framework of England's homelessness law. It will examine statute and case law relating to the duties on local authorities to respond to homelessness, including the definition of homelessness; who is "eligible" for housing; the key concepts of priority need and the meaning of vulnerability; what happens when someone is considered to be “intentionally homeless”; and the impact of a connection to another local authority. The review of the contemporary legal structure closes with discussion of the procedure which homeless applicants will undergo and a review of the law and policy relating to allocation policies. The second part of the module places this legal structure in context by examining the history of homelessness provision and regulation; considering responses to homelessness in other jurisdictions and examining the regulation and perceptions of street homelessness.

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The module will assume prior knowledge and understanding of the foundational levels of tort law taught in LAWS3150 and LAWS5970/LAWS6510. In the module, students will focus on contentious areas of tort law from a critical perspective. They will look at areas such as those in the following (not exhaustive or all-inclusive) list: reproductive harms, wrongful birth/life, 'toxic torts' and developments in the law on causation, invasion of privacy and/or autonomy, feminist perspectives/critiques on torts, negligent policing (and of other public bodies), tort law and human rights, access to justice, conceptions of justice in/philosophy of tort. Teaching of these areas may be undertaken by ‘experts’ in a particular topic, so the availability of each topic may vary on an annual basis to account for e.g. periods of study leave.

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The overall objective of the module is to provide an exposition and appreciation of Sports Law, considering key elements of the legal and institutional framework. Sport in the UK (as elsewhere) is now subject to a very wide range set of systems of supervision involving the application of principles and institutional governance subject to a wide spectrum of legal sources, including public and private law, national and international law as well as sui generis dispute resolution systems such as the Court of Arbitration for Sport based in Switzerland. The module will develop student learning by focusing on a range of legal topics and issues, which constitute integral key components of Sports Law.

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From the introduction of writing in criminal trial processes, right through to use of AI to machine-analyse legal documents, the law has always transformed its own practice through the adoption of "non-legal" technologies. Today, blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies have made possible the creation of new kinds of legal documents—for example, “smart contracts” that are self-executing and self-enforcing. Hand-held mobile devices and instant messaging have transformed lawyer-client relations. Beyond new documents or networked communication mechanisms, however, new technologies like algorithmic machine learning are changing the way lawyers, courts and intermediaries do their work. Tomorrow's lawyers, as recent scholarship has argued, will need a new set of skills and ways of working that are fit for the coming age of human-machine hybridity. This module aims to introduce students to some of the major technologies currently being integrated into legal practice, as well as the ways that they are transforming the way law works—and possibly, according to legal scholars, what we mean by “law” itself. By critically situating these new technologies in relation to previous technological (r)evolutions in legal practice—major changes precipitated by technologies like writing, the invention of forms, or the media technology of legal files—this module asks what implications those technologies might have for the lawyer, the court, and for other governmental institutions whose work has traditionally been defined by the pursuit of justice.

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Surveillance Platform Capitalism (SPC) is the use of highly sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence to "mine" or extract commercial value from personal data and information about the behaviour of consumers online. The aim of the module is to examine SPC through a socio-legal lens and to provide students with key concepts and interdisciplinary insights to understand and reflect critically on the on the nature and effects of SPC on individuals and society.

The module is divided into three parts. The first section will define and place SPC in historical and socioeconomic context. It will place SPC within the context of the emergence of the surveillant society, drawing on scholarship from Surveillance and Critical Surveillance Studies. It will then define and explore its ideological logic and algorithmic techniques (e.g., online behavioural tracking and targeting, personalisation and recommendation systems, choice-engineering, nudging) informed by scholarship from Algorithmic Governance Studies.

The second part of the module will look at the effects of SPC on individuals and society, using social media as a case study and drawing on New Media & Society Studies. It will examine the effects of SPC on mental health and self-representation and explore its intersection with questions of identity, particularly gender and race. It will then examine the effects of SPC on the production and consumption of journalistic and political communication (e.g. the challenges of echo-chambers, fake news, political advertising).

The final part of the module will look at the regulatory and governance challenges SPC poses, focusing on social media as a case study. It will examine the potential and limitations of different governance models (e.g., state vs self-regulation) to regulate the algorithmic techniques, operators, and digital content of SPC.

