The Department of Advanced Legal Studies (DALS) oversees the curriculum, teaching and other academic matters regarding the postgraduate programmes in the Faculty of Law. Apart from implementing the policies and procedures relating to teaching and assessments of postgraduate courses, it also oversees postgraduate students’ research as well as progression. Preparations are underway to introduce postgraduate programmes such as the LLM, MSc in Criminal Justice and PhD in due course. Some of the postgraduate programmes are intended to be sandwich courses for professionals in law enforcement, security services, intelligence service, administrative justice and allied sectors. Such professionals may not be lawyers or holders of first degrees in law, but their work would benefit from exposure to law. The LLM and MSc (Criminal Justice) programmes will offer students high quality of teaching provided by leading academics both from the Faculty and from abroad.
The approach to the teaching of the postgraduate programmes will combine experience from the practice of law, for example, with sound academic research. This will ensure that the learning and research are relevant to legal study and practice in any jurisdiction. The courses will be offered primarily through lectures and seminars. The courses will be challenging, thought-provoking and ultimately a rewarding experience. Some of the courses that will be offered through lectures may also be accompanied by tutorials, where the lecturer will review and elaborate on issues discussed in the lectures. This intellectually stimulating LLM programme would offer the opportunity for active participation in class discussions and interactions with fellow students and the teacher.
The postgraduate programme in Criminal Justice at the Faculty of Law, UCC, is innovative, situating the study of criminal justice in a wider interdisciplinary and comparative perspective. The general objectives of the LLM in are to provide students with both advanced and specialised knowledge of the law, domestic and international law, regional and global judicial bodies as well as the rules of practice and procedure of courts.
Objectives of the programmes
The postgraduate programmes seek to achieve the following goals:
1. impart in-depth, cutting edge knowledge to students in the areas of law and criminal justice;
2. deepen understanding of the laws governing the domestic and international jurisdictions especially Ghana, with appropriate comparative references to different jurisdictions, and of the laws protecting and encouraging the rights of marginalized constituencies
3. a critical understanding of the reciprocal interaction of laws and their joint impact on the development of knowledge in the law, in legal practice and in criminal justice
4. equip students with knowledge of rules and procedures followed before international public law bodies including regional courts, human rights bodies and international criminal tribunals
5. hone the research and writing skills of students both in and outside their respective programmes.
Admission to any programme of study in the Faculty of Law is open to Ghanaian and international students. For the LLM programme, applicants must be Bachelor of Laws (LLB) holders, or persons who hold a first class or a good second class degree in a related area of studies from a recognised university. For the MSc in Criminal Justice, applicants must hold a first class or second class degree in the social sciences or humanities from a recognised university.
The programme is suitable for people with degrees in sociology, law, psychology, political science, history or other courses relevant to criminology. Professionals in law enforcement, security services, intelligence service, administrative justice and other allied sectors with a degree and at least ten years of experience may also apply. Qualified applicants will write an entrance examination and shortlisted candidates will be interviewed, and those who pass offered admission.
Features of the programme
An overview of some of key features of the postgraduate programmes at the Faculty of Law:
1. this level of studies will be substantially different from studying at the undergraduate level, and will expose students to critical engagement with theoretical perspectives, policy analysis, possible lacunas in research areas, and analysis of extant legislation;
2. independent learning, critical thinking and a self-directed mind set;
3. high standards of academic performance in which students research and submit a substantial and original research work or dissertation, in addition to meeting basic course requirements through lectures, seminars and other assessments;
4. an active approach to learning which will mean engaging critically with colleagues as well as with the lecturers;
5. deepen the understanding of academic conventions in research and in writing in order to communicate clearly and to demonstrate proficient use of writing and referencing conventions.
The postgraduate programmes will have a number of core courses and at the same time give students the opportunity to select elective courses from a wide range of options with the prospects of specialisation. The elective courses will allow for flexible and easy adaptation to meet the interests and career goals of individual students. Furthermore, all postgraduate students will need to complete course in Legal Research and a Dissertation courses on any topic of their choice in order to graduate.
All postgraduate programmes will be assessed through written coursework, essays, end of semester examinations and the dissertation.
LLM in Corporate and Commercial Law
The LLM in Corporate and Commercial Law is designed to give students the opportunity to focus on a particular subject area in Law, or alternatively engage with diverse legal areas in order to widen the horizon of legal study and research. Apart from a number of compulsory core courses and electives, each student will be required to take the course on Legal Research and Writing. The general objectives of the LLM in Corporate and Commercial Law are to provide students with both advanced and specialised knowledge of the law, domestic and international law, regional and global judicial bodies as well as the rules of practice and procedure of courts. The courses will prepare students to write a 15,000 word dissertation, which will be supervised by a Faculty member who is an expert in the relevant area.
The LLM Dissertation
There is a research and writing component to the LLM programme. This will comprise of a 15,000 word dissertation, which will be assessed toward the end of the LLM programme. The Legal Research and Writing course will offer both taught and writing components to assist students to gain a deeper understanding of the distinctive features of legal research and the nature of research in general and the range of research methodologies and approaches in legal scholarship.
MSc in Criminal Justice
The MSc in Criminal Justice provides students with the opportunity to apply theoretical perspectives from criminology, sociology, psychology and law to the subject of crime and criminal justice institutions at the national and international levels. The programme will give students intellectual tools from empirical research, policy analysis, and theoretical perspectives to engage with current debates within criminology and criminal justice. This programme is innovative, situating the study of criminal justice in wider interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives, and will afford students a diversity of ways to engage critically with criminal justice issues.
The core courses in this programme will include theories of crime and criminal justice, research design and methodology, and elective courses from a wide range of subject areas, including policing, sentencing, prisons, the sociology of punishment, restorative justice, crime and the family, human rights, victims, youth justice, risk and security, and the death penalty.
The MSc Dissertation
Students will be required to write a 15,000 word dissertation toward the end of the programme. The taught component of this component of the programme will be in the Research and Writing Skills course. Through this course, students will deepen their understanding of research, including identifying/searching for relevant research resources, referencing and citation skills, research methodologies/approaches, and research design and question formulation.
Exit Profile of our Postgraduate Students
Students graduating from our postgraduate programmes will meet the contemporary definition of the ideal graduate: someone who is adaptive, responsible, reflective, and possesses high level analytical and problem-solving skills. Postgraduate study is associated with a number of key skills, which have been identified as having intrinsic value a well as being regarded by employers as vital for the workplace:
1. The ability to bring information together, analyse it and display critical judgment,
2. Problem-solving and fact management,
3. Communication (verbal and written),
4. The ability to engage in independent research,
5. The use of information technology,
6. Time management.