Studying Law and Social Sciences

In my University, the University of Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire, an academic restructuring took place just about one year ago. One of the consequences of this restructuring was that what had previously been separate Schools of study became one single Faculty of Social Sciences.

In this Faculty, we now have what were formerly the separate Schools of Economics, Law, Sociology, Social Policy, Management and Accounting. To a degree, these areas still retain autonomy within the Faculty structure, and the integrity of these programmes of study available within the Faculty has not been affected. Students still study Law, Economics, Business Studies and such subjects as independent single honours courses. But we are also trying to ensure that modular structures allow us to exploit cognate areas within the overall framework of the social sciences.

The social sciences more generally are at the heart of the most vibrant part of the British University system. British academics in areas such as Economics, Law, and Political Science have had a very significant influence in shaping public policy, including the policies of the present and last governments. Students coming to British universities to study these subjects will often have an opportunity to experience at first hand the principles and thought processors which are informing these areas. In these programmes, students will be able to benefit both from a coherent intellectual framework and from a direct vocational application. As a result, employment for graduates is very high.

With the growth of modularisation within the British University system, we can probably expect to see greater levels of integration within related subject to see greater levels of integration within the subject areas such as the social sciences. That is very much to be welcomed, while at the same time we should ensure that the specific expertise available in the subject areas themselves continues to be developed and protected.

I am certain that in my institution, as in many other British universities, students coming to Britain to study subjects such as Law, Economics, Business Studies, Management, Accounting, and Political Science still get some of the best teaching and learning available in the world. Taken together with the particular practice of British universities in giving close attention and care to students in their individual needs, this means that we can continue to be confident excellence in higher education is available in our disciplines.

Author: Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Professor of Law and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Hull

This article first appeared in Educational Courses in Britain & America 

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