Course overview

Our International Law LLM allows you to choose from a wide range of modules that relate to international commercial law, European law, criminal justice, human rights law and general public international law. This means you can tailor your LLM to your interests and career goals and get a broad-based qualification, exploring both public and private international law.

The course is aimed at delivering a well-rounded international lawyer who has gained a greater awareness of the possibilities for applying their knowledge in future practice areas. You will be taught by experts in their fields, many of whom contribute to policymaking at state and international levels.

We encourage a culture of collaboration in the school and you can enrich your learning experience through the International Law Association seminar series. Seminars are given by distinguished visitors from across the world, giving you the opportunity to network with legal professionals.

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?

Flexible course

with a broad range of modules informed by our world-leading law research

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 programme

Close links

to leading firms, private industry, governmental institutions and NGOs

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 an international law dissertation topic and designing your project will be provided through bespoke workshops and one-to-one support.


Core modules


Module credits: 60

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

Advanced Copyright and Design Law

Module credits: 15

The module will deal with special issues in copyright and designs and their international exploitation at an advanced level. The British, European and international law relating to these rights will be studied in detail. Comparison will also be made with national Member States laws.

Special topical issues in copyright and designs law will be studied including the protection of computer programs, databases and technological protection measures. National and Community unregistered and registered design rights. Finally you will be given an insight as to the future of copyright and designs at EU and international level.

Business and Human Rights

Module credits: 15

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. It also addresses new legislation, such as the proposed EU directive on mandatory due diligence and responses from businesses and civil society.

Economic and Social Rights

Module credits: 15

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.

EU Competition Law

Module credits: 30

The module examines the legal regulation of competition within the single and free market of the EU and serves as an introduction to basic legal and economic principles as well as to detailed study of the rules of Union law which seek to outlaw competitive behaviour.

EU Single Market Law

Module credits: 15

This module is concerned with the substantive area of European Union single market law - the four economic freedoms of goods, persons, services and capital. It includes an introduction to the EU institutions and the powers of the EU to construct the single market as a core element of Europe's "economic constitution". It assesses the effectiveness of regulation and harmonisation as the main tools of market construction.

Each of the four economic freedoms is analysed in depth using case studies to focus on issues such as the tension between economic freedoms, or "market rights" and other rights and values concerning the public interest, such as economic and social rights and environmental protection. The methods adopted by the Court of Justice to strike a balance between these interests is evaluated. Cross-cutting issues across the four freedoms are explored.

EU Trade Law, Brexit and International Relations

Module credits: 15

This module is concerned with the European Union's (EU) status as a global trade power and explores its relations with other countries, including the United Kingdom Post-Brexit, the EU, the United States and China. It also includes the role that the European Union plays within the World Trade Organisation.

Subjects examined include:

  • the EU's competence to conduct trade policy and its effectiveness to achieve objectives beyond trade
  • the scope of Common Commercial Policy, EU/WTO relationship
  • trade and human rights
  • trade and development cooperation
  • EU-UK trade relations in the wake of Brexit
Global Competition Law and International Business

Module credits: 15

The module examines the global competition law development from the perspective of international business. In summary it uses the US, EU and Chinese competition regimes and high profile international business cases as targets for analysis.

It first critically examines the origins of global competition rules against international business, by focusing on EU, US and Chinese competition regimes on the one hand and international organizations on the other hand. It then examines in-depth the challenges faced by international business in the areas of international price cartel regulation, multiple regulations on abuse of market dominance and cross-border mergers. It further critically examine the public and private enforcements of competition rules against international business in the global context.

By critically examining the challenges faced by international business in both the substance and enforcement of global competition regulation, the module aims to engage and motivate you to undertake original thinking and explore innovative solutions to tackle the challenges.

International and Comparative Patent Law

Module credits: 15

The module will deal with the basic principles of patent law and it will do so from an international and comparative perspective. Special attention will be paid to European and US patent law before attention will turn to biotechnological inventions and a case study on stem cell patents.

International and Comparative Trade Mark Law

Module credits: 15

The module will deal with the basic principles of trade mark law and it will do so from an international and comparative perspective. Special attention will be paid to European and US trade mark law before attention will turn to passing-off and comparative advertising issues.

International Aspects of Corporate Law and Insolvency

Module credits: 15

Since the global financial crisis of 2008, corporate rescue and insolvency has been at the forefront of policy making and reform around the world. Using real-world events, this module links theory to practice and covers the following:

  • Introduction to company law, insolvency and global business operations
  • Effective business forms for global operations: group structures and organisational patterns
  • Companies crossing borders: doing business abroad
  • Harmonisation of company laws and supranational business forms
  • Regulating enterprise groups - a comparative and international perspective
  • The quest for harmonisation and uniformity in insolvency
  • The European Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings
  • The UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency: a global solution for international insolvencies
  • Insolvency of multinational enterprise groups

The module is also run in conjunction with the University of Nottingham Commercial Law Centre who organise a range of engagement seminars which include representatives from the UK Government and the World Bank.

International Commercial Arbitration

Module credits: 15

This module offers the fundamentals of international commercial arbitration, the most important dispute resolution mechanism for international business transactions.

The module begins with the legal framework of international commercial arbitration. It then deals with jurisdiction of arbitration tribunals and certain procedural issues arising in arbitration practice. The module ends with the setting aside and recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards. 

The module focuses mainly on English law of arbitration which is put in comparative perspective and compared and contrasted especially with the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration.

