Introduction

International Law and International Relations at Aberdeen provides an advanced understanding of both disciplines and how their interaction impacts upon international politics.

Study Information

Study Options

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
LLM
Duration
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
January or September
Location of Study
Aberdeen

This innovative programme combines courses in the theory and practice of International Law and International Relations. You will gain a unique interdisciplinary perspective on a range of contemporary issues related to the transformed nature of global governance. Throughout this programme, you will have the opportunity to study courses such as International Law: A Time of Challenges, The Use of Force in International Law and Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism.

This programme was designed by experts who work specifically in the fields of International Law and International Relations. With their combined input, you will gain unique insights into both subjects and will advance your understanding of their relationship. The programme offers a range of courses that are aligned with the interdisciplinary competencies required for today’s international job market. In Aberdeen, you will benefit from the wide community of international staff and students which provides a stimulating learning environment. You will have the opportunity to develop a professional network, some students being already engaged in an international career.

The University of Aberdeen has a reputation for attracting world-class teaching staff with unrivalled experience and knowledge in their specialist subjects. Being taught in small classes, you will have easy access to first rate teaching from globally respected staff, such as Programme Director Dr Irène Couzigou, who before coming to Aberdeen, researched and taught in the field of Public International Law at the University of Paris 2 in France as well as at the University of Heidelberg and at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Germany. Her publications deal with Peace and Security Law, the Law of International Organisations, and International Human Rights Law.

Available Programmes of Study

International Law and International Relations

Qualification Duration Learning Mode Study Mode Start Month Location  
LLM 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September View

Programme Information

Semester 1

Semester 1

Information for part time students: This route will run over two years minimum. Candidates can take up to 120 credits per year. LS501T and PD5006 must be taken in year 1, and LS5904 must be taken in year 2. Candidates must take the following courses either in year 1 or year 2: LS501U and IR5001. Candidates must take a remaining 60 credits from the courses listed in the 'Semester 2' tab of the full time degree (at least one LS and one PI course should be taken).


Compulsory Courses

All candidates must take the following courses:

PD5006: Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen

Theories and Concepts in International Relations (IR5001)

30 Credit Points

This course lays the foundations for, explores, and critically analyses the main theoretical paradigms and debates in International Relations, and engages with the complexity of debates on concepts in IR. The theoretical topics to be covered include debates on the international system, cooperation, world order, conflict, development, representation and identity. Students will also be introduced to some of the main debates in epistemology and methodology that apply to the discipline.

View detailed information about this course
Critical Legal Thinking and Scholarship (LS501T)

This compulsory course provides students from diverse legal and educational backgrounds with a common understanding of the core research, analytical, and writing skills which would be required to excel in LLM-Taught courses. It commences with a few lectures and progresses to working in a workshop environment and finally to the submission of an individual assignment. It also incorporates elements such as library workshops to provide students with hands-on experience with the resources available for course and dissertation work.

View detailed information about this course
International Law: A Time of Challenges (LS501U)

30 Credit Points

The course analyses recent developments in public international law. It first considers the sources of public international law. The question is then asked whether traditional public international law can regulate pressing issues on the international plane. Examples of these problems are: international terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation, protection of human rights, ethnic conflicts, climate change. The course encourages the participant-student to think creatively as an international lawyer to resolve contemporary international dilemmas.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 2

Semester 2

Optional Courses

Two courses must be selected from the list below. At least one LS module and at least one PI module should be taken.

PI5502: Global Security Issues

The use of Force in International Law (LS5549)

30 Credit Points

The course analyses how international law regulates the use of armed forces between States. It is of interest to students who want to understand the legal considerations which frame contemporary conflicts. The course will study the fundamental principle of the prohibition on the use of inter-State force. It will examine the current exceptions to this principle, and how States try to justify the use of force. Consequently, the course will study the most recent recourses to force on the international plane, in particular in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. Teaching will be delivered mainly through discussion based seminars.

