International Law and Development LLM


Fact file

Qualification name:International Law and Development
Duration:1 year full-time
Entry requirements:2.1(Upper 2nd class hons degree or international equivalent)
Including:Law/Humanities/ Social Sciences subjects
Other requirements:Mature applicants without standard entry requirements but with substantial and relevant experience may be considered
IELTS:7.0 (with no less than 7.0 in writing, 6.5 in reading and 6.0 in speaking and listening)
Part time details:2 years part-time
Start date:September
Campus:University Park

School of Law

Course Overview

The difficulties that many developing states are facing in terms of economic growth, the implementation of human rights, fighting poverty levels, and improving health or education standards, have become central concerns both at the international level, and also for policy-makers within developing states. The impact of legal standards and international rules in assisting developing states achieve their developmental aims has generated increasing interest from legal scholars and practitioners alike.

This course provides an opportunity for students interested in the issues faced by developing states in the international order to obtain in depth knowledge of the field. The variety of modules provided and quality of teaching make studying this course a particularly rich learning experience.

A specialised module on 'Law, Development and the International Community' forms the basis of some of the key questions that need to be asked in relation to the position of developing states, such as human rights, environmental law, or international commercial law.

Key facts 

  • The School of Law was ranked 41st best law school in the world by the QS World Rankings 2016
  • The school enjoys professional relationships with international institutions, leading UK law firms, private industry and consultancies, and non-governmental organisations
  • We have a dedicated Legal Skills Advisor who delivers workshops and one-to-one sessions on issues such as time management, how to answer a problem question, how to research and reference, and how to choose a dissertation topic

Course Details

The LLM programme is offered on a full-time basis, to be completed in one academic year; and a part-time basis, to be completed in two academic years.

Candidates must complete at least 90 credits worth of modules from the qualifying specialist module options for the LLM International Law and Development. The remaining 30 credits needed to complete the taught stage of the degree can be chosen from the full suite of modules offered across all of our LLM programmes. 

In addition, students must choose a dissertation topic which sits within the field of International Law and Development. Students are given a wide array of support when choosing their dissertation title and preparing to undertake research, with bespoke workshops and one-to-one support available throughout the process.


The LLM programme operates small-group seminar teaching, allowing for an integrative and interactive learning experience. Students are encouraged and expected to prepare for and participate in seminars so that they get the maximum benefit from teaching sessions.

All seminars offer dedicated teaching, open only to postgraduate students, including postgraduate research students, where the module option is relevant to a student’s doctoral research.

Modular assessments

Students are given the opportunity to complete formative assessments in both the autumn and spring term, which acts as a practice assignment that does not contribute towards their degree. Rather, formative assessments provide valuable feedback which can be utilised constructively when completing summative assessments.

All summative assessments take place at the end of the spring term; this includes assessments for autumn options. Modules are assessed by either essay, examination, or a combination of both.


Qualifying module options

Biodiversity and International Law

This module examines the mechanisms by which international law seeks to protect and conserve biological diversity in terms of species and ecosystems, as well as genetic diversity within species.

This module aims to:

  • develop knowledge and understanding of the principal treaty regimes, and related scientific, economic and philosophical issues, concerned with the conservation of biological diversity
Business and Human Rights Law

This module considers how business increasingly conducts its operations with responsibility to its stakeholders and to society at large. It examines the emergence of the business and human rights regime, which forms the basis for addressing both legal developments and voluntary initiatives across a spectrum of business and industry sectors and different types of firms operating both globally and locally.

The module content is diverse and wide-ranging, and draws on case studies in order to foster knowledge about the impacts of business on human rights protection. It considers key issues in the current business and human rights regime, including states' obligation to protect human rights, the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, human rights due diligence and access to remedy for human rights violations by corporations and other business entities.

This module aims to:

  • promote a better understanding of the business and human rights regime and the emerging human rights obligations of  corporations
  • develop analytical and discursive skills in relation to the function, scope and development of the business and human rights regime and its wider impact on society
  • stimulate oral discussion and debate among students and encourage the formulation of short response 'briefs' to topical issues on the subject matter of the module
  • encourage the development of skills which will assist the participants in dealing with the business and human rights in a corporate or law firm capacity
Economic and Social Rights

This module focuses on a key area of Human Rights Law; Economic and Social Rights (ESR). The course will open with a consideration of the historical origins and philosophical underpinnings ESR. Key themes that will be developed throughout the course include perceptions of the nature of such rights and the related question of the extent to which such rights are, and should be, justiciable. Students will evaluate the different ways in which ESR are protected and implemented, both domestically and internationally (eg. by considering international and regional ESR frameworks, the role of NHRI, tribunals and other mechanisms by which ESR are given effect to).

