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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Citizenship Law: National and Global Perspectives (LAWS10231)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryCitizenship is a paradoxical legal and political concept: almost all of us have at least one citizenship (or nationality), but the basis on which we hold citizenship is often quite unclear to us. While most people obtain citizenship at birth through their parents, or through birth in a country, smaller numbers become citizens by naturalisation based on residence. Some countries put their citizenship on the market for investors to purchase like a luxury good. Others allow the descendants of those who left the country many generations before to become citizens, based on shared ethnicity. While states often regard citizenship as a strategic matter, we are also regularly asked to treat citizenship with some sort of reverence, as going to the heart of the state and its constitution.

This course places the law of citizenship in its wider legal and political context. While the course will use the citizenship law of the United Kingdom as the baseline for study, there will be a strong comparative element, with examples drawn from right across the globe. Important elements of international law and human rights law are drawn into the discussion, alongside national constitutional law.
Course description In the first semester, we introduce the basic principles underpinning the course and cover the different aspects of citizenship acquisition and loss systematically. In the second semester, we take a variety of thematic and geographical approaches.

Semester One Seminar Topics (allowing two seminars for introduction and revision)
1. What is citizenship? Basic terms such as citizenship, nationality, ethnicity, 'the people';
2. The constitutional basis of citizenship;
3. Citizenship acquisition: by birth - ius soli and ius sanguinis;
4. Citizenship acquisition after birth: naturalisation;
5. Special topics: citizenship by investment, kin state citizenship, Olympic citizenship;
6. Loss of citizenship: voluntary and involuntary loss of citizenship;
7. Dual citizenship: towards an evolving global norm;
8. Statelessness.

Semester Two Seminar Topics (allowing one seminar for revision)
1. Citizenship rights, constitutional rights and human rights;
2. Citizenship and the pandemic: rights denied, status undermined?
3. Terrorism and loss of citizenship: a human rights challenge;
4. Citizenship in Latin America: the dominance of constitutional birthright ius soli;
5. Citizenship in India: from secularism to a populist approach;
6. Citizenship in Europe: the impact of the European Union on over-inclusive polities;
7. Citizenship in the Gulf: under-inclusive polities, statelessness and long term precarity;
8. Citizenship in Africa: the impact of regional human rights institutions on a post-colonial region;
9. Citizenship in East Asia and South East Asia: the challenge of citizenship under authoritarian constitutional regimes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Spaces on this course are allocated as part of the Law Honours Course Allocation process. Places are generally only available to students who must take Law courses. To request a space on this course, please email
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesThis course is only open to visiting students coming through a direct exchange with the School of Law (including Erasmus students on a Law-specific Exchange). Exchange students outside of Law and independent study abroad students are not eligible to enrol in this course, with no exceptions.

**Please note that 3rd year Law courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.**
Priority will be given to students studying on exchange within the Law department, and it is highly unlikely that there will be additional spaces for general exchange students & independent study abroad students to enrol; we will look into this on a case-by-case basis in September/January. Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space.

These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  50
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 38, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 354 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course will be assessed by a 3,000-word essay submitted at the end of semester 1 (30%); a 5,000-word essay submitted at the end of semester 2 (60%); and by class participation (10%).

In this course, class participation will be assessed in the following way. For each week of the course, the Course Organiser will open a new thread on the course discussion forum, highlighting some questions that could be discussed relating to the weekly seminar topic (but without constraining you to follow these ideas) and setting a post submission window for each topic. During the course of the year, you must make a minimum of 10 valid posts on the forum. A valid post is defined as:

1. A written contribution of 150-200 words;
2. that addresses one of the topics discussed during the course;
3. that was posted during the submission window

Your choice of your best 10 posts must be pasted on the end of Essay 2 when it is submitted, but the words used for posts do not count towards the word limit for the essay. The posts will be assessed according to the School of Law class participation marking criteria.

Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the principal modes of acquisition and loss of citizenship, as well as the interface between citizenship laws, constitutional law, international law and human rights law, in different national and regional contexts
  2. Find and contextualise key materials relating to citizenship law at the national and regional/international level; critically evaluate the relevant documents, including constitutions, legislation and case law; engage with complex areas of law and analyse complex arguments on the topic of the course
  3. Demonstrate critical analytical skills; comprehension, including prioritization of points in argumentation; writing skills, in particular summarizing information; articulation of opinion as well as justification of that opinion
  4. Engage in contemporary debates involving the subject-matter of the course. An ability to formulate opinions on complex materials
  5. Reflect on the moral and political implications of citizenship across the globe, and develop skills in making arguments about desirable legal arrangements in relation to citizenship and statelessness
Reading List
Shaw, The People in Question, Bristol University Press, 2020.
Oxford Handbook of Citizenship, 2017
Manby, Citizenship Law in Africa, 2019
Acosta, The National versus the Foreigner in South America, CUP 2018
Engin F. Isin & Peter Nyers, 2014. Routledge Handbook of Global Citizenship Studies,
London: Taylor and Francis.
Students will in addition be reading a wide range of periodical literature. All the relevant journals
are available online via the Library.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Develop the ability to engage in inter-disciplinary dialogue.
Develop the ability to undertake legal research
Develop the ability to read texts critically (including both primary and secondary sources), and to distinguish between material of central and peripheral importance to the topic
Develop reflective awareness of ethical dimensions, and responsibilities to others, in work and everyday life;
Be critically self-aware, self-reflective and self-manage in order to fully maximise potential through managing the workload of the course;
Learn how to deal with setbacks and failures and learn and develop from these by responding to formative feedback and feedforward;
Analysing facts and situations and applying creative and inventive thinking to develop the appropriate solutions.
Develop students' verbal and written communication skills.
Develop appropriate use of project and time-management tools;
Develop an ability to prioritise;
Develop an ability to plan and effectively use resources to achieve goals;
Develop resilience and the ability to recover from setbacks.
Course organiserMr Timothy Jacob-Owens
Course secretaryMiss Oliwia Szczerbakiewicz
Tel: (0131 6)50 9094
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