Taught course

International Law and Governance

Durham University · Department of Law

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.

Months of entry


Course content

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.

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)

Information for international students

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

For further information see the course listing.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • LLM
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Department of Law