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Master's by Research courses – University of Reading

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Master's by Research courses

At the University of Reading, our master's by research course aims to provide you with an advanced set of skills that will serve you well within legal research or a wide range of other future careers.

You will be supported to develop specialist skills including the ability to undertake high level analysis of law and legal issues, the research methods that underpin the discipline and its place in the humanities and social sciences, and a grounding in legal research methods.


"Studying for a research master's, I found that I enjoyed the  level of independence it granted; and the level of advice and support my supervisors gave me proved to be invaluable."

Tom Puddy

MA by Research graduate

ma by research in legal history

Our MA by Research in Legal History is an interdisciplinary course that aims to equip you with a sophisticated understanding of legal and historical approaches to social, cultural and political phenomena, advanced skills in archival research, and the ability to undertake high-level analysis of law and legal issues. Taking quite a different form from traditional LLM courses, it allows you to undertake detailed research in an aspect of legal history and is primarily undertaken through guided research and writing, with your individual learning tailored to best reflect your needs, interests and goals. You will be closely associated with the Law School's Forum for Legal and Historical Research.

This course is particularly suitable if you are considering entering the legal profession or wish to pursue a PhD in history, law or a related area. Pursued part-time, it is also of great value to those already undertaking academic research or members of the legal profession, especially barristers, who wish to build their skills of legal and historical analysis to contribute to the literature upon which superior courts, parliamentary bodies and law reform agencies frequently rely.

mres law and mres law and society

The Master's by Research courses are especially suited to those who wish to pursue career paths in research-based positions in national or international government or non-government institutions, who are interested in professional research in law or the administration of justice, or who wish to pursue a PhD in law or related areas. This course aims to equip you with high-level analytical skills and a strong grasp of research methods, research design and research project management skills. Some of our very best master-level students choose these courses each year, frequently going on to become PhD candidates.

The MRes Law is suited for those who are less focused on the pursuit of interdisciplinary links, and primarily interested in the study of law as a discrete domain of knowledge and practice. The MRes Law and Society emphasises socio-legal research, the study of law in context and the interplay of legal and social theory.


An excellent basis before progressing to a PhD, the LLM by Research Thesis is a research proposal of a level commensurate with master's study.

Want to know if an ma or mres law course is right for you?

Come to an Open Day for more information about any of our master's courses or what it's like to study at the School of Law. 

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