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 Disaster Law

International disaster law is an emerging field of international law, which is seeing growing prominence within international legal research, international law and policymaking, not least since Coronavirus emerged. States, international organisations, NGOs and community actors are increasingly addressing the effects of disasters in terms of human rights law, refugee law, and international humanitarian law, particularly when it comes to laws regarding humanitarian assistance.

In addition, international conferences on disaster risk reduction including the Sendai conference in 2015, and arguably the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals, show appetite within the international community to develop a unified ‘International Disaster Law’.

This module addresses international disaster law both as the application of existing international law as applied to disasters, and as a new legal field, which draws on, and adds to, existing principles. This module addresses current issues affecting all actors and people within the international community from humanitarians, to politicians, to economists, to academics, to the people on the ground affected by disasters.

International Environmental Law in Practice

International Environmental Law in Practice is a foundations module on international environmental law (IEL). It will provide a broad overview of IEL and allow you to develop a number of research-related skills.

At the start of the course, you will study the basic principles of IEL. The next block of seminars cover some major multilateral environmental agreements, primarily concerned with pollution, climate change, and biodiversity. You will develop an in-depth knowledge of these instruments: their key mechanisms, institutional architecture, and related legal/policy frameworks.

In the final set of seminars, you will apply this knowledge by researching how contemporary and emerging issues of IEL are addressed through the law. The selected topics will cut across two or more environmental treaties and so you will develop a deep understanding about the connections between different areas of the law.

International Human Rights Law

Module credits: 30

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

Module credits: 30

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 Investment Law

Module credits: 15

This module deals with key aspects of the international system for the regulation of foreign investment. The module focuses mainly on issues arising from investor-host state relations under Bilateral Investment Treaties or BITs but also touches upon international investment contracts. Special attention will be given to the means of regulating investment using BITs, including standards of treatment, such as fair and equitable treatment, full protection and security, national treatment and MFN, and breaches thereof, the taking of foreign property and the settlement of investment disputes by means of third party dispute settlement.

Attention will focus on the substantial and procedural aspects of international investment arbitration with specific reference to ICSID, as well as ad hoc arbitration, using UNCITRAL arbitration rules or the rules of other relevant arbitral fora.

International Law of the Sea

Module credits: 15

International law of the sea regulates the order of the oceans. It is one of the oldest branches of public international law and one of the most dynamic areas of law.

Topics cover: maritime boundary disputes and delimitation, exploration of hydrocarbons in contested waters, the use of marine genetic resources from maritime spaces beyond national jurisdiction, maritime terrorism, and the protection of human lives at sea.

International Law on the Use of Force

Module credits: 15

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.

Introduction to Energy Law

This module provides an introduction to energy law. Through scholarly works and practical case studies, it will address some of the most important legal issues which relate to energy such as: the exploration of natural resources in disputed areas; transparency and control of oil revenues; environmental law issues; and justice and gender in energy transitions. Although both fossils and low carbon/renewable resources will be examined, considerable attention will be paid to hydrocarbons, as they still dominate the energy sector. 

The module will be taught through the following seminars:

  1. Energy law: what, why, how?
  2. Regulation of hydrocarbons: legal regime and exploratory permits
  3. The ‘‘resource curse’’
  4. Exploration of hydrocarbons in contested and transboundary waters
  5. Human rights in extractive industries
  6. Energy dispute resolution: Lex Mercatoria, Lex Petrolea and the way forward
  7. Low carbon and renewable resources: contribution to energy transition and associated challenges
  8. Environmental issues and legal regulation
  9. Energy transition aspects
Law of International Trade Finance

Module credits: 15

This module addresses the private law relating to the financial aspects of international trade, especially payment mechanisms and guarantees. Emphasis is placed upon the rules promulgated by the International Chamber of Commerce.

The module also explores important international trade finance mechanisms such as documentary credits and demand guarantees. These include Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP 600) and Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees.

Law, Development and the International Community

Module credits: 15

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

Module credits: 15

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.

Principles of Public International Law

Module credits: 15

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 Private International Law of Intellectual Property

Module credits: 15

This module will offer an in-depth analysis of the relationship between intellectual property and private international law. It will cover all aspects of jurisdiction and choice of law.

Public Procurement Law

Module credits: 15

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.

The Refugee in International and Domestic Law

International law recognises a human right to seek asylum. Nonetheless, states are increasingly labelling asylum seekers as “illegal” immigrants and responding to asylum seekers through the criminal law. This interdisciplinary module combines international law with theoretical insights from criminology to explore state responses to asylum seekers.

The Rights of the Child

Module credits: 15

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

Module credits: 15

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 World Trading System

Module credits: 15

This module deals with key aspects of World Trade Organisation law. The module focuses on:

  • the institutional and organisational structure of the WTO and its dispute settlement system
  • GATT 1994 (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 paid to the relationship between multilateral and regional and preferential trade and the relationship of trade to sustainable development, as well as consumer health and safety.

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 Friday 21 April 2023.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Seminars

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.

To help support you in this, you will also have access to our virtual library, which includes relevant eBooks, eJournals, official documents and supporting scanning service.

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 2023 entry.

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


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

How to apply


Qualification LLM
Home / UK £11,300
International £21,500

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

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.


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

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


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.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

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

77.8% 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 £23,178.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time, postgraduate, home graduates within the UK.

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

An example of one of these placements was in partnership with the Insolvency and Debt Resolution team of the World Bank Group and was secured by one of our LLM students, Margaux Seeuws.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates

Related courses

This content was last updated on Friday 21 April 2023. 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.