MA Gender Studies and Law


Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

The MA Gender Studies and Law at SOAS is a unique programme, its principal aim being to re-focus issues prioritised in western Gender Studies and Legal Theory on the complex specificities of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East. Jointly housed by the Centre for Gender Studies and the School of Law, the programme offers the specialised study of gender and law in relation to the cultures of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, together with rigorous training in, and questioning of, contemporary gender theory. In terms of gender theory, it offers a solid foundation with sufficient breadth and depth to facilitate a range of specialist pathways. In terms of specialisation, it draws on the expertise of internationally recognised scholars of Asian, African and Middle Eastern Studies at SOAS.

Who is this programme for?

The MA Gender Studies and Law at SOAS caters for students with a variety of backgrounds and objectives:

  • Those coming from Women’s Studies or Gender Studies who wish to engage more deeply with gender theory in relation to regional specialisation and to connect this with legal knowledge, especially, but not exclusively, the societies of Asia, Africa and the Middle East;
  • Those coming from Asian, African or Middle Eastern Studies who wish to incorporate the study of gender and law into their own areas of expertise; and
  • Those having previously trained in particular disciplines, such as Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Cultural and Media Studies, History, Politics, Religious Studies, Sociology, Refugee/Diaspora Studies etc.

This programme provides:

  • Specialised research training in Gender Studies, in addition to focused study of feminist legal theories and a particular area of law. This pathway is suitable for students considering advanced postgraduate research in Gender Studies with a regional specialisation;
  • A broad MA programme for students with some background in Women’s Studies, Gender Studies, and Area Studies etc. who wish to enhance their knowledge of gender in relation to cross-cultural legal issues;
  • A special interest MA, which enables students to study gender issues in depth in relation to a particular regional or disciplinary specialisation alongside the acquisition of knowledge of feminist legal approaches and a study of a legal sub-discipline.


Students take courses to the value of 120 credits and a dissertation worth 60 credits which amounts to the total 180 credits required to complete the degree programme.

All students take the Preliminary course in law, legal reasoning and legal methods. This is a compulsory component which runs as an intensive two-week course in September, prior to the start of term.

All students take the compulsory core courses Gender Theory and the Study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Dissertation Methods for Gender Studies, and Gender Sexuality and Law: Theories and Methodologies. Further options include a wide range of gender and gender-related courses from a comprehensive list. Students also choose one Law option from the general MA in Law list (subject to course convenor approval).

Upon completion of coursework and written examinations in May/June, students will write a 12,000 word dissertation based on material acquired from their courses.


Students must complete a Dissertation (10,000 words) in Gender Studies, which should be based on material acquired from their courses.

  • Dissertation in gender studies

Taught Component

Core Modules

  • Gender theory and the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East
  • Gender, Sexuality and Law: Theories and Methodologies
  • Dissertation Methods for Gender Studies

Compulsory Modules

  • Preliminary Law, Legal Reasoning and Legal Methods


  • Choose a module(s) from the List 1 to the value of 30 credits.


  • Choose a module(s) from the List 2 to the value of 30 credits.

List of Modules (subject to availability)

List 1

  • Gender and Development
  • Gender and Music (MMus)
  • Gender, Armed Conflict and International Law
  • Gendering Migration & Diasporas
  • Gender in the Middle East
  • Queer and Feminist Diaspora Studies
  • From Theory to Practice and Back. Work Placements in Migration Research
  • Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East
  • Gender, Peace and International Law
  • Genders and Sexualities in South East Asian Film
  • Gender, Sexuality and Law: Selected Topics
  • Historical Perspectives on Gender in Africa
  • Gender, law and the family in the history of modern South Asia
  • Issues in the Anthropology of Gender
  • Judaism and Gender
  • Queer Politics in Asia, Africa and the Middle East

List 2

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Colonialism, Empire and International Law
  • Foundations of International Law
  • Human Rights and Islamic Law
  • International Protection of Human Rights
  • Law and Development in Africa
  • Law and Society in The Middle East and North Africa
  • Law and Society in South Asia
  • Law, Human Rights and Peace Building: The Israeli-Palestinian Case
  • Water and Development:Conflict and Governance
  • Water Law: Justice and Governance
  • Climate Change Law and Policy
  • International Commercial Arbitration
  • International Criminal Law
  • International Investment Law
  • Law and Postcolonial Theory

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

You can apply for this course via the online application form.

We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.

Consideration of Application

The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.

Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.

Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.

Entry Requirements

Minimum upper second class (II.1) or above honours degree (or equivalent).

English Language Entry Requirements

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.

Minimum upper second class (2.1) or above honours degree (or equivalent)

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated Sep 2019

About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read less
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