Universiteit Leiden

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Law and Society (MSc)

About the programme

This unique, interdisciplinary Master focuses on the interaction and gaps between the “law on the books” and the “law in action.” It combines theories and methods from both law and the social sciences to the practical operation of law. The core curriculum equips students with the conceptual approaches and qualitative empirical research methods necessary to analyze law in context. Specialized electives enable students to dive deeper and focus on particular areas of legal practice—from legal mobilization to regulation and compliance.

Focus on practical operation of law

The Master is distinct from other degrees offered by law schools through its focus on the practical operation of law across a broad range of legal fields, from criminal law to climate change regulation. Students leave the program with a global perspective and insight into the social, economic, historical, and political factors that shape how law works in practice.

The curriculum was designed by the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society (VVI) and is taught by VVI in collaboration with colleagues from the Department of Criminology, the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, the Faculty of Humanities and the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Programme overview

For a detailed programme of this master's programme, see the Prospectus. Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

Watch this introduction video by Professor Janine Ubink and Dr. Danielle Chevalier

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Bronwen Riezebos (The Netherlands)

Consultant Regulatory Risk

Bronwen Riezebos (The Netherlands)

This master offers a good combination of law and society, because it combines philosophy, politics, and international relations. It draws a link to the impact of law on those three elements.

Where do you actually work now? I'm currently working at Deloitte at the regulatory risk department, which is a team within Risk Advisory. What we do is advise banks and the financial service industry as well as pension funds, asset managers trusts and trust funds. We advise them on how to comply with the law.

Why did you choose the Masters law society? I think because it's a good combination of law and society, because it combines philosophy, politics, and international relations. It draws a link to the impact of law on those three elements. That was the reason behind me choosing this study combination of my interests.

What was it that you did beforehand? I studied law, but during my study I felt that I was more interested in legal philosophy. I did some extra subjects in criminology and comparative criminal justice. During my exchange I also did courses in history, international relations and sociology. Then I realised that only focusing on law was a little bit too technical. I wanted to broaden my horizon a bit, I felt like this study combined everything I'm interested in. It goes into a deeper level behind the law. That was kind of my reason to choose this.

Do you think your background with the Bachelor of Law and the Master Law and Society was a way differentiate yourself from the rest when getting a job? Because it for instance gave you a different perspective? Definitely. Because it's a broad master and you can form it yourself. Little people know about it and whenever you start talking about it, people are always really interested. So, it does definitely help. So, I would definitely advise anyone who would be interested in this job, or this career to kind of get into this. I wouldn't get into the job I have now if I would focus more on the human rights, or too much of international relations. I think you would have to kind of make a little bit more specific ones you regulation and compliance.

Would you recommend this programme? I definitely recommend it because it gives you good philosophy part you start off with. To me it is very, very important to understand what's happening in the world, even more so now. So yes, I do believe that it is just a good start, and then during course, it also gives you the opportunity choose your own way within quite a broad degree.

What was it that you liked the most about studying the Masters? What I enjoyed most was that it's very personal. It’s a small master so I've really had the chance to bond with the lecturers and the teachers personally. Also, when writing my thesis, I had such good supervision compared to my bachelor's degree. All and all, looking back, it was positive.

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