View detailed information about this course
International Human Rights Law (LS5590)

30 Credit Points

The course was designed to help students build competence in dealing with the doctrinal issues about international human rights. It involves understanding the place of human rights in public international law, finding one’s way around the foundational human rights documents and the jurisprudence of human rights bodies. The course delivery puts heavy emphasis on classroom discussion on the controversial issues on contemporary human rights law that shape doctrinal development in this field: the justifiability of torture, the limits of freedom of religion, the justiciability of social rights, etc

View detailed information about this course
International Humanitarian Law (LS551G)

30 Credit Points

The course explores the history, nature and salient features of the principles of ‘the laws and customs of war’, also called IHL; they are enshrined, inter alia, in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977. The principles of distinction, humanity, necessity and proportionality as applied to contemporary armed conflicts are examined. The course emphasises the rules and challenges pertaining to civilian immunity, occupation, legal controls on weapons and how IHL is implemented and enforced. It also clarifies the differences/similarities between IHL and international human rights law and the law on the use of force.

View detailed information about this course
Terrorism and Counter - Terrorism (PI5520)

30 Credit Points

Salient, specific facets of historical and contemporary national, international and transnational terrorism and the problems and challenges these different kinds of terrorism pose for national and international counter-terrorism strategies will be scrutinised. The debates on the different causes for terrorism (for instance religion, ethnicity, and ideology) and the different theoretical approaches to explain and understand the roots of terrorism will be examined. Specific facets of terrorism like (female) suicide bombers, ‘lone wolfs’ and ‘home-grown terrorists’, as well as the national and international strategies to counter terrorism, will be critically reviewed.

View detailed information about this course
International Energy Security (PI5518)

30 Credit Points

Topics:

Oil and Security – how oil crises have occurred since 1973, with a focus on the energy demand and supply pressures and the political factors triggering the 1973 and 1979 oil crises. OPEC and IEA. The factors underpinning the oil crisis of 2008 and its relationships to world economic crisis. The role of China in oil politics.

Natural Gas, the EU and Russia. How conceptions of (natural gas) energy security are constructed and implemented in the EU and Russia –Nuclear Power and energy security;– eg Iran .

Climate Security

View detailed information about this course
Semester 3

Semester 3

The compulsory dissertation provides the opportunity to research and explore in more detail a specific legal area of your choice.


Compulsory Courses
Master of Laws Dissertation (LS5904)

60 Credit Points

Between May and mid-August students prepare a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic of their choice related to their specialist LLM programme. Students are instructed through the delivery of a preparatory lecture, two supervisory meetings and a two hour dissertation planning workshop in a small group setting. Students are expected to spend considerable time on independent research throughout the course of the dissertation module, including; preparation of dissertation plan, amendment of plan in accordance with supervisory comments, preparation for the dissertation workshop, and, of course, in the final 10,000 word dissertation itself.

View detailed information about this course

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £19,400
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
Home / RUK £10,200
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
LLM 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time January Aberdeen View

Programme Information

Semester 1

Semester 1

Information for part time students: This route will run over two years minimum. Candidates can take up to 120 credits per year. LS551T and PD5506 must be taken in year 1, and LS5904 must be taken in year 2. Candidates must take the following courses either in year 1 or year 2: LS501U and IR5001. Candidates must take a remaining 60 credits from the courses listed in the 'Semester 2' tab of the full time degree (at least one LS and one PI course should be taken).


Compulsory Courses

PD5506: Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen

Critical Legal Thinking and Scholarship (LS551T)

This compulsory course provides students from diverse legal and educational backgrounds with a common understanding of the core research, analytical, and writing skills which would be required to excel in LLM-Taught courses. It commences with a few lectures and progresses to working in a workshop environment and finally to the submission of an individual assignment. It also incorporates elements such as library workshops to provide students with hands-on experience with the resources available for course and dissertation work.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

In addition to the above, candidates must take courses to the value of 60 credit points. At least one LS course and at least one PI course should be taken.

PI5502: Global Security Issues

The use of Force in International Law (LS5549)

30 Credit Points

The course analyses how international law regulates the use of armed forces between States. It is of interest to students who want to understand the legal considerations which frame contemporary conflicts. The course will study the fundamental principle of the prohibition on the use of inter-State force. It will examine the current exceptions to this principle, and how States try to justify the use of force. Consequently, the course will study the most recent recourses to force on the international plane, in particular in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. Teaching will be delivered mainly through discussion based seminars.

