International Law (and Human Rights)
- Mode of study
- Full time, Part time
- Start date
- September 2021
- Duration of Study
- Full time - 1 year
Part time - 2 years
Modular - up to 5 years
- Subject Area
- FEES (2021/22 academic year)
- UK - FT £8,000 / PT £8,000
- EU/International - £16,000
This LLM provides an advanced conceptual and practical understanding of how international law promotes human rights and responds to their violation.
About the course
Human rights are central to contemporary politics and international governance. They have become a dominant language of political struggle, in which the actions of governments and other institutions are judged, justified and challenged.
This LLM provides an advanced conceptual and practical understanding of how international law promotes human rights and responds to their violation. The course sets international human rights in their broader philosophical, historical and social contexts, and engages students in an interdisciplinary study of the international legal processes designed to ensure their realisation. It also encourages students to think critically about the limits, ambiguities and contradictions of the international human rights movement.
Why study international law and human rights at Keele?
The Keele Law School has a long tradition of academic expertise in the field of international law and human rights. These subjects have been taught at Keele by world-renowned experts such as Michael Akehurst and Patrick Thornberry. In recent years, the Keele Law School has invested heavily in the area of international law and human rights. Students will be taught by dynamic academic staff with a wide range of expertise and research interests.
Keele is a pioneer and leader in cross-disciplinary education. Students on the LLM in International Law and Human Rights will take modules in both the Law School and the School of Politics, International Relations and the Environment (SPIRE). Students also have the opportunity to study modern languages - including key UN languages - as part of their degree, increasing their range of professional skills. Keele currently offers courses in: Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.
The LLM includes a study trip to Geneva where students visit international institutions such as the UN, the ICRC, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, or the International Labour Organisation. This provides an opportunity to meet with high level officials working in the field of international and human rights.
Students also have the opportunity to do work placements as part of their degree with any one of our partner institutions. Keele has a long standing work placement scheme with UN human rights committees and international NGOs.
The programme can be completed in 12 months full-time, or 24 months part-time. There is also an opportunity to take the course on a modular basis, spreading modules over a period of 2 to 5 years, allowing maximum flexibility.
The list of modules below are offered in the 2018/19 academic year. We expect to offer the same modules in the future but this may change due to staff availability. If the modules change we will inform you during the admissions process.
Core Taught Modules
Foundations of International Law - This module provides a general overview of the nature of international law as a legal system, its subjects, sources and general principles, as well as an introduction to more specific themes such as the law governing the use of force, sovereign immunities or the settlement of international disputes.
International Law and Human Rights - You will acquire a strong, theoretical and practical understanding of the design and development of modern international human rights law. Special attention is given to the work of UN human rights bodies and of regional organisations, as well as the so-called 'dark sides' of the human rights project.
Advanced International Law - You will build on the knowledge gained in 'Foundations of International Law' module and have the opportunity to acquire a more-in-depth understanding of the nature, function and development of international law. As well as a thorough analysis of core areas of international law such as statehood, the law of treaties or state responsibility, the module explores recent events and developments in the field of international law.
Introduction to International Economic Law - This module will provide you with a general introduction to international economic law, with specific focus on GATT/WTO law and international investmentl law. You will be encouraged to think critcally about the structures of international economic law and their relationship with the environment, human rights, development and social justice.
Dissertation - You will complete a 15,000-20,000 words dissertation. An assigned supervisor will guide you in your research and preparation of the dissertation.
Elective modules are grouped in disciplinary pathways. Students are free to choose their electives within a single pathway or across the various pathways.
LIST OF ELECTIVES
International Law Electives
- International Environmental Law
- International Humanitarian Law
- International Refugee Law
- Global Health Law
- Transnational Crime
Human Rights Electives
- Foundations of Human Rights
- Equality, Discrimination and Minorities
- Human Rights and Global Politics
- Race and Justice: Civil Rights in the US
- International Environmental Law
- Environmental Diplomacy
- Dimension of Environmental Politics
- Climate Change: Governance, Power and Society
- The Changing International Agenda
- Comparative European Politics
- Rethinking Fault-Lines: Beyond the East-West Divide in Global Politics
- Maritime Security
- Globalisation and International Management
- Developments in International Management and Business
- Global Business Regulation
Modern Language Electives
As part of your degree, you will have the option of taking up to 30 credits in Language Studies. Language studies, particularly in the core UN languages, enable students to increase their range of transferable skills. Keele currently offers courses in: Arabic; Mandarin Chinese; French; German; Japanese; Russian; Spanish.
