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Master's programmes

International Human Rights and Criminal Justice

It will no longer be possible to apply for this master's programme. After more than 15 successful years, the School of Law of Utrecht University has decided that the master’s programme International Human Rights and Criminal Justice will be offered for the last time in the academic year 2013-14.

The School of Law has taken this decision in view of the extensive revision of all its master’s programmes. However, the School of Law will continue to include human rights in the curriculum, in particular in the programmes of Public International Law, European Law, Constitutional Law and Criminal Law. Moreover, the revised Public International Law masters will include a human rights track with new courses on human rights.

Increasingly, human rights and criminal justice are subjects of heated public debate, placed high on countries’ political agendas. This LLM reflects on the many questions raised by the current societal and legal developments in this area. Each year, a group of students from around the world comes to Utrecht to take part in the programme, giving it a small-scale, intimate feel with a unique international flavour that is ideal for learning about the views and perspectives of other cultures. Our aim is that by the time you graduate, you will have combined a thorough knowledge of your subject with the skills, knowledge and flexibility that you need to work anywhere you want, whether you choose to practise law, go on to study for a PhD, work for an NGO or follow a different career path. 

Expert teaching and experience-based learning

The LLM puts emphasis on both theory and practice. You are taught by expert professionals from the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM), the Willem Pompe Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology and other organisations. Thanks to Utrecht’s central location in the Netherlands, it is easy to visit many of the institutions and organisations based in the surrounding area, including the International Criminal Court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the International Court of Justice, and Europol in The Hague, as well as the headquarters of NATO in Brussels, and even the headquarters of the UN in Geneva. It is a fantastic opportunity to build up contacts and get an inside view of how the law is put into action.

Opportunities to pursue your own interests

The programme is designed with flexibility in mind, enabling you to pursue your own interests and ideas. We provide two different study tracks, each of which offers a wide range of optional English-taught courses:

The International Law of Human Rights track examines human rights both from the perspective of international law and from a broader political and social perspective. You will study European and international human rights law, look at key examples of case law and discuss the role that supervisory bodies such as the UN and the European Court of Human Rights play. This track offers the possibility to follow the Clinical or Externship Programme.

The Internationalisation of Crime and Criminal Justice track focuses on the most important aspects of international and transnational criminal law. You will not only explore how legislation is created and implemented, but you will also study the historical, cultural and legal contexts in which legislation was formed, and how it applies to genuine cases. You will have the opportunity to participate in the Clinical or Externship Programme.


As a student studying for the LLM in International Human Rights and Criminal Justice, you may also be eligible for one of a number of scholarships. This includes grants from the Netherlands Fellowship Programme, which cover full tuition and living costs.
“The topical and geographical proximity this programme has to the capital of global justice, The Hague, is unique. If you are passionate about international human rights and criminal justice, the LLM will put you right were you are supposed to be.”
- Fritz Streiff, LLM graduate 2012, currently working on a UNDP legal reform programme in Myanmar


NVAO accredited programme

This Master’s programme has been accredited by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO).
Find out more about the NVAO

Privately funded Language: English Type of education: full-time
Start: September Duration: 1 year (60 ECTS) Degree: LLM
Statutory tuition fee: 15.150 euro (2014-2015) Scholarship: Yes
More information about grants and scholarships.
Institutional tuition fee: 15.150 euro (2014-2015)
Read more about tuition fees.
Offered by: Faculty of Law, Economics & Governance
This Master's programme is officially registered under the name International Human Rights and Criminal Justice (code 75034).