The shifting balance between the state and the economy has given rise to new challenges at the intersections of law, business and government. Addressing these issues calls for professionals who understand their complexity and have the necessary legal skills and management capacities. The Master’s Programme in International Law (MIL) combines a specialist legal education with essential aspects of business and politics. We prepare our graduates for a wide range of careers in the corporate world, in government, diplomacy, international organisations, compliance and regulatory affairs and other public and private sector institutions.
Curriculum: structure and contents
The MIL offers students enormous latitude and flexibility in choosing courses from the programme’s rich and diverse curriculum to put together a degree course that meets their professional objectives and personal preferences. A distinctive feature of the MIL curriculum is the carefully arranged combination of compulsory courses and electives. Three compulsory courses ensure that students will acquire a sound general understanding of the normative and analytical framework of international law. At the same time, a wide range of electives enables them to specialise in selected topics and, if they so wish, to complement their legal education with courses from related areas such as management studies or political science.
Compulsory courses The three compulsory courses are foundational in character. They provide students with the knowledge, the analytical tools and the practical skills required for a general grasp of the theory and practice of international law. The compulsory courses are the basis upon which students can build when they attend more specialised legal classes in subsequent semesters.
Core electives Core electives are courses designed to deepen students’ understanding of specific international law topics. Courses are organised in clusters, each concentrating on a particular subject area. Some courses seek to familiarise participants with the practical approaches to problem-solving at the intersections of law, business and politics. Others encourage theoretical reflection on basic legal issues or help to develop students’ professional skills. Students choose courses according to their own individual interests.
Legal electives Legal electives enhance students’ legal expertise and allow them to specialise while granting great freedom of choice. Students may attend various courses from the MLaw and MLE. In addition, they are invited to participate in a variety of practice workshops, especially Moots, in which the Law School regularly takes part. They also benefit from special courses offered by visiting professors.
Independent electives Independent electives present a wide range of options. Students choose courses according to their own preferences. They may wish to attend further core electives, legal electives, or courses offered throughout the other Master’s programmes, or they can opt for additional courses offered by the Law School.
Master’s thesis The Master’s thesis allows students to concentrate on a research question in a specialised subject area of their own choice. Students develop their topic in consultation with their supervisor. While the subject may stem from the core studies or from a contextual discipline, it must focus on a research topic broadly related to international law. The thesis must normally be written in English.
Contextual Studies The University of St. Gallen considers it essential that its graduates should be able to look beyond their academic specialisation and adopt a more comprehensive perspective that enables them to place contemporary issues in their wider cultural, social and historical settings. Contextual Studies complement the MIL’s core studies. Students can choose from a rich variety of options.
Exchange and double degrees
• CEMS Master’s in International Management (MIM) • Exchange programmes with 190 partner universities worldwide • Double degree programme in preparation
The MIL curriculum combines a specialised legal education with interdisciplinary training, an international perspective and an emphasis on practical problem-solving. With its innovative curriculum, the MIL opens the door to a wide array of attractive positions, preparing graduates for professional careers in multinational corporations, government, diplomacy, international organisations, compliance and regulatory affairs, business consulting, law firms, NGOs, as well as other public and private institutions. Given its strategic focus on international law and the interdependencies with global business and government, the MIL differs from standard legal programmes that focus on domestic law and are intended for students who, after their Bar exams, will go on to work as legal practitioners, particularly as attorneys or law clerks, in their national jurisdictions. Some law graduates, after completing their MLaw or MLE, might think about pursuing an international corporate or public-sector career in order to practise law in a global context. They may find that the MIL is just the academic programme they are looking for as it can make an essential contribution to fulfilling their international aspirations. Subject to the grades achieved, the MIL degree will also enable students to start a promising academic career as it provides access to Ph.D. programmes.
“I opted for the MIL because I find the curriculum interesting. Its compulsory courses give me a firm grounding in key subjects such as public international law and international negotiation strategies. In addition, the MIL offers a rich variety of cluster courses and legal electives in fascinating areas such as the interactions between multinational firms, governments and international organisations.”