Masters by Research degree in the area of Energy & Infrastructure Law is a two year program run by Kathmandu University School of Law from the academic year 2017-18. This program aims to engage outstanding students in legal research focusing on corporate aspects of energy and infrastructure, international investment, trade, and related regulative issues. The degree is designed to produce specialists with advanced knowledge and skills in research. Further, the proposed programmes aim to fulfil the following objectives:
To provide graduates with specialised knowledge in greater depth and complexity than at undergraduate level in the given legal fields;
To enhance the research skills of the students as they undertake a detailed investigation in an area of their interest in the given subject areas and enable them to carry out further research;
To prepare students for a higher level of professionalism in analysis and argument, equipping them intellectually for legal practice or work as a legal academic at the highest level, as well as for a wide range of other intellectually demanding roles;
To produce specialists in Nepal with practical knowledge and problem solving skills in these fields to address critical problems faced by the business and investment communities, particularly in the corporate sector; and
To provide students with the global and local networks and connections to further their careers as specialists in the relevant areas.
Basic requirements for Admission
For admission to the Masters by Research programme, students will be required to have completed a five-year integrated BBM,LL.B degree of Kathmandu University or any other equivalent undergraduate degree in law from any recognized university or institution with at least 50 percent marks in aggregate or a grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.5 at the scale of 4. In addition to an undergraduate law degree, any other interdisciplinary education, internships, work experience, publications demonstrating interest in any relevant subject area referred to above will be considered an advantage.
The Application Process will begin with the submission of an application to the School of Law according to KU Research Directives 2063 BS accompanied by an Online/Paper Form, a research proposal (as described below) and any other supporting documents as maybe required by the School of Law from time to time. The applicants will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria for the purpose of admission:
a) Entry Requirements for Potential Applicants
Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:
- Online/ Paper Form;
- A CV/résumé;
- Interest / motivation towards the subject;
- Work / experience;
- A sample of written work produced by the student. One piece of written work with at least 2,000 words in length is required.
- vi. English language requirement: Applicants whose language of instruction at the undergraduate level is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English.
- vii. References/letters of recommendation: The application must be supported by at least two references or letters of recommendation, which should come from persons identified as best suited to judge the candidate’s academic eligibility and who are well aware of the candidate’s intellectual capability, academic achievement, ability and motivation to conduct post-graduate level research and writing. Academic references are strongly preferred, but a professional reference will be accepted as long as the applicants also provide at least one academic reference.
b) Research proposal
With the application for candidature in the Masters by Research degree, a candidate is obliged to provide a research proposal that sets out an outline of what the candidate intends to achieve in their Masters level research. The research proposal should be approximately 600 words (around two pages) in length and should be written in English.
The research proposal will be evaluated on the basis of the followings to determine if the candidate will be accepted for enrolment in the degree of Masters by research:
- the coherence and organization of the proposal
- the originality of the reserch project
- evidence of motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study
- the student's ability to present a reasoned case in English
- the availability of research supervisor
- the likelihood of successfully completing the project within the time period available for the course.
Although it is natural for students to change or somewhat modify their ideas subsequently as they investigate the evidence and develop their research projects, they should nevertheless make the best effort they can to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the research topic and enough detail to define it with specificity, and the extent and significance of their research question and issues to be investigated, the capacity to research and to express themselves in a manner which will be required for a Masters level thesis, and include preliminary bibliography of likely primary and secondary sources they will use, a description of the theoretical or conceptual framework, sources of evidence and authority, methodology and research design. An interdisciplinary topic may be considered but it should be primarily focused on legal or jurisprudential theories, concepts or ideas.
It is not necessary to make contact with academic staff at School of Law prior to submitting the application or the research proposal.
c) Entrance examination
The School of Law may require the candidate to sit in an entrance examination on the subject area of his/her research proposal.
d) Performance at interview(s)
A short interview will be conducted as a part of the admission process to ensure that the applicants have the requisite level of English proficiency to complete the programme as well as the ability to work independently. The interview will also allow assessment of the applicants’ communication skills and ability to be strong models for Kathmandu University and the School of Law upon graduation.
Whether the student has yet secured funding for his/her research is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until the student completes a financial declaration.
The students of Masters by Research will be qualified to pursue a range of career paths after acquiring their degree. Students have the option to partake in academic posts, pursue doctoral research, or join an industry as an expert. Some may enter (or expand their) legal practice as advocates or judges; others may become legal advisors advising government departments, non-governmental organisations or private companies.
This programme also attempts to bridge the gap between scholarly research and industrial practices so as to build industrial relations, whether by way of internships or otherwise.
Upon completion the Masters by Research programme, the students are expected to be industry-ready, problem solvers with global and local networks in the relevant fields, creating a strong addition to the alumni network of Kathmandu University and the School of Law.
The students are expected to complete the Masters of Law by Research programme in 24 months according to KU Research Directives 2063 BS as stated above. The programme is designed to consist of a total of 30 credits. Of the total 30 credit points, students will be required to write a dissertation, which must have the quality required for publication in recognized peer reviewed journal, amounting to 21 credit points, as well as to complete 9 credit points of intensive coursework with at least 60 percent of total marks.
Out of the 9 credit points of intensive coursework offered under each Masters Programme, 3 credit points will be in a compulsory course of Advanced Legal Research Methodology, which all the students must complete in the first semester of their enrolment. The remaining 6 credits will be in a subject area of specialization. At the end of the academic year, each course shall be assessed by a faculty, in a method determined by the concerned faculty and approved by the School of Law. The availability of the course may vary each year, depending on the resources of School of Law for each academic year, and more particularly as defined in Section 5 below.
At the Masters Level, students are expected to demonstrate maturity and a certain level of critical thinking. Bearing this in mind, the programme has been structured in such a way that 70% of the course work is based on research and publication of dissertation. In essence, this Masters Level Programme aims to make the Programme more students driven. Since the Programme is designed for students who are sincerely committed to a genuine legal research, very small number of students may be admitted to the programme each year. Once admitted to the Programme, each student will be assigned to a faculty who will act as the supervisor in terms of research and dissertation writing and course teacher in terms of the lectures and reading materials for the coursework. The student will be required to make presentation to the faculty members and other professionals on periodic basis. He/she will be taking part in workshop and seminar, and reporting on the output to the supervisor.
Dissertation (21 Credits)
The Masters by Research will be a rigorous Master's degree programme requiring a 30,000-word dissertation amounting to a total of 21 credit points. Together with the given coursework and dissertation, the Master’s degree can serve as a qualification on its own right.
All the requirements for the degree should normally be fulfilled within 24 months from the month of enrolment and the duration of the programme normally will not exceed two full calendar years. The student's final thesis will usually be submitted before the end of 24th month. In no case, the extension will be allowed for more than additional six month.
As noted above, the students are expected to undertake the compulsory course on legal research methods during their first semester. This provides training in legal research methodology, but will also expose the students to the diversity of and intellectual challenges involved in legal scholarship. This course will additionally serve as a forum of peers in which students will be able to discuss the methodological challenges involved in their own research. On all issues not covered here, the students should consult or refer to the KU Research Directives 2063 BS and strictly abide by them.
Throughout the duration of the programme, students will normally work with assigned supervisor/s who will meet regularly with them to discuss their work and provide feedback and advice. When two supervisors are supervising, one of them may be a local or external expert or a professional in the given subject area. The student will be required to take part in a range of seminar programmes and discussion groups, utilizing plentiful opportunities for interaction with students' peers and academics working in the same or related research areas.