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LLM in International Law

LLM or PGDip or PGCert

Key facts

Start dates

September 2022 / September 2023



Course length

Full time: LLM: 12 months, PGDip: 9 months, PGCert: 9 months

Part time: LLM: 24 months, PGDip: 18 months, PGCert: 18 months


School of Law


Get the advanced legal and research skills you need to influence global policy and world governance - in an international legal career.

On this course, you’ll develop an advanced understanding of the legal frameworks that underpin our world order today. And you’ll learn how to leverage them to drive change. 

You’ll explore the legalities behind some of the biggest global challenges - like:

  • The climate crisis
  • Sustainable development
  • Corporate power and influence

You’ll gain rare insight into both international economic law and public international law. You’ll emerge with a unique skillset, and perspectives that cross legal silos - which will set you apart in your career. 

You’ll understand the motivations of powerful global actors - like the World Bank and the UN. And you’ll have the legal knowledge and skills to influence change. 

You’ll also have the freedom to explore the areas of international law that interest you most, from banking and financial law, to international human rights systems.


Two people meeting

How to apply

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

Students will normally be required to have (or to be expecting) a good honours degree, or an equivalent degree awarded by a university outside the United Kingdom. The degree may be in Law or in a related discipline. We welcome applications from both non-Law graduates and work experience-based candidates.

Students new to the academic study of law will be advised to read a number of recommended texts by way of induction before they begin the course. Students are also encouraged to attend the induction sessions provided in the week prior to the beginning of the course.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

An IELTS minimum score of 6.5 (with 6.0 in reading and writing) is required.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences


English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time
£7,850 (Masters); £6,850 (Diploma)

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Home (UK) full time
Masters £8,200; Diploma £7,200

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2022 / 23
Home (UK) full time
£7,850 (Masters); £6,850 (Diploma)

Home (UK) part time

International full time

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time
Masters £8,200; Diploma £7,200

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 483088

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year your fees will increase each year.

Financial support and scholarships

There are International Student Scholarships available for 2022 and other scholarships and funding options for postgraduate international students.

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements

Learning and assessment

On this course, you’ll develop a unique understanding of both international economic law - looking at issues like trade, investment and economic development - and public international law.

You might explore the challenges of globalisation - considering market regulation, free trade and the role of governments. You might compare UN perspectives on economic development with those of the World Bank. Or you might examine the role of corporations from both economic and human rights standpoints.

You’ll fully grasp the unique challenges and perspectives to each area of law. You’ll collaborate with students from many different legal backgrounds and perspectives. You’ll challenge ideas, and have your own thinking challenged too.

You’ll graduate with a rare understanding of powerful international organisations across the world stage. And you’ll understand how to influence, challenge and collaborate with them.

You’ll study two compulsory modules and two elective modules in semester 1. And in semester 2 you’ll take two compulsory modules and one elective module.



Study modules

The modules listed below are for the master's award. For the PGDip and PGCert awards your module choices may be different. Please contact us for more details.

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

Principles of International Law

You’ll get to grips with the fundamentals of international law in this key module. You’ll study the law and legal framework governing the international community, and examine the philosophical basis of international law. This will include:

  • the nature, origins and basis of international law
  • the main sources of international law – including the importance of customs, treaties, general legal principles and international case precedents 
  • the basic rights and obligations of international actors – such as state responsibility, governmental obligations not to interfere with others, immunities and jurisdictional powers.

You’ll also study the International Court of Justice and its role in settling international disputes. Throughout the module, we’ll use case studies and group exercises to enhance your learning experience.


Advanced Legal Research Methods

You’ll hone the research and writing skills needed to carry out legal research at an advanced level. These include research design, searching for relevant sources and materials, legal referencing and citation skills. You’ll think about the process of writing, as well as the end product, including presenting findings to different audiences. You’ll consider the distinctive features of legal research and approaches and research methodologies you might use. The work you do in this module gives you excellent preparation for your dissertation.

