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LLM International Law: Crime, Justice and Human Rights

Course Description

This programme draws upon Birmingham Law School's research strengths in International Law, International Humanitarian Law, Criminal Law and Justice, and Human Rights, enabling students to develop expertise in a wide range of relevant International law subjects.

Students can study modules in international, transnational and European criminal law and justice alongside more nationally rooted specialisms and a breadth of human rights modules. Through our long-standing dedicated counter-terrorism modules, and those focusing upon specific theoretical or practical criminal justice issues (ranging from restorative justice to mentally disordered offenders) as well as our specialist human rights modules, we offer our students a unique opportunity for broad study and in-depth specialisation.

For those seeking a deeper understanding of the increasingly global structures which govern criminal justice as well as the finer issues challenging criminal justice structures, this course offers a unique learning opportunity and is an excellent choice for those seeking legal opportunities around the world.

In our research at Birmingham Law School we increasingly encounter the challenges of internationalised legal problems, regionalised or globalised criminal justice intervention and enforcement and the severe challenges posed to human rights by them. In developing this course we set out to encourage students to explore these with us.

Alongside the intellectual challenge, we also recognise a distinct increase in employment opportunities arising beyond the traditional jurisdictions of lawyers, let alone criminal justice professionals. By undertaking a combination of the modules available on this programme, our students will become uniquely knowledgeable of dynamic, vital and growing aspects of international law theory and practice.

About the Birmingham Law School

Birmingham Law School has a long tradition of producing cutting-edge research that has real-world impact and informs the challenging and exciting learning environment our students experience. As a community of world-leading scholars, teachers and students, Birmingham Law School continues to make an important contribution to our understanding, teaching, and practice of law. In 2016 it was named as one of the world’s Top 100 law schools in the QS World Rankings.

We provide an expansive range of programmes, for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies and employ a range of approaches in our teaching and our research, from the theoretical and doctrinal to the empirical and applied. Our research is recognised on a global stage, and our academics are frequent participants in legal debates and contribute to the policy-making process.

We provide students with more than just a degree, and enable them to develop the skills required to enhance their employability. Our Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research (CEPLER) presents our students with opportunities to increase their knowledge of law in action through Pro Bono and Mooting as well as the 50+ legal specific career events CEPLER organises annually. CEPLERs work is one of the many things that have led to Birmingham being recognised as the University of the Year for Graduate Employability in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016.

Funding and Scholarships

There are many ways to finance your postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham. To see what funding and scholarships are available, please visit: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/funding

Open Days

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at our on-campus open days.
Register to attend at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/visit

Virtual Open Days

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit: http://www.pg.bham.ac.uk

Visit the LLM International Law: Crime, Justice and Human Rights page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Sebastian Woschech

936.jpg As one of the leading universities, nationally as well as internationally, Birmingham’s reputation easily extends to Germany and beyond. Having consulted former students and the academic staff of my previous university my impression of the intellectually challenging atmosphere at the University of Birmingham was confirmed. The strong focus on the international commercial aspects of the law and the strong European emphasis were the decisive factors for my decision to study at Birmingham. A further pull-factor was the possibility to attend the LLM programme previous to the first German state Examination.

The International Commercial Law course offers a wide variety of seminars on this subject area. Particularly exciting was that these seminars were not only taught by leading academics but also by internationally renowned practitioners in this field of law. The opportunity to visit Vienna for a week in order to represent the University at the world’s biggest Mooting Competition was a once in a lifetime experience and perfectly complimented the range of seminars.

Birmingham’s active student community and a huge variety of different societies to cater to everybody’s interests speak for themselves. Made possible by the proximity of student accommodation to the campus, university-life in Birmingham does not end when the “bell rings”.

Being the second biggest city in the UK after London, Birmingham has a lot to offer. Leisure activities, shopping facilities and an astonishing variety of cultural offers paired with an emerging sense of internationality make Birmingham what it is:

Currently I am still studying law in Germany to complete the first state examination. However, having studied in Birmingham has already changed my future. The intellectually challenging discussions in class paired with a commercial real-life approach to legal problems have shaped my way of thinking. My wish to work as a solicitor for an international law-firm certainly became tangible by studying at the University of Birmingham. Having been approached by several international and German law-firms and having been invited to some very nice dinners in Birmingham and London certainly is one positive side-effect of studying at an institution of such a reputation.

The University’s heraldic motto: “Per Ardua Ad Alta” particularly holds true for a career in Law. Certainly it is not the easiest career and it demands for great dedication and perseverance. However, who is willing to pursue this career with great vigour will certainly be rewarded. Just as the motto states: Through hard work, great heights are achieved.

(Student Profile)

Christina Santos

937.jpg Birmingham is one of the best law schools in the UK and when you come here you begin to understand why. The lecturers are fantastic, providing lots of discussion in classes and stimulating interest in the subject. It is important that you are prepared to take part and get involved as this is how you will get the most out of the course.

There is no point going to a university which nobody will know back in your own country, so it is very important to go somewhere like Birmingham, which has an international reputation and people know how good your education has been when you go to look for jobs.

When you study, the facilities have to be good, especially in law, as it involves a lot of reading . Birmingham is really good at making sure everyone has access to the resources and the whole process runs extremely smoothly. The e-library is brilliant because of the amount of information available and it is available anywhere as you can log in from home and browse the resources remotely without having to come to campus.

There are people from all over the world studying here and this gives a great perspective on world cultures and events as you learn about the history and experiences of others. The city also has a big community of Brazilians which is fantastic for me.

The support and environment for international students at Birmingham is brilliant. Everything you need is in your hands and available either personally or through the web. When I first arrived the international induction week was great as it made me feel really welcome from the very beginning. Everyone is really friendly and if you do get lost which is likely during your first few weeks you can ask anyone and they will be happy to help.

I love the fact that we’re not located right in the centre of Birmingham but are still really close so it takes very little time to be around the canals, shops and restaurants which the city has to offer. It’s a great place to be as it is always busy and buzzing. Birmingham is a big city but because you are located away from the centre it is possible to find a smaller calmer environment where you are and it doesn’t feel like such a big place.

(Student Profile)

Xi Zhang

938.jpg I chose to study in the UK because a Masters programme takes one year instead of the three it would take in China. The legal system in China is undergoing changes and the country requires more scholars who have learnt about UK law to help shape the future direction of the Chinese legal system.

The campus is extremely beautiful with lots of trees and plants, the environment is really nice and I enjoy walking in from my accommodation. The University has its own train station which is really convenient for travelling as it makes getting to most places very easy.

Birmingham has a huge shopping centre and a great Chinatown with a fantastic supermarket so it is possible to get a taste of home even in Birmingham. There is lots of choice around the city and it’s possible to get really good prices

The LLM programme has a good mix of UK and international students so you feel at home and make lots of good friends from all across the globe. I’ve felt more inspired to learn since I’ve been here as discussions are a key part of seminars and it makes you get involved and take a greater interest in the subject area.

Birmingham is a nice place to be as the weather is not too cold or wet and the people are extremely friendly and take the time to talk to you.

Birmingham University is very famous in China. Having a degree from such a prestigious university will benefit me when I start looking for a job. When I graduate I will either apply for a PHD or return to China and get a job working for the court.

(Student Profile)

Nora Lizbeth Sumuano Barragan

939.jpg I came to study in Birmingham as it’s a multicultural city and it’s a great opportunity for me to learn about lots of different cultures by meeting people from all over the world. The city is extremely modern and the variety of entertainment available means that you can do almost anything here. Birmingham is handily located in the centre of the country so it’s really useful for getting around and visiting other places while I’m here.

When deciding where to go I searched the internet to discover which schools were of the highest quality and found that Birmingham Law school was the best university who offered the course I was interested in. I also looked at other factors such as the finances I would need in different parts of the country and discovered that Birmingham is much less expensive than London to live in. I was also lucky enough to be offered a scholarship to study Law at Birmingham which showed how much the university wanted me and had a big impact on my decision.