The list of electives may vary from time to time, depending on staff availability and sabbatical arrangements.
International Environmental Law - This module provides a grounding in the legal norms, institutions and processes of international environmental law, as well as exploring current environmental global issues such as biodiversity loss, transboundary pollution, toxic waste dumping, trade and environment, food security, animal rights and climate change.
International Humanitarian Law - You will examine the international rules that seek to regulate the conduct of hostilities in times of armed conflict, with special emphasis on the rules that govern the methods and means of warfare and the protection afforded to certain categories of individuals (civilians, persons hors de combat and prisoners of war). The module also looks at mechanisms of international criminal justice.
International Refugee Law - is currently a very topical subject arousing major academic, political and media interest. In the backdrop of contemporary refugee issues, the relevance of this topic is as great as it has been since the world wars. Although this module is delivered in the context of international law, it offers a study of the intersection between the legal, political, social and economic causes of refugees; the human rights and humanitarian dimensions of displacement; restrictive laws and policies. In doing so, it offers an insight into the plight of asylum seekers as they seek international protection.
Global Health Law - This module focuses on the international law, standards and norms relevant to the protection and advancement of health, including international law adopted by the UN and the WHO. Substantive content will include international health law-making and institutional structures; health security threats and responses to them; global health inequalities; access to healthcare services and essential medicine; the human right to health and biosecurity.
Transnational Crime - You will consider the norms and principles established by European and international law to tackle transnational crimes such as human trafficking, drugs smuggling, illegal arms trade, terrorism or cyber crime. As well as developing a critical understanding of key legal frameworks, the module examines major prevention and enforcement challenges, as well as the nature of illegal markets and the modus operandi of criminal groups.
Foundations of Human Rights - This broad foundation module provides a background in which to situate the study and critique of human rights theory and practice. It begins by exploring historical, philosophical and structural aspects of human rights, including Enlightenment perspectives, theories of rights/justice, universalism/relativism debates, sovereignty and non-intervention concerns. The module then provides an important critical elaboration and analysis of the normative frameworks in which human rights operate, with particular attention drawn to the lacunae/silences in human rights discourse.
Equality, Discrimination and Minorities - This module focuses on conceptual and institutional efforts regarding equality, non-discrimination and vulnerable communities, and builds on themes of race, ethnicity, indigeneity, gender, religion, and caste/descent in topical case studies.
Human Rights and Global Politics - This module develops connections between global and local responses to contemporary human rights issues, focusing on strategies to advance human rights in the context of political violence and terror. This will include comparative analysis of the use of terror by states against their own citizens and how this can be understood and explained, as well as an examination of the war on terror and its implications for human rights in both the North and South.
Race and Justice: Civil Rights in the US - The American Civil Rights movement is one of the most iconic protest movements for political and social equality in recent history. But how successful was this movement? What was the impact of the historic legal victories it won in the fight for equality? What did it do for people in the United States? This module examines the social and political background of the Civil Rights movement, focusing upon the conflicts over segregation and racial equality. You will review the relevant laws and court rulings involved in these issues and their impact in protecting civil rights.
Environmental Diplomacy - This module examines a range of case studies in international cooperation on common and shared problems related to environmental protection and sustainable utilisation of natural resources. These include, for example: tropical deforestation, transboundary and straddling fish stocks, elephants and rhinos, the great whales, acid rain, climate change and the global trade in toxic waste.
Dimensions of Environmental Politics - This module aims to provide students with an overview of key concepts, debates, processes and discourses in relation to the political dynamics of 'the environment'. It aims to be a broad introduction to the main facets of environmental politics and will cover the following three questions in environmental politics: How did 'the environment' come to be seen as a political question? How have political institutions responded to what have been called environmental problems? What are the challenges such problems pose for existing political structures?