International Economic Law

You’ll examine the concepts of development and globalisation under international law – their history, how they’re theorised and how they’re applied in practice. You’ll focus on aspects of economic activity and environmental protection that are currently regulated by international institutions, such as the UN, the World Trade Organisation and the World Bank.

You’ll critically assess these systems and question the positive and negative effects of development. There will be time to explore contemporary topics relating to:

  • the right to development
  • food security
  • post-conflict and transitional countries
  • natural resource law
  • aid and foreign direct investment
  • protests against development projects and programmes.

Optional modules

International Human Rights Systems

In this introduction to international human rights law, you’ll learn about the institutions and mechanisms that protect human rights. Throughout the module, you’ll critically examine arguments and ideas about human rights. By examining the relevant law, contemporary debates and case studies, you’ll get to grips with the philosophical underpinnings of human rights and their contemporary legal and political meaning.

International Investment Law

Why do investors invest abroad, and why do host countries actively encourage foreign investment? You’ll explore these questions while examining the laws, policies and legal issues affecting foreign investment and foreign enterprises. You’ll think in particular about the developing world and emerging markets. 

You’ll investigate the role of law in the investment process. This will include:

  • the rules, principles and institutions of public international law that affect direct foreign investment
  • host country laws that reward and regulate foreign investment
  • the law of investment contracts
  • the dispute settlement regime.

World Trade Law

International trade is regulated by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and also through many free trade agreements that have been negotiated outside the WTO framework. These agreements between governments set out their powers to restrict the flow of goods and services between countries. 

In this module, you’ll examine key aspects of the public international law of trade and finance. You’ll focus on the fundamental principles of international trade contained in GATT 1994 under the WTO Agreement.


Theory of Human Rights

You’ll learn about the foundations and principles that underpin the theory and practice of human rights. You’ll trace how human rights have evolved over time and explore their philosophical foundations. By examining current debates in domestic and international law, you’ll also understand their contemporary legal and political meaning and use. The module will include critical and non-western perspectives on contemporary human rights.


International Criminal Law

The International Criminal Court deals with serious crimes under international law – genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and acts of aggression. In this module, you’ll learn how international criminal law has developed since the ICC was set up.

You’ll examine actual cases in depth, drawing on the experiences of the Yugoslavia and Rwandan Criminal Tribunals. You’ll explore the degree to which the new court will be bound by such decisions. You’ll also examine the notion of individual responsibility and the issue of universal jurisdiction – the idea that a national court may prosecute individuals for crimes against international law.

International Intellectual Property Law

In this module you’ll gain a grounding in the theory and basic concepts of intellectual property law, including patents, copyright, and trademarks. You’ll explore the international law that regulates them, particularly the TRIPS Agreement. You’ll go on to look at areas of current controversy. These could include: 

  • the relationship between patents and traditional knowledge
  • the challenge of biotechnology
  • the emerging protection of personality rights (an individual’s right to control the use of their identity)
  • the problem of patenting pharmaceuticals and protecting the needs of developing countries.

War Law

You’ll develop your legal and analytical skills in this module, which promotes human rights and humanitarian law and values. You’ll learn about the international norms and institutions that support humanitarian principles in conflict situations. In particular you’ll look at: 

  • the use of force (jus ad bellum)
  • the law of armed conflict or international humanitarian law (jus in bello)
  • transitional justice (jus post bellum). 

We’ll encourage you to take part in high quality discussion and research in this field.


International Refugees and Migrants

You’ll gain an understanding of the issues and debates surrounding nationality and forced and economic migration, while learning about the relevant International and European law. You’ll critically assess existing laws of nationality and migration, and build your knowledge of issues in human trafficking, globalisation and development. 

Part of your work for the module will involve writing an essay on a topic you choose, allowing you to research an area of particular interest. You’ll practise your research skills and deepen your subject knowledge.


