Good second-class honours degree in law or a related discipline (see below). We welcome other relevant qualifications and appropriate professional training and experience. If you have a first degree in a subject other than law, or if you want to refresh pre-existing legal knowledge and skills, you might consider completing a Pre-Sessional Course in Law and Legal Method, such as the one offered by SOAS. This intensive two-week course runs during the daytime in September. It is designed primarily for those who do not already possess a law degree and provides an introduction to law, legal method and associated skills and techniques.
Months of entry
This innovative LLM enables you to tailor your studies to your professional and research interests. You choose 1 out of 2 critical pathways, electing to combine the study of international economic law with either finance and global markets or with justice and development. Both pathways draw on cutting-edge critical research to examine contemporary issues and problems.
If you are interested in finance, global markets and international economic institutions, you may select the LLM International Finance and Economic Law (Intensive).
If you wish to study global development issues and economic institutions you should consider the LLM International Economic Law, Justice and Development (Intensive).
LLM International Finance and Economic Law (Intensive)
What is it about finance that makes it appear powerful? How does finance relate to different senses of law, norms and regulation?
The first time the concept of 'freedom' was written down, in Mesopotamia c.2400 BC as ama-gi, its use did not relate to liberty from tyrannical rule, but to freedom from debt-slavery. Why is it that from the first civilisations to the present, debt-finance has exercised such power over peoples that it has led thinkers as diverse as Hindu theologians and classical economists to link finance to power?
Adopting an avowedly critical perspective, this programme refuses simply to accept current financial law and economics as given. The programme develops an understanding of the conditions in which financial crises develop. It is designed to examine the nature of finance and the power it exercises within society. Focusing on the law, economics and practice of international finance leading up to the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, you will be presented with critical theoretical tools with which to interrogate the role of finance in society, and in particular its effects on value systems. This programme’s critical depth and breadth affords you a unique opportunity to concretise and engage with the questions you have asked about the failures of finance.
To achieve this, you will be given a solid grounding in the legal and economic principles of finance. We examine the practice of finance in today’s financial capitals with their money markets and complicated corporate structures. You will develop practical knowledge and the theoretical tools necessary to critique finance as such: from questioning the concepts of money and value, to the power of finance with respect to time and space, the nexus of finance and consciousness, to the deep relations between finance, consumption, desire and life itself.
The study of finance will be combined with that of international economic institutions, and a range of specialised modules that you can choose based on your individual interests.
LLM International Economic Law, Justice and Development (Intensive)
Should those who are relatively poor regard international economic law as a means, end, obstacle or irrelevance to improving their lives? What role do international economic institutions play in shaping and responding to global events and crises?
The impact of international economic law and institutions upon justice and development justifiably commands increasing attention from all quarters: local politicians and international celebrities, savvy pharmaceutical companies and bewildered farmers, moral philosophers and foreign investors.
This is the only postgraduate programme in the UK to address the law, institutions and practices that constitute global and local economies from an avowedly critical perspective. It is particularly well suited to (current and aspiring) lawyers and non-lawyers within non-governmental organisations, government departments and in-house corporate social responsibility departments who wish to critically reflect on their role as practitioners. It also offers an opportunity for research and study for those considering a career change in the direction of working in, and with, international economic institutions or international development.
Preliminary reading is sent to new students in January, with the first block of intensive, face-to-face teaching in March/April.
Information for international students
If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
Fees and funding
The government's new postgraduate loan scheme allows you to borrow up to £10,000 to cover the cost of your tuition fees, living costs or other study expenses – and you don't have to start repaying until 2019.
The Patrick McAuslan Scholarship is awarded to a student from East Africa with proven interest and experience in social justice in one of the following areas: sustainable development; the alleviation of poverty; land reform; or planning law.
Part-time students who are experiencing financial need may apply for assistance from the Birkbeck Alumni Fund Postgraduate Opportunity Bursary.
Find out more about funding and financial support at postgraduate level.
Qualification and course duration
Course contact details
- Student Advice Service
- +44(0) 20 3907 0700