The course will consider litigation and judicial enforcement of ESR in jurisdictions such as South Africa, Argentina, Colombia, India, Ireland, Germany, South Africa, the UK and the United States, as appropriate. Specific substantive ESR will be addressed in dedicated module sessions (for instance, the rights to adequate housing and health). Ultimately, the module will equip students with the knowledge and understanding necessary to engage in, and critically analyse, the debates surrounding ESR that exist both amongst legal commentators and at a broader societal level.

This module aims to:

  • help students acquire knowledge and understanding of the nature of ESR
  • challenge students to evaluate the ways in which ESR are protected and implemented at the national, regional and international levels
  • help students gain a thorough understanding of the theoretical and practical issues and debates arising in relation to ESR
  • help students acquire the tools to engage in and critically analyse debates surrounding ESR, both amongst legal commentators and at a broader societal level
  • help students acquire legal reasoning and knowledge with regard to ESR
General Themes and Principles of International Environmental Law

The module is designed to elucidate those general themes and principles that have emerged from the substantial body of detailed rules regulating the environment in international law, particularly since the 1972 Stockholm conference on the Human Environment. It will consider the extent to which these rules are evolving into a coherent legal regime.

This module aims to:

  • develop knowledge and understanding of the general principles and themes which underline the substantive legal regulation of international environmental problems
International Financial and Monetary Law

This module focuses on the public law regulation of international financial and monetary relations, and not on the contractual or transactional aspects of international financial markets. It aims to provide a timely and insightful overview of current regulatory developments in the field of capital and current international transactions as well as financial and monetary stability and supervision. 

The module also considers the role of major institutions in the regulation of international lending and finance for development. 

This module aims to:

  • provide an understanding of how the international financial and monetary system is regulated
  • describe the key regulatory techniques used in financial and monetary regulation
International Human Rights Law

This module will introduce students to the law and practice related to international human rights. Students 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.

This module aims to:

  • introduce students to the essential elements of international human rights law - conceptual, institutional and substantive - in an interactive and flexible manner
International Investment Law

This module deals with key aspects of the international system for the regulation of foreign investment. The module focuses primarily on issues arising from investor-host state relations under Bilateral Investment Treaties or BITs and some other International Investment Agreements or IIAs but also touches upon international investment contracts, where relevant.

Special attention will be given to the means of regulating investment using such instruments, including standards of treatment and breaches thereof, the taking of foreign property and the settlement of investment disputes by means of arbitration.

This module aims to:

  • develop an understanding of how the international system for the regulation of foreign investment and investment arbitration operates in principle and in practice
International Law of the Sea

The module will consider:

  • the history and evolution of the law of the sea 
  • baselines, internal waters and the territorial sea 
  • straits, archipelagos and the contiguous zone
  • the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone 
  • the high seas
  • the international seabed area and ice-covered areas

This module aims to:

  • provide participants with knowledge and understanding of the basic legal framework governing use of the seas
International Law of Transboundary Pollution

The module examines the techniques and mechanisms by which international law seeks to protect the atmosphere and freshwater resources from various forms of pollution.

This module aims to:

  • develop knowledge and understanding of the major treaty regimes, and fundamental principles of liability, which seek to address problems of transboundary pollution
Law, Development and the International Community

This module examines some of the relationships between law and development. After examining both the notion of development per se and the right to development as a human right, the module moves on to cover a number of individual issues where the relationship between law, development and human rights can be explored.

Subjects covered include:

  • the concept of development and the role of international law in promoting "development"
  • the regulation of aid
  • the WTO and developing countries
  • intellectual property and access to medication
  • the protection of traditional knowledge
  • agriculture
  • food aid and food security
  • sustainable development
  • gender and development

This module aims to:

  • examine some of the relationships between law and development
  • provide an understanding of the international regulatory system and its impact on developing countries
Minorities and International Human Rights

The module aims to provide a thorough grounding in the application of international law standards to minorities and indigenous peoples. There is a strong focus on the decisions of international and European courts and international human rights bodies.

This module aims to:

  • provide students with a thorough grounding in the application of international human rights law standards to minorities and indigenous peoples
  • develop the students' analytical skills in relation of the function, scope and operation of the international human rights standards relevant to minorities and its likely future development
  • develop critical interpretations of international and European human rights jurisprudence relating to minorities and indigenous peoples
Public Procurement in EU and International Trade Law

This module examines the regulation of government procurement at international level for the purpose of opening up government markets to free trade.

