International Law LLM

Postgraduate (12 months, 16 months full-time)


September, January

Course duration: 12 months full-time (September starts), 16 months full-time (January starts).

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Master the theory and practice of international law, both private and public. Develop advanced analytic and research skills for professional practice and other high-level international careers.

Find out more about teaching options and studying during COVID-19 in the Entry requirements section, below.

Full description


Transferable skills

Our LLM will help you develop professional skills including logical reasoning, critical analysis, research and independent judgement, along with an understanding of the complex interplay between infrastructure, content, competition, social policy, punishment and trade in the international arena, and a greater capacity for legal communication.

These skills will prepare you for international practice and academic research at the highest level, but are also transferable to a range of other intellectually demanding roles, such as working for international NGOs and other agencies, or public service.

Employability events and opportunities

Volunteer for our Law Clinic and practise your legal skills in a real-life setting. Work alongside local solicitors, providing pro bono advice to people who have limited access to legal resources.

Join our mentoring scheme: partner with a professional from a regional law firm to get first-hand advice and guidance.

Our employability service also organise many focused events, such as careers fairs specifically for law students.

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Law in the Global Context
    This module will prepare you for the transition from undergraduate to Masters level study by introducing themes that underpin the higher level study of law in the international context, as well as the advanced research skills you will need to succeed at this level. You will learn to demonstrate a systematic and critical awareness of the interrelation of law and society in a global context and also a comprehensive understanding and advanced scholarship in the context of international trade and business. Focussing on different international legal traditions and cultures, for example common and civil law, you will be introduced to several main themes. Firstly, you will examine the need for the regulation of international trade and the development of legal frameworks for international trade that transcend particular jurisdictions and focus on the context in which international business takes place, including an understanding of the World Trade Organization and regional trade organisations, such as the EU. You will need a critical awareness of comparative legal systems, and an understanding of some elements of public international law (such as treaty law). This module is especially relevant if you hope to undertake a business, professional or commercial career and want to demonstrate your advanced knowledge and ability for independent learning at a professional level. In particular, it will develop your problem-solving, research, written analytical and critical thinking skills, all transferable skills highly valued by employers. You will also learn how to use library resources and electronic databases effectively, to make the transition to self-directed research needed at postgraduate level, as well as more technical aspects of academic writing, such as referencing using the required conventions. Your assessment will comprise a group presentation, during which you will present findings of your own research, and an individual 5-minute presentation accompanied by a written assignment.
  • Principles of International Law
    On this module you will study the key principles relating to the inter-linked fields of private and public international law. By examining the fundamental building blocks of the international legal system (namely treaties, custom and soft law), you will learn to appreciate the often multi-faceted international legal system following what has been called the ‘fragmentation of international law’. You will consider the concept of statehood, sovereignty and territoriality including maritime territorial claims. Institutions play a prominent role in the international legal system and the module reflects this by outlining the United Nations and its associated organs. You will develop an awareness of the international human rights and international criminal law regimes, which often interact with other areas of law (such as business practices in the case of international human rights law). You will also examine international private law through the idea of conflict of laws and trade practices. These various areas of law influence the overall working of the international legal system. This module will help you to develop your problem-solving, research and written skills, as well as your critical and analytical thinking. You will be assessed by way of an essay (100%) concerning general themes emerging from the module.
  • Legal Research Methods
    This module will give you a critical understanding of research skills, methods and methodology, including surveys, questionnaires, statistical analysis, and interviews, in addition to bibliographical research methods in law. It will also provide you with an understanding of web learning and the ability to access materials both through the University library and from other sources. Most importantly, you will learn to critically examine alternative research methods and evaluate their effectiveness in the study of International Business Law. Further still, you will have the chance to discuss learning and teaching styles, academic expectations and learning strategies. You will be taught through seminars, library sessions and E-learning, giving you a grounding in the various possible research methods. Your assessment will comprise both a presentation and coursework.
  • Current Legal Issues in the International Arena
    This module will enable you to critically evaluate topical legal issues in a global context, extending your knowledge of international law in areas of current interest. You will demonstrate a critical awareness of current legal problems identified as being presently at the forefront of the international legal arena. The precise focus of the module will vary from year to year depending on the topics selected but may include, for example, an evaluation of international sports law. You will learn to deal with such complex issues systematically and creatively, demonstrating originality in your research and problem-solving at a high level. The module will allow you to apply cognitive, transferable skills to a particular field of enquiry, simultaneously developing your employability and professional skills, ranging from team-working activities, written and oral communication skills, logical reasoning and your capacity for independent research. Your assessment will take the form of a group presentation (20% of your overall mark) and a 4,800-word piece of written coursework (80%).
  • Major Project
    This module will support you in the preparation and submission of a Masters dissertation, allowing you to explore in-depth a particular topic that reflects your academic interest.

