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LLM in International Law

LLM or PGDip or PGCert

Start dates: September 2023

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

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

Location: Headington

Department(s): School of Law


On our LLM in International Law course, you’ll develop an advanced understanding of the legal frameworks that underpin our world order today. You’ll learn how to leverage laws to drive positive change across global communities.

The refugee crisis. Sustainable development. Human rights. Global conflicts. You’ll explore the legalities behind some of the biggest global challenges. You’ll also develop insight into both international economic law and public international law. You’ll emerge from the master’s course with a unique skill set and perspectives that cross legal silos. This will truly set you apart as an expert in your field.

You’ll explore the workings of powerful global actors - like the World Bank and the UN. You’ll also have the freedom to explore areas of international law that interest you most, from global development to international human rights systems.

You’ll meet students from different backgrounds. You’ll challenge their assumptions and they’ll challenge yours. Make friends from all over the world and develop connections that will stay with you throughout your career.

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Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Master the essentials

    Gain the knowledge you need for becoming a successful international lawyer.

  • Diverse expertise

    Your tutors represent a variety of personal backgrounds. These perspectives have shaped the course.

  • Get involved

    You’ll have the opportunity to be involved in relevant and useful extra-curricular activities, such as advocacy work and mooting.

  • Always helpful

    As you’ll be part of a close-knit legal community, you’ll discover it’s easy to get the support you need.

  • Open your mind

    The course attracts people from a range of professional and personal backgrounds, and you’ll learn from each other.

Course Details

Course Structure

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

Across the master’s course, you’ll develop a unique understanding of international economic law - public international law and human rights.

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 human rights laws in armed conflict.

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 developed understanding of powerful international organisations across the world stage. You’ll understand how to influence, challenge and collaborate with them.


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.


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.

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.


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


Graduates from the LLM progress to an impressive range of careers. Many of our graduates are now policymakers, human rights activists, judges, and commercial lawyers. 

You’ll know how to challenge complex legal problems using new ideas and innovative thinking, and have a clear understanding of the motivations driving new and old legislation. 

We’ll help you decide what your next steps should be.

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.

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

Entry requirements

International qualifications and equivalences

How to apply

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.

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 are detailed below.

Funding your studies

Financial support and scholarships

Featured funding opportunities available for this course.

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

All financial support and scholarships

View all funding opportunities for this course

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.