One of the reasons I chose Birmingham is because it is a traditional law school with a great sense of history and the buildings and surroundings all add to that feeling as it’s a beautiful green environment. It’s really nice here and everything which you could need is located on campus. There are lots of activities and clubs to get involved in and I’d recommend doing some research before you arrive to make sure you know about all the opportunities which are available and don’t miss out on anything.

The content of the course is really great, you’ll be amazed at the quality of the materials you are given. The texts and information which we have to read are really interesting and it inspires you to want to keep reading and learning. Every course is so well prepared and you’ll really enjoy studying here. The time flies by as the content of what you are learning is extremely interesting.

When I graduate I’m looking to return to Mexico and practice in International Commercial Law, I love life in the UK but because I don’t have the background knowledge in British Common Law I think I’ll probably return home to practice.

(Student Profile)

Soren Bottger

940.jpg I chose Birmingham because of its strong emphasis on European law ... the teachers encourage discussion in class based on well thought out and interesting reading lists. To broaden their studies, students are also welcome to attend the undergraduate European Law. Birmingham is the perfect University for every international student: the Law School is in the middle of the campus in close range to all facilities. Birmingham is England's second city and life never gets boring.

After my studies in Birmingham and my submission to the German bar, I worked in a Singapore law firm as a Registered Foreign Lawyer advising German investors venturing into Asia. Subsequently, I joined a law firm in Berlin advising international hotel corporations as well as numerous other international investors. The majority of our correspondence with clients is in English.

Our clients mostly have a common law background so we explain the particularities of German and European Law. Without my studies in Birmingham, I would not be able to compare the two approaches or explain them so well. My studies in Birmingham have given me a true international background and a valuable understanding of both common law and European law. The knowledge
and legal understanding that I gained in Birmingham is very valuable to my everyday work as a lawyer.

I found that employers in both Asia and Europe thought very highly of the LLM and Birmingham. I can say with confidence that my studies in Birmingham greatly assisted my career, and I wouldn't be where I am today without the LLM.’

(Student Profile)

Frances Gwilliam

941.jpg ‘I am only half-way through my LLM course but I can tell you that it is fascinating, challenging and hard work! I completed an undergraduate law degree at Cambridge. I really enjoyed the justice aspects of that degree and wanted to continue my studies, so I chose Birmingham Law School because it offers a specialist LLM in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice.

From the first day it was clear I was going to be spending a lot of time in the library! I chose four modules from a broad range and I have a fortnightly seminar in each one. For every seminar, reading is set, often with questions that will be discussed in class. The seminars have been intellectually stimulating and a great opportunity to try out ideas, to debate issues that have arisen from the reading and to be taught by some highly respected academics.

The highlight of the first term was undoubtedly a visit to the Criminal Cases Review Commission in Birmingham for a guest lecture. Every student has to write a dissertation as part of their LLM and at the moment I am researching mine. It is exciting to be able to look at one aspect of the course that has particularly grabbed my attention, although it is also a bit daunting. An LLM degree is not like an undergraduate degree: the onus is very much on you to develop ideas, do the reading and then ask questions. However, the academic staff are always keen to help and I have found my teachers and the support staff only too willing to answer queries and assist with my study.

Should you study an LLM at Birmingham? Definitely! I will not lie, it is hard work, but I have met some great people, had a lot of fun and have loved having the chance to study in a great city, challenging myself intellectually and focussing on an area of law that I am passionate about.’


Birmingham Law School LLM Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

For 2017 entry Birmingham Law School are offering a number of scholarships to applicants for its taught LLM programmes:- up to £10,000 for international students (Non EU)
- up to £2,000 for UK/EU students.Scholarships will be awarded on the basis of academic merit and financial need. Applicants must already have applied for admission to the LLM degree.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Up to £10,000


Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit. Applicants must already have applied for admission to the LLM degree in order to be considered for a scholarship.

Application Procedure

For application and further information, please visit the University website: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/law/courses/llm/scholarships.aspx

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Applicants should have a good Honours degree in law, or a degree in another discipline augmented with a pass in the Common Professional Examination.

Last Updated

02 December 2016

Course Fees

£7,290 FT / £3,645 PT (UK/EU); £16,380 FT (overseas)

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