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This module explores the origins, evolution and role of the United Nations (UN) in world politics. The aim is to understand how and why states and other actors participate in the UN. The module further explores the extent to which the United Nations is able to achieve its stated goals of maintaining peace and security, achieving cooperation to solve key international problems, and promoting respect for human rights. The module examines the work of key UN organs, agencies, and member states in a variety of issue areas, with the aim of critically assessing the successes, challenges, and failures of the United Nations.

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This module examines the complex relationship between foreign policy analysis and foreign policy practice. It does so by exploring shifting approaches to making and examining foreign policy, including the contributions of IR theory to Foreign Policy Analysis. Historical antecedents of foreign policy as a practice are examined via exploring international actors, the system they inhabit (both internal and external), and the motivations that inform their individual actions and collective interactions. FPA is not as a single theory, capable of generating an overarching framework that can explain or help to understand actors' choices in all situations. The module will instead compare and contrast different FPA theories, often derived from IR theories, and critically assess their analytical advantages and weaknesses in applying them to "real world" examples. The module explores some major events or crises, such as the Iraq War and the South China Sea dispute, attempting to get an overview of the foreign policies of different states across international society, such as China, the United States, Japan, and Britain.

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This module focuses on the external dimension of European politics, exploring the inter-relationship between Europe and the rest of the world. Key issues that will be addressed will be the impact of global developments and issues on Europe, the international significance of European integration and the role of Europe in the new world order. 'Europe' will be disaggregated by examining the foreign policies of some of the major European states as well as the development of the European Union as a global actor. It will compare and contrast the response of European states to global challenges and assess the extent of the ‘Europeanisation’ of the foreign policies of EU member states. The growing role of the EU in international affairs will be examined through a number of case-studies related to specific states/regions or policy areas. Throughout the course the analysis will be informed by reference to appropriate concepts and theories from political science and international relations with particular reference to those related to the debates surrounding the issues of globalisation and integration.

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We examine the main challenges facing post-communist Russia and in particular assess the development of democracy. We discuss the main institutions and political processes: the presidency, parliament, federalism, elections, party development and foreign policy, as well as discuss Yeltin's, Putin’s and Medvedev's leadership. We end with a broader evaluation of issues like the relationship of markets to democracy, civil society and its discontents, nationalism, political culture and democracy and Russia's place in the world.

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In western countries feminism has had a considerable impact on the conduct of practical politics. The purpose of this module is to consider the ways in which feminist thought has influenced political theory. Returning to some of the earliest feminist critiques of modern politics by Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill, we examine a range of feminist approaches to politics, asking what unifies them and where and why they diverge from one another. Throughout, we ask how meaningful it is to speak of feminism in the singular: given the immense variety displayed by feminist thinking, should we talk about feminisms? Another guiding question will be the extent to which these approaches pose a fundamental challenge to traditional political theory. Can feminist theories of politics just 'add women and stir'? Or do feminist approaches compel us to new or different methodologies, conceptual tools and even definitions of politics?

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This module aims to provide students with a critical introduction and review of China's political development from 1949 to today. Following a brief historical review of the evolution of the Chinese political system since 1949, this module is designed around two core blocks of study.

The first block looks at the principal political institutions. They include the Communist Party, the government (State Council), the legislature (National People’s Congress) and the military (People’s Liberation Army). The second block examines the socio-political issues and challenges the country is facing in its ongoing development. They range from political participation and state-society relations, the cost of economic growth to environment and public health, tensions with ethnic minorities, the issues of nationalism and the relationship with Taiwan and Hong Kong, irredentism and territorial disputes with neighbouring countries, and finally China’s grand strategy of the Belt and Road Initiative.

A theme running through various lectures of this module is to ask why post-Mao China has performed better than many other authoritarian regimes in achieving both economic growth and political stability and acquiring international influence, despite the fact that China faces numerous mounting development challenges.

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The purpose of the module is to introduce students to the European Union, how it has evolved since its creation and how it works. In this module, students gain an understanding of the dynamic of European integration over time, analyse the functioning and roles of the EU's main institutional bodies as well as key political questions underpinning the decision-making structures of the EU. The module will address topics including: the history of European integration, the EU’s institutions and decision-making processes, how EU decisions are implemented, interest group activity in the EU and how this affects

EU decision-making, public opinion on the EU, the EU’s democratic deficit and the future of the European integration project.

