Law and Society: Governance and Global Development MSc

In this master,  you will focus on the different ways in which laws and legal institutions affect society and, vice versa, how society influences the formation and functioning of law. You will gain a broad, in-depth understanding of the relationship that exists between law and society, as well as the necessary knowledge and tools to think critically about current legal, socio-political and economic developments in the field.

The programme is distinct in its broad interdisciplinary approach, teaching you about processes of lawmaking, law implementation and dispute resolution, and their relation to social justice and the rule of law.

Why choose Law and Society?

  • This master is organised by the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society in collaboration with colleagues from the Department of Criminology, the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, the Faculty of Humanities and the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam.
  • The master offers a coherent and cohesive curriculum, and combines perspectives from both the Global North and the Global South, making it unique in its kind.
  • Our programme attracts students from inside and outside the EU, which makes for a truly international atmosphere.

Career perspectives

Career prospects students may consider when choosing this Master’s programme include:

  • Intergovernmental organisations;
  • Non-governmental organisations;
  • National and European Union civil services;
  • Lobby and consultancy firms;
  • Globally operating corporations and financial services.

Maartje van der Woude

Is the law a useful tool for (social) change? That depends. In this unique master we will explore the functioning and the dysfunctioning of the law in the real world.

Overview courses

Semester I 

The Foundations of
Law and Society (10 EC)

Lawmaking, Politics and Society (5 EC)

Legal Pluralism (5EC)

The Rule of Man in the
Rule of Law (5 EC)

Thesis Proposal (5 EC)


Semester II 

Disputing Deconstructed
(5 EC)

Researching Law and
Society (5 EC)

Choose 2 electives*
(2 x 5 EC)

Thesis (10 EC)

* you can choose from: Mobilizing rights and social justice, The challenges of globalisation, immigration and cross-border mobility, Regulation and compliance, Current issues in law and society


Master of Science




The Hague / Leiden




1 year 

Mode of study: