International Law, Security and Terrorism MA

 
  

Fact file

Qualification
MA International Law, Security and Terrorism
Duration
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Entry requirements
2.1 (or international equivalent) in law, politics, international relations or a related discipline
Other requirements
IELTS
7.0 (no less than 7.0 in reading and writing, and 6.5 in speaking and listening)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
September
Campus
University Park
School/department
Law
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.
 

Overview

This course explores key legal and political issues in contemporary security as they relate to warfare, conflict and terrorism.
Read full overview

Offered in collaboration with the School of Politics and International Relations, it will enable you to place conflict and security issues and events within political contexts, to analyse them within legal frameworks, and to understand the relationship between law and politics in international relations.

It will also assist with the analysis of the justifications, causes and consequences of war, conflict and terrorism, including the legal and political responses available to deal with international security threats.

Both schools are home to a number of research centres and institutions, which provide talks, seminars, conferences, research opportunities and film series to complement learning. The most relevant examples are the Nottingham International Law and Security Centre and the Centre for Conflict, Security and Terrorism. Experts from outside of the University also give talks on topics of international significance, offering the opportunity for scholarly debate.

All of the academics involved in leading your seminars, both in the School of Law and the School of Politics and International Relations, have published widely in the subject areas and have had a wider impact upon law, politics, policy and practice.

Expertise is also drawn from the related areas of criminal justice and human rights law, where there are two further active research centres, the Criminal Justice Research Centre, and the world-renowned Human Rights Law Centre. Their research activities involve constructing databases for use by the International Criminal Court to empirical and doctrinal projects on the death penalty and life imprisonment.

Academic English preparation and support

Accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK, the University's Centre for English Language Education provides high-quality preparation and support.

Our presessional courses take your English language and academic skills to the level you need to progress to postgraduate study without taking IELTS again. A specialist 10-week law course is also available. 

Key facts

  • Consistently ranked among the world's top law schools, placing in the worldwide top 100 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017
  • 81% of our research considered world-leading or internationally excellent in the latest Research Excellence Framework
  • 96.6% of law postgraduates in work or further study within six months of graduation
  • Dedicated resources including legal skills advice through workshops and one-to-one sessions, computer room, and law reading room in the Hallward Library
  • Links to leading firms in London and the regions, private industry and consultancies, and governmental institutions and non-governmental organisations across the UK and wider world
 

Course details

You will complete two 15-credit core modules: Law of War and Peace, and Terrorism and Insurgencies. The remaining 90 credits of modules can be chosen from a selection, and must be split equally between law and politics and international relations.

You will also undertake a 60-credit dissertation. Guidance and support on choosing a dissertation topic will be provided.

 
 

Modules

Core

Law

The Law of War and Peace

This core module is designed to give students from different disciplines a grounding in the underlying principles and concepts of international law, in terms of sources, persons, jurisdiction, responsibility and settlement of disputes, but also to place them within the context of two of the central concerns of international law - war and peace.

The development of international law from the 17th century has been driven by the need to regulate warfare which occurred with significant regularity, and to stabilise the periods of peace that emerged at the end of each conflict. That division still remains in international law, though for a number of decades after the Second World War the law of war was seen as a junior partner to the law of peace.

The module will assess whether that relationship has been changed by events such as 9/11 and the response to terrorism, the on-going conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the advent of the International Criminal Court.

 

Politics and International Relations

Terrorism and Insurgencies

This module is designed to acquaint you with two of the most important aspects of contemporary international security: terrorism and insurgencies.

Both threats have become more acute in recent years and much intellectual, military and economic capital has been used up in efforts to contain them. In taking this module, you will begin to understand the nature of the threats posed by terrorists and insurgents. You will understand how such threats come about and why individuals are drawn towards exercising the use of force against certain governments, their representatives, and the citizens of those governments. 

You will also understand the nature and scope of counter-insurgency practices. You will discuss what works and what does not and the controversies encountered in implementing certain measures. By the end of the module, you will be conversant with, and have an appreciation of, factors which affect the security of many people in today's world.

 

Plus:

Dissertation

You will undertake a 60-credit dissertation. Guidance and support on choosing a dissertation topic will be provided.

 

Qualifying module options

Law

An Uncensored History of International Law

This module consists of an examination of the major theoretical approaches to public international law and aims to develop knowledge and understanding of the diverse theoretical approaches to public international law and to discern the influence of these approaches on the practical development of public international law.

 
Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice

This module explores a number of contemporary issues which have given rise to controversy within criminal justice processes with reference to different comparative models. A comparative method is employed to examine how these issues are treated across a range of different criminal justice systems.

 
Critical Issues in International Criminal Justice

This module builds upon the more conceptual and theoretical inquiries undertaken in Foundations of Criminal Justice by identifying emergent principles in the rapidly developing corpus of international criminal jurisprudence.

Consideration of the contribution of municipal legal systems to the pursuit of criminal justice in the international arena serves as a general introduction to the detailed doctrinal analysis of elements of crimes and defences, rules of evidence and procedure, and sentencing principles which comprises the bulk of the option.

Once identified and elaborated, rules and principles of international criminal law and procedure will be subjected to critical scrutiny, by drawing upon national and comparative legal perspectives, as well as general principles of international humanitarian law and the international law of human rights.

 
Detention and Imprisonment in the International Criminal Justice System

From the history of detention and imprisonment at the post-World War II International Military Tribunals, the course will progress to look at the penal regimes of the contemporary international criminal courts and tribunals, including the ICTY, ICTR, MICT, SCSL and ICC. 

You will learn about the systems for and conditions in international remand detention and analyse the complaints and disciplinary procedures and oversight mechanisms operating within these international facilities.

Seminars will be devoted to discussions about the various penalties international criminal courts can impose, and the reasons international judges give for their imposition. You will also learn about life for international prisoners post-conviction, through an exploration of the various systems used to enforce international sentences of imprisonment.

Seminars will look at the degree of control international courts retain over these sentences and their responsibility for international prisoners while they are housed in national prisons. This module will also look at the remedies that should be and are available for international prisoners whose human rights have been violated, and address the question of whether it is necessary, feasible or desirable to create an international prison system.

 
International Criminal Law

An introduction to international criminal law issues, with particular emphasis on institutions (such as Nuremberg and Tokyo IMTs, the ad hoc Tribunals and the International Criminal Court) as well as substantive and procedural aspects of international criminal law.

The module focuses on the institutional developments in international criminal law as well as the definition and application of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. Principles of liability, defences and elements of international criminal procedure will also be covered.

 
International Human Rights Law

This module will introduce you to the law and practice related to international human rights. You will be encouraged to explore the foundations of international human rights law. The global, regional and national mechanisms of human rights protection will be introduced and evaluated. A selection of substantive human rights will be examined and contemporary challenges to human rights protection will be discussed.

 
International Humanitarian Law

This module examines the legal constraints of international and national warfare. It traces the historical and contextual development of the law and focuses upon the principles which govern warfare. During the module, you will also study the mechanisms for the enforcement and the implementation of international humanitarian law.

 
International Law on the Use of Force

This module looks at principles and laws governing unilateral and multilateral resort to force by states under the United Nations Charter and in customary international law. Instances where force is permissible will be considered as well as the more controversial claims to use force.

 
The Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in International Law

Following a review of the history of international refugee law, the module focuses on the legal context of forced displacement today, including the rights and obligations of States and the rights of individuals.

The 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees are reviewed, with due regard also to human rights protection. Who is a refugee, and how decisions are made, are examined with reference to key terms, such as persecution, race, religion, political opinion and social group, and in light of selected contemporary issues, such as conscientious objection to military service, women refugees, flight from conflict, security, terrorism, and 'exclusion'.

The module also considers the legal standing of currently contested issues, such as the right to seek asylum, the principle of non-refoulement, procedural standards, the responsibility to determine asylum claims, and extra-territorial measures of interception.

Examples from different jurisdictions and the practice of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are used to focus attention on the adequacy of existing international mechanisms, particularly in the face of the challenges presented by migration, human smuggling, trafficking, internal displacement, complex emergencies (including protracted conflict) and humanitarian assistance.

 
United Nations Law

This module examines the international institutional law and general international law governing the United Nations, including the central organs (for example the Security Council and General Assembly), subsidiary organs (such as the UNEP and the UNDP), and the specialised agencies (for example, the WHO, UNESCO, ICAO). 

It considers:

  • the UN's constitutional basis
  • its legal personality and powers
  • membership and budgetary matters
  • representation and decision making
  • sanctions regimes
  • the UN's military options
  • issues of responsibility, accountability and immunities
  • the UN's contribution to the development and enforcement of international law
 

Politics and International Relations

The Road to Guantanamo: The Treatment and Experience of Prisoners, Civilian Internees and Detainees since 1860

This module explores the way in which state authorities have treated prisoners of war, civilian internees and detainees from circa 1860 - the dawn of the modern era of international humanitarian law - to the present day. It examines developments in state practice and international law relating to the detention of 'enemy' individuals, and explores different national, ideological and cultural approaches to the issue of captivity.

The module is explicitly historical in character and methodology but will draw on international and political theory where appropriate to explain state and individual behaviour.

 
The Theory and Practice of Diplomacy

This module focuses on the changing nature of diplomatic practice, together with the range of conceptual tools that seek to explain this international activity. Its focus is contemporary.

It provides a political analysis of new developments such as the public diplomacy, the decline of resident embassies and foreign ministries, and the role of regional/multinational organisations and summitry. It also encourages you to consider future theoretical and practical developments in this field.

 
War, Peace and Terror

This module explores the blurring boundaries between war and peace, and the implications for understanding security.

The first section assesses the changing nature of warfare, including theories of asymmetric warfare and terrorism; the second section examines the 'dark arts' of international relations, from assassination to psychological warfare, operating in the grey area between war and peace.

With large scale conventional warfare increasingly unlikely, the third section considers 'new' security issues in peacetime such as poverty and disease.

 

 

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.

 
 

Funding

Funding information is available on the school website and can also be found on the Graduate School website.

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.

 
 

Careers

Our graduates move into a wide range of careers. Many go into the legal profession or return to their previous legal careers with specialist knowledge and enhanced prospects. Others successfully seek employment with international organisations as well as international and local NGOs.

Some graduates further their academic career by progressing onto our PhD programme. These students often choose to stay at the University of Nottingham beyond their doctorate, with a number of academics becoming members of staff after completing their LLM/masters and PhD with us.

With an advanced law degree from the University of Nottingham, you will be well-placed to pursue your career ambitions and realise your goals.

Employability and average starting salary

96.6% of postgraduates from the School of Law who were available for employment secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £23,214 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £32,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career and professional development

Whether you are looking to enhance your career prospects or develop your knowledge, a postgraduate degree from the University of Nottingham can help take you where you want to be.

Our award-winning Careers and Employability Service offers specialist support and guidance while you study and for life after you graduate. They will help you explore and plan your next career move, through regular events, employer-led skills sessions, placement opportunities and one-to-one discussions.

 
 
 
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Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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