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Since 2009, the European Union (EU) has been grappling with a crisis in the Eurozone, a refugee crisis, terrorist attacks, the rise of challenger parties and heightened tension with Putin's Russia. This has led to increased questioning of the purpose and trajectory of European integration and policy-making. The Brexit decision by the UK electorate in June 2016 plunged the EU further into crisis, sending shockwaves throughout the world as for the very first time an EU member state chose exit over voice or loyalty. Membership of the EU is now clearly contingent and the reverberations of this decision will affect both the EU and the UK for many years to come. The focus of this module is on assessing the capacity of the EU as a system of public policy-making as it faces these myriad challenges. In so doing we endeavour to understand how the EU's system of governance works, how it is driven by both the politics and economics of its member states and the global system and how its policy-making capacity may evolve in the future. This module focuses on the EU’s 'outputs’ in terms of public policy in this context, with particular attention paid to the fields of market regulation, monetary union, environmental policy, agriculture policy, regional policy, justice and home affairs, foreign policy and trade policy. As well as analysing the effectiveness of EU policy-making in these policy areas, we also evaluate the impact of Brexit on their operation, how it is being managed by the UK and the EU27 and its implications for the future of the EU.

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PO617 offers a comprehensive introduction to the politics and national government of the United States. The course is divided into four inter-linked parts. In Part I students will be introduced to the 'foundations' of the US political system. Students will examine the history of the republic, its economy and society, the values and beliefs American people subscribe to, and the basic structure of the political system. Part I therefore provides essential knowledge upon which the rest of the course builds. In Part II students will examine those ‘intermediate’ institutions (interest groups, parties, elections and the media) that link people to their government. We will look at why Americans vote the way they do; at the role US parties play and their relevance to Americans’ lives; at whether interest groups have usurped the role of parties; and at whether the media exacerbate cynicism about politicians and the wider political system. In Part III students focus on the three institutions of the federal government: the Congress, Presidency and Supreme Court. We will examine both the institution that is Congress and the individuals that are elected to it and ask whether they have compatible goals or not, and whether Congress has usurped some of the roles and power of the presidency. Similarly, we will examine the extent to which the Presidency is an institution in decline or resurgent in the new century. Finally, we will examine the political and legal role that the Supreme Court plays in the modern US political system. In the fourth and final part of the course, students focus on the policymaking process in the US. We will look at how and why policy is made, and examine the extent to which the policy solutions produced by the political system are optimal.

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The module examines the politics of transition and change in the post-communist states in their effort to establish new democratic regimes and find their place in the world. The module consists of three main parts.

Part I focuses on the experience and nature of communist rule, to develop basic understanding of communism as an ideal, political system, and a life style.

Part II looks at transitions, examining regional patterns of change and relating them to the 3rd and 4th waves (coloured revolutions) of democratisation globally.

Part III discusses the issues of post-communist politics in Europe, by way of exploring the forms and quality of democracy in the new states, considering the effect of EU enlargements on the new Member States and the EU neighbours; and discussing the future of communism in the world.

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This module provides an introduction to some of the major developments in Western political thought from the seventeenth century onwards by discussing the life, work and impact of key figures such as Nicolo Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Mary Wollstonecraft, JS Mill, and Karl Marx. While these thinkers will be studied mostly in terms of their respective self-understanding, the overall concern of these studies is to examine the problems which 'modernity' poses for political theory in Western societies.

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This module introduces students into the study of terrorism and political violence, and thereafter deepens their knowledge of the controversial aspects of this subject. The initial lectures will deal with definitional problems involved in the concept of "terrorism" and various theories about the causes of political violence in its different forms. With a point of departure in a chronological review tracing the origins of the phenomenon long back in history, the module will later study the emergence of political terrorism during the second half of the 19th century. This will be followed by a study of state and dissident terrorism in different parts of the world. The module will also address the relationship between religious radicalism and different forms of political violence, including “new terrorism” and possible use of weapons of mass destruction. Then, the focus of attention will be shifted to implications of various counter-terrorism strategies and “The War on Terrorism” for democracy and human rights. These issues will addressed with a special focus on methodological problems involved in the study of terrorism and political violence.

