Public International Law LL.M.

(Specialisatie van Rechtsgeleerdheid)

This master focuses on the legal framework that governs international relations in an increasingly complex global society. You will gain a thorough understanding of the fundamental doctrines of public international law, studying different perspectives from theory and practice. We will also challenge you to develop your own views on the role and functioning of law in international society.

In this programme you will discuss questions as: Who is entitled to intervene in situations of mass violations of human rights? Which means are allowed to combat international terrorism? Can the international community develop governance mechanisms, including law, to deal with problems such as global climate change? You will also learn how to draft international legal instruments; how to interpret and apply them to address international challenges.

Why choose Public International Law

  • This programme makes use of the expertise available in the various international institutions located in The Hague, such as the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
  • A distinctive aspect of this master’s is the teaching methodology which we apply: the privatissimum and the practicum.
  • This programme is taught by lecturers who possess expertise in a wide range of aspects of public international law, including international criminal law, international humanitarian law, international human rights law, the law on peace and security, international institutional law, international dispute settlement, international economic law and international environmental law.

Career prospects

You will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue a career within:

  • your national legal system;
  • international law departments of national institutions;
  • international governmental or nongovernmental organisations;
  • internationally operating business enterprises;

Eric de Brabandere

The global challenges that we face today and will face in the future ask for lawyers that have a solid understanding of public international law in all its aspects and diversity.

Overview courses

Semester I 

ILS - Global law: legal reasoning in International, EU and National law 
(5 EC)

International Students – International Law in Context: Historical, Sociological and Theoretical Perspectives

Public International Law
(10 EC)

International Dispute Settlement
(5 EC)

International Criminal Law
(5 EC)

Master’s Thesis part 1
(5 EC)

Semester II 

Contemporary Issues - Privatissimum
(10 EC)

The Law & Practice of International Organizations – Practicum (10 EC)

Human Rights, Humanitarian Law and Terrorism
(5 EC)

Master’s Thesis part 2
(5 EC)


Master of Laws 




Leiden / The Hague 




1 year 

Mode of study: