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LLM in International and European Law

Course Description

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 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.

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.

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).

Second Semester

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).

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 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 €4800.

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.

Visit the LLM in International and European Law page on the Vrije Universiteit Brussel website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Alan Stomel

1519.jpg Alan Stomel is a U.S. attorney, specialised in Bankruptcy and Insolvency for over twenty-five years. He came to the LLM programme at the IES in order to expand his practice into International Insolvency.

"The professors of the LLM programme at IES were not only excellent professors, but high level EU professionals with years of practical experience. They were always available and happy to talk one on one to share their experience and provide valuable advice."

After completing the programme, Alan was hired by the European Commission to work on revising the European Insolvency Regulation. "Graduating from the LLM programme at the IES had a lot to do with me being one of the only Americans to ever be hired by the European Commission. It is a great honour and I owe it all to my IES professors."


IES scholarships - 20+ Awards

The IES scholarship take the form of a reduced tuition fee (full or partial waiver).
They are awarded on the basis of merit and demonstrated need upon decision of the program's board.
Applications for the scholarship have to be sent together with the application for the master program itself.If the board chooses to give only full tuition waivers, a maximum number of 10 scholarships are available per master program. The number can be higher if tuition is only partially waived.

Value of Scholarship(s)

up to 2500 EUR


The scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit and demonstrated need, from the academic year 2009/2010 on. Students have to apply for the scholarships when they apply for the master's program (i.e. before 28 February for admission to the program starting in September).

Application Procedure

Students applying for a scholarship have to apply for it when applying for the program.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

The LLM is a demanding programme with high academic admission requirements. To qualify for admission you need to have a law degree (J.D. or LLM), which entitles you to practise law in your country of origin, excellent academic results and references, and proven proficiency in English. Because of the variety of legal education systems, the Admission Board reserves the right to decide which qualifications will permit access to the programme.The programme offers a limited number of scholarships that take the form of a reduced tuition fee (full or partial waiver) for cases of merit and/or demonstrable need.

Last Updated

08 December 2016

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