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This module introduces students into the study of the Middle East as a region and an arena of international conflict. Against the background of a historical review of the developments in the 20th century, the module will focus on the colonial past of the region, the imperial legacy, the emergence of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the origins of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the impact of sub-state loyalties – i.e. factors which have shaped the Middle East as a region and as a security complex. In this context, the students will explore the ideological developments in the region, most important among them, the rise and fall of Arab nationalism, the emergence of Islamic radicalism and the consolidation of the Israeli right. Adopting an international relations perspective, the module will also cover the impact of outside state actors, such as USA, Russia and EU on the Middle East as a whole and on the relationships among those states that compose this region. Finally, the students will study the debate about "Orientalism" and the problematic aspects of the Western academic study of the Middle East and the Islamic world. These issues will be addressed with a special focus on the problem of bias involved in the academic study of the Middle East.

Find out more about POLI6300

This module explores the linkages between mediation theory and the practice of conflict resolution in deeply divided societies. Topics include the theory and practice of negotiations, conflict escalation and peace mediations while specific emphasis will be given to the role of regional or international institutions in early conflict prevention. The module applies negotiation theory in the study of state disintegration, demographic and environmental conflict, property rights, federal management and transitional justice. The course engages with the core literature in negotiation theory and exposes students to a number of simulations aiming to improve negotiation skills (identifying best alternatives, revealing or not preferences, identifying win-win arrangements, defeating spoilers and exercising veto rights). Because of the practical skills taught in the module and the interactive nature of in-class simulations, students are expected to attend lectures and tutorials. Finally, the course examines the role of citizens and community organizations in peace mediations focusing on a number of selected case studies from deeply divided societies specifically Israel/Palestine, the former Yugoslavia, South Africa, Greece/Turkey (including Cyprus & the Kurdish issue), Rwanda and Northern Ireland.

Find out more about POLI6540

Democracy rests on the will of citizens. But how can we identify this 'will'? Elections are one method; but more regular expressions of citizen views are possible via opinion polls. Indeed, a range of public and private bodies routinely use polls to identify popular attitudes. But what are the ‘opinions’ supposedly revealed by these polls, how do surveys go about identifying opinions and how valid are their results?

This module introduces students to the theory and practice of public opinion and its measurement. The module focuses on two main questions. First, what is public opinion? How far do people’s attitudes pre-exist and how far are they instead ‘shaped’ by the way questions are asked? Are attitudes informed and considered, or are they largely knee-jerk responses based on little information? If, in fact, citizens know little about politics, are there ways in which they can, nonetheless, form meaningful views on important public issues? The answers to these questions are central to the task of assessing the proper role of public opinion in modern democracies. The second question asks how public opinion is measured. What are the main features of social surveys, and how well do they measure public attitudes? This section of the module pays particular attention to the ways that different types of survey can affect the responses that people give, and to the principles and practices of effective survey design.

Find out more about POLI6550

A thread running through this module is a belief that to understand today's China we have to know how it has come to the present, as present-day China is a product of its deep imperial past and of its revolutions in the 20th century, the Republican, the Nationalist and the Communist. Before studying the 'rise' of contemporary China, we must therefore understand the decline collapse of imperial China from the mid-19th to the early 20th century. We can perceive the said rise of China as the process of regaining its rightful place in the Western-dominated international system and of mutual accommodation between China and the rest of the world.

The narrative of modern China starts from the late 16th century when China, ruled by the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), was the regional hegemon. The demise of the Sino-centric regional order began in the early 19th century. Since then, Chinese rulers, officials and intellectuals have repeatedly groped for ways to modernise their country to counter mounting pressures from the West. Seen in this perspective, this module will be primarily focused on how China adapted itself to the modernising West in order to be accepted as a full and respected member of the international society while preserving its own non-Western identity. With this, you should be able to understand towards the end of this module why China now values the respect for national sovereignty, territorial integrity and the right of all nations to freely choose their own paths to development. Also, for many students of International Relations, China’s entry and integration into the international society since the 1970s has been strikingly non-violent. A secondary focus of this module will be on how China and other key members of the world have been mutually accommodating to each other and whether China’s 'peaceful rise’ can continue.

