Governance and Devolution (LLM)
- Duration: 1 year
- Mode: Full time
Why study this course
Develop your knowledge of the UK’s structural and constitutional arrangements.
Benefit from our research
We are home to the Wales Governance Centre, which researches all aspects of the law, politics, government and political economy in Wales.
Use our connections
We offer close contact with the devolved institutions in Wales: the Welsh Parliament and Welsh Government.
Understanding how constitutions organise powers, duties, rights and responsibilities is vital for modern government and society. The United Kingdom has seen radical constitutional changes in the 21st century that have reconfigured constitutionalism and governance throughout the four nations.
Understanding the current and future implications of this is at the heart of our LLM Governance and Devolution programme.
This programme allows you to explore the structural changes to the constitutional arrangements of the United Kingdom, namely the creation of legislative and executive bodies in Scotland and Wales and the resumption of devolved government in Northern Ireland. The context of withdrawing from the European Union will also provide an opportunity for continuing reflection on powers and responsibilities between the governments and legislatures in the UK. This programme explores the opportunities and tensions created by these structural innovations and guides you to question the potential future for the constitution and nations of the UK.
Issues concerning accountability, democratic engagement and what constitutes ‘good governance’ are debated to give an understanding of government and governance at the state and international levels.
The LLM Governance and Devolution programme is very flexible and offers a wide range of modules that allows you to make the most of the research expertise within the School. It provides you with the ability to customise the programme to meet your own professional and/or employment needs. Example modules include Constitutionalism and Governance and the Law of Devolution in Wales.
Where you'll study
Our vibrant student body combined with highly qualified academic staff provides the perfect environment to explore the dynamic and fast-paced fields of law, politics and international relations.
Suitable for graduates from any legal tradition or jurisdiction, or with a legal practice qualification from any legal tradition or jurisdiction, who have a special interest in constitutional legal theory and in regional governance.
You should ideally have obtained at least a 2:1 class degree or equivalent in Law. Applicants with a 2.2 class degree or equivalent will be considered taking into account the application in its entirety.
Those whose first language is not English must obtain an IELTS overall score of 6.5 with 6.5 in writing and no less than 6 in the other sub-scores, or the equivalent.
Early application is strongly advised, normally well before the end of July. Later applications will be considered, but international students must bear in mind the time needed to obtain a visa.
Find out more about English language requirements.
Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.
You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.
If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:
- access to computers or devices that can store images
- use of internet and communication tools/devices
- freedom of movement
- contact with people related to Cardiff University.
You must select at least two of your four taught modules and complete the dissertation in the area of Governance and Devolution. You may also select up to two modules from those listed in any other LLM programme or from a combination of LLM programmes.
The programme is delivered in two stages. Stage One (the taught component) comprises four 30 credit modules. Stage Two comprises the dissertation. Two of the Stage One modules will be taught and assessed in the first semester and the remaining two in the second semester. You will progress to the dissertation upon successful completion of Stage One.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.
Year One comprises four taught modules totalling 120 credits. Upon successful completion of the taught stage, you will progress to the 60 credit dissertation.
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.
Learning and assessment
How will I be taught?
Study for an LLM is intensive and challenging and it is important that you take full advantage of the teaching that is provided in order to succeed. Attendance at classes and dissertation supervisions is compulsory and we will expect you to be well prepared.
Our teaching is very flexible and your modules may be delivered through seminars or a combination of lectures and seminars. Other teaching methods include the online use of discussion boards, self-access study packs and formative quizzes and activities.
Modules may be diverse in content to cater for a high proportion of overseas students or students with previous qualifications other than in law. Modules are typically led by experienced staff actively engaged in research relevant to their subject area.
How will I be assessed?
We make use of both formative and summative assessment.
Formative assessments do not count towards your degree but are designed to give you the opportunity to practice for your summative assessments and enable you and your tutors to assess your progress in your modules. Formative assessments will normally involve written coursework or a class test or may comprise individual student presentations.
Summative assessments count towards your degree. Your marks in these assessments count towards your formal progression from stage one (taught modules) to stage two (the dissertation), and towards the determination of your final award. Summative assessments in stage one will vary by module but will typically involve written coursework (5,000 word essays), unseen examinations or pre-release examinations. The dissertation (up to 15,000 words) comprises the stage two summative assessment.
How will I be supported?
We have created a specially designed research and study skills module which is studied by all LLM students at the beginning of the programme. We also offer writing skills support for students whose first language is not English.
Your learning will be supported through e-learning. All modules are supported by Learning Central, a virtual learning environment that is available on and off campus through which you will access a wide range of materials for your modules.
You will receive dedicated pastoral support through our personal tutor scheme. We offer an extensive programme of careers lectures and workshops within the School with an in-house Law Careers Consultant and a Pro-bono Scheme Co-ordinator. A designated Disability and Diversity Officer ensures that reasonable adjustments are made for students with disabilities. The University has a range of services to support you, including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service and excellent libraries with specialist law librarians and resource centres.
Feedback is available through oral feedback during seminars and you will receive written feedback on both your formative and summative assessments. Individual feedback on formative work will help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your learning, as well how you might improve your performance in summative assessments. Written feedback will be made available no later than four weeks from the submission of your assessment.
What skills will I practise and develop?
You are expected to assume a greater responsibility for your education as you undertake your postgraduate studies. Through the LLM, you will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are discipline specific and more generic employability skills. During the programme you will be able to extend your communication and presentation skills, both oral and written. You will also be able to develop collaborative skills, take leadership roles and enhance skills of disciplined and independent study.
You will be encouraged to work independently to seek out legal materials for yourself, to read and analyse these materials critically and to present structured and reasoned argument under the guidance of your tutors and supervisors. You will be provided with training in postgraduate research skills to develop your independent legal analysis, research and writing.
Outside the curriculum you will have the opportunity to develop wider “employability” skills through participation in the School’s Law in Action pro-bono schemes run with partner organisations, in which student volunteers assist real people in their dealings with the law. The schemes currently include:
- Law in Justice: the Innocence Project (dealing with alleged miscarriages of justice);
- Law in Healthcare: the NHS Continuing Healthcare Scheme (challenges to NHS healthcare funding assessments);
- Law in Sport: the Rugby Union Project (providing legal advice and legal newsletters to rugby clubs).
Students from the UK
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
EU, EEA and Swiss nationals starting in 2020/21 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course.
If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees for 2021/22 will be in line with the fees charged for international students. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.
Students from the rest of the world (international)
More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.
Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.
We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
A law degree doesn’t restrict graduates to careers within the legal profession and law graduates enter professions as diverse as finance, sales and marketing, digital communications and recruitment.
We are committed to extending extracurricular opportunities to our students, helping to enhance their CVs in a competitive graduate job market. We work in partnership with lawyers, charities and voluntary organisations to give students the opportunity to practise and extend their skills and we run several Pro Bono schemes and provide advice to members of the community on different legal issues.
Students successfully completing the LLM programme may have the opportunity to continue their legal study through the School’s PhD programme or through the Centre for Professional Legal Studies professional programmes (the Legal Practice Course or Bar Professional Training Course).