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1 year full-time


Durham City

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Course details

The Durham LLM in International Law and Governance offers a critical insight into the legal structure on which relationships between states are built. It provides you with the skills and knowledge to be able to analyse legal sources and literature and form independent opinions about international issues, policy and governance.

The one-year full-time course consists of three compulsory modules, a selection of option modules chosen from a wide range of topics and a major dissertation which is produced, under supervision, from your own independent research.

The compulsory modules will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the fundamentals of international law and governance, as well as introducing you to the latest research methods that are being applied to legal studies.

Optional modules allow you to explore the areas of international law and governance that interest you the most, with topics ranging from International Investment Law to Global Environmental Law and from International Perspectives on Law and Gender to International Counter Terrorism.

Alongside subject knowledge, a key aspect of the course is to develop the necessary skills to present your findings clearly and professionally, in both spoken and in written form, to audiences including international legal specialists as well as participate in academic debate.

International law and governance are key to maintaining relationships between states. We have developed a strong reputation in these areas of expertise at the Law School where internationally renowned academics associated with the course are based in the Global Policy Institute, the Global Security Institute, the Centre for Borders Research, the Human Rights Centre and in law and global justice research.

Course Structure

Core modules

Fundamentals of International Law offers an overview view of the principles of public international law and provides a springboard into further study or research in the more specialised aspects of public international law. This module delivers a proper grounding in the basic principles, features and institutions of the international legal system, and provides an opportunity to explore more advanced problems faced by the international legal system. Those who have previously studied in this area may be granted exemption from this module.

Fundamental Issues in International Legal Governance gives you an in-depth understanding of the range of legal systems and issues which make up modern governance around the world and provide you with a solid grounding in the history and theory of international law, international economic law, international dispute resolution, international humanitarian and human rights law and international peace and security. 

Applied Research Methods in Law provides specialised knowledge of the research methods and skills available in legal studies as well as an advanced understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and of their relevance for different forms of legal research. The module will also give you the skills and training to be able to find primary and secondary sources for research, develop an understanding of producing written work, develop presentation skills and improve your comprehension of the various forms of legal analysis.

The Dissertation is based on an area of particular interest in an area of International Law and Governance and can be of one of three lengths – 10,000, 15,000 or 20,000 words. Depending on the length chosen, the dissertation is equivalent to 2, 2.5 or 3 modules.

Depending on the dissertation length and prior subject knowledge, you can choose a number of subject specific optional modules (* indicates half modules) which in previous years have included:

  • Advanced Issues in Human Rights*
  • Advanced Issues in International Economic Law 
  • China and the International Legal Order* 
  • Comparative and Transnational Law*
  • Current Problems in International Law 
  • Free Speech Problems in International and Comparative Perspective*
  • Global Environmental Law*
  • Global Financial Law 
  • Global Institutions 
  • Horizontal Human Rights*
  • International Counter Terrorism: Theory and Practice* 
  • International Humanitarian Law 
  • International Investment Law*
  • International Perspectives on Law and Gender* 
  • International Protection of Human Rights
  • International Tax Law*
  • International Trade Law and Policy
  • Introduction to EU Law*
  • Introduction to International Criminal Justice
  • Law of the Sea 
  • Multinational Corporations and Human Rights*
  • Private International Law and China*
  • Protection of Human Rights in Europe 
  • Renewable Energy Law*

Your remaining options can be chosen from a wider selection of law modules (* indicates half modules) which in previous years have included:

  • Advanced Issues in Corporate Law*
  • Advanced Issues of Intellectual Property Law*
  • Advanced Law of Obligations 
  • Commercial Fraud* 
  • Comparative Corporate Governance 
  • Competition Law
  • Consumption Tax Law and Policy* 
  • Corporate Compliance* 
  • Corporations in an EU Context 
  • Cross-Border Commercial Litigation
  • Current Issues in Commercial Law 
  • Electronic Commerce 
  • Frontiers in Biolaw*
  • Fundamentals of Corporate Law*
  • International and Comparative Corporate Insolvency Law* 
  • International Banking Law 
  • International Commercial Dispute Resolution
  • International Sales Law
  • Introduction to Corporate Governance*
  • Introduction to Corporate Insolvency Law* 
  • Introduction to Intellectual Property Law*
  • Law of Oil and Gas Contracts*
  • Medical Law and Ethics*
  • Mergers and Acquisitions*
  • Securities Law and Capital Markets 
  • Takeover Regulation in the EU* 
  • US Business Associations 
  • International Law of Peace and Security 
  • International Perspectives in Cartel Control*
  • The Law of Subsidy and State Aid Control*
  • Current Issues in International Law and Governance*
  • US Corporate Law*
  • Modules offered by another Board of Studies (subject to approval)


