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Programme Specification for the 2022/3 academic year

MRes Socio-Legal Research

1. Programme Details

Programme nameMRes Socio-Legal Research Programme codePTR1LAWLAW01
Study mode(s)Full Time
Part Time
Academic year2022/3
Campus(es)Streatham (Exeter)
Programme start date

09/2014

NQF Level7 (Masters)

2. Description of the Programme

This is a one year Masters’ level postgraduate research training programme which is open to law and social science graduates with an interest in socio-legal research. It provides you with the relatively rare opportunity to become a rigorously trained socio-legal researcher by developing in tandem legal and social science research skills within the framework of an integrated research training programme.

In common with other MRes programmes across the University, there are four principal elements to the programme. First, is the generic research training which is provided through four 15-credit generic social science modules taught at University level. These four modules are specifically designed to meet the generic postgraduate training requirements for courses recognised by the ESRC as the socio-legal studies pathway of the South West Doctoral Training Partnership. Second, are two subject specific research training modules, one of 15 credits and one of 30 credits, in socio-legal research taught within the Law School. Third, is the subject specialisation in one area reflecting research expertise either within the Law School or other selected social science disciplines, which is reflected by a choice of 15-credit specialist modules. The fourth and final element comprises the 60-credit research dissertation module.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

The MRes in Socio-Legal Research is a research training Masters’ programme which aims to provide rigorous training in socio-legal research skills such as is appropriate to enable you to carry out doctoral level research using legal and socio-legal methodology or alternatively to embark on a career as a specialist socio-legal researcher.

The taught elements of the programme aim first through the four generic modules (see above) to provide you with a solid basis in social science theory and methodology. You will be introduced to different approaches and styles of research and develop the capacity to apply these conceptual approaches to different research contexts. You will also be introduced to collecting, handling and analysing quantitative and qualitative research data. Further information can be found on the Law School website:
http://socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk/law/postgraduate/mres-social-legal-research/.

In the first subject specific module delivered by the Law School, LAWM686 Approaches to Research in Law, the aim is to expose you to critical approaches to law and legal and socio-legal research through discussion of theories and debates within law and socio-legal studies and set against the wider background provided in the generic module, SOCM002A Philosophy of the Social Sciences 1. This is with a view to you developing an appropriate conceptual approach to your own research. In the second Law School specific module, LAWM687 Socio Legal Research Skills, the nature of legal and socio-legal research data is explored and different methods of socio-legal data collection are considered. Data handling and analysis skills are further developed through teaching sessions and assignments. The ethical implications of empirical research in law are considered generally and in the context of your own proposed research.

You will contextualise your socio-legal research training in areas in which specialist modules are offered. These reflect either the legal and socio-legal research expertise of staff within the Law School or relevant expertise from some other social science disciplines.

The aim of the research dissertation is to ensure you have understood and can apply the conceptual and practical skills acquired in the taught modules to your own research ideas in the socio-legal context.

4. Programme Structure

The MRes Socio-Legal Research programme is a one-year programme of study (or two-year if taken part time) at National Qualification Framework (NQF) level 7 (as confirmed against the FHEQ). The programme has one ‘Stage’. For the purposes of this programme, a Stage is normally equivalent to a calendar year.

The programme is divided into units of study called modules, which are assigned a number of 'credits'. The credit rating of a module is proportional to the total workload, with 1 credit being nominally equivalent to 10 hours of work. You will take modules adding up to 180 credits. This will include taught modules totalling 120 credits and a 60-credit dissertation module. The dissertation can be written on an appropriate topic of your choice that is agreed by the Law School, under the supervision of a member of Law School staff.

The MRes programme starts in the autumn term. It is delivered over three terms and is University-based throughout this time. Taught components of the programme are delivered over the first (autumn) and second (spring) terms. The third term and most of the summer are dedicated to researching, writing and submitting your dissertation.

