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MSc Law, Regulation and AI Ethics

Start date
September
Duration
1 year full-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught
Fees

Annual tuition fee for 2024:
UK: £11,340 full-time
International: £24,120 full-time
More detail.

Artificial Intelligence and data-driven approaches to decision-making are transforming almost every industry and policy sector. These technologies have already generated extraordinary benefits. However, they bring with them new challenges and new threats, and raise new questions about the limits of their responsible and ethical use. These questions have acquired fresh urgency and importance since the emergence of so-called ‘frontier AI’ models, which underpin powerful applications including Chat GPT.

To date, universities have primarily sought to train data scientists or IT lawyers rather than to equip legal specialists with a proper understanding of these technologies and their potential social, democratic and ethical risks. Our MSc will equip law graduates and current practising legal professionals with the skills needed to identify these issues and respond thoughtfully to the regulatory challenges they raise.

Scholarships for 2024 entry

The University of Birmingham is proud to offer a range of scholarships for our postgraduate programmes. With a scholarship pot worth over £2 million, we are committed to alleviating financial barriers to support you in taking your next steps.

Each scholarship has its own specific deadlines and eligibility criteria. Please familiarise yourself with the information on individual scholarship webpages prior to submitting an application.

Explore our scholarships

At Birmingham, Postgraduate Taught and Postgraduate Research students also have the opportunity to learn graduate academic languages free of charge, to support your studies.

The programme will consist of six fundamental core modules, group and individual project work, which will develop your understanding of the cutting-edge contemporary challenges raised by data science and some of the broader social, democratic and ethical issues that they may implicate.

Employability is at the forefront of the MSc in Law, Regulation and AI Ethics. Developed in collaboration with industry partners, the MSc aims to fill a skills gap in the sector. The ability to interpret and apply computer science-related skills, whilst critically understanding the legal and ethical impact of their work is integral to the future of the legal and commercial industry, and our MSc will give you these skills.

At Birmingham, Postgraduate Taught and Postgraduate Research students also have the opportunity to learn graduate academic languages free of charge, to support your studies.

AI and Data Science Masters Scholarships

We are offering over 100 scholarships of £10,000 for nine Masters programmes to upskill students from under-represented backgrounds to progress into the AI and Data Science workforce. Scholarship funding will be prioritised for women, Black students, disabled students and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, to ensure that AI reflects the makeup of our society. This scholarship is open to students with a 'home' fee status only.

Apply now

To accompany the support offered to the under-represented groups that the AI and Data Science Masters Scholarship will benefit, we are offering a Mathematics for Data Science Pre-sessional Bootcamp to all Home and International students intending to study one of the nine applicable degrees. This pre-sessional course will provide students with confidence in their mathematical skills expected for their Masters study.

Admission to this bootcamp does not include direct progression onto the MSc degree; you will need to submit a study application for admission onto the MSc.

Maths bootcamp

I was attracted to this programme given its interdisciplinary nature and I truly saw its value and need in today’s world. Having won two technology-focused hackathons, I wanted to transition into the tech space and I was unsure about how to do so with a law degree. This programme is the perfect opportunity to try and break into this industry, whilst developing new programming and analytical skills. Essentially, I wanted something new and challenging and I am confident that this programme will be just that and more!

Shahd Abdelhameed, Law postgraduate student

Why study this course?

  • Created in collaboration with industry and in partnership with Accenture, the MSc Law, Regulation and AI Ethics has the backing of top legal firms who will support the development of the programme with opportunity for paid work experience for those succesfully completing their term 1 modules 
  • Pursue a programme of study developed by world-leading academics including Professor Karen Yeung, Interdisciplinary Professorial Fellow in Law, Ethics and Informatics.
  • Develop a ground-breaking interdisciplinary mind-set that fuses innovations in data science with the development of legal and other critical analytic skills needed to advise organisations on how data-driven technologies can be developed and implemented in a socially responsible manner. 
  • Acquire the basic technical skills and knowledge to undertake data science, which is the foundational science upon which AI technologies are based. Learn how to design and implement complete solutions to data science problems using a range of tools, while you will have the opportunity to study a range of techniques from across the data science spectrum.
  • Develop a speciality in the new and developing field of ‘Law, Regulation and AI Ethics’ with the opportunity to carve your expertise through industry projects and placements.
  • Build your network from day one with personalised careers coaching provided by our award-winning careers service and mentorship with our partner firms.