Find out more about POLI6580

The course provides an overview of the broad field of international conflict analysis and resolution. Students have the opportunity to explore the motivations driving different forms of conflict, including interpersonal, group and civil violence. Students will also be exposed to a range of theories and approaches used to understand violent conflict, and a number of different methods of conflict resolution (e.g. negotiation, mediation, peacekeeping operations, and transitional justice.) The approach is interdisciplinary and juxtaposes traditional approaches used to study conflict management with new scientific studies of conflict and cooperation.

Find out more about POLI6600

This module is designed to offer Stage 3 Politics and International Relations students an opportunity to study a topic in politics and international relations at an advanced level. Participation will be limited to students who have demonstrated strong writing and analytical skills in their Stage 2 coursework (with a minimum average of 60%) and the topics may vary from year to year depending on the research and teaching interests of academic staff. The module will build on the concepts, theories and methods that students have acquired in their previous studies, introducing them to more advanced readings and further developing their knowledge and understanding of the scholarship at the forefront of their discipline in a given issue area. Students will work very closely with academic staff and will benefit from their research expertise and individual feedback in a small group setting. The module will assist students in developing their critical and analytical skills and help them to understand the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge concerning their advanced topic in politics and/or international relations.

FOR THE 2021/22 ACADEMIC YEAR

Please ignore the information above regarding convenors, the below details are correct for the 2021/22 academic year.

Two topics will be offered in 2021/22, one in the Autumn term and one in the Spring term. Students may only take one topic within this module.

Topic title: The Politics of Climate Change, Convenor: Dr Frank Grundig - AUTUMN TERM

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges global society will face this century. To successfully address this challenge changes will require action at the individual level, the domestic politics level and the international level. This module will look at the politics of climate change by looking at individual attitudes and behaviour, national policies in a comparative perspective, climate change mobilisation / movements, and international institutions dealing with climate change. Since climate change cuts across many academic disciplines this module will also deal with reports that reference the science of climate change as well as economic models dealing with the costs of climate change.

Topic title: The Politics of Technology: Utopia or Dystopia? Convenor: Dr Ben Turner - SPRING TERM

Predictions regarding the consequences of technological developments are rife. We are told that artificial intelligence, automation and big data are poised to transform our lives in unimaginable ways. For some, these technologies promise greater freedom, higher productivity and better lives for all. For others, they exacerbate inequalities, undermine democracy, and grant greater powers of surveillance and control to both governments and private corporations. This module will introduce students to key transformations in the realm of technology and give them the opportunity to critically analyse the political consequences of these changes.

Students will gain an awareness of a range of understandings of technology from political theory and philosophy, including approaches from Marxism, Critical Theory, Feminism and Critical Race Theory, which they will apply to a range of issues in the study of politics. Some of these themes will be explicitly political, such as the relationship between technology, the state, inequality and democracy. Students will also study the impact of technology upon areas of our lives that appear to be distant from politics, but when considered in relationship to technology can be seen to be deeply political. These will include work, the household and the links between technology, gender and race.

Students will benefit from some prior knowledge of political theory in this module, however it is not strictly a 'theory' module and will introduce students to a range of theoretical concepts and case studies. The two-hour weekly seminar will involve the close reading of both theoretical and empirical texts and documents and will emphasise student led learning.

Find out more about POLI6650

This course is intended to familiarise students with the conservative tradition in modern politics. This is achieved by reference to a range of key conservative thinkers selected to help students understand the diversity of the conservative tradition and consider what factors help to cohere it. Comparison within the tradition and across a variety of thinkers is achieved by examining these thinkers' views on four basic categories of modern politics, namely the state, the market, society and international relations. In order to meet these broad learning outcomes, essay questions will be designed in order to ensure that students have to compare different thinkers.