View detailed information about this course
International Human Rights Law (LS5590)

30 Credit Points

The course was designed to help students build competence in dealing with the doctrinal issues about international human rights. It involves understanding the place of human rights in public international law, finding one’s way around the foundational human rights documents and the jurisprudence of human rights bodies. The course delivery puts heavy emphasis on classroom discussion on the controversial issues on contemporary human rights law that shape doctrinal development in this field: the justifiability of torture, the limits of freedom of religion, the justiciability of social rights, etc

View detailed information about this course
International Energy Security (PI5518)

30 Credit Points

Topics:

Oil and Security – how oil crises have occurred since 1973, with a focus on the energy demand and supply pressures and the political factors triggering the 1973 and 1979 oil crises. OPEC and IEA. The factors underpinning the oil crisis of 2008 and its relationships to world economic crisis. The role of China in oil politics.

Natural Gas, the EU and Russia. How conceptions of (natural gas) energy security are constructed and implemented in the EU and Russia –Nuclear Power and energy security;– eg Iran .

Climate Security

View detailed information about this course
Terrorism and Counter - Terrorism (PI5520)

30 Credit Points

Salient, specific facets of historical and contemporary national, international and transnational terrorism and the problems and challenges these different kinds of terrorism pose for national and international counter-terrorism strategies will be scrutinised. The debates on the different causes for terrorism (for instance religion, ethnicity, and ideology) and the different theoretical approaches to explain and understand the roots of terrorism will be examined. Specific facets of terrorism like (female) suicide bombers, ‘lone wolfs’ and ‘home-grown terrorists’, as well as the national and international strategies to counter terrorism, will be critically reviewed.

View detailed information about this course
International Humanitarian Law (LS551G)

30 Credit Points

The course explores the history, nature and salient features of the principles of ‘the laws and customs of war’, also called IHL; they are enshrined, inter alia, in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977. The principles of distinction, humanity, necessity and proportionality as applied to contemporary armed conflicts are examined. The course emphasises the rules and challenges pertaining to civilian immunity, occupation, legal controls on weapons and how IHL is implemented and enforced. It also clarifies the differences/similarities between IHL and international human rights law and the law on the use of force.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 2

Semester 2

The compulsory dissertation provides the opportunity to research and explore in more detail a specific legal area of your choice.


Compulsory Courses
Master of Laws Dissertation (LS5904)

60 Credit Points

Between May and mid-August students prepare a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic of their choice related to their specialist LLM programme. Students are instructed through the delivery of a preparatory lecture, two supervisory meetings and a two hour dissertation planning workshop in a small group setting. Students are expected to spend considerable time on independent research throughout the course of the dissertation module, including; preparation of dissertation plan, amendment of plan in accordance with supervisory comments, preparation for the dissertation workshop, and, of course, in the final 10,000 word dissertation itself.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

All candidates must take the following courses:

International Law: A Time of Challenges (LS501U)

30 Credit Points

The course analyses recent developments in public international law. It first considers the sources of public international law. The question is then asked whether traditional public international law can regulate pressing issues on the international plane. Examples of these problems are: international terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation, protection of human rights, ethnic conflicts, climate change. The course encourages the participant-student to think creatively as an international lawyer to resolve contemporary international dilemmas.

View detailed information about this course
Theories and Concepts in International Relations (IR5001)

30 Credit Points

This course lays the foundations for, explores, and critically analyses the main theoretical paradigms and debates in International Relations, and engages with the complexity of debates on concepts in IR. The theoretical topics to be covered include debates on the international system, cooperation, world order, conflict, development, representation and identity. Students will also be introduced to some of the main debates in epistemology and methodology that apply to the discipline.

View detailed information about this course

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £19,400
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
Home / RUK £10,200
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

As well as attending lectures and seminars by our teaching staff, you will also benefit from hearing from guest speakers from the world of international law and international relations. You will have the opportunity to study a research skills course at the start of your studies.

