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Masters Degrees in Law, Belgium

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The Institute for European Studies. https://www.ies.be/about. 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. Read more

The Institute for European Studies


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


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 more than 45 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.

Programme Setup


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. The optional courses are Public Law, Business Law, and Data Law. The Data Law option is a new option since the 2018-19 academic year.

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

- Globalisation, International Law and Sustainable Development

- International and Comparative Law

- EU Economic Law

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

- International Economic Law and Organizations

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).

Second Semester

In the second semester you will follow the two remaining compulsory courses (6 credits):

- International and EU Competition Law

- EU External Relations

You also need to choose whether to complete the courses offered in the Public Law, Business Law, or Data Law option.

The Public Law option:

  • *Case study on Public International/EU law
  • EU Environmental Law in an International Context
  • International and European Criminal Law

The Business Law option:

  • *Case study on European Competition Law
  • European and International Private Law
  • International and European Taxation

The Data Law option:

  • International and European Data Protection Law
  • Data Policies in the European Union
  • Case Study on Global Privacy and Data Protection

Teaching staff

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.

Applications and scholarships


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 four weeks from receiving all the application documents and letters of reference duly completed. You will receive the decision by e-mail.

For the academic year 2018-2019, IES is able to cap the tuition fee at €5400.

Visit our website for details on how to apply.

Career & alumni


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.

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What is the Master of Law all about?. The programme focuses on each institution's strengths: . International and European Law. Read more

What is the Master of Law all about?

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.

Is this the right programme for me?

The ideal prospective student:

  • has basic knowledge of local, European and international law and has a general understanding of the mutual relationship between these three systems of law
  • is capable of situating law in its social, historic and geographical context
  • is capable of subjecting law to critical, reflective research
  • has mastered and sufficiently extended his/her ability to reason in the abstract 
  • has mastered his/her ability to achieve a synthesis and analysis in order to think in a creative and law-forming manner
  • has acquired the juristic manner to reason and argue
  • has knowledge of sources typical of law
  • has core skills in written and oral expression in English


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.

Career perspectives

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.

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What is the Master of Intellectual Property and ICT Law about?. The advanced master’s programme in IP & IT Law builds on the expertise of the KU Leuven Centre for IT & IP Law (CiTiP). Read more

What is the Master of Intellectual Property and ICT Law about?

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.


  • The student masters the structure and methodology of the international and European and / or Belgian intellectual property rights, media and / or ICT law that he / she has followed.
  • The student can deal with complex problems in the domain of the intellectual property rights, media and / or ICT law that he / she has followed.
  • The student can independently test research findings and situate them in a personally substantiated structure that makes an original contribution to knowledge.
  • The student can adopt a critical position in relation to the domain of the intellectual property law rights, media law and / or IT law that he / she has followed.
  • The student can communicate his point of view to colleagues in Dutch, French and / or English.

Career perspectives

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.

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What is the Master of Laws (LLM) all about?. The programme has . a marked international dimension.  . European law.  is an important focus. Read more

What is the Master of Laws (LLM) all about?

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:

  • International and European Business Law
  • International and European Public Law 
  • International and European Jurisprudence

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.

Is this the right programme for me?

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

  • have already obtained a master's degree (or equivalent) in law 
  • have received training in legal principles 
  • have the ability to think critically about the nature and purpose of rules
  • have the analytical skills needed to assess factual situations
  • have a general understanding of the operation of law in society


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.

The student:

  • has in-depth knowledge of universal legal issues, in particular as they are dealt with in the law of the E.U. and international law
  • is able to independently identify, analyze and solve complex legal problems
  • is able to work in a creative manner with international and national legal sources and techniques
  • is able to conduct individual scientific research
  • is able to argue a legal argument
  • is able to express himself in an adequate and universal legal language
  • is able to present both written and oral information in a clear and well-structured form
  • knows how to use online legal databases
  • conducts legal research to help finding remedies to current social/political issues (eg. to contribute for policy makers/researchers to find the right approach for a complete solution)
  • compares legal systems
  • works independently (self-management during the writing process of their research work, ending in the final submission of their paper).

Career perspectives

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.

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