Find out more about POLI6690

This module prepares students both to think about the ways in which the landscapes are evolving and being shaped by contemporary developments in technical, scientific, and theoretical fields; and to think about how they want to take part in these developments in their own lives, through professional activity or further study. It will prepare students to think critically about the opportunities and dangers that come with the future, notably through the changes taking place in production techniques (through three-dimensional printing), ecological change and planning, scientific advancements and their impact on the humanities and social sciences (such as quantum theory's challenge to historical studies). By building on bodies of work that have already discussed the potential impact of new technologies and scientific innovations on our understanding of the human, this module will demand intellectual reflection on the potential for change and transformation, with reference to past events and how transformation has occurred to this day. In additional, the module will provide practical guidance on how to think about the student’s own future, whether professionally or for further studies. It will guide students through the possibilities open to them, and give them practical skills to secure an interview and present themselves successfully.

Find out more about POLI6810

This module will address the major milestones in the politics and international relations of East Asia since 1945. We will analyse the causes and significance for East Asian countries of events such as the Korean War, the Cultural Revolution, the economic take-off of both Japan and South Korea, China's economic reforms, democratisation across the region, and US-China competition.

A central theme of the module will be analysing the decisions that leaders take in order to hold onto power – from repression and liberalisation to corruption, purges, and propaganda – and how these decisions continue to influence the domestic and international politics of East Asian countries. We will explore differences in the countries’ domestic political systems to help understand major historical and contemporary policies, and the influence of economic and security considerations.

Find out more about POLI6830

In this course, we shall examine the most urgent developments and security issues that affect the Asia-Pacific region.

It will start with an overview of International Relations theories and an exploration of whether non-Western International Relations theories will be a better alternative in understanding the development and security challenges in the Asia-Pacific.

We will then address the key international development and security dilemmas in the region. These include: the Taiwan problem; nuclear proliferation on the Korean peninsula; the danger of nationalism in Japan and beyond; territorial disputes in the South China Sea; and ensuring economic growth and regional cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific.

Finally, we will ask whether the influence and authority of the US, the incumbent hegemon in the Asia-Pacific region, are in decline and its preeminent role will soon be replaced by a rising China, and whether great-power confrontation is inevitable.

Find out more about POLI6840

POLI6880 allows students to do independent, original research under supervision on a political science, or liberal arts topic close to their specialist interests. The dissertation module gives them the opportunity to further these interests and acquire a wide range of study and research skills in the process. All dissertation topics have to be approved by the module convenor as well as by an academic supervisor. The module takes students through the entire process of writing a dissertation (8,000 words long): from the original 'problem' to a suitable research ‘question’, to choosing a method, to designing the research, to conducting the research; from taking notes to drafting the dissertation, to revising and writing the dissertation, and finally to submitting the dissertation. Lectures, supervision and a conference help students along the way. The curriculum includes structured opportunities for students to discuss their research ideas with each other as well as mock panel presentations in preparation for the student conference.

Find out more about POLI6880

The main title can be read in two ways. On the one hand, it is an appeal to reflect on the conditions of our subjectivity. On the other hand, it can be read as the expression of a judgement upon a subject's ability to act/speak/feel etc. In this module, both of these aspects will be explored: 'what are the conditions of our identity, and how do these relate to differences between us?’, and ‘what is the nature of judgement and when, if ever, is it legitimate to judge others?’. This will then form the basis for a third part of the module which will consider the extent to which reflection on oneself and the judgement of others are related or not. This nexus of issues is at the heart of contemporary debates about identity politics and the primary literature for the module will draw from these debates. Equally importantly, however, is that these contemporary debates speak directly to concepts and theories first developed within the canon of critical work within modern European philosophy. The module, therefore, will explore contemporary debates with reference to this philosophical background to assess the ways in which the critical tradition can inform the debates as well as considering the ways in which the contemporary debates can help redefine what we understand by the critical tradition.

Find out more about POLI6890

This module provides an overview of the degree to which cyberspace continues to revolutionise the operations of both state and non-state actors, and the challenges of governing this 'fifth sphere' of power projection. Whilst this module is not entrenched in International Relations or Security Studies theory, students will have the opportunity to apply both traditional and non-traditional approaches to the politics of cyberspace. Key themes include: 21st century technology, cyber warfare, espionage, surveillance, deterrence theory, cyberterrorism, and representation of threatening cyber-entities. Students will develop a toolkit to critique the existing state and NGO-based governance regime for cyberspace, and will convey arguments both for and against a ‘Geneva Convention’ for cyberspace.

