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Postgraduate Gender, Sexuality and Human Rights

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  • Objectives
    This Masters degree programme aims to provide a practical and theoretical understanding of law and its relevance to issues around gender and sexuality. Whilst these are the principal areas of study, the course will engage with dynamics of class, race, ethnicity, and disability. The course aims to develop not only subject-specific knowledge and skills, but also transferable skills. In terms of the latter, particular attention is paid to research and analytical skills. The course also aims to provide a foundation for pursuing further study at doctoral level.
  • Entry requirements
    The course is open to all graduates with a first or second class (2.1 or 2.2) honours degree or equivalent. International students whose first language is not English must have IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.
  • Academic Title
    LLM, Postgraduate Diploma Gender, Sexuality and Human Rights
  • Course description
    Full-Time & Part-Time study


    This course is aimed both at people working in related fields (for example, professionals working in the fields of law, social services, health, human resource management, or human rights advocacy), and anyone else interested in further study in this area. The course is taught in blocks of study (building on our successful experience in teaching postgraduate blocks in Medical Ethics & Law and Childcare Law & Practice), enabling those in employment to study on a part-time basis. Course content combines analysis of current law with a critical exploration of the structures, potential, and limits of law and legal reform. An important sub-text to the course is human rights, both as a legal regime with specific application to gender and sexuality issues, and as a political sphere within which issues relating to gender and sexuality are negotiated. The course includes discussions of domestic, European, and international developments.

    Postgraduate students will find a range of support structures, including: research training; accessible staff supervisors; a new law library; a postgraduate study room; and access to IT and legal research tools.

    The School of Law was one of only five in the country given the top rating in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise (5*A). We are similarly committed to maintaining our teaching at the highest standard (see our website for details). Approximately half the staff are members of the School’s Gender, Sexuality and Law Group. This Group is an internationally recognised research unit, and is the recipient of both internal and external funding. Keele School of Law, together with the universities of Kent and Westminster is a member of the Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality. The purpose of the Centre, which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board, is to pioneer and facilitate work that analyses, investigates, and deepens understanding of the relationship between gender, sexuality, and legal studies. As part of the Centre’s activities, Keele will play host to a wide range of seminars, workshops, lectures and visiting fellowships. Many of these activities will be available without charge to Keele students. The School as a whole is characterised by its energy and enthusiasm, as well as its friendliness and collegiality.

    Course Structure and Content

    The course involves both a taught and a research component. The teaching occurs in four three-day modules, between September and April. This structure has proved very successful at Keele in other postgraduate contexts, and particularly benefits part-time students who appreciate‘time out’ in an accessible academic environment but within the attractive Staffordshire countryside.

    The LLM requires 180 credits, made up of four 30 credit modules (120 credits) and a 60 credit dissertation. Students choosing to complete their studies after acquiring 120 credits on taught modules may be awarded the PG Diploma. The awards may be achieved either full-time or through a more flexible parttime programme. If taken full-time, the course can be completed within one year, with submission of the Masters dissertation by the end of September. Students taking the course part-time may complete the four taught modules in year 1, with submission of the dissertation by September a year later, completing the whole programme in 2 years. Some students may not wish to complete the whole course but may be interested in taking just one or two modules. If this is the case, you should contact the Course Director.

    Course Modules

    The four modules are outlined below, with illustrations of course content:

    • Understanding Gender, Sexuality and Law – This module is aimed at introducing students to differing understandings of law, and initiates them into the skills required for postgraduate research. The module concentrates on a series of case studies that allow students to think critically about law, sexuality and gender. Possible case studies include transsexual citizenship, pornography and lesbian and gay rights.

    • Health and Social Welfare – This module focuses on law and ethics in healthcare policy and provision. As with the other modules the role of the Human Rights Act in shaping the future of this area will be given serious consideration. Healthcare may well prove to be a
    principal site at which our articulation of these new rights will start.

    • Family Relations – The family is a key site for thinking about gender and sexuality. This module explores questions of regulation, social control and alternative family structures. It also considers the position of children and vulnerable adults within a human rights context.

    • Rights to Equality – This module provides both knowledge of current legal provisions and critically engages with current and historical theoretical debates. The module critically pursues questions of equality at a domestic, European and International level, introducing students to global rights discourses. It also explores changing governance and institutional structures for the delivery of social inclusion initiatives.


    Assessment of the taught modules is by means of coursework. This requires a written assignment of 5,000 words for each module. The pass mark is 50% and students must pass each of the modules in order to progress to the dissertation.

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