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LLM (Master of Laws) in International Law

International law is now more important than ever before, and those who are able to obtain an LLM in International Law will get innate knowledge of what can prove to be a rather complicated subject and give themselves a competitive edge within the job market.

An LLM in international law is primarily geared towards those who intend to practice in predominantly English-speaking regions (such as North America, the UK and the European Union). As this is a very broad field, there are a number of discrete sectors which can massively benefit from an LLM certification. Whether one wishes to legally represent a multinational company or to specialise in international human rights issues, this degree is exceedingly advantageous. We should also note that anyone who is looking to enhance their current skills in order to obtain a more fulfilling position will normally pursue this type of qualification. 

An LLM in International Law will cover many aspects of law from a global perspective looking at the differences and similarities in laws from state to state and how they can operate harmoniously alongside each other, thereby preparing the student for a career in the international practices of law. Modules of study in an LLM in International Law are likely to include: public international law; international system and global dispute resolution; international criminal law; international trade; regulation of private international law. LLMs in international law also cover the historical, philosophical and moral background to the subject, and comparative law, through evaluating the legislation and legal framework of different countries, they could also explore human rights law.

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An expert speaks...

International Law“If international law is, in some ways, at the vanishing point of law, the law of war is, perhaps even more conspicuously, at the vanishing point of international law.”
Hersch Lauterpacht (1897-1960), former member of the United Nations' International Law Commission and former Judge of the International Court of Justice

Where can you study for an LLM in International Law?

There are a number of institutions which provide an LLM degree within this field of law. Of course, traditional universities tend to be the choice of many applicants. This is due to the hands-on type of learning environment that can be enjoyed. There are currently more than 70 courses which provide this type of degree in the United Kingdom. Some will combine international law and European law. UK universities that offer an LLM degree which include aspects of international law include the University of Nottingham, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Kent. There are universities found within other countries, such as University of San Diego (United States) and the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa). Finally, it is now possible to study for this degree with the help of distance learning courses such as those offered by the Edinburgh Law School (part-time studies).

What qualifications are required to study an LLM in International Law?

Some masters programs in international law specify a first degree in law, although elsewhere it is possible to apply if your original qualification was in a related subject, such as politics. There could also be stipulations put forth by individual universities such as a background in international studies, a proposed thesis or one's previous grades. Proficiency in English is compulsory before an applicant is selected. Non-native speakers will need to provide evidence of a degree in either the TOEFL or the IELTS program. 

An LLM in International Law advances careers In...

There are literally hundreds of different employment opportunities for those who obtain an LLM in international law, including:

  • Political science professionals.
  • Economists.
  • International trade specialists.
  • Corporate law.
  • University-level teaching posts.

Fascinating facts about International Law

1. The origins of international law can be traced as far back as the Roman times when a scholar named Gaius first established this field as a separate entity from civil law.

2. The Hague Convention arbitrarily defines a "child" as anyone under 16 years of age.

3. The 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen had a major impact upon defining international law.

Recommended reading

International Law by M Shaw

The Nature of International Law by G Simpson

The Politics of International Law by C Reus-Smit

International Law by Antoine Cassese

Principles of Public International Law by Ian Brownlie

Akehurst's Modern Introduction to International Law by Peter Malanczuk


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