Law and Social Science Pre-Masters

About this pathway 

The Pre-Masters in Law and Social Science prepares you for a choice of progression degrees at Durham University. When you have completed the programme and achieved the required grades, you can progress to a range of postgraduate degrees at Durham University.

Who is this programme for?

This programme is for international students looking to study a Masters degree in law or social sciences at Durham University.

  • Explore a wide range of topics through one of five distinctive routes: Anthropology, Archaeology, Geography, Law and Politics.
  • Improve your academic and English language skills needed for entry to your chosen Masters degree.
  • Gain the opportunity to progress to a large number of impressive postgraduate degrees at this world-renowned university.
  • Develop your ability to critically analyse the strengths and weaknesses of a range of research methods.
  • Engage in a new, culturally exciting community and enjoy studying abroad in the UK. 

Key facts

  • Course facts
  • Start dates
  • Study plans
  • Admissions


  • Three terms


  • September and January

September 2021

  • Term 1: 13/09/2021 to 03/12/2021
  • Term 2: 10/01/2022 to 18/03/2022
  • Term 3: 28/03/2022 to 03/06/2022

January 2022

  • Term 1: 10/01/2022 to 18/03/2022
  • Term 2: 28/03/2022 to 10/06/2022
  • Term 3: 13/06/2022 to 26/08/2022
IELTS Length Jun Aug Sep Dec Jan Apr Jun Aug Sep
5.0 4 terms       Start your degree
5.0 4 terms        
5.5 3 terms        
5.5 3 terms          

   Pre-Masters    English for Pre-Masters

Admissions information

If you do not meet the entry requirements for the Pre-Masters you can study one additional term of English language preparation. Find out about the English for Pre-Masters programme.

What will you study?

Course structure

You will study core modules, which cover general skills, and designated modules that relate to your progression degree. This means your Pre-Masters programme will be tailored to the specific needs of your chosen degree.

Core modules

  • Academic English Skills

    Academic English Skills supports students to develop their skills in reading, writing, listening and speaking, with a particular focus on the language uses that will prove most useful throughout their studies at Durham University. This critical module runs throughout each term at the International Study Centre, and features particular emphasis on grammar and language skills for those requiring a boost in this area, whilst also allowing able students to stretch themselves in their written and spoken work.

  • Advanced Academic Writing and Critical Reading

    This module sees students concentrating on the specific writing that will be required in their taught Masters degree programme. Fostering thorough scholarly skills, additional work involves the critical reading of authentic and up to date academic articles.

  • Extended Research Project in Law and Social Science

    The aim of the Extended Research Project module is to help students develop the ability to undertake independent research and write longer pieces of academic work, displaying applied understanding of subject matter and an ability to critically analyse materials and concepts. Additionally, students will establish competency in research methods for use in a social science and/or a legal research context. Students will choose their research focus based on their pathway choice.

  • Globalisation*

    The Globalisation module will introduce students to the concept of globalisation through a consideration of the key agents and institutions active on the world stage. Students will engage with a variety of topics that constitute some of the core themes in globalisation debates. There will be a requirement to develop a critical awareness of various perspectives on globalisation from a political, cultural, economic and social viewpoint.

    *Please note that this module is not part of the Law route.

  • Qualitative Skills for Social Science*

    Qualitative Skills for Social Sciences covers the common qualitative techniques for all social sciences, and aims to develop the ability of students to critically analyse the strengths and weaknesses of a range of research methods. Students will obtain experience of designing and conducting qualitative research and identifying potential issues with questioning techniques, data collection, and analysis of data.

    *Please note that this module is not part of the Law route.

Designated modules 

Alongside core modules you will study designated modules that relate to your progression degree route. For example, if you are following a Law progression route, your elective modules will have a legal focus.

When you complete your Pre-Masters programme and achieve the required level, you can begin your postgraduate degree at Durham University.

  • Modules by route

    Anthropology route

    • Anthropology in Practice
    • Human Culture and Diversity

    Archaeology route

    • Introduction to Archaeological, Museum and Heritage Practice
    • Fundamentals of Archaeology 

    Geography route

    • Quantitative Skills for Social Sciences
    • International Relations 

    Law route

    • Contemporary Issues in Politics
    • Legal Institutions, Skills and Method
    • Fundamentals of Contract Law
    • Contemporary Issues in Law

    Politics/International Relations route

    • Contemporary Issues in Politics
    • International Relations
  • Module descriptions

    Anthropology in Practice

    Anthropology in Practice will present students with the opportunity to comparatively evaluate material and approaches commonly used in Anthropology studies. Students will explore anthropological research methods and techniques, as well as the interpretation of different cultures, and finally critically analyse the results. Through this module, students will develop the independent research skills needed to succeed in the future.

