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Book your place at our online open day on Wednesday 26 April to find out more about postgraduate taught study at the University of Sheffield
Book your place at our online open day on Wednesday 26 April to find out more about postgraduate taught study at the University of Sheffield
LLM International Law and Global Justice
School of Law,
Faculty of Social Sciences
This course has been designed primarily for students and lawyers who want to develop expertise in international law and who work in, or intend to pursue a career in, the public sector. This may include high-level government lawyers, leaders in non-governmental organisations, and academics. The course offers the opportunity to gain a critical understanding of the role of international law in advancing justice both in times of peace and war.
Teaching is informed by the research of renowned academics from the Sheffield Centre for International and European Law.
This course is one of the pathways offered on the Sheffield LLM. You can also choose to study the LLM Corporate and Commercial Law option.
If you’re not sure which specialist pathway you want to follow, don’t worry, you can take the Sheffield LLM without specialising, or opt to follow one of the pathways on arrival. The choice is yours.
- Legal Research & Writing Skills
This module introduces students to the basic skills of legal research and legal writing, both essays and problem solving. The module includes lectures by academic staff, library staff and on-line specialists, hands-on workshops and structured seminars. The modules also covers referencing and the use of unfair means. Students are given formative feedback on essays. Students are introduced to the skills necessary to give effective oral presentations. Time will also be given to self-reflect on future employment opportunities.
- Dissertation (LLM in Law)
Students must complete a 10,000-12,000 word dissertation on a legal topic of their choice, subject to approval by the Head of School or her or his delegate. The approval will include consideration of whether the dissertation is suitable for the student to graduate from one of the specialised pathways. To this end the student will be asked to nominate on the paperwork their interest in graduating with one of the specialised pathways. The dissertation gives the student the opportunity to explore an area of their interest in some depth. To achieve a Masters standard the student is required to demonstrate an up-to-date critical analysis of the topic chosen for discussion.60 credits
Optional modules - examples include:
- Principles of International Law
This module provides students with a foundational knowledge of public international law. The topics covered include the theory and history of international law; the sources and subjects of international law; recognition; the international law adjudication and dispute settlement mechanisms; and the law of state responsibility.15 credits
- WTO Law: Foundations, Institutions, Challenges
This module introduces the rules, institutions and policies of international trade law including the study of law and governance of the WTO, including core principles and institutional structures. The module will examine the functions and limits of international law in governing world trade in goods/services. Taking into account political, economic and historical contexts, it will discuss the effects of international trade law on states' interests, policies and individuals' lives/wellbeing. Topics may include trade negotiations, dispute settlement, core disciplines reciprocal exchanges, discriminatory treatment, interaction of trade rules with economic development, trade regionalism, intellectual property rights, environmental protection, and other societal values.15 credits
- International Humanitarian Law
This module considers the norms that apply to armed conflicts. In particular, it will consider the aims and purposes of international humanitarian law, the classification of conflicts into international and non-international (NIAC), the applicable humanitarian law principles, the relation between humanitarian law and human rights law and the enforcement of IHL. It will then consider the classification of combatants and civilians, the notion of direct participation in hostilities, the law relating to occupation and the treatment of civilians and prisoners of war. All the above issues will be discussed through cases such as Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan.15 credits
- International Institutional Law
This module is designed to develop students understanding of the role of international organisations in the contemporary world order. In particular, this module will examine whether a common law of international organisations has emerged and, if so, whether and how this international legal framework can be enforced and implemented. Topics to be covered include: legal rules relating to membership of international organisations; powers of international organisations; accountability and responsibility of international organisations; democracy promotion and international organisations.15 credits
- Theoretical Foundations of International Organisations
This module examines the history, theories and principles that define and govern inter-governmental organisations (IOs). It seeks to discern unity, while recognising that each organisation has its individual legal characteristics. Issues to be considered include the constitutional basis of IOs, legal personality, legal powers, membership, representation, decision-making, law-making, democracy and legitimacy. The course will make references to particular IOs such as the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the European Union, and others15 credits
- International Law and the Protection of Foreign Investment
This module introduces students to States' obligations under public international law toward foreign investors and their property and examines the substantive and procedural rules applicable in settling investment disputes. International law concerning the treatment of foreign nationals and their property has important consequences in facilitating foreign direct investment and for host States' capacities to define and pursue the public interest. Students will be encouraged to critically engage with existing law and practice concerning investment protection and the settlement of investment disputes, and to consider whether, and how, these rules and practices might be improved.15 credits
- International Law and the Use of Force
Recent conflicts in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq have attracted much debate on the legality of going to war. This module looks at that international legal debate, drawing upon practice and doctrine in the area known traditionally as the jus ad bellum. The topics considered are: limitations upon war in international war; the prohibition on the use of armed force in the UN Charter; the right of self-defence; humanitarian intervention; collective security and UN military action; and regionalism and collective security.15 credits
- Core Issues in International Dispute Settlement
This module explores the functioning of a wide range of methods for the settlement of disputes in international law, including: 'diplomatic' methods (negotiations, mediation, conciliation, enquiry); inter-state arbitration (e.g. the Permanent Court of Arbitration); 'mixed' arbitration between states and non-state entities (e.g. investor-state dispute settlement under the ICSID Convention); judicial settlement by the International Court of Justice; 'specialised' dispute settlement under the WTO framework and the Law of the Sea Convention. The module also considers issues of enforcement of international judgments and arbitral awards, with particular attention to the law of State immunity.15 credits
- International Security Institutions and Law