5. Programme Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual review of this programme.

Stage 1


165 credits of compulsory modules, and 15 credits of optional modules chosen from the list of optional modules below

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
SOCM002A Philosophy of the Social Sciences 1 15Yes
SOCM019 Research Methods in the Social Sciences 15Yes
POLM063 Qualitative Methods in Social Research 15Yes
POLM809 Applied Quantitative Data Analysis 15Yes
LAWM640 Dissertation 60Yes
LAWM686 Approaches to Research in Law (ESRC) 15Yes
LAWM687 Socio-Legal Research Skills 30Yes

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
LAWM145 Dignity, Democracy and the Law 15No
LAWM689 The Family, Law and Social Change 15No
SOCM023 Social Theory 15No
POLM150 Text as Data 15No
ARAM230 Gender, Sexuality and Violence in Palestine/Israel 15No
Total Credits for Stage 1

180


6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Identify, formulate and evaluate socio-legal research questions and research problems.
2. Identify, locate and retrieve legal materials at both domestic and supra-national level in paper, electronic and online form.
3. Synthesise information from a number of primary and secondary legal, socio-legal and other sources; appreciate their relative value; and separate the relevant from the peripheral.
4. Explain and convey legal and socio-legal information at various levels appropriate to the audience in written and oral form.
5. Identify when and how to apply critically particular socio-legal research methods and techniques.
6. Evaluate the appropriateness (including the ethical dimension) of and apply a range of skills and techniques to exploring different socio-legal research issues.
7. Integrate conceptual and practical socio-legal research methods.

The overall strategy of combining subject-specific and generic research training harnessed by the ultimate goal of a supervised Masters' dissertation testing both sets of skills aims to ensure that the integrated skills set out in programme outcomes A1-A7 are achieved.

All modules (see individual module descriptors) are taught through classes (which may include lectures, seminars, workshops or other teaching activities, depending on the module), some of which are student-led, thus enabling students to acquire and test their substantive knowledge and research skills and obtain feedback.

Outcome A1 is particularly developed in LAWM686 Approaches to Research in Law and LAWM687 Socio-Legal Research Skills, seminar preparation for which addresses outcomes A2 and A3.

Seminar preparation, contribution and assessment in all modules addresses outcome A4.

Outcomes A5 and A6 are addressed in a number of modules, but particularly in the presentations and assessments in LAWM686 Approaches to Research in Law and LAWM687 Socio-Legal Research Skills.

Outcome A7 is addressed during the dissertation supervision process, building particularly on seminar preparation and assignments in the preceding taught modules.

There is a range of assessment across the modules studied, including essays, reports, oral presentations and reflective logs, all of which have been specifically designed to assess outcomes A1-A7. The dissertation further tests the integration of these outcomes.

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

8. Identify when and how to apply critically particular research methods and techniques.
9. Identify, formulate and evaluate research questions and research problems.
10. Evaluate the appropriateness of and apply a range of skills, methodologies and techniques to exploring different research issues.
11. Work independently in planning and undertaking assignments; meet deadlines.
12. Work with other students as a team.
13. Explain and convey information at various levels appropriate to the audience in written and oral form.

The overall strategy of combining subject-specific and generic research training harnessed by the ultimate goal of a supervised Masters’ dissertation testing both sets of skills aims to ensure that the integrated skills set out in programme outcomes B8-B13 are achieved.

There is a range of assessment across the modules studied, including essays, reports, oral presentations and reflective logs, all of which have been specifically designed to assess outcomes B8-B13. The dissertation further tests the integration of these outcomes.

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

14. Time management skills.
15. Independent research management skills.
16. Manipulation of electronic social science and legal databases.
17. Competent use of a range of quantitative and qualitative data analysis software programmes.
18. Writing and presentation skills.

Outcome C14 is a personal skill fostered in all modules studied, by the requirements of in-class presentations and module assessments, and tested further in the dissertation element.

Outcome C15 is specifically addressed in LAWM687 Social-Legal Research Skills, and built on in
preparation and assessments for other modules,
and the dissertation in particular.