Modules

Term 1:

Summer Maths Bootcamp 

To support students' confidence in their mathematical comprehension and competency, the University of Birmingham is offering a Mathematics pre-sessional bootcamp for all Home and International students.

Programming for data science 

  • Develop your programming skills, motivated by examples drawn from across the spectrum of data science.
  • You will learn how to design and implement complete solutions to data science problems using a range of tools and libraries.

Algorithms for data science 

  • You will study a range of modern techniques from across the data science spectrum including supervised learning, data mining, and statistical pattern recognition.
  • The module will give the student a good understanding of how, why and when different methods work and experience of applying them in practice.

Storing and managing data 

  • This module will introduce you to the central concepts and tools needed for the effective management of data.
  • Topics covered will include database systems, data cleansing, quality assurance, data provenance.
  • The module will also address legal and ethical issues associated with data storage, including the requirements of data protection legislation. 

Term 2:

Regulating Technology 

  • Primarily aimed at upskilling you with the technical competence, skills and expertise necessary to undertake AI and data science-related professional jobs.
  • Secondly, it will also equip them with the knowledge and analytical skills and capacities needed to understand and respond appropriately to the challenges, risks and opportunities required to regulate and govern AI and other data-driven and potentially ‘disruptive’ technologies responsibly. 

Contemporary Case Studies in the Governance of Complex Socio-technical Systems 

  • Module to enable you to reflect critically on the need for, and the risks and challenges associated with, attempts to regulate emerging technology through a series of concrete case studies, drawn from contemporary experience.  
  • In so doing, it is intended to build upon the companion module, Regulating Technologies, enabling you to apply and develop their understanding of the knowledge, concepts, analytical frameworks examined in that module via case study investigation. 

Group project

  • Cross-disciplinary group project - likely to consist of a hypothetical ‘use case’ which includes a technical component while also raising multiple issues concerning its social and ethical acceptability (and will invariably raise legal issues, specific to the context of the proposal).  
  • The project deliverable will consist of both a technical component and a critical non-technical component, requiring the group to provide advice on both the technical and legal dimensions and ‘legitimacy’ of the proposal from an ethical perspective (in terms of social legitimacy understood within an assumed liberal democratic political community) including concrete proposals for oversight and ethical governance.
  • Each group will consist of 4-5 you, who are expected to work together as a group and meet weekly with a supervisor.

Data Visualisation (Optional) 

  • Techniques for visualising complex datasets, including best practice for visual display, dimensionality reduction techniques, and tools for visualisation.

NB: You are not required to take this module. However, if they wish to, permission may be granted by the programme director on an individual basis, having regard to the student’s individual aims for the course and progress during the course.

Term 3:

Two elements of the programme are completed in the Summer

Optional industry placement

  • The optional industry placement arranged by Accenture (within Accenture or one of the industry partners) for those who have successfully completed their core taught modules.

Final project

  • The final project draws together your learning from both Law and Computer Science. The individual project is the equivalent of a dissertation worth 60 credits. The format of the dissertation enables you to engage in the legal and ethical elements of a contemporary data-driven system for an academic and general audience.

Fees

Annual tuition fee for 2024 entry:

UK: £11,340 full-time
International: £24,120 full-time

The Office for Students, in collaboration with the University of Birmingham, Accenture and our industry partners are proud to be able to offer scholarships. These scholarships are available to applicants from groups currently underrepresented in the AI and data science fields, and to encourage graduates from diverse backgrounds to consider a future in these occupations.  

How To Apply


Are you an international applicant?

All international applicants to this course will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of £2,000 on receipt of an offer, to secure their place.

Find out more about the deposit >>.

International Application Fee

For international applicants this programme is subject to a £50 non-refundable application fee. At the end of the application form, before you can submit it to us, you will be required to pay, or indicate how you will pay the required fee in order for us to process your application. Please complete and submit your application before paying your application fee.

How to Apply for a Postgraduate Degree - Taught programmes

Application deadlines

The deadline for International students (requiring a VISA) to apply is 1 June 2024. The deadline for UK students is 30 August 2024.