Banking and Financial Law

Through this module you gain a really comprehensive introduction to the banking business. You’ll learn about the rise of the financial services sector from its earliest development in European nation-states into the 19th and 20th centuries. You’ll pay particular attention to the US, UK, Germany and Japan. 

You’ll examine:

  • lending (for corporate finance, project and trade financing)
  • the relationship between banks and other forms of corporate finance
  • the quasi-public utility of the payments system
  • UK and EU standards governing retail/consumer financial services.

Independent Study

This is your chance to carry out independent research on a law topic of your choice, in consultation with your module leader. You’ll strengthen your skills in carrying out legal research and presenting your findings and arguments.

Final project

Compulsory modules


Your LLM dissertation is an extended, supervised piece of work on a particular aspect of international law, which you’ll choose in consultation with your tutors. It’s your opportunity to gain knowledge and insight through sustained research, and to demonstrate your ability to explore and present legal arguments. You’ll develop transferable skills in research and information and project management.

We’ll encourage you to choose a topic of personal interest or professional interest. Full-time students normally begin preliminary work on the dissertation in Semester 1 and formalise the topic and structure in Semester 2. The main work on the dissertation normally takes place from June to mid-August.


Work Experience

Optional modules

Work Experience

As an LLM Law student you’ll have the opportunity to participate in the CLOCK scheme (Community Legal Outreach Collaboration Keele). Taking part in the scheme, you'll gain firsthand experience of the legal world. You’ll be interviewing and advising clients, in legal cases and courtroom settings. You'll join a commitment to provide wider access to justice in the local area and gain useful legal expertise for your CV.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

You'll experience high-quality learning through the diversity of methods used throughout the LLM courses. These include:

  • lectures
  • seminar discussions
  • individual and small group tutorials
  • case studies
  • group presentations
  • individual presentations.

You will acquire and practise legal reasoning as well as research and IT skills. Particular emphasis is placed on skills training.


Assessment methods used on this course

Your assessments will carefully develop the skills you need in an international legal career. And you’ll get experience in areas like:

  • Making oral representations
  • Providing legal advice
  • Creating policy briefs


Our academics are at the forefront of a wide range of internationally recognised and world-leading research and projects.

Our LLM course team consists of researchers working within the following research groups:

  • international law
  • critical approaches to law
  • fundamental rights and equality

You can attend the programme of research seminars and other events that underpin the research culture of the School of Law. You will have the opportunity to become involved in research through specialist modules in which teaching staff have expertise. They also supervise dissertations in their specialist subjects.

Student studying on a laptop

After you graduate

Career prospects

Graduates from the LLM succeed across an impressive range of careers from policy makers and human rights activists through to diplomats and commercial lawyers. LLM staff can advise you and direct you to possible careers and employers depending on your particular needs and ambitions. 

"In the future I hope to further develop my legal research skills and gain enhanced knowledge of International Law in order to pursue a career in legal research. I think that overall an LLM is a unique opportunity to develop skills that could be applied in other related areas."

LLM Alumna, Olga Chetverikova

Pursuing an academic career in law
Research is fundamental to the Law School and is one of the reasons we performed so well in the last REF. Your own interests will be reflected in the modules you choose and many students feel moved to continue their academic studies and become specialists themselves. Several former LLM students have chosen to become researchers, publishing and lecturing on their work and graduating to do a PhD.

"The grounding that I now have in international law has allowed me to take on work that I would not previously have been qualified for. For example, I am currently developing a programme of litigation on the issue of counter-terrorism and human rights for an international organisation. I have lectured at Harvard Law School and been invited to contribute to an edited volume produced by Harvard."

LLM Alumnus Richard Carver, Associate Lecturer and Human Rights Consultant

Our Staff

Professor Sonia Morano-Foadi

Sonia's main area of research currently is EU law and in particular Citizenship, Migration and Human Rights within the EU. She also teaches in the area.

Read more about Sonia

Programme Changes:

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

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