The Institute for European Studies (IES), a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence in Brussels, offers 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, there are excellent networking and internship opportunities. The lES boasts excellent teaching facilities and a modern working space, right next to the amenities of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) Etterbeek campus.
The LLM in International and European law is a postgraduate LLM renowned for its outstanding quality and international character. Hosted right at the heart of the European Union, this Brussels-based LLM (formerly known as “PILC”) has offered excellence in this field for 44 years.
The programme is tailored for demanding global career in law, as the professors are nominated specifically for each course in the Programme and are an international mixture of high-ranking practitioners and leading academics.
The courses are exclusively at advanced master (i.e post-graduate) level and the curriculum covers in parallel the essential aspects of international and European law.
We have made special efforts to maintain our tuition as affordable as possible to the students. Small class size ensures a true “family feel” on a global scale.
Our over 1200 PILC alumni are of 108 nationalities.
The LLM in International and European law is an 60 ECTS Advanced Master’s degree obtained in one academic year (from end September until early July)
The programme offers a balanced, versatile package that consists of compulsory and optional courses as well as a Master thesis.
Four compulsory courses (18 credits) giving a broad overview of the main topics of international and European law in the first semester:
- EU Institutional Framework and Judicial Protection (Profs. Devuyst and Arts);
- Globalisation, International Law and Sustainable Development (Prof. van Thiel);
- International and Comparative Law (Profs. Smis and Gosalbo);
- EU Economic Law (Prof. Joris);
These courses are accompanied by two compulsory courses (6 credits) which deepen the knowledge and insights in international and European law:
- International and European Protection of Human Rights (Prof. Gutwirth);
- International Economic Law and Organizations (Prof. Hoffmeister).
In addition, to help set the mood for the Thesis and to gain experience in teamwork in an international context, you are to team up at the start of the first semester in multinational groups of three to four students to write a joint research paper (for the ‘Globalisation, International Law and Sustainable Development’ course).
In the second semester you will follow the two remaining compulsory courses (6 credits):
- International and EU Competition Law (Prof. Smulders);
- EU External Relations (Prof. Martenczuk).
You also need to choose whether to complete the courses offered in the Public Law or the Business Law option.
The Public Law option:
- *Case study on Public International/EU law (Profs. Kalimo and Oberthür);
- EU Environmental Law in an International Context (Profs. Kalimo and Oberthür);
- International and European Criminal Law (Prof. Smis).
The Business Law option:
- *Case study on European Competition Law (Prof. Joris);
- European and International Private Law (Prof. Nuyts);
- International and European Taxation (Prof. van Thiel).
The teaching staff is a unique mixture of renowned EU scholars and top level EU and international law practitioners. They combine academic rigour with the latest practical insights in a context of cultural diversity.
We accept and review applications on a rolling basis, starting 1 October. We recommend prospective students to apply as soon as possible, as the selection will be closed once the full quota of maximum 40 qualifying candidates is reached.
The IES Selection Committee aims at providing a decision within two weeks from receiving all the application documents and letters of reference duly completed. You will receive the decision by both by e-mail and by post.
For the period 2016-2017, IES is able to cap the tuition fee at €5400.
Visit our website for details on how to apply.
All IES students can benefit from career advice, including interview preparation and CV review at the VUB Career Centre. This unique service offered by the VUB in cooperation with Randstad was launched in 2011. Clients of the VUB Career Centre include major law firms, the European Commission, the European Parliament, European Agencies and consultancies. We have over 1200 highly successful alumni who are now working in international institutions such as the European Union, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in national administrations, diplomatic services, the judiciary, as well as in major law firms, corporations and NGOs.
This master's programme was started in response to the growing salience of the interaction of society, law and religion in our multi-religious and yet highly secularised global world.
The Master of Society, Law and Religion provides a unique introduction to the strategic area of society, law and religion and brings you in contact with outstanding international experts in the field.
What is the 'Master of Society, Law and Religion' all about?
The programme aims at enabling students to gain a solid and critical knowledge on key issues such as the place of religion in the public sphere, the debate on secularism, the role of the State vis-à-vis religion, church and relationships, human rights and religion, European and international law and religion, and domestic and international politics of religious freedom. Taught at the Faculty of Canon Law, the programme is particularly sensitive to the autonomy of religions, religious self-government, and religious laws.
While all students receive a basic training in the law of the Roman Catholic Church, the programme embraces all religions and faith communities, and includes classes in Jewish, Islamic, Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant law. African and Asian religions and customs are also investigated, as far as their relation to law and society is concerned.
The programme can be taken as a self-standing programme or as a gateway to the Master of Canon Law. This initial master's program can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis. In order to facilitate students wishing combine education with employment or social engagement, the programme allows for distance learning and spreading of examinations. The large choice of subjects from different faculties enables students to tailor their educational experience, to their interests, needs and projects.
The Master of Society, Law and Religion suits students who are genuinely interested in the interaction of society, law and religion and who are willing to engage critically with the issues at stake. Any background in the area of law, social sciences and religious studies is fit for the purpose, provided that the student is ready to cope with the various methodologies and languages.
