About the course

Many contemporary challenges involve the law or have a socio-legal dimension, whether they concern the economy, politics, the socio-cultural sphere, or the environment. Think of resource conflicts, digital commons, modern slavery, climate justice, non-discrimination, surveillance policies, crypto-assets, border control regimes, indigenous rights, or democratic transitions: law seems very much in need as well as often inefficient.

The sociology of law is a discipline that helps to understand the potentials and limits of law in solving social problems. It differs from jurisprudence in that it studies law not as a formal system of norms but as a social institution and sphere of reality, which hugely impacts people's lives. This perspective is shared in the broader field of socio-legal studies, which draws on theories and methods from across the social sciences as well as the humanities.

This Master's degree programme offers a comprehensive introduction into the sociology of law and socio-legal studies for advanced students coming from different backgrounds in law or the social sciences and multiple regional contexts across the world. The programme promotes an understanding of the role of law in society, and its manifold cultural, political, and economic settings, from a comparative, interdisciplinary and international perspective.

XSL Content

Places available



Face-to-face degree course






1 academic year

Approximate fees

1.800 €

Teaching place

Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law


Person in charge of the Master :

Secretariat :
Master Coordination / Coordinación del Máster


4 reasons to study this master

  • Learning from international researchers who specifically come to teach in Oñati; working closely with them during their teaching periods in a small-group setting; high teaching standards.
  • Studying together with students from all over the world and living in the same building, which facilitates building lasting friendships and promotes a truly global experience in the heart of the Basque Country.
  • A range of subjects that address central topics in the interaction of law and society: e.g., legal pluralism, globalisation, post-colonialism, human rights, legal cultures, penal policies, rule of law, judicial politics, migration, restorative justice.
  • A research-oriented programme which lays emphasis on: critical theoretical foundations, qualitative and quantitative approaches to social research, development of students' own research projects, ethical self-reflection.


Participating universities

Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law


Career prospects

  • Positions in international cooperation and sustainable development
  • Expert tasks in the government sector and public institutions
  • Consultancy and strategy development in the private sector
  • Research and teaching functions at universities (doctoral programmes)
  • Project officer in research institutes or non-governmental organisations
  • Social activism (e.g., human rights, minority rights, indigenous rights)
  • Expert in conflict mediation, transitional justice, or peace-building
  • Social work (e.g., with adolescents, prisoners, refugees)

XSL Content

Suggestions and requests