Institution / Open University In Ireland
City scape


This qualification is designed to consider the role and place of law in an increasingly globalised world, and is suitable for law and non-law graduates as well as lawyers wanting to develop their interests. It takes a critical legal approach to study, using different perspectives and case studies to illustrate, explore, compare and contextualise topical legal issues. You will explore the interaction of law, law making bodies, institutions and regulators in an international context, the role and function of law in an increasingly global society, and the role of states, international institutions and multi-national companies. You will also consider contemporary legal issues such as corporate social responsibility, trans-national crime, humanitarian aid and security.

Key features of the course
• Explores methods of reasoning and analysis in law, and evaluates the complexities inherent in law, regulation and legal study
• Develops a range of transferable skills, including advanced legal research, that are attractive to employers
• Concludes with an in-depth piece of independent research on a topic within your chosen specialist subject area.

If you are interested in becoming a lawyer (solicitor or barrister) you need to study an undergraduate Bachelor of Laws (LLB) (Hons).

Entry requirements

You should hold a UK honours degree (or equivalent or recognised overseas qualification) or relevant professional legal experience. Various higher education and professional qualifications are considered equivalent to an honours degree. If you hold a qualification that you believe is an equivalent level to a UK honours degree or if you lack formal academic qualifications but have relevant work experience, please speak to an adviser.

The modules are taught in English, and your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you seek assessment under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see their website for details.


3 - 7 years.

Each module will involve around 12 hours of study per week. Most students study this qualification in 3 years. The minimum time to complete is three years, the maximum time to complete is seven years.

Number of credits

180 credits

Careers or further progression

Career relevance
There is a growing demand for professionals who have an in-depth understanding of the role and purpose of law in our increasingly global society, and the associated advanced legal research and reasoning skills.

This degree will contribute to your career development by providing transferable skills that are highly valued by employers. Typically, holders of the LLM will:

• deal with complex legal issues both systematically and creatively
• communicate their subject knowledge clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences
• demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems
• act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks
• reflect on the responsibilities linked to the application of knowledge
• demonstrate the ability to conceive, design, implement and adapt a substantial piece of independent research with scholarly integrity
• exercise initiative and personal responsibility
• be able to develop a persuasive legal argument based on evidence
• demonstrate independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

If you are interested in becoming a lawyer (solicitor or barrister) you need to study our undergraduate Bachelor of Laws (LLB) (Hons).

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also look at our OU study and your career pages to find out about potential career opportunities related to OU subject areas.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442

Subjects taught

There is a choice of routes through the qualification. You can start your studies with either of the compulsory modules Exploring legal meaning (W820) or Exploring the boundaries of international law (W821). These modules provide core postgraduate skills in legal methodology and research and knowledge of international law and legal thinking. They include a comparative approach. Or you can start your studies with Business, human rights law and corporate social responsibilities (W822), or an optional module from list B. If you are claiming credit transfer from another postgraduate provider you may not need to study an optional module. Your final module to complete this masters degree will be The law dissertation (W800).

To gain this qualification you need 180 credits as follows:

60 credits of compulsory modules:

Compulsory modules

Credits Next start
Exploring legal meaning (W820) 30 04 Nov 2017
Exploring the boundaries of international law (W821) 30 06 May 2017


30 credits from list A:

List A
Optional modules

Credits Next start
Business, human rights law and corporate social responsibility (W822) 30 04 Nov 2017 FINAL

Or the 30-credit module Continuing professional development in practice (UYA810)*.

*Please note that UYA810 is part of the Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Professional Practice (Employment Law Advice) qualification only available to those working for ACAS. Therefore if you do not hold this qualification W822 is currently a compulsory module in Group A.

30 credits from list B:

List B
Optional modules

Credits Next start
Capacities for managing development (T878) 30 01 May 2017
Conflict and development (T879) 30 01 May 2017
Continuing professional development in practice (U810) 30 06 May 2017
Development: context and practice (T877) 30 01 May 2017
Environmental monitoring and protection (T868) 30 01 Nov 2017
Institutional development (TU872) 30 01 May 2017
Making environmental decisions (T891) 30 01 May 2017

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules D864, D867, D872, D873, T863, TD866, TU871, TU875


60 credits from the compulsory module:

Compulsory module

Credits Next start
The law dissertation (W800) 60 04 Nov 2017

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.


On completion
On successful completion of the required number and type of modules you will be awarded a Master of Laws entitling you to use the letters LLM (Open) after your name. Your degree will be classified: distinction, merit or pass. The classification will be based on your best 90 credits but must include W800.

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!