University of Exeter

University of Exeter

Socio-Legal Research

The MRes is a research training Masters programme which provides rigorous training in socio-legal research skills 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 programme is ESRC-recognised. This means it meets the research training requirements of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and that you are eligible to apply for ESRC funding for PhD research. Only a handful of Law Schools in the UK offer ESRC recognised programmes in this field.

The taught programme offers research training in generic social-science skills, providing you with a solid basis in social science theory and methodology through modules offered to all social science postgraduates across the University. These are then built on within the socio-legal context through two skills-based modules offered by the Law School. Specialist modules reflect the socio-legal research expertise of staff. The supervised research dissertation will allow you to bring together the conceptual and practical skills acquired in the taught modules and demonstrate your understanding by applying them to your own research ideas in the socio-legal context. Teaching is mainly seminar and workshop based.

The methods of learning, teaching and assessment vary across modules. The generic social science modules are lecture-based whereas the socio-legal modules are taught in smaller seminar groups for which students prepare in advance. They also include some student-led seminars, presentations and practical exercises.

This rigorous training in socio-legal research skills will provide an excellent basis if you wish to embark on either future doctoral research or a career as a specialist socio-legal researcher. The transferable skills you will develop through this programme are both valuable and in high demand as noted in a report of the Nuffield Inquiry into Empirical Research in Law.

Entry requirements

Normally a law degree of at least UK 2.1 Honours or equivalent, or a degree in a social science subject, e.g. psychology, sociology or social policy. Non-law students are required to take a 15-credit law introductory module.

For full information, including English language requirements and international equivalencies, please see the relevant programme page found in the postgraduate section of our website.

Course modules

Please note constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced in future years as a consequence of programme development. Details at any time may be obtained from the programme website.  

Examples of compulsory modules are as follows: 
- methodology and research skills in sociology; 
- philosophy of the social sciences; 
- applied quantitative data analysis; 
- qualitative methods in social research; 
- approaches to research in law; 
- socio-legal research skills; 
- dissertation. 

Optional modules can include:
- the family, law and social change; 
- human dignity and human rights in the EU; 
- human rights 
- international business policy.

Assessment methods

Assessment methods include:an oral presentation, practical exercise, reflective log, essay plan and/or essay and dissertation.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MRes Full-time September 2019 - 1 Years
MRes Part-time September 2019 - 2 Years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
Streatham Campus Exeter EX4 4QJ South West

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