Thanks to extensive course offerings in the area of Roman Catholic canon law, the programme also suits those students preparing to enter the Master of Canon Law programme with the aim of achieving the canonical degree 'Iuris Canonici Licentiatus' (JCL).
Main goal of the programme is to develop the acquired basic skills in the Bachelor of Law, the Bachelor of Theology or another programme in view of a specialized exploration of the area 'Society, Law and Religion'. The student obtains a basic knowledge on the legal system of the Roman Catholic Church and the other christian churches. He gets acquainted with legal sources and obtains the required skills to interpret the rules incorporated in the Codex Iuris Canonici (CIC). The student is initiated in the complex interaction between social structures and secular law on one side, and the legal structures of the Church at the other side. Research, consultancy and communication skills as well as other social elements are stimulated. The student is able to develop a sound research strategy, and to present an accurate synthesis of existing knowledge and a well-argued personal and critical reflection. He is able to present a well-considered research question, to develop a research plan, and to select relevant sources. Those who selected optional courses in canon law are allowed to start in the programme 'Master of Canon Law'.
Religion is increasingly acknowledged as a crucial factor in areas such as politics and the economy, social and corporate management, culture, employment, education, health care, international cooperation, and conflict resolution.
Candidates for positions in these areas, in the private or public sector, as well as those already employed, will benefit from gaining a topical knowledge in the field.
Graduates can further develop their education at the Faculty of Canon Law through by moving on to the Master in Canon Law or the doctoral programme in Society, Law and Religion.
The programme focuses on each institution's strengths: International and European Law in Leuven and Arbitration Law, Financial Law and Human Rights in Zurich. Switzerland is a centre of arbitration and banking, and many international institutions are based here.
Upon completion of the programme, students receive a double degree - one from KU Leuven and another from the University of Zurich. A double degree from two leading law faculties in Europe will be of enormous added value for your future professional career in an international context.
Each partner university will select fifteen students to participate in this programme.
The ideal prospective student:
Knowledge and insight: The student has a basic knowledge of law and also a thorough, consolidated knowledge of their national, European and International law and develops a clear vision on the interaction among the three of them whereby he/she integrates the expertise in positive law with insight into the principles of law.
The student does as well have specialized knowledge and insight in the two main legal areas offered, European and International law, just as a profound knowledge in a wide-range of transversal legal areas that express the relation and interaction between the different, basic, legal areas and the dynamism and renovation of the Law.
The student can frame legal arguments and legal reasoning in a social, historical or value based context as a result of a critical and reflective basic attitude towards the law, human beings and society in general terms.
General legal skills: The students adopt a systematic method when approaching complex legal or social-related questions. He/she is able to make an independent legal analysis and synthesis of problems. The students have the capacity to offer adequate solutions and adopt clarifying, problem solving points of view.
Scientific - legal related skills: The student handles one or more legal areas with an independent and scientific approach. He/she can apply his legal knowledge, insight and skills when accomplishing independent legal research.
Communication skills: The student can draft texts and explain orally, in a structured and clear way legal issues to both laymen and legal practitioners.
IT skills: The student can make use of modern technologies applied to legal information sources (ex. digital libraries and databases)
Learning skills: The student is able to deal with new legal areas and acquire further knowledge in the ones he/she is more familiar with.
The Master of Law programme is a stepping stone to an interesting legal career. As experts in European and international law, our students work in international law firms, a wide variety of public service fields at all levels of the government and in European and international institutions or interest groups. Our graduates are also recruited by non-governmental organisations and companies in the private sector.
The advanced master’s programme in IP & IT Law builds on the expertise of the KU Leuven Centre for IT & IP Law (CiTiP).
This programme intends to address the increasing demand for qualified legal experts in the IP, ICT and media sector. These are rapidly evolving and highly complex sectors influenced by a myriad of technological, economic and sociological developments. Existing legal frameworks are continuously challenged within these sectors and traditional legal concepts and principles are regularly being reinterpreted.
To achieve this objective, students are offered a comprehensive study of international and European IP law, IT law and media and communications law, with special attention to interdisciplinary perspectives and practical skills that are in demand in these sectors.
The teaching staff consists of internationally respected academics, experts from institutions such as the European Commission and national regulatory authorities, and leading practitioners, ensuring optimal knowledge and experience transfer. The programme provides an excellent academic education and added value both to graduate students wishing to enhance their curriculum and to practitioners in search of top-quality, cutting-edge expertise.
Those who concentrate on the specialisation Intellectual Property Law/Droits Intellectuals follow a majority of the courses in Dutch and French. Those who concentrate on ICT Law follow all courses in English. Students remain, however, free to choose courses in the language of their choice. The programme also includes a Master's dissertation, optionally in Dutch, French or English.
This is an Advanced Master's programme which you can follow on a full-time or a part-time basis.
Graduates are well positioned for jobs in (international) law firms and companies in the IP, ICT and media sector. Graduates have also gone on to positions in (international) public administration as well as in international public interest organisations. Students may also choose to further develop their academic skills by pursuing a PhD related to fundamental issues of IP, ICT or media law.
