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Course overview

On this LLM you will gain a broad understanding of human rights law. You can also study more specialist areas such as the right to life, privacy in the digital age, imprisonment and human rights, and international humanitarian law.

You will be taught by experts who have advised governments, collaborated with organisations including the United Nations and the Council of Europe, and joined forces with NGOs in their human rights advocacy work. This practical application of academic knowledge allows you to see how human rights law can have a tangible impact.

The school is also home to the Human Rights Law Centre, one of the world's most respected academic human rights institutions. Their research and activities underpin our teaching and there are many opportunities for you to get involved in their activities through their student conference, internships and research assistant opportunities.

With an advanced law degree from the University of Nottingham, you will graduate with all the knowledge, practical skills and confidence to pursue your career goals.

Why choose this course?

Focus on your goals

through our varied modules, informed by our world-leading Human Rights Law Centre

Taught in small groups

where possible, allowing for an open, interactive learning experience

Dedicated resources

including legal skills advice through workshops and one-to-one sessions

Gain real experience

by applying for internships and placements through our faculty placements scheme

Close links

to leading firms, private industry, governmental institutions and NGOs

Top 100

in the world for law

Course content

You will complete a minimum of 90 credits of specialist optional modules. The remaining 30 credits can be chosen from the full selection of optional modules available on the LLM programme. You will also undertake a 60-credit dissertation.

Guidance and support on choosing a human rights law dissertation topic and designing your project will be provided through bespoke workshops and one-to-one support.

Modules

Core modules

Dissertation

Written work on a legal topic of the your choice resulting from individual research and normally based upon material falling within the area covered by the degree for which you are registered.

Qualifying module options

Business and Human Rights

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 business 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 business.

Economic and Social Rights

This module begins with a consideration of the historical origins and philosophical underpinnings of economic and social rights (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.

You will evaluate the different ways in which ESR are protected and implemented, both domestically and internationally. The module will consider litigation and judicial enforcement of ESR in various jurisdictions.

The module will equip you 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.

Fair Trials, Human Rights and Criminal Justice

This module critically considers the concept of ‘fair trial’ in theory and practice. International human rights law, particularly as it derives from Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, will naturally be central to this inquiry. But the law of human rights is neither our starting point nor our final destination. More ambitiously, this option draws on criminal justice, socio-legal and comparative approaches and perspectives in order to place the law and practice of English criminal trials in their broader legal, political, social, and moral contexts.

Although some points of law and practice will be treated in detail, developing an exhaustive account of English criminal trials is not the principal objective. Rather, we will use these details as examples and case-studies to illustrate methodological issues, broader themes and trends in criminal policy, and international comparisons highlighting the ways in which western democracies have attempted, successfully or otherwise, to meet the challenges of integrating human rights law into their domestic criminal trial processes.

Imprisonment and Human Rights

This module covers:

  • human rights in prison
  • place of imprisonment in the penal system
  • conditions of imprisonment
  • medical treatment of prisoners
  • the prison regime and rights
  • civil rights of prisoners
  • security, order and discipline
  • external control and supervision
  • release of prisoners
  • the future of imprisonment
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 and defences 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.

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
Minorities and International Human Rights Law

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.

Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights and Criminal Justice

A broadly-based introduction to the philosophical foundations of human rights and criminal justice, emphasising the moral and political underpinnings of legal rules, doctrines and principles.

The module first tackles perennial conceptual and methodological issues relating to the nature of "philosophical" inquiry and the challenges of scepticism. Thereafter, the model reconsiders key issues and questions in contemporary debates surrounding human rights and criminal justice through the contrasting lenses of two rival philosophical perspectives, utilitarianism and liberal deontology.

Principles of Public International Law

The module is primarily concerned with those customary and treaty rules governing relations between States. This module aims to give candidates a thorough grounding in the principles of PIL. The basic topics include:

  • nature of international law
  • sources
  • actors in the international legal system
  • jurisdiction and state responsibility
The Rights of the Child

The module will explore the rights of the child in international human rights law, focusing on topics such as the concepts of childhood and the best interests of the child, family rights and the right to family life, education, child soldiers, child labour, gender and the rights of the girl child.

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
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Monday 09 November 2020.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Lectures

We teach in small group seminars where possible, allowing for an open, interactive learning experience. You are required to prepare for, and participate in seminars so that you get the maximum benefit from them.

How you will be assessed

  • Dissertation
  • Examinations
  • Essay

You will be assessed by exam or essay, or a combination of both. Assessments take place at the end of each term.

Practice assignments, guidance on exam techniques, time management workshops, and one-to-one legal skills advice sessions are offered throughout the year to prepare you for these assessments.

Contact time and study hours

The main teaching method is small-group seminars, which provide an open and interactive learning experience.

Teaching takes place throughout the week during term-time - exact days and times of teaching is subject to timetabling and will depend on which modules you choose.

Each module involves one two-hour seminar a week, supplemented by private preparation and study.

In addition to seminars for each module, you will have the opportunity to meet and discuss with your personal tutor and other members of staff, as well as attend optional seminars and workshops to support your learning and network with other students and legal scholars and professionals.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 (or international equivalent) in law, humanities or social sciences

Applying

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply

Fees

Qualification LLM
Home / UK £10,500
International £20,000

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you'll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles. Our libraries also have an excellent range of free electronic books and journals that you can download.

Funding

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

The University also offers masters scholarships for international and EU students. Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about funding postgraduate study.

Postgraduate funding

Careers

We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

Graduate destinations

Our graduates go on to 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 work in international organisations and NGOs. Some graduates further their academic career by progressing onto our PhD programme.

Recent graduate destinations include BAE Systems, Clifford Chance, London Stock Exchange and Simmons & Simmons.

Career progression

90.5% of postgraduates from the School of Law secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £27,658.*

The University of Nottingham’s law graduates are the 6th most highly paid in the UK above King’s College London and University College London.**

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020, using methodology set by The Guardian. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.
** Chambers Student law firms preferred universities study 2019.

Our faculty work placements and internship programme provides valuable work experience, self-confidence and a practical application of your studies.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
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LLM Human Rights Law course overview

Introduced by Marko Milanovic, Professor of Public International Law

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning (2017/18). Our teaching is of the highest quality found in the UK.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a national grading system, introduced by the government in England. It assesses the quality of teaching at universities and how well they ensure excellent outcomes for their students in terms of graduate-level employment or further study.

This content was last updated on Monday 09 November 2020. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.