LLM Programme

The taught modules offered on the LLM programme vary from year to year. Please check the full list of taught modules list for details of modules running in specific academic years. We make every effort to ensure that every module will be offered, but modules are subject to change and cancellation. You are therefore advised to check this site regularly for further updates throughout the year preceding entry to the LLM programme.

Credit value: 15 credits (6 ECTS)
Module Convenor:
Professor Philip Schofield
Other Teachers:
Dr Michael Quinn
Dr Tim Causer


This module provides a unique opportunity to study the ideas and influence of Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832), the famous jurist, philosopher, and political scientist. Despite concentrating on the thought of one person, the module is surprisingly wide-ranging, since Bentham made significant contributions across a wide range of disciplines, including philosophy, law, politics, and economics. Bentham's ideas are related to the social, political and intellectual context of his own time, and an assessment made of their significance for the contemporary world.

The module is taught by scholars associated with the Bentham Project, which is currently producing a new authoritative edition of The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham, published by Oxford University Press.


The syllabus is subject to change:

  1. ‘Of the further uses of the dead to the living’
  2. Principle of Utility
  3. A Fragment on Government
  4. Natural Rights—Nonsense upon Stilts
  5. Political Fallacies
  6. Truth, Utility, and Legal Theory
  7. Subsistence, Abundance, Security, and Equality
  8. Political Economy
  9. Theory of Punishment
  10. Panopticon

Background Reading (optional):

J.R. Dinwiddy, Bentham, Oxford Past Masters, Oxford, 1989; also published in J.R. Dinwiddy, Bentham: Selected Writings of John Dinwiddy, ed. W. Twining, Stanford, 2004.

Philip Schofield, Bentham: A Guide for the Perplexed, London, 2009.

There is lots of information and links to resources at the Bentham Project’s web-site http://www.ucl.ac.uk/Bentham-Project/

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment in September.

Delivery and enrolment
Lectures/Seminars: 10 x 2-hour seminars
Tutorials: None
Previous module enrolments: Small – less than 15 students
Who may enrol: LLM students, Other UCL Masters students
Prerequisities: None
Barred module combinations: This module cannot be taken with the full module LAWSG021 Jeremy Bentham and the Utilitarian Tradition
Core Module for LLM specialism: Jurisprudence and Legal Theory, Legal History
Final Assessment: 3,000 word coursework essay
Practice Assessment: Opportunity for feedback on one practice essay
Other Information

Visit Jeremy Bentham’s auto-icon in the South Cloisters, UCL.

Can you read Bentham’s manuscripts? Try it out at www.ucl.ac.uk/transcribebentham/

One or more students will make short presentations at each seminar. For each seminar, students will be guided through the relevant section of the reading list, and essential and supplementary reading assigned. Each student is expected to read the essential materials, and preferably one or more of the supplementary materials, and be prepared to discuss their thoughts and ideas in class. Students are encouraged to write one short informal essay each term.

The module concludes with the Bentham Seminars, where invited speakers who are carrying out research in Bentham studies are invited to present a paper to the class and answer questions.

This page was last updated on 23 July, 2014


The application process for the 2015-16 academic session is now open.

Please note, for the 2015-16 intake, we are not accepting the TOEFL test. If you have an English condition to meet, you must take one of the alternative tests listed here instead.