This module aims to:

  • provide a detailed examination of the system under EU Law, which has provided a model for other international systems
  • provide a detailed examination of government procurement regulation in the WTO
Public Procurement Law

This module examines issues relating to the regulation of public procurement from perspectives other than trade liberalisation. Issues covered include:

  • the pursuit of value for money through competition
  • avoidance of corruption
  • outsourcing
  • procurement for privately-financed infrastructure projects

The module pays particular attention to the UNCITRAL Model Law on procurement and the procurement rules for developing countries' projects financed by the World Bank.

Regional Human Rights Law

This module will expose students to how human rights are protected in regional human rights law. In doing so, it will focus on the standards and mechanisms related to the Inter-American, African, ASEAN and Council of Europe (excluding the ECHR) regional human rights systems. Having addressed the evolution of the specific systems, as well as their key institutions, the course will focus on a number of substantive rights areas from a critical comparative perspective. These will include migrant rights, children's rights and limitations on rights within the different systems.

The course will cover both the 'theory' and the 'practice' of regional human rights protection. In addition to looking at standards and mechanisms, students will consider the challenges posed in the different regions to the effective realisation of (some or all) human rights. This will include an examination of issues such as regional social and cultural attitudes, as well as logistical issues such as the limited enforcement powers and poor resourcing of some regional human rights systems.

This module aims to:

  • help to develop knowledge and understanding of the nature and operation of regional human rights protection
  • enable students to acquire and apply understanding of important strengths and shortcomings with regard to regional human rights protection - both in terms of existing standards and the implementation of such
  • develop students' knowledge and analytical skills in relation to the standards and mechanisms that exist with regard to the protection of human rights within the Inter-American, African, ASEAN and Council of Europe (excluding the ECHR) regions
  • support the development of legal reasoning and knowledge with regard to regional human rights protection
Religion and International Human Rights

The module aims to provide a thorough grounding in the application of international law standards to religion. There is a strong focus on the decisions of international and European courts and international human rights bodies.

This module aims to:

  • provide students with a thorough grounding in the application of international human rights law standards to religions and religious believers
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

This module aims to:

  • provide a detailed knowledge of this fundamental area of specialisation in the field of public international law
The World Trading System

This module deals with key aspects of World Trade Organisation Law. It focuses on:

  • the institutional and organisational structure of the WTO and dispute settlement
  • GATT (dealing with tariffs and other barriers to import of goods)
  • GATS (the agreement regulating international trade in services) 
  • rules on unfair trade such as anti-dumping, subsidies and safeguards

Some attention is also paid to the relationship between regionalism and globalisation and to the issues of preferential trade and development.

This module aims to:

  • build an understanding of how the World Trading System operates
  • provide an understanding of the challenges of regionalism and development to the World Trading System

Please note: All module details are subject to change.


Up-to-date fees information can be found on our student fees and finance website.

All students

The School of Law advertises a variety of funding opportunities each year, please see the funding opportunities webpage for further information.

Please also visit the Graduate School's online funding database for information about additional masters scholarships. 

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. Applications for 2016 entry scholarships will open in late 2015. 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.


With over 39,000 students from over 150 countries and two overseas campuses, Nottingham is a truly global university. We are one of the top institutions targeted by graduate employers, outperforming Oxford, Cambridge and other leading universities.* Added to this, the school was ranked 4th in the UK by the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2015.

Our postgraduate students move into an extraordinarily wide range of careers. Many graduates either go into the legal profession or return to their previous legal careers with their experience and prospects enhanced by their experiences on the course. A large number also work with NGOs, or return to their countries with the relevant skills to help add to the future development of that country. 

A selection of LLM graduates progress onto our PhD programme each year, in order to progress their academic career. These students often choose to stay at The University of Nottingham beyond their doctorate, with a number of our current lecturers having completed both the LLM and PhD programmes with us before becoming members of staff. 

* High Fliers Research 2015

Average starting salary and career progression

Over 94% of our postgraduates who were available for work entered employment or further study within the first six months after graduation. The average starting salary for a Nottingham taught masters student is £23,082 with the highest salary being £48,000.*

* Known destinations of the 2013/14 leaving cohort of Nottingham home/EU postgraduates who studied full-time.

Career prospects and employability

Our award-winning Careers and Employability Service will help you to plan your career throughout your time at the University and beyond. 

Services available include:

  • Presentations and drop-in sessions with employers
  • One-to-one careers guidance and CV sessions with our advisers
  • Over 250 careers events
  • A specialist careers adviser for research postgraduates

All postgraduate students also become members of the Graduate School, which provides dedicated facilities and resources to enhance your postgraduate experience.

The Enquiry Centre

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

t: +44 (0) 115 951 5559
f: +44 (0) 115 951 5812
w: Frequently asked questions
Make an enquiry