Skip to main content

Jurisprudence and legal theory

Module information>

Academic Direction
UCL, Queen Mary University of London
Modes of Study

It is generally advisable that students on this course have some previous general acquaintance with Jurisprudence and Legal Theory. A student absolutely new to the subject must undertake some extra reading. As a postgraduate student, you should use this chance to develop your depth of understanding of this difficult but fascinating and important subject.

Jurisprudence is a fascinating subject because of the immense range of intellectual endeavour it embodies. It is difficult to think of another subject that requires you to:

Think in directly practical terms: ‘Should this beneficiary receive the money to which that testator has said the estate should go?’ ­

Make highly abstract judgments: ‘By virtue of what does language have meaning?’ ­

Judge perceptively what is morally permissible: ‘Should beneficiaries who murder testators in order to ensure their inheritance, receive that money?’ and ‘If Parliament creates a statute, does it follow that anything that statute appears to permit, is morally permitted?’

Most students find that it is the intensely practical but intellectually challenging nature of the subject that is its main attraction.

Students are not required to have taken an undergraduate course in Jurisprudence, but it will be assumed that they will have some familiarity with standard works in the field up to LLB standard.

Module A/B: Modern legal theory


Selected topics in the development of Anglo-American legal philosophy from the origins of utilitarianism to the present day, including contemporary debates on philosophical method and the nature of law.

Module C/D: Liberty, equality and law


Selected topics in the development of liberalism, including the ideas of liberty and equality and their relevance in the present day to our understanding of community, economics, cultural diversity and feminism.


Each double module is assessed by a 90-minute unseen written paper.

How to apply

You can apply to study a module individually as a standalone unit or as part of a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Laws qualification.

These modules also contribute towards the following specialist pathways for Laws:

  • Common Law
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Human Rights Law
  • International Justice
  • Legal Theory and History
  • Public Law

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.