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

Assessment Methods

Assessment: By course work, by written examination, or by a combination of these, as prescribed for each course. The degree of LLM shall not be awarded to a candidate who fails to achieve a CGS grade of D3 or above in the specified dissertation course, irrespective of their performance in other courses: such candidates may, at the discretion of the Examiners, be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.

Why Study International Law and International Relations?

Law was a founding discipline of the University of Aberdeen in 1495. Today, our Law School is considered one of the UK’s elite training grounds for lawyers - and there’s no substitute for experience.

  • The School of Law is ranked Top 100 in the World (The Times Higher Education World University Subject Ranking 2022).
  • Our Law School is ranked 2nd in the UK for Overall Student Satisfaction (National Student Survey 2021).
  • There are over 40 nationalities within the School of Law postgraduate community, so you will benefit from the experiences of international students from all over the world.

 Students choose to study International Law and International Relations at Aberdeen because of our reputation for academic excellence and unrivalled student experience. At Aberdeen, you will:

  • Develop key critical thinking and analysis skills that will help you gain a deeper understanding of contemporary legal and political issues.
  • Benefit from the twin strengths of our School of Law and School of Social Science, which will help you to quickly develop your knowledge and understanding of global issues.
  • Have the opportunity to attend the research seminars organised by the Law School and the School of Social Science.
  • Be able to participate in events organised by Lawyers without Border and the Model United Nations Society, which will provide you with valuable insights into both subjects.
  • Have the opportunity to study at a University with a reputation for academic rigour and excellent small-class teaching, while adopting a modern attitude towards critical analysis.
  • Study in a unique environment that encourages you to challenge thinking in order to gain and retain greater knowledge.
  • Be part of a wide community of international staff and students, located in a cosmopolitan and friendly Scottish city.

You will be part of a vibrant, close-knit community of students that provides a personal and friendly atmosphere where staff have the opportunity to know students by name and can closely monitor progress.

What Our Students Say

Nicolas Braidi

Nicolas Braidi

Nicolas Braidi

The range of the topics covered in the LLM International Law and International Relations enabled me to develop complementary cross-disciplinary skills and become an expert in understanding international issues and challenges.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Normally, a 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in Law will be required to be accepted onto this programme. Relevant practical experience in a related field will also be beneficial.

Due to the nature and structure of this programme, spaces are limited and only a September start is offered. Prospective students interested in this programme should submit their completed application by the end of May each year. All applications will be reviewed by the programme admissions panel. Decisions will be notified by the end of July. Unsuccessful applicants may, at the discretion of the admissions panel, be offered a place on the LLM International Commercial Law with Dissertation instead.

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 6.0; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 21; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 169; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

Degree Certificate
a degree certificate showing your qualifications
Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
Reference x 2
two reference letters, one of which should be from your university discussing your academic ability. If you have been out of education for a long time you may wish to use your current or most recent employers, or other professional individuals

Fee Information

Additional Fee Information

  • Fees for individual programmes can be viewed in the Programmes section above.
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities

The SFC Postgraduate tuition fee scholarship may be available for those classified as Home/EU fee status students for this programme. Visit the scholarship page for more information.

The James Carnegie maintenance scholarship for postgraduate students is available with this degree.

Scholarships

Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.

Careers

By studying International Law and International Relations at Aberdeen, you will have the opportunity to pursue a range of careers in the legal profession. The skills that you gain will give you a competitive advantage in careers in government departments, international organisations, international non-governmental organisations or as international consultant.

Study Two Inseparable Subjects

Jointly coordinated through the School of Law and the School of Social Sciences.

We are Top 100 in the World for Law

Our Law School is ranked in the Top 100 globally, according to the Times Higher Education World University Subject Rankings 2022.

2nd in the UK for Overall Student Satisfaction

We are ranked 2nd in the UK for Overall Student Satisfaction in Law (National Student Survey 2021)

Our Experts

Dr Irène Couzigou researches in the field of Public International Law. Her current publications deal with Peace and Security Law, including the emerging International Cybersecurity Law, the Law of International Organisations, and International Human Rights Law.

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Get in Touch