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LLM in International Law

LLM or PGDip or PGCert

Key facts

Start dates

September 2020 / September 2021



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


Our LLM in International Law gives you advanced knowledge of the legal aspects of the global economic system, essential for today's legal or business professional.

The course provides the opportunity to study the relations between:

  • states
  • individuals
  • international organisations
  • and other non-state actors.

A wide variety of modules allows you to tailor the course to your particular career aim and plans. You will study a range of issues relating to:

  • the creation of legal obligations
  • recognition of states
  • the role of international organisations
  • liability for international crimes and dispute settlement
  • the use of force
  • environmental protection
  • human rights
  • regulation of international trade and investment.

Our graduates have gone on to careers in international legal practice, international and national trade bodies. As well as in government and academic posts.

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/EU full time
£7,250 (Masters); £6,250 (Diploma)

Home/EU part time

International full time

Home/EU full time
£7,700 (Masters); £6,700 (Diploma)

Home/EU part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2020 / 21
Home/EU full time
£7,250 (Masters); £6,250 (Diploma)

Home/EU part time

International full time

2021 / 22
Home/EU full time
£7,700 (Masters); £6,700 (Diploma)

Home/EU 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 2020 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.

Learning and assessment

In Semester 1 you will take two compulsory modules and two elective modules.

In Semester 2 you will take one compulsory module and two elective modules.

You will complete your studies by completing your LLM dissertation. This is an extended and supervised piece on work on a particular aspect of international law, chosen in consultation with your course tutors. It is an opportunity for you to:

  • gain knowledge through systematic academic enquiry
  • demonstrate your ability to explore and present legal arguments.

The style of research may range from empirical investigation to textual analysis. You will develop transferable skills in research and information and project management.


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

This module focuses on the law and legal framework governing the international community. You will examine the philosophical underpinnings of international law including 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 in interpreting international law; the basic rights and obligations of international actors (such as state responsibility, governmental obligations not to interfere with other, immunities and jurisdictional powers). The International Court of Justice is studied in relation to the judicial settlement of international disputes. This module builds on case studies and group exercises to assist the learning experience.

Advanced Legal Research Methods

This module provides the research and writing skills needed to engage with legal research at an advanced level. This includes research design, searching for relevant sources and materials, legal referencing and citation skills. It engages with the process of writing, as well as the end product, including presenting findings to different audiences. It considers the nature of research in general; the distinctive features of legal research and the range of approaches and research methodologies. It will prepare you for the dissertation you will complete on an area of law in practice.

International Economic Law

This module examines the history, theories and application of the concepts of development and globalisation under international law. In particular it focuses on the key aspects of economic activity and environmental protection currently regulated under the auspices of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and other international and regional institutions. These systems are subjected to critical assessment and the positive and negative effects of the global project of development are questioned. The module also devotes time to contemporary topics relating to the right to development, food security, post-conflict and transitional countries, natural resource law, foreign direct investment and protests against development projects and programmes.

Optional modules

International Human Rights Systems

This module introduces international human rights law, the institutions and the mechanisms for the protection of human rights at the international and regional levels. Throughout the module, you will be invited to critically examine arguments and ideas about human rights, their philosophical underpinnings, and their contemporary legal and political meaning through an examination of the relevant law, contemporary debates and case studies.

International Investment Law

This module examines the laws, policies and legal issues affecting foreign investment and foreign enterprises, with special emphasis on the developing world and emerging markets. The reasons why investors invest abroad and why host countries permit and often actively encourage foreign investment will be explored. The role that law plays in the investment process at both global and local levels is critically examined, including the rules, principles and institutions of public international law that affect direct foreign investment, host country laws that reward and regulate foreign investment, and the law of investment contracts. The module also examines core legal principles concerning investment operation, such as standards of treatment, expropriation and compensation. Finally, the course will examine the dispute settlement regime of international investment.

World Trade Law

This module examines key aspects of the public international law of trade and finance. International trade, in its public sense, comprises the multilateral regulation of trade through the World Trade Organisation as well as the many free trade agreements that have been concluded outside the WTO framework. These agreements between governments limit and determine their powers to restrict the flow of goods and services between countries. The module focuses on the fundamental principles of international trade contained in GATT 1994 under the WTO Agreement. In addition, the module examines international financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank that have a role in the regulation and dispensation of financial goods, including currency movements and major project funding. It also outlines the key international regimes at work in the contemporary trade and financial worlds.

Theory of Human Rights

This module introduces the foundations and principles that underpin the theory and practice of human rights. In addition to their historical evolution and philosophical foundations, their contemporary legal and political meaning and use is examined through relevant debates in domestic and international law. The module includes critical and non-western perspectives on contemporary human rights. 

International Criminal Law

This module focuses on the development of international criminal law following the establishment of the International Criminal Court, under the Rome Statute 1998. It will focus on the remit of the Court, which is to try those responsible for serious crimes under international law, namely genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and acts of aggression. Drawing on the experiences of the Yugoslavia and Rwandan Criminal Tribunals, actual cases will be examined in depth, exploring the degree to which the new court will be bounded by such decisions. The notion of individual responsibility and the issue of universal jurisdiction will also be examined. 

War Law

This module develops themes introduced on the compulsory module in International Law and complements themes addressed in International Criminal Law and International Human Rights Law. The three main aims of this module are to introduce candidates to the international norms and institutions concerning the use of force (jus ad bellum), the law of armed conflict or international humanitarian law (jus in bello) and transitional justice (jus post bellum). This module will develop your legal and analytical skills, promoting human rights and humanitarian law and values, and encouraging high quality discussion and research in this field.

International Refugees and Migrants

This module will provide you with an understanding of the issues and debates surrounding nationality and forced and economic migration at International and European law. It encourages a critical assessment of existing laws of nationality and migration in their political, social, historical context and encourages research skills in relation to your individual chosen topic. It also aims at providing an understanding of the main issues in relation to human trafficking and globalisation and development. 

Banking and Financial Law

This module provides a comprehensive overview and introduction to the banking business and its nexus with financial instruments and markets. It situates the modern wholesale and retail financial services sector and the business organisations supplying these services in their historical trajectory from the earliest development of fractional reserve banking in European nation- states into the nineteenth and twentieth century, with particular attention to the US and UK, Germany, and Japan. The core purposes of financial intermediation will be examined: 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, and the UK and EU standards governing provision of retail/consumer financial services. 

Final project

Optional modules


Your LLM dissertation is an extended and supervised piece of work on a particular aspect of international law chosen in consultation with your course tutors. It is an opportunity to gain knowledge through systematic academic enquiry and for you to demonstrate your ability to explore and present legal arguments. The style of research may range from empirical investigation to textual analysis. You will develop transferable skills in research and information and project management.

You will be encouraged to choose an international law topic of personal interest or one related to your occupation. Full-time students will normally begin preliminary work on the dissertation in Semester 1 and formalise the topic and structure of the dissertation in Semester 2. The main work on the dissertation will normally take place from June to mid-August.

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

Assessment methods include:

  • coursework
  • individual presentations
  • group presentations.


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

Student profiles

Our Staff

Dr 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.