Climate Change: Governance, Power and Society - Climate change has broad implications for states and societies, yet the foundations of debates on the issue are clouded with uncertainty. While there is broad scientific agreement over the onset of climate change, uncertainty is great in the realm of politics where policy-makers are forced to make decisions that have potentially wide-reaching impacts on their economies and societies. This module provides an introduction to the main academic frameworks used to debate these questions, with a distinctive focus on comparative public policy.
The Changing International Agenda - The module offers an in-depth critical assessment of the development, change and nature of the international system since the close of the Second World War. This will include the rise and fall of the Cold War, the birth the UN, decolonisation, globalisation, climate change, humanitarian intervention and terrorism. Adopting a primarily empirical approach, this module explores the reasons underlying these transformations, and addresses issues of how we talk about the international system.
Comparative European Politics - You will considers the nature and role of fundamental political structures in Europe, including political parties, executives and legislatures. The module explores the ways in which these structures, and the actors within them, interact, as well as the processes of socio-political and electoral change, and the consequences these changes have had on European politics and democracy.
Maritime Security - The traditional study of international relations has traditionally focused upon territory, state and sovereignty in terms of the politics of land, thus marginalising the impact of events and developments at sea that have historically shaped global politics. The sea, if spoken about, was described as a vast empty space through which things moved. But recent developments have radically altered this understanding of sea space. The sea is now understood as a place of wealth, a space ripe for commercial and scientific exploitation, a home in need of conservation. This module takes you through the legal, historical and economic aspects of these changes and explores the theory and practice of securing a vast, three-dimensional, fluid and dynamic environment.
Globalisation and International Management - This module offers insights into a range of social, political, economic , technological and cultural processes that influence and are influenced by the activities of transnational public, private and volunteer organisations, with special emphasis on the role those transnational organisations play in promoting or resisting globalisation.
Developments in International Management and Business - You will examine some recent developments in management knowledge and how these inform business activities and organisational performance. Drawing on empirical case studies, the module investigates how management knowledge is transformed when it 'travels' across the globe, with emphasis on practices such as talent management, TQM, and family-friendly policies.
Global Business Regulation - You will acquire an understanding of how the regulation of business operates in a global economy. You will examines why and how regulation moves from the national to the international level; challenges in implementation and the role of multi-national corporations; and the rise of meta-regulation as a result of the activities of business, NGOs and other global actors. These questions are examined in a variety of industries and policy contexts, with special emphasis on the regulation of global financial markets.
Academic entry requirements
You should have a first or second class honours degree (or foreign equivalent) in Law or a related discipline. Applications are welcome from current legal practitioners or any other person with appropriate professional qualifications and/or experience.
English Language Entry Requirement for International Students
Applicants for whom English is not a first language must provide evidence of a qualification in English language. The minimum score for entry to the LLM is academic IELTS 6.5 (or TOEFL 91). Students who have taken one of the English language qualifications but did not achieve the required grade may be admitted to the programme provided that they study on a pre-sessional English Language course before they start their degree studies.
Keele University currently accepts Tofel iBT tests that have been taken outside of the United Kingdom. All Tofel iBT tests will need to be taken no longer than two years prior to your start date at Keele and must be verifiable with ETS. If you have taken your Tofel iBT test in the UK please contact the admissions team for more information.
View more information about the Postgraduate English Language Requirements at Keele.
Fees and scholarships
Fees (2021/22 academic year)
UK/EU students FT £8,000 / PT £8,000 per year
International students £16,000 per year
Keele University is located on a beautiful campus and has all the facilities of a small town. Student accommodation, shops, restaurants and cafes are all within walking distance of the teaching buildings. This is a very cost effective way to live and will help to reduce your living costs.
Scholarships and Funding
The University is committed to rewarding excellence and potential. Each year we offer a range of prestigious scholarships;
UK/EU students - more information on scholarships and funding
International students - more information on scholarships and funding
The LLM in International Law and Human Rights is a gateway to a range of employment opportunities. These include careers in human rights NGOs, charities, international organisations like the UN, policy think-tanks, advocacy groups, government and academia. Increasingly, the private sector is also looking for professionals with a strong background in human rights due to the rapid development of CSR (corporate social responsibility) and 'business and human rights' standards.
Postgraduate International law students talk about their experiences whilst on a study trip to Geneva.
Mario Prost talks about Postgraduate International law.