As traditional forms of legal regulation through company law or trade law fail, the concept of corporate social responsibility is becoming increasingly important. Over the last ten years, corporate social responsibility has become highly topical and the general public is becoming increasingly aware of companies' responsibilities to their stakeholders. This puts pressure on companies to ensure their products and services - whether in the food and drink, oil, chemical, technology, financial, retail or hospitality industries - are made, managed, sourced and delivered responsibly, fairly and ethically.
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, business, management, history and philosophy. By the end of the course, 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 as well as clarity on how businesses operate in society. In order to achieve this, we will focus on the regulation of companies from a legal perspective while also learning about the governance of companies from a management and business point of view. You will take core modules from within the Law School and Stirling's Business and Management Schools.
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 Master's 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).
If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.
Our range of pre-sessional courses.
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 areas relevant to corporate social responsibility. This stage consists of eight modules which are taken over two semesters. The modules provide an overview of current developments in corporate social responsibility in various areas of law, business 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.
The culmination of the course is the 10,000-word dissertation which can be completed as a work-based dissertation project in collaboration with external organisations.
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.
- Regulating CSR I: Introduces students to the legal regulation of corporate social responsibility
- Responsible Business in Society: Introduces students to a range of critical material on the role of business and the challenges facing the business world
- Managing International Organisations: Introduces students to the theoretical knowledge and practical skills of managing international organisations in a global market economy, including the context of international business, and the range of strategic options open to companies
- International Investment Law: Introduces students to the concepts and sources of international investment law as well as dispute resolution mechanisms used in international investment
- 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.
- Europe and the Emerging Markets: This module focusses on current business approaches and strategies within Europe and the Asian emerging markets.
- Research methods and dissertation preparation module
- One optional module (this is an indicative list):
- Banking and Finance Law
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Environmental Law
- Dissertation on Corporate Social Responsibility
- Regulating CSR (Part 1)
- Investment Law
- Responsible Business in Society
- Managing International Organisations
- Business in Europe
- Environmental Law
- The Law of Banking and Finance or
- Alternative Commercial Dispute
- Training for Masters in the Arts and Humanities
Why study Corporate Social Responsibility (LLM) at Stirling?
Dr Rebecca L. Zahn
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
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.
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 LLM in Corporate Social Responsibility thus prepares graduates for a wide range of careers.
You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.
The University of Stirling is offering any UK or European Union student with a First Class Honours degree (or equivalent) a £2,000 scholarship to study full-time on any taught Master's course or £1,000 for part-time study. Further information on the scholarships is available here.