Find out more about POLI6910

The aim of the module is offer an understanding of nationalism as a political phenomenon, approached from different perspectives and appreciated in its manifestations across time and space. The module first introduces and discusses the concepts of nations and nationalism and their distinctions from related concepts such as state, ethnic group, region etc. It then charts the emergence of nationalism, its success in becoming the dominant principle of political organisation, and its diffusion around the world. Subsequently, it engages with the main theories seeking to account for this process, discussing their respective strengths and weaknesses. It then explores the tensions between state and regional nationalism and some of the theories put forward to explain the latter. In a further step, it discusses some of the key aspects of nationalism, such as nation-building, national identity, nationalism and state structures, nationalism and secession, and the challenge of supra-national integration. It concludes by discussing some of the key normative questions raised by nationalism and assessing the likely trajectory of nationalism in the foreseeable future. By so doing, the module offers an analysis of the past, present, and future of nationalism and its significance in contemporary politics.

Find out more about POLI6920

This module explores topics and themes in post-colonial sub-Saharan African politics, with a particular focus on conflict and peacebuilding. We will look at colonial legacies, processes of state formation, and the nature and dynamics of political development at the national and local levels. We will also critically reflect on theories and concepts developed in the fields of comparative politics, peace and conflict research, and international relations and apply them to the study of Africa. In this module, we aim at offering solid foundations to the understanding of politics and conflict in Africa, which include colonial legacies, societal characteristics and economic challenges that shape the politics of sub-Saharan African states until today.

Find out more about POLI6930

Fees

The 2022/23 annual tuition fees for UK undergraduate courses have not yet been set by the UK Government. As a guide only the 2021/2022 fees for this course were £9,250.

  • Home full-time TBC
  • International full-time TBC
  • Home part-time TBC
  • International part-time TBC

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Additional costs

There are no compulsory additional costs associated with this course. All textbooks are available from the library, although some students prefer to purchase their own.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

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Teaching and assessment

Kent Law School emphasises research-led teaching, which means that the modules taught are at the leading edge of new legal and policy developments. Kent Law School is renowned nationally for research quality, being ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. All of our research active staff teach so you are taught by influential thinkers who are at the forefront of their field.

Our main teaching methods are lectures, seminars, working groups, PC laboratory sessions and individual discussions with your academic adviser or module teachers. Assessment is through continuous feedback, written examinations, assessed essays and oral presentations.

Assessment can also incorporate assessment through oral presentation and argument in in the style of legal practice (such as mooting), and client based work and reflection through our Law Clinic.

Contact hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

For programme aims and learning outcomes please see the programmes specification for each subject below. Please note that outcomes depend on your specific module selection:

Independent rankings

Law at Kent was ranked 9th for research intensity and scored 88% overall in The Complete University Guide 2022.

Law at Kent was ranked 13th overall and 8th for research quality in The Times Good University Guide 2021.

Politics at Kent scored 88% for research intensity in The Complete University Guide 2022.

Careers

Combining Politics and Law opens up a wide range of career opportunities, including legal practice. Kent Law School has a specialist Law Clinic and Mooting programme, which allow you to experience both real and simulated legal practise. The School of Politics and International Relations and the Law School each have a dedicated Employability Officer to help and support students in finding suitable careers and making the most of the skills they have developed through the programme.

Recent graduates have gone into areas such as local and central government, the diplomatic service, EU administration, financial services, non-governmental organisations, journalism, international business or international organisations.

Professional recognition

Our degree programmes contain the foundations of legal knowledge required by the Bar Standards Board to satisfy the academic component of professional training for intending barristers. They also provide a strong foundation for students who wish to take the Solicitors Qualifying Examinations (SQE).

Our critical approach to law and legal practice enables students to develop creative intellectual and transferable skills which prepare them for contemporary legal practice – in the UK and worldwide, and for successful careers in many fields.

Apply for this course

Any applicant to Law (this includes all Law programmes, including all joint programmes) who is currently studying or has previously studied law at university level, even if the qualification was only partly completed or is incomplete, must state this clearly in the qualifications section of the UCAS form, and provide transcripts detailing this study direct to the University where available.

If you are from the UK or Ireland, you must apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not from the UK or Ireland, you can choose to apply through UCAS or directly on our website.

Find out more about how to apply

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International applicants

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