    Contemporary Issues in Law

    In Contemporary Issues in Law, students will gain an overview of contemporary legal issues in a variety of areas of English Law. There will be many opportunities to discuss matters stemming from a range of recent legal issues, while also appreciating some of the long-standing industry arguments which continue to be debated. Students will address issues from varying perspectives, which will allow them to develop their critical thinking skills.

    Contemporary Issues in Politics

    The Contemporary Issues in Politics module will provide students with a wider contextual understanding of contemporary politics and international relations. Through the evaluation of key concepts and theories, this module will allow students to do a deeper analysis of a selected contemporary issue. Additionally, it will give students exposure to the issues of debate from a variety of perspectives, as they apply critical thinking skills to develop their own judgement.

    Fundamentals of Archaeology

    The Fundamentals of Archaeology will provide students with base-level knowledge of a range of scientific and historical techniques relevant to both contemporary and historical archaeology. Throughout this module, students will gain a core understanding of the key themes, sources and methods used in the study of archaeology, while developing the critical skills to effectively analyse the methods and techniques studied.

    Fundamentals of Contract Law

    Through this Fundamentals of Contract Law module, students will develop their knowledge and understanding of the key topics in Contract Law. Students will build on their preexisting understanding of how to use legal sources, statutory provisions and case law, specifically for key contractual concepts and principles.

    Human Culture and Diversity

    In Human Culture and Diversity, students will investigate fundamental concepts of socio-cultural anthropology through concepts such as culture, kinship, sex and gender, race and ethnicity. Critical analysis and evaluation of ethnographic studies will offer the opportunity for students to address issues of ethnocentrism, cultural relativity and their implications. Additionally, students will develop the independent research skills needed to succeed in the future.

    Introduction to Archaeological, Museum and Heritage Practice

    The Introduction to Archaeological, Museum and Heritage Practice module will familiarise students with the key themes in cultural heritage and archaeology, and require them to critically analyse the presentation of heritage in the UK. It will enable students to develop the skills to understand and evaluate the way that archaeology is presented through the use of a range of case studies of museums and archaeological sites.

    Legal Institutions, Skills and Method

    Legal Institutions, Skills and Method will introduce students to law and the legal system in England and Wales, developing their understanding of the sources of law and how they operate in the reality of the legal environment. Furthermore, students will learn about the practical application of some of the main sources of law and combine this with the development of skills in order to research these sources effectively.

    Quantitative Skills for Social Sciences

    The Quantitative Skills for Social Sciences module will cover the importance of statistics, as well as useful statistical techniques for Business, Science, Humanities and Social Science. It aims to introduce students to a number of important analysis methods to support their academic studies and future employment. Finally, it will teach students about the relative importance of particular methods of collecting, collating and displaying data.

Why study this programme?

Prepare for a world-class law or social sciences postgraduate degree at Durham University with this broad programme.

  • This Pre-Masters Programme offers 20+ progression degrees.
  • Durham University is ranked 4th in the world for Archaeology and 12th in the world for Geography (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021).
  • UK top 5 for Law (The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021).

English language preparation

Study our English for Pre-Masters course if you need additional support to reach the English language entry requirements for this programme.

Progression degrees

When you complete the Pre-Masters in Law and Social Science, and achieve the required grades, you can progress to one of the following postgraduate degrees at Durham University:

Durham University students on City Campus

Skills for success

Prepare for your future and develop the skills you need for success while you study at the International Study Centre.

International student on campus at Durham University

The International Study Centre has done a great job, allowing me to be more confident and interested, actually, in the course itself.

I needed a year to actually adjust. I didn’t want to throw myself right into the course in the first instance, because I felt, because it was a different country, I would need time to figure myself out before I finally started my degree.

Sumeya from Kenya
Studied International Foundation Year in Humanities, Law and Social Science
Now studying LLB (Hons) Law


Find out the tuition fees for your course.

Entry requirements

Find out the entry requirements for your course.

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