LLM in International Law
Oxford Brookes University
12 - 24 months
Full time, Part time
GBP 15,200 / per year *
Earliest start date
* UK students full-time: £7,850 | International/EU students full-time: £15,200
Get the advanced legal and research skills you need to influence global policy and world governance - in an international legal career.
In this course, you’ll develop an advanced understanding of the legal frameworks that underpin our world order today. And you’ll learn how to leverage them to drive change.
You’ll explore the legalities behind some of the biggest global challenges - like:
- The climate crisis
- Sustainable development
- Corporate power and influence
You’ll gain rare insight into both international economic law and public international law. You’ll emerge with a unique skillset and perspectives that cross legal silos - which will set you apart in your career.
You’ll understand the motivations of powerful global actors - like the World Bank and the UN. And you’ll have the legal knowledge and skills to influence change.
You’ll also have the freedom to explore the areas of international law that interest you most, from banking and financial law to international human rights systems.
Scholarships and Funding
International Student Scholarship
At Oxford Brookes, we are delighted to welcome international students from across the world. You help us to build a community of diversity that benefits everybody. We also understand that moving to a new country can be a challenge and we are here to support you through every step of your journey. That's why we are delighted to offer a one-year, International Student Scholarship, worth £2,000 to all international students. This scholarship will be applied automatically as a discount to your tuition fees for your first year of study. All you need to do to qualify for this scholarship is accept your offer and pay your deposit by the deadline.
EU Student Support Scholarship
We deeply value our students from the EU and we will continue to do all we can to welcome EU students long into the future. Therefore we are delighted to inform you that you are likely to be eligible for a £4,000 scholarship as part of our EU Student Support Scholarship scheme. This £4,000 scholarship will be applied automatically as a discount to your tuition fees across each year of study, provided you meet all the eligibility criteria. The scholarship is only available to EU students paying international fees.
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.
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 the 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.
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 discussions 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
Program Tuition Fee
Graduates from the LLM succeed across an impressive range of careers from policymakers and human rights activists 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 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