I Developing Modules and Assessment

Socio-Legal Studies Module: The Bristol Experience

Morag McDermont, Bronwen Morgan and David Cowan


In this chapter we discuss the standalone Socio-Legal Studies module that has been offered to undergraduate students at Bristol University since 2006. The module was offered initially to second and third-year law students; it is now limited to third-year law students, but is open to students from other departments and schools in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law. The module is optional but has drawn a healthy number of students in the six years that it has run. The module is not intended to provide the detailed training which we offer at postgraduate level, but seeks to provide students with an encounter with law 'from the outside' through a social science lens. This has required a compromise between an approach based entirely on theory and one on empirical methods and research.

In this chapter we discuss, first, the intellectual rationale behind the module, then we move on to the structure and content of the course. We then discuss the forms of assessment, providing some examples and discussing the students' response to it. Finally, we look at the sort of students that have been attracted to the module and discuss their feedback to the course content.

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