The LLM is delivered through a range of taught modules plus a dissertation, this structured learning will be complemented by your own independent research and reading in order to contribute fully to the learning process.

The modules are delivered in lectures and seminars with lectures introducing the chosen topics and the debates and ideas around them. Seminars are smaller-sized, student-led classes and you will be required to carry out reading beforehand and then apply your acquired knowledge to set questions or problems.

The contact hours for each module will be 15 hours or 30 hours, depending on the modules chosen.

Your dissertation is the product of your own research and study and is developed and completed under the guidance of a supervisor with whom you will have four one-to-one meetings during the academic year.


Assessment is rigorous and, for the majority of the modules, is based on essays of 3,000-6,000 words in length, with the core module on applied research methods assessed by the quality of the research topic proposal you will present for a research topic.

You will also be required to produce a dissertation on your area of interest in international law and governance. Depending on the route chosen your dissertation can be anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 words.

Entry requirements

A good 2:1 degree (or its equivalent) in law, or in a degree in which law is a major component.

Students with foreign qualifications will conform to the minimum requirements for admission.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £12,750 per year
EU students £26,900 per year
Island students £12,750 per year
International students £26,900 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

Law School

Our global reputation for legal research and teaching of the highest quality is reflected in the career trajectory of our alumni.

Graduates serve across the full range of legal professions including solicitors, barristers, judges, members of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and as consultants and in government. Others have secured stimulating and rewarding positions in national and international law firms.

We are fully aware of the degree of competition that exists in securing a role in the legal profession and the School provides a range of resources to help alumni stand out as ideal candidates during the recruitment process. This includes detailed information about the steps involved in becoming a solicitor or barrister, visits from law firms and guidance on preparing for interviews and assessment days.

Department information

Law School

Durham Law School is a global leader in the development and framing of law. Led by academics who are experts in their field, we carry out cutting-edge legal research that feeds into our Masters and research qualifications, building knowledge and nurturing the skills needed to help shape law in the future.

The reputation of the School means our legal know-how is respected by parliamentarians and policy makers around the world. Our academics have been called to give evidence in Parliament and have had their research work quoted by courts and international bodies.

International law and questions of global policy and governance are an area of special interest at Durham, but our expertise extends to other areas including criminal law and criminal justice, ethics, human rights, European law, gender and law, Chinese law, Commercial and Corporate law and Global Justice.

The research-led learning environment in the School is one of commitment, innovation and passion for the subject. Our highly respected research groups organise lectures and seminars offer opportunities to hear from eminent scholars and practitioners. Speakers have included judges from the UK Supreme Court, from the European Court of Justice and leading officials from national and international institutions.

For more information visit our department pages.


  • World Top 50 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2023
  • 6th in The Complete University Guide 2024
  • Top 10 in The Guardian University Guide 2024
  • Top 10 in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024


For a current list of staff, please see the Law School pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • 5th in the UK for research environment
  • 100% of our research impact and environment was rated world-leading or internationally excellent


Situated close to a number of academic departments and University services with views of the magnificent Durham Cathedral as well as offering easy access to the historic city, we believe that we have one of the most striking and best-equipped law buildings in the UK.

The Law School is located in the University’s award-winning flagship Palatine Centre, part of a £48.4m sustainable building development.

The School’s facilities are purpose-built and state-of-the-art, featuring a moot court, pro bono room, Harvard-style Hogan Lovells lecture theatre, spacious dedicated work suites and modern wireless and audio-video-enabled research spaces and attractive social areas.


Find out more:

Apply for a postgraduate course (including PGCE International) via our online portal.  

Visit Us

The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!

Join a Postgraduate Open Day
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
Find out more
Self-Guided Tours
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
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