Law and Society: Governance and Global Development MSc

This interdisciplinary Master brings together law and social sciences to examine the practical operation of law. Its emphasis on social justice, global orientation, and its make this master’s programme unique in its field.

How do laws and legal institutions affect society and vice versa? How does society influences the formation and functioning of law? In this programme you will study the complexity and ambiguity of rule of law.

Why choose Law and Society?

  • This master focuses on a broad range of legal fields-from criminal law to climate change regulation.

  • We teach the practical tools and critical insights to understand the social, economic, and political factors that shape and constrain how law works in action.

  • We combine perspectives from both the Global North and Global South.

  • Students, professors and teaching staff come from diverse, international backgrounds.

  • In this master, you’ll learn skills applicable to a wide range of different careers. These skills include experience with empirical research, policy analysis, proposal writing, regulatory analysis, and report writing.

Career perspectives

Students that have left the program have pursued careers in:

  • Intergovernmental organisations;

  • Governmental positions such as Rijkstrainee; 

  • Non-governmental organisations in the Netherlands and abroad;

  • National and European Union civil services;

  • Academia;

  • Lobby and consultancy firms;

  • Small, medium and large-size firms.

The Master Law & Society was initiated in response to a labour market demand: for students trained in an interdisciplinary, socio-legal approach to law, with an in-depth understanding of the formation and functioning of law.

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 (5 EC)

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: