Institute for European Studies (Vrije Universiteit Brussel): Faculty of Law and Criminology

Institute for European Studies (Vrije University of Brussels)



About the Institute for European Studies (VUB)
The Institute for European Studies (IES), a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in Brussels, is part of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. It constitutes an outstanding research-focused environment in the heart of Europe. Located close to the main EU institutions, and in proximity to international organisations and law firms, it offers excellent networking and internship opportunities and modern teaching facilities.

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) is a dynamic and modern university with four campuses. Its research teams are internationally recognised in many disciplines of fundamental and applied research. VUB offers high quality education to more than 15,800 students.

About the program
The LLM in International and European law (click here for its dedicated website) is an Advanced Masters degree of 60 ECTS organised by the Institute for European Studies, in cooperation with the VUB Faculty of Law.  

It has been an internationally renowned program for over 45 years. Created in 1971 as the Program on International and Legal Cooperation (‘PILC’), it is one of the most established LLM programs of its kind. Students come from all over the world to study this program, which is reflected in its extremely diverse and international alumni network: more than 1,200 graduates from 108 countries are working for major international law firms, international and European institutions, and in academia.

The program offers a balanced, versatile package that consists of compulsory and optional courses as well as a Master thesis (18 credits). Compulsory courses are:

  • EU Institutional Framework and Judicial Protection
  • EU Economic Law
  • EU External relations
  • Globalization, International Law & Sustainable Development
  • International and European Protection of Human Rights
  • European and International Competition Law
  • International Economic Law and Organizations
  • International & EU Competition Law

After these compulsory courses (30 credits), students take either the Public Law, Business Law, or Data Law specialisation option (12 credits), including practical exercises and a real life case study simulation. The Data Law option is a new option starting in the 2018-19 academic year.

Check out the complete curriculum overview, with hyperlinks to detailed overviews per course.

Ranked as excellent
The program is regularly scrutinised by the Flemish educational authorities and was ranked in May 2016 as excellent by its international review panel that compared all English-taught postmaster programs in Flanders. Some quotes from the report:

‘an ideal setting for constant, intensive interactions across multiple cultural boundaries’ ... ‘this programme can be considered as a ‘best practice’ in international perspective’ ... ‘a PILC degree always ‘opens the first door’ ... ‘graduates are well positioned to enter international law firms and organisations’

Click here to read the full report (cover page is in Dutch but the rest is in English)!

Entry requirements 
To qualify for admission you need to have:

  • a law degree (J.D., LLM or equivalent) that entitles you to practise law in your country of origin
  • excellent academic results and references
  • proven proficiency in English

Students are selected on the basis of their academic qualifications as well as work and other related experience.

Detailed overview of admission requirements.

Length of program
Nine months (one academic year – from late September to June)

Number of places available 

Language of instruction 

€13,000 (excluding approx. 500 EUR for study materials)

Starting date
Last week of September

Application procedure 
Applicants need to apply online – click here for further information.

Application deadlines 
Institute for European StudiesApplications are reviewed on a rolling basis and the IES Selection Committee aims to reach a decision on the individual applicants within 4 weeks of receiving all of their application documentation.

The Programme offers a number of scholarships that take the form of (partial) tuition fee waivers, which are awarded on the basis of merit and demonstrated need. Students can apply for such a waiver by 15 April at the latest. They do so by writing a personal statement in the relevant section of the application form, outlining the ways in which they satisfy these criteria. Students must attach evidence of both merit and need as part of the overall application file. The Academic Board awards these waivers at the same time as admission into the programme.

Institute for European Studies
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
LLM International & European Law
Pleinlaan 5
B-1050 Brussels

Tel: +32-2-6148051

Available courses

Scholarship Opportunity with

Are you an LLM student at this University or have you applied to study an LLM program at a university in Europe? Tell us your plans and qualify for a £500.00 PGS Scholarship.

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