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International Law and International Relations at Aberdeen provides an advanced understanding of both disciplines and how their interaction impacts upon international politics.
This programme is studied on campus.
This innovative programme combines courses in the theory and practice of International Law, International Relations and Human Security. 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 Latin America: Security Conditions and Challenges.
This programme was designed with the assistance of external contacts who work specifically in the fields of International Law and International Relations. With the combined input from several expert lawyers, you will gain unique insights into both subjects and will advance your understanding of their relationship. Coupled with the knowledge of our internal staff at the University, the programme offers a range of courses that are aligned with the 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 the Use of Force in International Law, the Law of International Organisations, and International Human Rights Law.
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.
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.
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, and energy security supply. The course encourages the student to think creatively as an international lawyer to resolve contemporary international dilemmas. Teaching will be delivered through discussion based seminars. Assessment is based on the drafting of an essay and an exam.
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.
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
This interdisciplinary course focuses on substantive dimensions of globalization by considering recent changes occurring in the economic, political, social, and cultural realms of society. These themes are analysed by considering recent empirical studies, which seek to clarify our theoretical understanding of globalization through advanced social scientific research. The substantive themes covered include global capitalism, the global division of labour, global governance, the changing role of the nation‐state, transnational social change, and cultural homogenization and heterogenization. Interconnections between these aspects of globalization are highlighted.
This course investigates the ways people think about, understand, and respond to violence. How do we know what counts as violence or a violence act? Why does legislation against violence often seem inadequate, perhaps especially in the case of gendered and sexual violence?
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 .
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.
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.
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?
Ever since the University’s opening in 1495, the Law School has played a pivotal role in Aberdeen’s history - and there’s no substitute for experience.
The School of Law is ranked 5th in the UK for Law (The Complete University Guide 2019, The Times Good University Guide 2019), and based on the Times ranking is the highest ranked Scottish Law School.
In an LLM exit survey we carried out in 2016, 98% of students felt that their LLM had added value to their career prospects and 97% would recommend their course to others.
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 Law 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 Sciences, 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.
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.
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:
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.
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
a reference letter 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 employer, or another professional person
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 and international non-governmental organisations. The programme may also serve to engage in an academic career and work towards a PhD.
Study Two Inseparable Subjects
Jointly coordinated through the School of Law and the School of Social Sciences.
Dr Irène Couzigou researches in the field of Public International Law. Her book The Evolution of the International Status of Germany since 1945 analyses the status of the German State in Public International Law. Her other publications deal with the Use of Force in International 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.