Optional modules (subject to availability)

  • Globalisation and World Trade
    On this module, you will critically analyse the various factors that impinge on globalisation and trade. In doing so, you will develop a specialised knowledge and understanding of the history and theory of globalisation; the regulation of international trade through the World Trade Organization; and the relationship between international trade, harmonisation of the law and related disciplines such as business organisations and international development. Your studies will be divided into five distinct parts: Fundamental Debates Governing Globalization and Trade; WTO Law; Substantive Multilateral Trade Agreements in WTO Law; Contemporary Challenges Confronting WTO Law; Developing Countries and the WTO. With a focus on developing your technical knowledge in the context of the political and social issues surrounding the WTO and international trade, you will be introduced to emerging aspects of trading and engage in wider reading and analysis, including appropriate non-law texts to supplement your legal understanding. This module will deepen your understanding of legal processes, methods and concepts, allowing you to demonstrate your knowledge, analytical skills and understanding through extended writing in a cogent and appropriate style. Your assessment will consist of a 6,000-word assignment (90% of overall mark) and a moot exercise on important WTO cases that you have previously covered, including a presentation of your preparation notes (10%).
  • Competition Law in the International Context
    Knowledge of the legal regulation of competition is a key tool for anyone involved in businesses operating in a global context. This module will help you examine the purposes and theory of competition law and its relationship to economics, including comparison between EU and US anti-trust law. You will consider the extent to which the law operates to regulate the market behaviour of businesses, putting this in the context of the growing internationalisation of competition law. Increasingly, businesses now operate internationally, making cooperation between competition authorities essential, so you will look at a number of case studies with an international dimension. To gain a practical understanding of the framework of competition law and its enforcement, you will examine EU competition law will, which reaches beyond Europe and may act to prohibit activities (such as mergers between undertakings) that take place outside the EU. you will also consider the impact of the law on business practices such as cartels, abuse of a dominant position, distribution agreements, joint ventures and mergers. Your assessment will consist of a 4,800-word written assessment (80%) and a group presentation (20%).
  • Transnational Commercial Law
    As international commerce has developed, more international efforts have increasingly been made towards harmonising the law relating to international commerce. This is done in the belief that harmonisation is more beneficial than reliance on a single national law. Consequently, a number of different types of international instruments have developed, comprising conventions, model laws, legislative guides, codifications of trade usages and practices and restatements of law governing different aspects of international commercial law and practice. This module will develop your understanding of what drives international commercial law and the reasons for harmonisation. You will examine institutions involved in the harmonisation process, as well as the scope of the harmonisation processes and the major problems and policy issues that must be confronted. You will critically evaluate the success of key international instruments, which you may already have studied in other modules (for example the Vienna Sales Convention), and examine them from a perspective of the need, purpose and success or failure of harmonisation of international commercial law. Your assessment will consist of a 6,000-word essay.
  • Digital Economy
    This module will give you an understanding of the legal structures and the regulation of the Digital Economy, combining an overview of the regulation of modern communications (including telecommunications, information technology, information) with aspects of electronic commercial transactions (jurisdiction, electronic copyright, liability of electronic intermediaries). In particular, you will focus on law relating to electronic privacy with an understanding of what we mean by the Open Society and the Knowledge Economy. You will cover historical perspectives on the UK Digital Economy and the EU emphasis on promoting a borderless trading economy; the current legal and organisational structure of communications control in the UK and Europe; the role of international law impacting on the communications sector (particularly WTO law); UK and European competition law as it impacts the Digital Economy; and aspects of IP law that impact on-line transactions, particularly UK and European copyright law. This module will particularly develop your ability to analyse complex legal issues and identify appropriate solutions to problems. You will also enhance your team working and time management skills as well as your sense of responsibility. You will be supported to develop an interdisciplinary understanding of subject areas, as the Digital Economy is a subject by default exposed to competition, trade, regulation of infrastructure (telecommunications) and content (intellectual property). Your assessment will consist of a 6,000-word essay (100% of mark), but will also include a self-reflective learning log as a formative assessment.
  • Comparative Company Law
    This module will give you an integrated view of the role and structure of corporate law, which provides a clear framework for individual systems both on their own and in relation to each other. You will be introduced to the theory of corporate law, focusing on the main 'players' in the corporate arena (such as the directors, shareholders, creditors and employees) and how company law can best accommodate their sometimes conflicting interests. You will also discover the main arguments for and against state intervention in what are primarily private transactions. Focusing on the theoretical aspects of corporate law, you will consider the problems and legal strategies common to each of the identified jurisdictions, particularly the five basic characteristics of business corporations: legal personality; limited liability; corporate governance/shareholder protection; management of companies; investor ownership. Your assessment will comprise an individual presentation plus written coursework.
  • International Commercial Arbitration
    On this module you will engage in an examination and critical reflection of the choices businesses must make about the available methods of resolving commercial disputes in a globalised world. You will examine methods of alternative dispute resolution together with substantive and procedural aspects of business litigation in the worldwide context. You will also examine the availability and desirability of forum selection as well as the practical and procedural differences between litigation processes within a range of selected forums, allowing you to critically analyse: different approaches to funding commercial litigation; practical considerations relating to choice of forum; the availability and effectiveness of selected interim remedies (such as worldwide freezing injunctions); and the practical difficulties of reciprocal enforcement of judgements throughout the world. You will combine theory and practical application relevant to international legal practice and business and, together with other students, engage in role-play within alternative dispute resolution scenarios, developing and enhancing your teamwork, negotiation and strategic-thinking employability skills. Your assessment will comprise a piece of individual written work (3,000 words) on a dispute resolution topic.