Making your application

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the taught programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

Applicants should have a good Law Honours degree or considerable comparable professional experience and have an understanding of applied mathematics via A in A-Level Mathematics (or equivalent).

Academic requirements: we accept a range of qualifications from different countries. Use our handy guide below to see what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements: for this course we ask for IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band, or PTE with 67 with no less than 64 in all four skills. If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional course – if you successfully complete the course, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without retaking a language qualification.

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band is equivalent to:
* TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 20 in Listening, 22 in Speaking and 21 in Writing
* Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 67 with no less than 64 in all four skills
* Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced - minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

Learn more about international entry requirements.

International Requirements


Our MSc Law, Regulation and AI Ethics programme will immerse law graduates in data science during the first term, enabling them to acquire solid knowledge and dexterity with relevant data science concepts.

Term 2 builds on this by enabling graduates to acquire the critical and analytical skills needed to address challenging questions arising from with the development and use of technology in real world contexts. This includes identifying the risks associated with emerging technologies and how to regulate them, reflecting upon the role of science in society, design thinking, business models, applied ethical analysis, and the challenges of global and democratic governance. During this time they will work in groups on a data science related project, further building team working skills and embedding data science within the role of a lawyer, legal adviser or legal technologist.

The final component of the course is an individual project. Students who have successfully completed their taught modules will have an opportunity to undertake an internship developed in conjunction with our industry partners (Accenture and their clients), offering law graduates access to high quality academic opportunities in a business context with business relevance. 

Maths Bootcamp

Pre-sessional activities for this programme will include a Mathematics Bootcamp for all Home and International students to support students' confidence in their mathematical comprehension and competency.

Teaching

This programme will be collaboratively taught across the School of Computer Science and Birmingham Law School, therefore core components of this degree course are taught modules, a cross-disciplinary group project and an individual summer project based around a work experience placement.

Taught module delivery includes

  • Seminars
  • Practical work
  • Lab sessions
  • Independent study

Assessment will consist of a variety of methods include

  • Examinations
  • Coursework
  • Written reports
  • Presentations

Our partners

Created in collaboration with industry, the MSc Law, Regulation and AI Ethics has the backing of numerous legal firms who will support the development of the programme, offering paid work experience as part of the degree. These include international, national and local organisations & firms such as:

  • Accenture
  • Nesta
  • The Society for Computers and Law
  • Allen & Overy
  • Baker McKenzie
  • Black Solicitors Network
  • Eversheds Sutherland
  • Fieldfisher
  •  Lewis Silkin
  • Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP)

Employment options

Our MSc course will support growth in this sector and broaden potential options post graduation, in roles such as:

  • ‘Data Governance specialist’ (advertised by BNY Mellon with a salary range of £20,372 ‐ £24,977),
  • ‘Product Life Cycle Management and Digital Thread Consultant’ (advertised by Accenture with a salary range of £50,000‐ £65,000), and
  • ‘Research Associate ‐ Unlocking the Potential of AI for English Law’ (advertised by the University of Oxford with a salary range of £32,817 ‐ £40,322).

Without a workforce of individuals who understand both the fundamentals of AI and data science and the core legal, ethical and institutional concepts and frameworks that they implicate, it will not be possible to build and maintain societal trust in these powerful technologies, and to foster human well-being, human rights and democratic freedom in a data-driven digital age. Industry, government and other organisations require specialists who can help navigate these challenges.

“We’re so proud to collaborate with education and industry partners to develop this fit‐for‐purpose and ground‐breaking course. By equipping a diverse group of legal professionals with future-ready skills, we can help them forge new and attractive career paths to work with companies like ours to ensure new technologies meet ethical standards.”

Christina Demetriades – General Counsel for Europe and Sales & Delivery Global Lead, Accenture

Careers Support

Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research

In 2012, the Law School launched the Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research (CEPLER), forging links with the profession through collaborative partnerships with solicitors firms and barristers chambers and through our network of alumni. CEPLER coordinates an unparalleled range of law careers events throughout the academic year.

The Careers Network

You will also benefit from the central University 'Careers Network'. 

The Careers Network organises regular events including presentations by top firms and the annual Careers Fairs. It also runs workshops to help you prepare effective applications and to prepare for your next move. Its events on non-law careers, including journalism, marketing and working with charities, can also be accessed.