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International Law and Governance (LLM)

Course Description

Under the programme, students must follow three compulsory modules, and choose from a range of optional modules. Modules will be delivered either through small group seminars. Attendance is mandatory for these seminars, which have been chosen as the primary means of delivering material to students due to the advanced nature of the course. Furthermore, small group seminars encourage participation and the development of communications skills. What is more, small group settings allow students to benefit from close contact with the academics teaching on the programme, many of which are also experienced practitioners and consultants in their respective fields of expertise.

The compulsory modules ensure students secure a grounding in the fundamentals of international law and governance, and facilitate in-depth understanding of the foundations of public international law and become familiar with the current debates in the field.

Optional modules then allow students to explore particular aspects of international law and governance, international and regional institutional law, international dispute settlement, international human rights and international humanitarian law and international economic law amongst others, in greater depth.

This continues to the end of the Programme, through the compulsory Dissertation module. In this way, optional modules, and the dissertation, allow for development of students’ subject specific knowledge as the Programme progresses. The development of the students’ skills is achieved mainly through the combination of the compulsory module in Applied Research Methods in Law, taught in Michaelmas term, and the students’ pursuit of the dissertation, supervision for which begins at the start of Epiphany term. It is through this that students can practise their skills much more intensely (whilst continuing to acquire a much deeper level of specialised knowledge on their chosen law topic).

An important objective of the LLM in International Law and Governance programme is to provide students with skills that will enable them to thoroughly analyse and interpret legal sources, literature, and cases, and to research and formulate an independent opinion on international legal questions. Students will also learn to clearly present your findings both orally and in writing to international legal specialists, to participate actively in academic debate, and to apply this advanced academic knowledge in public international law in a professional context.

As such, an LLM in International Law and Governance will provide students with an excellent foundation to pursue an international law career, whether it be in legal practice, employment in international institutions, or employment in non-governmental organisations. What is more, the LLM qualification will be an excellent vehicle for the further development of research skills and as such also offers entry into further postgraduate study and, in particular, doctoral research.

Core modules

-Fundamental Issues in International Legal Governance
-Applied Research Methods in Law

Optional modules

Please note: not all modules necessarily run every year, and we regularly introduce new modules. The list below provides an example of the type of modules which may be offered.
-Law of the WTO
-International Investment Law
-International Dispute Resolution
-International Humanitarian Law
-International Peace and Security Law
-Global Environmental Law
-Law of the Sea
-International Human Rights and Development
-International Criminal Law
-History and Theory in International Law
-The European Union as a Global Actor

Learning and Teaching

This programme involves both taught modules and a substantial dissertation component. Taught modules are delivered by a mixture of lectures and seminars. Although most lectures do encourage student participation, they are used primarily to introduce chosen topics, identify relevant concepts, and introduce the student to the main debates and ideas relevant to the chosen topic. They give students a framework of knowledge that students can then develop, and reflect on, through their own reading and study.

Seminars are smaller-sized, student-led classes. Students are expected to carry out reading prior to classes, and are usually set questions or problems to which to apply the knowledge they have developed. Through class discussion, or the presentation of student papers, students are given the opportunity to test and refine their knowledge and understanding, in a relaxed and supportive environment.

The number of contact hours in each module will reflect that module’s credit weighting. 15-credit modules will have, in total, 15 contact hours (of either lectures or seminars); 30-credit modules will have 30 contact hours. Students must accumulate, in total, between 90 and 120 credits of taught modules for the programme (depending upon the length of their dissertation).

In addition to their taught modules, all students must produce a dissertation of between 10,000 and 20,000 words. This is intended to be the product of the student’s own independent research. Each student is allocated a dissertation supervisor, and will have a series of (usually four) one-to-one meetings with their supervisor over the course of the academic year.

Finally, all taught postgraduate students on this programme, are encouraged to attend the various events, including guest lectures and seminars, organised through the School’s research centres, including the Institute for Commercial and Corporate Law, and Durham European Law Institute.

Visit the International Law and Governance (LLM) page on the Durham University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

The programme will demand a very good degree in law or in a related discipline. A good degree in the United Kingdom is a 2.1 at 65% or equivalent; this will be the minimum requirement. Students with foreign qualifications will conform to the minimum requirements for admission.

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