Religion, Law and Society MA/LLM
Alternative attendance modes for this course
Courses start in September, unless otherwise stated
View course-specific entry requirements
You should have a good honours degree from a recognised institution prior to admission onto the programme.
If your first language is not English you will need an IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each element.
There are standard minimum entry requirements for all postgraduate courses. Students are advised to check the standard requirements for the most up-to-date information.
For most courses a decision will be made on the basis of your application form alone. However, for some courses the selection process may include an interview to demonstrate your strengths in addition to any formal entry requirements.
Please note: this course is subject to approval.
Globalisation and immigration have transformed the religious and cultural landscape in 21st century multicultural societies, leading to many challenges and complexities posed by religion in modern democracies.
This new course, which is the first of its kind in the UK, addresses those challenges and complexities and will provide you with a framework to engage with issues relating to the place of religion in public life.
The course is hosted by Westminster Law School and shares modules with the rest of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities as well as Westminster School of Media Art and Design. The course is not affiliated to any particular faith but takes a broad approach to religion including non-religious beliefs. It will allow you to gain a deeper understanding of the place of religion in society and the role of law.
You can choose whether you want to study for the MA or LLM. For the MA you will need to have obtained a minimum of 180 credits at Level 7. You will have to take the three compulsory core modules which are: Law and Religion: Theory and Practice; Law and Religion in Context and Sociology of Law and Religion. In addition, you will have to write a dissertation and take an additional three optional modules of your choice.
Students who wish to obtain the award of LLM will need to write a dissertation with a substantial law element and are expected to take at least two law options in addition to the core modules.
- Law and Religion Theory and Practice (20 credits)
- Law and Religion in Context (20 credits)
- Sociology of Religion (20 credits)
- MA Dissertation (60 credits)
- 3 options of your choice (from the proposed list)
- Law and Religion Theory and Practice (20 credits)
- Law and Religion in Context (20 credits)
- Sociology of Religion (20 credits)
- LLM Dissertation in Law (60 credits)
- 3 options two of which must be from Law
The course will equip you with key skills such as the ability to carry out independent research and to deal with sensitive topics. You will develop an awareness of world challenges posed by religion, a thorough knowledge of equality and non-discrimination legislation, debating and mooting skills, the ability to be non-judgmental, and to work in a multicultural environment.
Students will also benefit significantly from the Law and Religion Research Cluster which launched in February 2017. The research cluster will hold regular events on topical issues and provide an opportunity for students to network with academics and professionals associated with the field of religion, law and society.
The Religion, Law and Society MA/LLM provides a platform for critical debates around the relevance of religion in modern pluralist societies and the challenges that democratic states face in dealing with religion in the public sphere. Current debates in law and religion include the pursuit of freedom of and from religion; non-discrimination, manifestation of religion and beliefs, church-state relations, religion and democracy as well as the threat of extremism, terrorism and fundamentalism in liberal and pluralist societies.
The programme aims to explore those issues and contribute to a culture of tolerance by encouraging dialogue and critical self-awareness of individuals’ personal trajectories. You will be encouraged to challenge your own perception of religion in order to enter into a constructive dialogue. This will be done through respectful debates, peer review, critical thinking and reflection. The programme draws on interdisciplinary perspectives and offers students a wide range of options from the social sciences such as law, politics, sociology and media. This interdisciplinary perspective will allow you to develop your own theoretical framework for evaluating the interaction between law and religion in modern contemporary societies.
Law and Religion Theory and Practice (20 credits)
This module provides the foundation for the degree by introducing the discipline of law and religion and the research frameworks associated with the discipline. It looks at the interaction of law with religion and as such it focuses on religion law at the international, regional and national levels. This module takes a historical, theoretical and legal perspective. It focuses on human rights and non-discrimination law and looks at various models of state/religion relations in the context of freedom of and from religion. Relevant case law is introduced in order to engage with judicial approaches to religious manifestation.
Law and Religion in Context (20 credits)
This module directly follows from Law and Religion Theory and Practice and gives you an opportunity to focus on specific issues within Law and Religion. These include religious symbols at schools, religion in the workplace, religion and urbanism, non-religious movements, the tension between freedom of expression and hate speech, freedom from discrimination and religious freedom as well as medical law and religion.