For a full breakdown of module options and credits, please view the module structure (pdf).

You will show your progress through a variety of activities, including coursework, presentations (or an individual viva in Comparative Company Law), a mini-moot in Globalisation and World Trade Law, and your final 15,000-word major project.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

You have a highly active mind and see opportunity everywhere. Now you need theory and life-changing skills to sharpen your approach to management. At the Faculty of Business & Law, you will immerse yourself in a multicultural environment where technology blends with teaching to create a dynamic and innovative learning environment. An environment to help you gain those skills.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Access to legal resources

Cambridge has three courts, all close to ARU’s campus, where you can attend cases relevant to your studies: the Cambridgeshire Magistrates Court, Cambridge Crown Court and Cambridge County and Family Court. The benefits of attending court cases for law students have been outlined in a recent Guardian article.

You can receive access to the University of Cambridge’s world-renowned Squire Law Library, where you will find resources including rare antiquarian legal history materials, a historical Labour Law collection and numerous old editions of prominent legal texts.

Access our own extensive library facilities on-campus, including an online digital library. All our LLM students receive a two-hour session with a dedicated Law School Librarian during Semester One and Semester Two. This will introduce you to research skills, and is carried through into the Research module.

Extracurricular law activities

Join our Law Society and take part in national competitions including mooting and Client Interviewing (won by ARU a record six times). Mooting and Client Interviewing will further develop many of your transferable skills, including teamworking, public speaking, research and analysis, listening and responding, creative thinking and empathy.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK students starting 2021/22 (per year)


International students starting 2021/22 (per year)


How do I pay my fees?

UK students

You can pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments – though you won't need to pay until you've accepted an offer to study with us.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You can pay your fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Funding for postgraduate students

It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our finance guide for postgraduate students to learn more about postgraduate loans and other funding options.

We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships and bursaries, which provide extra financial support while you're at university.

International students

As well as a number of scholarships, we offer an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of on-campus and online learning from September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. A small number of our courses require additional technical specifications or specialist materials. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning. Our website also has general information for new students about starting university in 2020-21.

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

Due to the national lockdown all universities in England, including ARU, are only able to provide face to face teaching on campus for a limited number of courses.

Teaching options when not in a lockdown

In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic all our students can choose to either study face to face on campus or online only, and students are able to change their mode of delivery at given dates throughout the trimester.

For on-campus teaching, we offer at least four hours face-to-face teaching related contact time per week for our undergraduate full-time courses, supported by online learning using our established online learning systems. The number of contact hours vary course by course, and you can contact us for further information. The provision offered is subject to change due to the possibility of further Government restrictions, however we remain committed to delivering face-to-face teaching and ensuring a COVID-19 secure environment.

In the event that there are further changes to the current restrictions that are in place due to the pandemic, we may need to move some courses online only at short notice to remain in line with Government guidelines and ensure the continued safety of our students and staff.

National lockdown (from 5 January 2021) 

View the impact of the current restrictions

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