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Public International Law LLM (January & September Start)

Course Description


The programme provides students with a thorough knowledge of public international law while also discussing recent trends and current developments in this area of law.

The aim of the programme is:

- to acquire an advanced knowledge of general public international law;
- to assess realistically the place of States and non-state actors in the international system, where the power of the nation State is shaken by supra-national political, economic and social factors;
- to gage critically how public international law needs to be adapted to face current international crises, such as international terrorism, nuclear weapon proliferation, ethnic conflicts, climate change and energy security.

Participants obtain skills that enable them to:

- analyse and interpret legal sources, cases and literature related to public international law;
- research and formulate an independent opinion on international legal questions;
- clearly present their findings both orally and in writing;
- apply this advanced academic knowledge in public international law in a professional context.

For those interested, an interdisciplinary approach (law and international relations) is offered. As such, students on this programme have the option of selecting modules taught by the School of Social Science as well as the School of Law.

The programme is designed for law graduates or professionals in possession of a full law degree or who hold an equivalent degree and/or have sufficient professional experience in the field.


Students must complete four taught courses, a Research Methods Course and a dissertation. At least three courses must be taken from the list below, including the compulsory course. The fourth course may be taken from another LLM programme. Students wishing to select the courses offered by the School of Social Science should discuss this with the programme coordinator before committing to the course. NB: The number in brackets indicates the semester in which the course is taught.

Compulsory Course:
The Evolution of International Law in a World of Crises (1)

Optional courses offered by the School of Law:
The Politics of Human Rights (1)
International Economic Law: The WTO (1)

International Criminal Law (2)
International Human Rights Law (2)
The Use of Force in International Law (2)
International Trade & Finance Law (2)

Optional courses offered by the School of Social Science:
Theories of International Relations (1)
Global Security Issues (2)

Courses are offered subject to the availability of staff, sufficient enrolment and to sabbatical arrangements.

For outlines of the above modules, see the Postgraduate Catalogue of Courses.

Assessment is based on a combination of coursework submitted during the semester and a written examination at the end of the relevant semester. In addition, students must complete a course in research methods and a dissertation on a topic within the specialism. All full time students, both those who begin in January as well those who begin in September, commence work on the dissertation in March, with a final submission date of 1st September each year. Guidance on the writing of a dissertation is given.

Teaching is organised on a modular basis. There are two twelve-week semesters, the first beginning at the end of September and finishing at the end of January (1), the second at the end of January and finishing in early June (2). Examinations are held at the end of each semester, in January and May. The dissertation is planned and written between March and September. Students can join either in September or January.

A limited amount of funding is available through the University and the College of Arts and Social Sciences. See http://www.abdn.ac.uk/law/graduate/funding for further information.

The programme caters for those already working in, or pursuing a career in governmental institutions, international organisations, international non-governmental organisations or in any legal profession with an international orientation. The programme may also serve to engage in an academic career and prepare a PhD.

Visit the Public International Law LLM (January & September Start) page on the Aberdeen University website for more details!

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Student Profiles

Entry Requirements


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