Sociology of Religion (20 credits)
This module questions if and why people need religion and their lived experience of it and how religion operates as a source of conflict and/or integration within and beyond local, national and global communities. It examines the role of religion in society sociologically, starting with what is religion and how it can be studied empirically in relation to themes such as gender, politics, the death of religion and revivalism, migration, place, media and education.
Postgraduate Dissertation in Law (60 credits)
This module allows and supports extended student research into a topic of their choice within the broad field of religion, law and society. The topic is to be agreed between the student and the module leader and must not replicate material covered in other coursework submitted for the award of the degree. The dissertation must have a substantial law element and be supervised in the Law School.
Postgraduate Dissertation (60 credits)
This module allows and supports extended student research into a topic of their choice within the broad field of religion, law and society. The topic is to be agreed between the student and the module leader and must not replicate material covered in other coursework submitted for the award of the degree. The dissertation can be supervised across faculties with previous agreement from the course leader.
Option modules from Westminster School of Law:
International Human Rights Law (20 credits)
This module introduces postgraduate students to the protection of human rights in international law. The module aims to:
1) provide an overview of the historical and philosophical background of human rights;
2) introduce the protection of human rights at the international level, to the United Nations system of protection as well as to regional systems of protection (i.e., Europe, the Americas and Africa);
3) introduce students to contemporary issues in international human rights law, such as businesses, refugees, humanitarian intervention, responsibility to protect, and terrorism, detention and torture.
Islamic Finance (20 credits)
This module provides an introduction to Islamic finance; corporate governance in Islamic finance institutions; derivatives under Islamic law; Islamic insurance; Islamic finance modes and securitization structures and Islamic finance prudential regulations.
The aims of the module are to:
- offer students a comprehensive understanding of the practical and theoretical aspects of Islamic finance and banking;
- provide comprehensive coverage of the essential principles underlying Islamic finance;
- review and critically assess the modes and legal structures of major financial transactions as followed by Islamic finance institutions;
- provide in-depth legal and financial analysis of securitization structures in Islamic finance and
- assess and critically review the corporate governance structure in Islamic finance institutions.
Terrorism, Law and the State (20 credits)
The module examines the complex relationships between terrorism, specifically counter terrorism measures, law and the state. In particular we examine the role of the state in responding to terrorism, preventing terrorism and as an agent of terrorism; while unpicking the role of law.
Research Theory and Practice (20 credits)
By the end of the module, you will have demonstrated:
- the ability to identify a topic for research which could lead to the production of a Dissertation;
- a critical awareness of existing work in the chosen field and an awareness of available research methodologies;
- an ability to explain the reasons for the selection of research methods;
- the ability to undertake extended primary research;
- an introduction to research in law;
- quantitative and qualitative methodologies: their assumptions, tools and techniques;
- research design;
- conduct of research.
Internship (20 credits)
This is a learning placement module associated with employment with a suitable organisation, institution or company. This could be with the media, non-governmental organisation sector, government departments, research centres or private companies. Students will be responsible for finding their own placement with advice and guidance from the course team.
Options from Politics and International Relations
Islam and Politics in the Middle East (20 credits)
The module focuses on current debates on Middle Eastern politics from a number of perspectives, with a focus on the role of Islam. You will be introduced to a variety of theoretical approaches to studying the modern Middle East, to relevant perspectives in International Relations, to selected case studies and various contributions to the debate from inside and outside the Arab world.
A multidisciplinary approach will be adopted, where you will be steered through the fields of comparative politics, Islamic and Middle Eastern studies, and social and political theory so that at the end you will have achieved, in addition to familiarity with key issues in modern Middle Eastern politics, an appreciation of the theoretical perspectives being covered. In the process, you will be encouraged to develop a critical understanding of the workings of the region and challenged to assess the explanations given and provide your own explanations.
Option modules from Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design
Diversity in the Media (20 credits)
This module is designed to offer a comprehensive introduction at postgraduate level to the way in which social and cultural diversity and attitudes towards it informs media systems, institutions, practices and texts. It looks at strategies and practices of stakeholding, representation, visibility and voice in diverse social contexts.
Reporting Faith (20 credits)
The module introduces students to the issues surrounding the reporting of faith and faith communities in their societies. It utilizes lectures, classroom discussion, journalistic field assignments and student presentations to explore the impact of the media and journalism in public discourse about religion.
Please note: Not all option modules will necessarily be offered in any one year.
Destinations for graduates will include for example academia, government departments, local councils, politics, education, human resources, the legal profession, marketing and journalism.
Additional costs information
To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.
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