The MSc in Socio-Legal Studies presents an exciting opportunity to explore the role of law in society at a critical time in history and cultivate a deep understanding of interdisciplinary approaches to the study of law and legal phenomena.

On the programme, you will develop rigorous research skills and the ability to engage in broader social understanding, providing a sound basis to progress to a PhD or a career in socio-legal research through the study of different research methodologies across the social sciences and law.

The MSc has an emphasis on practical research training; on the ability to plan, research and write a sophisticated dissertation; and on how to think in broad theoretical terms about law in society.

You will pursue independent, in-depth study of socio-legal topics, and engage in lively debates in a thriving research culture across social sciences and law. The range of units offered makes this master's programme suitable for graduates from any discipline who have an interest in the way law works in society.

The programme is one of five South West Doctoral Training Partnership interdisciplinary pathways delivered by world-leading researchers from the University of Bristol, University of Bath, University of the West of England and University of Exeter.

Find out how you can do more with law at the University of Bristol Law School.

Programme structure

You will study three core units in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies and two core units in the Law School.

You will take optional units up to a value of 30 credit points, chosen from across most of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law. Units designed especially for this MSc that are offered by the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies are usually worth 20 credit points each. Units in the Law School are taken alongside LLM students, and are each worth 30 credit points.

Methods of assessment will depend on the optional subjects chosen, but could include essays, presentations or written examinations.

The dissertation accounts for 60 credit points. It should build on the optional units you have chosen and develop the approaches taken in the core units.

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our MSc in Socio-Legal Studies.

Entry requirements

An upper second class honours degree (or international equivalent) in Law, Sociology, Social Policy, Social Welfare, Public Administration, Social Administration, Demography/Population Studies, Geography, Economics, Political Science, History or Philosophy. A background in law is not essential as training will be given during the programme. Previous or professional experience is not required. Recognised Prior Learning is not currently accepted.

For applicants who are currently completing a degree, we understand that their final grade may be higher than the interim grades or module/unit grades they achieve during their studies.

We will consider applicants whose interim grades are currently slightly lower than the programme's entry requirements. We may make these applicants an aspirational offer. This offer would be at the standard level, so the applicant would need to achieve the standard entry requirements by the end of their degree. Specific module requirements may still apply. We will consider applicants whose grades are slightly lower than the programme's entry requirements, if they have a relevant postgraduate qualification.If this is the case, applicants should include their CV (curriculum vitae / résumé) when they apply, showing details of their relevant qualifications.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Go to admissions statement

If English is not your first language, you will need to reach the requirements outlined in our profile level B.

Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Fees and funding

UK: full-time
£13,700 per year
UK: part-time (two years)
£6,850 per year
Overseas: full-time
£26,700 per year

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.

More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2024/25

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Law has an allocation of 1+3 (MSc and PhD) and +3 (PhD) ESRC scholarships.

Information about funding and scholarships can be found on the University of Bristol Law School fees and funding webpages.

Further information on funding for prospective UK and international postgraduate students.

Career prospects

The MSc in Socio-Legal Studies offers useful preparation for a number of careers.

  • Foremost, the MSc is the academic basis and preparation for students choosing the 1+3 PhD programme (with three years of doctoral training following completion of this interdisciplinary master's degree). This is achievable if a student is awarded ESRC funding.
  • It also provides an ideal introduction to working for NGOs and other organisations that work for legal or social change, or within government.
  • Some students choose to enter the legal profession, carrying with them a broader understanding of the way law operates within society.