The module will examine the political and military approaches to security by certain international institutions such as the UN, EU, NATO and African Union as well as the legal framework that applies to their security mandate. More specifically, it will examine the mechanisms, resources, and activities of these institutions in the area of security and how law facilitates, regulates or even constrains their security activities. For example it will consider how the UN approaches security, what tools are at its disposal as well as the role of law in its security operations. It will also consider the political and legal relationship between different institutions in the area of security as for example in peacekeeping.15 credits
- International Criminal Law
This module examines the material and subjective elements of international crimes namely, the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression; the criminal responsibility of individuals, and the mechanisms for the prosecution and punishment of the offenders. It also considers alternative methods of attributing justice. The module will mainly focus on the International Criminal Court and its jurisprudence and on the jurisprudence of the Yugoslav (ICTY) and the Rwanda (ICTR) Tribunals.15 credits
- Legal Tech and Lawyering in the Digital Age
This module will consider the changing face of 21st century legal practice, with a particular emphasis on the growing influence of digital technology. Students will explore the current and future uses of a range of legal tech and critically evaluate its impact on various aspects of legal practice, including professional ethics and notions of professionalism. Students will have the opportunity to contextualise this through reflection on the wider currents of change within the legal profession, enabling them to develop a vision for the future of lawyering in a digital age.15 credits
- Freedom of Expression in the Digital Age
The module will reflect on the state of freedom of expression across the world as well as considering the relevance of the dominant theoretical rationales for freedom of expression to today's digital environment. It engages with live and diverse challenges confronting the realisation of freedom of expression in the contemporary era, and involves students considering appropriate human rights-based responses to such issues as physical attacks on and the online harassment of journalists and others speaking out; the protection of journalistic sources and whistle-blowers; the use of surveillance technologies; the responsibilities of social media platforms for harmful content and artificial intelligence.15 credits
- International Intellectual Property Law and Sustainable Development
The module examines the international frame of Intellectual Property (IP) and how, and to what extent, this can contribute to fulfil the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) whose agendas overlap with IP-related issues, i.e. most of them. In particular, the module will (a) analyse the 'Agreement on the Trade-Related aspects of IP Rights (TRIPs)', focusing on its key principles and outlining the key IP rights regulated therein; (b) discuss selected issues of international importance connected with IP and the SDGs frame such as: access to medicines; access to educational materials; protection of biodiversity and traditional heritage.15 credits
- The International Legal Profession and Transnational Legal Advisory
This module introduces students to theoretical and practical aspects of the international legal profession and of transnational legal advisory. It explores different limbs of the international and transnational practice of law - transactional advisory, adjudication, arbitration, government advisory, advocacy, international civil service - mapping out the field. It includes presentations by practitioners about their experiences of the international/transnational legal profession, and discussions about the theory, scope, and limits of transnational law, and expertise in international law. The module will provide students with intellectual and practical tools relevant to both the commercial- and the public-interest, international,legal job market.15 credits
- International Trade Law: Advanced Issues
This module covers in-depth topics of international trade law and governance. Building upon the foundational knowledge of international trade law (as offered in WTO Law: Foundations, Institutions, Challenges), this module explores advanced issues that are at the core of contemporary challenges facing the world trading system.15 credits
This module will address some of the following themes:
Advanced issues of the law and policy of the World Trade Organization;
The world trading system in a context of deglobalization of complex global value chains and increasing economic nationalism;
The future of global trade governance in a brave new world of regional trade agreements.
- International Law of the Sea
The international rules concerning the global ocean have perhaps never been more important. The ocean is vital to communication and trade, and is a critical source of energy, resources, and nutrition. Its use can also generate tensions between States and threats to security. This module introduces students to States' rights and obligations under international law relating to the use, preservation, and protection of the global ocean. We will consider States' jurisdiction, the exploitation of resources, environmental protection, maritime security, and dispute settlement, and will consider contemporary challenges — posed, for example, by migration, climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss.15 credits
The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.
An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses. You'll find out what makes us special.
- 1 year full-time
- 2 years part-time
The course is delivered through seminars in each subject area.
Assessment is through essays and a dissertation.
At the School of Law, you will learn to identify and address the complex legal, moral, ethical and social questions that underpin the law. You will be taught by academics, some of whom are practising legal professionals, that are researching at the cutting edge of law and criminology. Our commitment to research-informed teaching means their discoveries become yours, as this research filters into teaching.
Our courses have been developed in consultation with the legal profession and have a strong international focus to develop you into a highly employable graduate. Top law firms regularly visit us to meet our students and take a hands-on approach by contributing to your wider education. They also interview our high-achieving students for jobs.
We endeavour to help you build the employability skills that employers value. At the School of Law we have a dedicated pro bono centre offering you a range of practical experiences. You will have the opportunity to work in our FreeLaw Clinic, fight injustice with our Criminal Justice Initiative and Miscarriages of Justice Review Centre, and gain work experience with our commercial clinic for start up businesses, CommLaw, delivering legal advice on commercial legal issues.
You can also provide practice support to litigants in person with Support Through Court and have the opportunity to get involved with local projects and charities such as Victim Support and Citizen’s Advice Sheffield.
You’ll be based at Bartolomé House, where you will learn through a variety of lectures, tutorials, seminars, and group work. You can also enhance your degree by taking advantage of our careers and employability sessions and there are also a variety of student societies that you might join. This includes the student-run Edward Bramley Law Society.
QiuYi Li's Sheffield LLM experience
QiuYi Li Student, Sheffield LLM
QiuYi decided to choose the Sheffield LLM after also studying her undergraduate degree in Law here at the University of Sheffield. In this blog post she talks about her experiences of the course, and of Sheffield, and how she found studying at the School of Law as an International Student.
Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in a law or a subject with a sufficient legal component.
Other qualifications and relevant work experience will be taken into consideration alongside qualifications.
Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.
Fees and funding
You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.