As traditional forms of legal regulation through company law or trade law fail, the concept of corporate social responsibility is becoming increasingly important. Knowledge of the changing legal landscape in the field of corporate responsibility is thus vital. Corporate lawyers are often required to advise their business clients on their widening legal liabilities and their responsibilities towards stakeholders other than shareholders; lawyers for non-governmental organisations, employees or government should be aware of the growing number of legal tools which can be used to hold international companies to account; and, business managers need to be increasingly astute to their companies’ responsibilities towards the communities within which they operate if they are to avoid liability.
The LLM in Corporate Social Responsibility at the University of Stirling offers a unique, multi-disciplinary approach to this topic by combining perspectives from law, management, history and philosophy. By the end of the programme, students are not only familiar with the origins of the debate surrounding corporate social responsibility; they are also given an understanding of current developments in a wide range of topics such as company law, trade and investment law, labour law, environmental law and human rights, as well as clarity on how businesses operate in society. In order to achieve this, students focus on the regulation of companies from a legal perspective while also learning about the governance of companies from a management point of view. Staff teaching on the course are drawn from across the University’s School of Arts and Humanities and Stirling’s Management School. Please see the course content for more information.
The purpose of this course is:
- To introduce students to the topic of corporate social responsibility and to develop students’ understanding and awareness of contemporary issues in the area.
- To provide a rigorous and intellectually challenging training at an advanced level in corporate social responsibility issues as preparation for, or as an enhancement to, a career in this area.
- To develop problem-solving skills to Masters level by means of legal problems which require the use and understanding of core legal rules and principles.
- To develop independent critical legal thought and legal research and writing skills to LLM level through the preparation and presentation of written arguments.
A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 (5.5 in all bands).
Modes of study
For the modules on this course, students are required to attend weekly two hour seminars for which reading will be circulated in advance. Active participation will be encouraged in class and students may be required to prepare a short presentation which is not assessed on a topic of their choice within the individual modules. Assessment will be in the form of essays and/or exams.
Course start date
Structure and content
The taught component of the course facilitates staged intellectual progress in key legal areas relevant to corporate social responsibility. This stage consists of five core or compulsory modules and three electives which are taken over two semesters. Three of the four core modules provide an overview of current developments in corporate social responsibility in various areas of law and management.
In addition, students are able to develop the relevant practical skills necessary for information retrieval and utilisation, and data collection and analysis in a dedicated legal research methods module. Students then choose from a range of specialised legal modules aimed at providing an in-depth knowledge in areas of their choice (for an indicative list see below).
The culmination of the course is the 10,000-word dissertation. The students are able to choose their topic dependent on knowledge acquired and available supervision expertise from within the Stirling Law School. Although supervised, the dissertation requires students to demonstrate specialised understanding and independent research skills.
Delivery and assessment
Students are required to attend a weekly two hour seminar for which reading will be circulated in advance. Assessment is by means of coursework and an examination.
Students wishing to familiarise themselves with the topic may like to read one or more of the following texts:
- A. Crane et al. (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility, 2009, Oxford: OUP
- D. McBarnett, A. Voiculescu and T. Campbell (eds.), The New Corporate Accountability, 2009, Cambridge: CUP
- P. Muchlinski, Multinational Enterprises and the Law, 2nd ed., 2007, Oxford: OUP
Please contact the School for more information on a detailed timetable and reading lists.
Semester 1: compulsory modules
- Regulating CSR I: Introduces students to the legal regulation of corporate social responsibility. The course starts with an introduction to traditional forms of regulation and the rise of the Multinational Enterprise before looking at newer approaches to regulation through trade law, investment law and competition law. Students are also introduced to mechanisms of alternative dispute resolution.
- Globalisation, Creativity and Socio-Economic Development: This course is run by the Stirling Management School. It provides the analytical foundations for understanding the significance of production activities for social and economic development. Issues addressed include: social preferences and governance, strategic choice in the organisation of production under globalisation, the use of creativity across economies and societies and its impact on wellbeing, the meaning of competitiveness and associated policies.
- Two optional modules
Semester 2: compulsory modules:
- Regulating CSR II: introduces students to alternative forms of regulation through human rights, labour law and environmental law. Staff in associated disciplines such as philosophy and history provide an inter-disciplinary perspective on the topics and case studies illustrate alternative forms of regulation in practice.