Outcome C16, in terms of legal databases, is addressed in LAWM686 Approaches to Research in Law; social science databases are addressed in SOCM019 Research Methods in the Social Sciences, POLM809 Applied Quantitative Data Analysis, POLM063 Qualitative Methods in Social Research and LAWM687 Socio-Legal Research Skills.

Outcome C17 is specifically addressed in the workshops and assessments for SOCM019 Research Methods in the Social Sciences, POLM809 Applied Quantitative Data Analysis, POLM063 Qualitative Methods in Social Research and LAWM687 Socio-Legal Research Skills.

Outcome C18 is addressed in the assignments for all modules, plus the dissertation element of the programme.

There is a range of assessment across the modules studied, including essays, reports, oral presentations and reflective logs, all of which have been specifically designed to assess outcomes C14-C18. The dissertation further tests the integration of these outcomes.

7. Programme Regulations

University Regulations on the number of credits to be taken and at what level for each stage of the programme can be found in the Credit and Qualifications Framework.

Progression

Condonement is the process that allows you to be awarded credit (and so progress to the next stage or, in the final stage, receive an award), despite failing to achieve a pass mark at a first attempt. You are not entitled to reassessment in condoned credit. Regulations on condonement can be found in the Handbook for Assessment, Progression and Awarding for Taught Programmes.

Assessment and Awards

For undergraduate degrees assessment at stage one does not contribute to the summative classification of the award. Details of the weightings for each year of all programme lengths can be found in the Handbook for Assessment, Progression and Awarding for Taught Programmes.

Classification

Full details of assessment regulations for undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes and the classification of awards can be found in the Handbook for Assessment, Progression and Awarding for Taught Programmes.

You can also read details of Generic Marking Criteria.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

Personal and Academic Tutoring

It is University policy that all Colleges should have in place a system of academic and personal tutors. The role of academic tutors is to support you with individual modules; the role of personal tutors is to provide you with advice and support fo the duration of your programme, and this support extends to providing you with details of how to obtain support and guidance on personal difficulties such as accommodation, financial difficulties and sickness. You can also make an appointment to see individual teaching staff.

Information on the College Personal Tutoring system, library provision, ELE resources and access to College support services can be found on the College webpages for current students.

Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC)

SSLCs enable students and staff to jointly participate in the management and review of the teaching and learning provision.

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

Learning Resources

The University Library maintains its principal collections in the main library buildings on the Streatham and St Luke's campuses, together with a number of specialist collections in certain Colleges. The total Library collection comprises over a million volumes and 3000 current periodical subscriptions.

IT Services

A wide range of IT services are provided throughout the Exeter campuses, including open-access computer rooms, some of which are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Helpdesks are maintained on the Streatham and St Luke's campuses, while most study bedrooms in halls and flats are linked to the University's campus network.

Student Support Services

The University provides many support services including health and wellbeing, multifaith chaplaincy, family support, the Students' Guild and international student support.

10. Admissions Criteria

All applications are considered individually on merit. The University is committed to an equal opportunities policy with respect to gender, age, race, sexual orientation and/or disability when dealing with applications. It is also committed to widening access to higher education to students from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience.

Candidates for undergraduate programmes must satisfy the undergraduate admissions requirements of the University of Exeter.

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice. See the University's TQA Manual for details.

12. Indicators of Quality and Standards

Certain programmes are subject to accreditation and/or review by professional and statutory regulatory bodies (PSRBs).

13. Methods for Evaluating and Improving Quality and Standards

The University and its constituent Colleges draw on a range of data to review the quality of education provision. The College documents the performance in each of its tuaght programmes, against a range of criteria on an annual basis through the Annual Student Experience Review (ASER).

Subject areas are reviewed every five years through a College Academic Audit scheme that includes external contributions.

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

College of Social Sciences and International Studies (CSSIS)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by

0

18. Final Award

MRes Socio-Legal Research

19. UCAS Code

Not applicable to this programme.

20. NQF Level of Final Award

7 (Masters)

21. Credit

CATS credits

180

ECTS credits

90

22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

23. Dates

Origin Date

01/10/2007

Date of last revision

29/08/2022