Referred to as a “new frontier” area of law, an LLM (Master of Laws) in Air & Space Law is fast becoming a sought-after course. Although there are very few universities currently offering an LLM in this field, the universities that do are leading in their discipline and offer comprehensive course structures that match the topic requirements depending on the region-wise and technological relevance.
An LLM in Air And Space Law covers wide-ranging issues from aircraft accident investigations, air traffic control, congestion, environmental problems, aerospace manufacturers to the commercialisation of space enterprise. Does the Virgin Galactic space tourism ring a bell? Although it may sound as a unique legal discipline, this LLM is an important field attracting wide number of applicants including legal practitioners and graduates alike.
6 LLMs in Air & Space Law Worldwide
1 year of full time study to qualify
45 years of space law education at the University of Mississippi
This Master of Laws program is suited to legal practitioners engaged in aviation and space law practice or graduates interested in entering into this specialisation given their passion for air and space law topics. The course can be hugely beneficial for legal officers who are part of the airline industry, civil aviation authorities or transportation authorities. They can get a grasp of the workings of international, regional and national organisations either by taking a break for study or through distance learning programs that are offered by some colleges.
There are not many universities that provide courses on these topics. The ones that do offer the course are highly recognised for their comprehensive course structures suited to gaining understanding into regional level and international legal provisions. Here’s a look at the top universities offering LLM in Air and Space Law:
The International Institute of Air and Space Law part of the Leiden Law School of Leiden University is among the leading international academic research and teaching institutes within the EU, specialising in legal and policy issues regarding aviation and space activities in the broadest sense of the word. The course teaches public air law, private air law and space law, from both an international and European perspective which makes it unique.
In the US, two universities lead the ranks in offering the course. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln was the earliest university in the US to start this program. It offers an LLM in Space, Cyber and Telecommunications Law. Its program is open both to persons with JD degrees from ABA-accredited law schools and to persons with degrees in law from foreign universities. It enrols between 8-10 students per academic year ‘to ensure individualized attention during the demanding course year.’ The University awards NASA grant scholarships to students and individual scholarships generally range from covering 20%-60% of a student’s tuition. The University Of Mississippi School Of Law is another leading college in the US in air and space law education, research and public service. Its degree program is designed for both US and foreign-trained law school graduates interested in a rigorous legal curriculum in US, international, and comparative air and space law.
The Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University in Canada, offers a Master of Laws program within its Institute of Air and Space Law. The LLM (with Thesis) involves 20 credits in course work and 25 research credits. On the other hand, the LLM (with Non-Thesis) is suited to students who wish to gain a wide exposure to a range of taught courses within, and related to the domain of Air and Space Law. The Non-Thesis option requires the completion of 27 course credits and a substantial Supervised Research Project (18 credits) during the third term of registration.
Ideally, the Entry Requirements that apply to students include completion of a full law degree, having proven English-language proficiency validated through a TOEFL or IELTS test. The minimum scores may vary depending one each University. Universities may also require prior knowledge of international law including Air and Space Law apart from professional experience in the field of air and/or space activities. For instance, Leiden Law School of Leiden University requires that applicants have sufficient knowledge of European Law and international organisations or alternately take the compulsory supplementary courses offered in these areas. Click here to find out more about studying law in the English language as an international student.
In case of US universities, to be considered for an LLM program in Air and Space Law, an applicant must have a JD degree (Juris Doctor) from an accredited US law school or a first law degree (JD, LLB, and Bachelor of Laws) from a foreign law school. In evaluating applications, the universities will usually take into consideration the applicant’s grades and rank in his or her law school and other university studies, letters of recommendation, areas of interest (demonstrating interest in aviation and space activities including legal implications), proposed thesis topic, and professional and personal accomplishments.
1. In space the skin on your feet peels off!
2. One million Earths can fit inside the Sun.
3. You become taller in Space.
4. The Apollo crew didn’t have life insurance.
5. Over half of NASA employees are dyslexic.
The Law and Policy of Air Space and Outer Space: A Comparative Approach, Peter P C Haanappel, Kluwer Law International, The Hague / London / New York, 2003
Studies in International Space Law, Bin Cheng, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997
An Introduction to Space Law, I.H.Ph. Diederiks-Verschoor, Kluwer Law International, 2008
Space Law, Paul B. Larsen, Ashgate Publications, 2007