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    LLM International Law and Global Justice

    School of Law, Faculty of Social Sciences

    Designed primarily for students and lawyers who want to develop expertise in international law, and work or intend to pursue a career in the public sector.
    Three postgraduate students sitting with laptops, smiling and engaged in a seminar.

    Course description

    The LLM International Law and Global Justice is ideal for those seeking to gain in-depth knowledge and expertise of international law and understand its role in advancing justice in times of war and peace.

    The course offers a broad selection of modules which cover all areas of international law and also engages with contemporary issues. It's taught by leading experts in their fields whose teaching is informed by their research and scholarship. Research, teaching and learning is also supported by the Sheffield Centre for International and European Law and its various activities.

    Students who study this course come from a range of backgrounds. This includes graduates from law,  as well as from social sciences and humanities such as international relations. They can also be practising lawyers or work in the public or private sector who want to develop their knowledge in international law.

    Our graduates pursue careers in both the private and public sector, working for law firms, governments, international organisations, non-governmental organisations and universities.

    International Law and Global Justice is one of the pathways offered on the Sheffield LLM. You can also choose to study LLM Corporate and Commercial Law.

    If you’re not sure which specialist pathway you want to follow, don’t worry, you can take the Sheffield LLM by choosing modules from both pathways, or opt to follow one of the pathways on arrival. The choice is yours.


    A selection of modules is available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Core modules

    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 others

    15 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
    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 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
    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
    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.
    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.

    15 credits
    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
    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
    International Environmental Law

    This module examines the role of international law in addressing some of the most pressing environmental challenges faced by the international community in the contemporary world order. In particular, it addresses the current global problems of international environmental governance, such as: fundamental principles of international environmental law (including the precautionary principle, the polluter-pays principle, environmental impact assessment, and the preventive principle); sustainable development and intergenerational equity; human right to a clean environment; climate change; biodiversity; and marine pollution. The module examines the environmental challenges that societies are grappling with and the solutions offered by international law. The notion of sustainable development, the position of developing countries and the fact that environmental law needs to be considered in light of social and economic dimensions of development run as general themes throughout this module.

    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.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses.

    You may also be able to pre-book a department visit as part of a campus tour.Open days and campus tours


    • 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.


    School of Law

    Three postgraduate students walking up the staircase of Bartolomé House

    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.

    Our school is acclaimed for its exceptional research performance, aided by our world-leading academics, as well as our pioneering research centres and projects. 91% of our research is rated in the highest two categories in the REF 2021, meaning it is classed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

    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.

    Entry requirements

    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.

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.


    To apply for this pathway, begin an application for Law LLM and then select the pathway.

    Apply now