The two-year programme focuses on the study of canon law and provides an introduction into the law of other religions (comparative law) and the study of capita selecta. The skills obtained will be applied during the internship and improved through personal research. This general experience will be reflected in a research paper.
This is an advanced Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
Students in the Master of Canon Law programme:
Success in this master's programme leads to the canonical degree 'Iuris Canonici Licentiatus' (JCL), having preliminarily completed a course of study in theology.
A key objective of the programme is to study the seven books in the Code of Canon Law (CIC/83) in depth. Students also receive training in the various disciplines indicated in the 'Novo Codice' decree issued by the Congregation for Catholic Education. Knowledge of secular law will be improved. Research skills will be further developed and stimulated: students get acquainted with the process of conducting academic research on an advanced level, are able to develop an extensive research proposal, find all relevant sources and describe the state-of-the-art on a specific topic. The obtained knowledge and skills will be integrated while studying concrete cases, writing a thesis and participating in the internship. Students with promising results will be stimulated and prepared for the doctoral programme.
Graduates have been appointed as judges, promotors of justice and advocates in ecclesiastical tribunals. They have also been called to serve as chancellors, judicial vicars or experts in canon law in the diocesan Curia or in Catholic organisations. Others find employment as teachers in secondary schools, the seminary or the university.
Successful graduates may also move on to the doctoral programme, where successful completion of specialised study leads to the degree of Doctor of Canon Law and the canonical degree of Iuris Canonici Doctor (JCD). These degrees bring with them the opportunity to serve the People of God as a canon lawyer.
The programme has a marked international dimension. European law is an important focus. This is unsurprising given KU Leuven's close proximity to the EU institutions in Brussels. The programme taps into a large network of legal professionals with daily exposure to and experience in the European institutions.
The programme includes attending hearings at the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg in the first semester and at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in the second. Discussing current issues in international affairs with the staff members of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, again in Strasbourg during the second semester, are also part of your LL.M. programme.
Members of the professorial staff of the LLM programme generally hold degrees from top universities in the United States and the United Kingdom and many have substantial experience as prominent legal practitioners.
Area of specialization of your choice:
If you like the courses offered in the other two, you can follow them as elective courses. Each specialisation includes eight clinics led by distinguished legal and business practitioners.
This is an advanced master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
As a main prerequisite, the student must have a good knowledge of European Institutional Law. For students wishing to strengthen this knowledge, self-study reading materials are available from the beginning of the academic year.
The ideal prospective student will
The LL.M. programme is a post-graduate programme. It aims at offering students who already graduated in law in countries with different legal cultures, a high profile programme focusing on European and international law.
Given its philosophy grounded in European law, its highly skilled teachers and its openness to the study and practice of various types of law - and of course, its proximity to Brussels - the Leuven LLM constitutes a significant added value for students seeking legal careers in Europe.
The Master of European Social Security is a one-year advanced master's programme organised by KU Leuven's Faculty of Law dealing with the area of social security in its broadest sense, including cash benefit schemes, pensions and health care systems.
The programme provides an in-depth study of social security and social protection from a legal, economical, sociological, administrative and philosophical perspective. In addition to being multidisciplinary, the curriculum contains a strong comparative and multinational component focusing on the provision of social protection rights across Europe. This gives you the opportunity to understand the many different approaches to social security that co-exist within our old continent. At the same time, you will gain a better understanding of your own national system. The programme also includes careful study of the role of international bodies such as the European Union.
As a student in the programme, you become part of an international network of experts in the field of social security. Students come from various European countries and beyond and have different academic backgrounds. The teaching staff consists of renowned professors from KU Leuven and other European universities specialising in various disciplines related to social security.
The programme comprises 60ECTS and starts with the summer school in August. The programme concludes the following academic year (July of next year).
The Master's programme is offered in two options:
The two tracks share 30 ECTS in common coursework and 30 ECTS in specialised, track-specific coursework.
Admission to the research-oriented track is based on your end results of the examinations organised at the end of the Executive Summer School and is subject to the decision of an Academic Selection Committee. Only a maximum of six students are admitted to this track every year.
The classes and workshops organised in Leuven (Belgium) are grouped into a limited number of weeks. Remaining coursework is completed via digital learning platform. The platform connects you to Europe's best lecturers who guide you through their specially designed course materials remotely.
This unique teaching platform offers the best of both worlds: an authentic university experience at one of Europe's foremost universities during your two stays on campus and the flexibility to complete the majority of the programme from home. Throughout the programme, you will be connected to a unique international network of universities and be in contact with teaching staff and fellow participants from all over Europe.
The ideal prospective student should:
While all prospective students should have knowledge of social security acquired by study, those with practical experience, e.g. experience working in a social security administration, are particularly valued. Some previous exposure to European social affairs and/or foreign social security systems is also helpful.
The programme is a specialised, research-based education, dealing with the area of social security in its broadest sense. It provides the students with an in-depth study of social protection from a legal, economic, sociological and administrative perspective, confronting the students with the most recent research and several national backgrounds, thus stimulating individual reflection.
At the end of the programme the participants should be able to :
Graduates are professionally active in areas related to social security (social or private insurance institutions, social administrations, social and economic policy-makers).