Organization and examination rules


 International Master´s in the Sociology of Law

The IISL’s International Master’s in Sociology of Law consists of 2 components. Firstly, students attend intensive courses from generally the last week of September until last week of March. Each course consists of 20 two hour-long sessions and lasts for 2 weeks.

Ethical Standards

Please, also bear in mind that the IISL is strongly committed to respect for and the protection of gender, religious, and cultural diversity. Any incident of inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour will be followed up by the IISL leadership, who will inform local authorities at their discretion. 

Please, fully commit to the Code of Ethics of the International Sociological Association (

You will also find other relevant sources on ethical standards on the web  (see e.g., “Ethics on the Web – A Brief Guide to Resources” website by the Association of Social Anthropologists in the UK (

Students’ workload

Students are expected to complete 75 hours of work for each course. Courses usually run for 2 weeks, with teaching normally involving a 2 hour-long daily seminar, totalling for each course either 20 hours of face-to-face student participation in a presential format, or the same amount of student participation in live streaming classes in the case of an online format. In addition, teachers may schedule individual tutorials with students, in order to discuss students’ assignments and / or give advice for the development of students’ thesis proposals from the perspective of their expertise. The remaining 50-55 hours should be divided between reading and preparing for class (about 40 hours, or 4 hours per day), and coursework assignments (10-15 hours).

The required readings shall be made available to both faculty and students on Moodle or an equivalent platform in use by the institute. Course teachers may also recommend additional readings. Students are not expected to have read these non-compulsory readings; however, these readings may be useful to students when they want to expand their knowledge on certain topics, or when they prepare for discussing certain topics in an assignment. Non-compulsory readings are also made available on Moodle or an equivalent platform used by the institute.

Further assignments may include oral presentations, short written responses to readings, preparation of individual questions for plenary discussions, preparation of an individual part in a debate or roleplay, etc.

At the end of each course, students are supposed to submit an essay of 4.000 to 5,000 words to the respective section in Moodle or an equivalent platform in use by the institute on a subject agreed upon by the teacher of that course (see also further down below). The deadline for submitting these essays is always 12 o’clock midnight of the Saturday following the conclusion of the respective course.

Thesis Research Colloquium

Parallel to the individual courses taught by visiting faculty members, the Scientific Director offers a weekly one hour-long thesis research colloquium, which provides students with the opportunity to reflect on research design and methodology, and to actively develop an inquiry for their thesis research. The colloquium is designed as a supplement to the individual courses and ends with the last course in March. By the time, students are expected to have written a thesis proposal. It will be assessed and graded by the Scientific Director and then sent out by the Master’s programme coordinator ( to individual supervisors and examiners previously selected by the Scientific Director in consultation with each student.

Finally, students must submit a 15,000  word-long research thesis by 31st of  July at 12 o’clock midnight to the respective section in Moodle platform or an equivalent platform used by the institute.

Moodle or Equivalent Platform Used by the Institute

The IISL provides teachers and students access to all teaching materials via the learning platform Moodle or an equivalent platform in use by the institute. This will allow you to directly up- and download materials. We will of course tutor you how you can operate the platform (email 

Teaching Language and Formats

Teaching is done in English. Students will have a proficiency in English, but this can vary. In exceptional cases a professor may agree to accept a written assignment in another language. Such cases need to be discussed with the Scientific Director in advance.

Under the condition of the COVID pandemic, we follow the advice of the University of the Basque Country, where our Master programme is accredited, and put in place a dual format that consists of an integration of presential, or onsite, and online teaching. The dual teaching format also consists of 20 hours of seminars for each course, held every day from Monday to Friday. Sessions are generally scheduled from 13:30 to 15.45 CET. We recommend all teachers to comply with this time, as this enables our students across all time zones to attend the life streaming of the courses. If you are in Oñati, the seminar room is equipped with a laptop and projector, as well as a whiteboard and flip-chart, and other equipment may be available if needed. 

Student Assessment


The final deadline for assessments is, as was already mentioned above, 12 o’clock midnight on the Saturday following the end of the course. Extensions can only be given in exceptional circumstances and must be agreed with the Scientific Director. The deadline allows students to start each course afresh, which is essential considering the intensive nature of the programme.


Coursework submission is done exclusively via Moodle or an equivalent platform used by the institute. Each professor can download the essays from there and is expected to finalise the grading within two weeks following the end of the course. Each professor is requested to upload the graded student essays with the teacher’s comments to Moodle or an equivalent platform used by the institute.

Types of assessment

There is no set template for assessment, and instead assessment should be appropriate to each individual course. Class participation must make up at least 10% of the total grade. Examples of some previous assessments include:

  • Class participation (10%), oral presentation (30%), essay of 2,500 words (60%);
  • Class participation (10%), learning diary consisting of notes on readings and class discussions (2000 words, 45%), essay of 2,000 words (45%)
  • Class participation (10%), group exercise, with all members of a group given the same grade (45%), essay of 2,000 words (45%);
  • Class participation (10%), oral presentation (25%), exam given on the last day of the course (65%);
  • Class participation (10%), essay of 4000 words (90%).

Non-Attendance and Lateness

Students are expected to attend the seminars and other sessions, submit coursework and participate in all courses. Students are expected to attend classes on time, and course teachers are entitled to impose a penalty for persistent late attendance. This regulation also applies to the dual teaching format, that is, online participation. Any absence for any reason must be explained to the course teacher or the Scientific Director and the Master’s coordinator, preferably in advance (e.g., by email). A course teacher can penalise any student who fails to attend or participate in a course, including giving a Fail grade.

Informal Online Meeting of All Faculty and Students at the End of the Whole Teaching Period

We request you to participate in a final online meeting of all faculty and students at the beginning of March, i.e., close to the end of the teaching period of the Master’s. This meeting shall be facilitated through the IISL Cisco Webex platform. It will provide both faculty and students with the opportunity to exchange about how the programme went, and to re-evaluate their experiences. The meeting will also provide a further opportunity for assigning supervisors and examiners to students.

Grading of Courses and Master´s Theses

The mark awarded to each student for a course, as well as the thesis, should be a numerical grade out of 10. This corresponds to a 4-band scale (apart from Fail). As an international Institute, we need to ensure comparability of grades with systems used in various different countries. To en­sure this, we apply the European Credit Transfer System´s methodology for grade comparability, explained in the Guidelines issued by the European Commission in 2009. This requires each institution to analyse the grades awarded over a number of years (minimum of 2), according to the 4 bands suggested by the ECTS: top 10% (A), next 25% (B), next 30% (C), next 25% (D). On the basis of our analysis in 2009 of 18 years of examination of theses, and the previous 3 years of coursework, the 4 bands which have been used in the Institute do correspond, broadly speaking, to this distribution.

IISL Grading Scheme and ECTS Equivalence




ECTS equivalent


Excellent, outstanding,
of publishable quality

Matrícula de honor

A top 10%


Very Good, only minor limitations or errors


B next 25%


Good, above average standard, some limitations or errors


C next 30%


Satisfactory, generally sound, a number of limitations or errors


D next 25%


Inadequate research, significant limitations and errors





For more information: 

Ainhoa Markuleta Letamendi

IISJ (Visiting scholars)
Avenida de la Universidad, 8
Apartado 28
20560 Oñati (Gipuzkoa) - Spain
T.: +34 943 71... Ver teléfono / +34 943 78... Ver teléfono