International law is an increasingly important field of study and practice. Never before has international law taken such a central position in public debates. The regulation of financial markets, environmental protection, the management of migrations or the prosecution of war criminals are all areas in which international law plays a major role. International law does not only affect the behaviour of states and intergovernmental institutions. Neither is it simply a discipline of diplomats, academics and philosophers. International law today dominates the activity of transnational corporations, NGOs and individuals, from footballers to victims of human rights violations. As a result, governments, international institutions, NGOs, businesses and law firms are increasingly looking for individuals capable of dealing with complex issues of transnational law.
Why Study International Law at Keele?
The Keele Law School has a long tradition of academic expertise in the field of international law. International law has been taught at Keele by world-renowned experts such as Michael Akehurst and Patrick Thornberry. In recent years, the Keele Law School has invested heavily in the area of international law. Students will be taught be dynamic academic staff with a wide range of expertise and research interests.
The Keele LLM in International Law differs from most existing LLMs in several important respects:
- Flexibility: the programme is based upon a ‘pathway’ structure, where students tailor their degree according to their needs and preferences. Depending on their choice of electives, students can graduate with any one of the following degrees: LLM in International Law; LLM in International Law and Politics; LLM in International Law and Human Rights; LLM in International Law and the environment; LLM in International Law and Business.
- Interdisciplinarity: students can choose from a wide range of electives offered not only within the Law School, but also within the School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy (SPIRE) and the Keele Management School (KMS).
- Skills: students can study modern languages – including key UN languages – as part of their degree, increasing their range of professional skills. Keele currently offers courses in: Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.
- Professional opportunities: students interested in more hand-on practical experience have the possibility to do work placements as part of their degree, with any one of our partner institutions (UN agencies, international tribunals, non-governmental organisations, law firms, etc. – places are limited).
Keele is located on a beautiful and safe campus – the largest of its kind in the country – and has been ranked in the top 5 universities in the UK for student satisfaction.
The aims of the LLM in International Law are to: - Provide students with a practical and theoretical understanding of the role, nature and functioning of international law.
- Encourage students to develop a critical awareness of the social, historical and political contexts in which international law operates.
- Provide a degree of specialisation in areas of international law of professional or intellectual interest to students.
- Develop students’ research skills in the context of supervised research on an agreed topic in public international law and encourage the production of original and creative scholarship.
- Encourage students to develop critical, analytical and problem-solving skills which can be applied to a wide range of legal and non-legal contexts.
- Provide a strong educational foundation that enhances a student’s prospects of professional, commercial or academic employment.
Teaching & Assessment
The LLM in International Law is taught by a team of talented academics and practitioners. Members of our staff hold degrees from the most prestigious Universities in Europe and North America (Sorbonne, Oxford, Cornell etc.). They have published widely on questions of United Nations law, international trade law, international investment law, dispute settlement, international criminal law, human rights law, international environmental law, or international legal theory. They have acted as legal advisers to governments and international organisations, have worked as human rights field officers, and have been consulted by the House of Lords on burning issues such as human trafficking.
The programme is taught principally through semester-long modules. During each taught module, students take part in lectures, tutor-led seminars and discussions, small group exercises, and case studies. Each module is accompanied by extensive independent study and throughout the course students are encouraged and required to undertake independent reading.
The programme is assessed principally, though not exclusively, through written work. Written work may be in the form of research essays, final examinations, blog discussions or reflective portfolios. Through the essays, students demonstrate their understanding of a particular area of international law (or one of the other taught subjects, i.e. human rights/environment/politics/business) as well as their ability for original thinking and high-level written communication skills.
The final form of assessment is the dissertation, which is an extended (15,000 – 20,000 words) and in-depth piece of writing that brings together all of the skills that students have learned throughout the programme. As part of the dissertation, students are also required to prepare a dissertation proposal and give an oral presentation (as part of the graduate research workshop).
Modules across the programme will include recommended core and supplemental texts. Costs will vary depending on the particular text (Law textbooks vary between £20-40).
Apart from additional costs for text books, inter-library loans and potential overdue library fines we do not anticipate any additional costs for this post graduate programme.
The LLM in International Law will enable entry into a range of occupations where specialist expertise knowledge is needed. It provides an ideal basis for those seeking employment as international law practitioners in relevant national and international organisations (government agencies, UN bodies, NGOs), multinational corporations, or transnational law firms. Equally, the programme will equip students for further study in the form of a postgraduate research programme, such as a PhD, by providing appropriate research training and an introduction to key thinkers and scholarship.