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LL.M. Modules

Mandatory Research Dissertation


This mandatory research dissertation aims to encourage students to engage in largely self-driven research and writing leading to the completion of an analytical and critical piece of research. While students are proceeding under the direction of an academic leader who is a member of the Law School staff, to successfully complete the dissertation, a student should be capable of carrying out independent research and writing and working in a timely fashion in order to meet the deadline for submission of the dissertation.

  • Credits:
    • 30 ECTS

    All LL.M students must complete a dissertation as part of their LL.M degree at Trinity College Dublin. This is intended to be self-directed research with broad guidance given in the manner described below. Students are presented with a number of thematic groups, most led by an academic with a research interest in that broad area, at the start of August. Students will be able to choose a group based on the research dissertation that they wish to pursue, indicating a number of preferences. The research group chosen must relate to the particular LL.M programme being undertaken. They will be assigned into groups on a first-come, first-served basis. There will be a maximum of 10-12 students in each group.

    The dissertation groups, including all students and the academic leader, will meet on three occasions during the first semester and two occasions during the second semester. All students will also be provided with generic lectures and skills training during the first semester. The academic leader will provide individual feedback electronically on the research plan, a sample of writing and the final plan for the dissertation. In the dissertation groups, students will make presentations of their work and provide feedback to one another, facilitated by the academic leader. The academic leader will, in consultation with the students, assign them into sub-groups of three or four to facilitate peer-to-peer learning and mutual support outside the classroom.

    There will be an opportunity for one individual meeting with the academic leader during May to review progress on the dissertation. The academic leader will not review written work during this meeting.

    The dissertation will be due for submission at the end of June. The word limit for the dissertation is 12,000-15,000 words, excluding footnotes.

    Module Learning outcomes:

    On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Complete a substantial dissertation based on independent, largely self-directed research;
  • Work effectively under the guidance of a research academic leader and collaborate within themed workgroups;
  • Conduct effective and targeted research of the full range of primary and secondary legal sources on a particular topic;
  • Critically assess in writing legal theories, concepts and doctrines;
  • Discuss and critique in writing different perspectives on law;
  • Determine the scope and structure of a research project and establish a viable research plan;
  • Identify, discuss and debate various research methodologies; and
  • Present arguments in a coherent manner written in a clear style and a coherent conclusion that follows correctly from the analysis.