- Dissertation preparation
- Two optional modules
Optional modules (this is an indicative list):
- Banking and Finance Law
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- European Economic Law
- Labour Law
- Intellectual Property
- Energy Law
- Environmental Law
- Competition Law
- Trade Law
- Dissertation on Corporate Social Responsibility: should essentially build on an original research question and reflect your own understanding and knowledge of selected topics learnt during taught courses.
Why study Corporate Social Responsibility (LLM) at Stirling?
Dr Rebecca L. Zahn
The University of Stirling was founded on the site of the historic Airthrey Estate by Royal Charter in 1967; the first genuinely new university in Scotland for over 400 years. Nestling beneath the Ochil Hills, our campus covers 310 acres and has a beautiful loch and 18th-century Airthrey Castle at its heart. We retain our pioneering spirit and a passion for innovation and excellence in all we do. We aim to be at the forefront of research and learning that helps to improve lives. Staff are highly motivated and are experts in their field of research. There is a particular emphasis on inter-disciplinary research drawing on the strengths across the campus. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE, 2008), 10 per cent of Stirling research was judged to be 'world leading' and a further three quarters as 'internationally excellent' and 'internationally recognised'. The University of Stirling is ranked number one in Scotland and eighth in the UK in The Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 table, which ranks the world’s best 100 universities under 50 years old, and is also one of The Times Higher Education Top 400 universities in the world. http://www.stir.ac.uk/2012/100-under-50/. The University of Stirling was Scottish University of the Year for 2009/2010 (Sunday Times) and is consistently ranked as one of the best in the UK for 'a good place to be' (International Student Barometer).
The demand for employees with a specialised legal knowledge in corporate governance and social responsibility will grow rapidly over the next few years.
Dr Rebecca Zahn, Course Director, LLM Corporate Social Responsibility
An LLM prepares our graduates for many destinations. In a world of globalisation and international trade, your knowledge of how businesses are governed internally and through law will set you apart from the crowd. Whether you’re interested in developing a career in Europe, or working for one of the many international companies with offices in Scotland and the UK, this is the course for you.
Those who wish to continue in education may proceed on to do a Phd in an area which is still under-researched. Others will be well placed to take up careers in law, business, finance, banking and international organisations. Corporate Social Responsibility is increasingly important for those wishing to pursue a career in law and/or business. Corporate lawyers are often required to advise their business clients on their widening legal liabilities and their responsibilities towards stakeholders other than shareholders; lawyers for non-governmental organisations, employees or government should be aware of the growing number of legal tools which can be used to hold international companies to account; and, business managers need to be increasingly astute to their companies’ responsibilities towards the communities within which they operate if they are to avoid liability. An LL.M in Corporate Social Responsibility thus prepares graduates for a wide range of careers.
Skills you can develop through this course
On completion of the module, students will have:
- Developed an understanding of the key areas of corporate social responsibility and underlying policy issues, including knowledge of relevant national and international laws and legal frameworks.
- Analysed and evaluated current policy and law and the different approaches to legal analysis.
- Developed skills to solve legal problems
- Carried out independent legal research to a high level
- Demonstrated an ability to present effective and structured arguments in writing
- Demonstrated an ability to present arguments effectively in oral presentations
- Developed the ability to work independently and meet deadlines
Chances to expand your horizons
A programme of workshop and talks are available to postgraduate students to help develop their skills and employment prospects.
Where do our graduates go?
An LLM prepares our graduates for many destinations. Those who wish to continue in education may proceed on to a Phd, while others will be well placed to take up careers in law, business, finance, banking and international organisations. Corporate Social Responsibility is increasingly important for those wishing to pursue a career in law and/or business. Corporate lawyers are often required to advise their business clients on their widening legal liabilities and their responsibilities towards stakeholders other than shareholders; lawyers for non-governmental organisations, employees or government should be aware of the growing number of legal tools which can be used to hold international companies to account; and, business managers need to be increasingly astute to their companies’ responsibilities towards the communities within which they operate if they are to avoid liability. An LL.M in Corporate Social Responsibility thus prepares graduates for a wide range of careers.