This Master’s programme in Public International Law (PIL) will equip you with a broad range of legal tools to address current legal concerns facing the world. PIL is a flexible programme that offers you many options, both during your study period and in your career possibilities post-graduation. As an added benefit, the international mix of students in this programme means that you – by working together – will actually offer each other personal "comparative" insights on international law.

Three specialisation tracks 

​In today’s globalised world, public international law addresses complex, challenging issues that touch everyone’s lives. In the PIL programme, you will explore common themes of public international law with the option to take a specialisation in three tracks:

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Multidimensional Teaching and Research

You will build relevant and current skills by studying actual cases facing the International Court of Justice and other international dispute settlement institutions. You will develop your argumentation abilities in moot courts, among other training methods, and learn to apply your knowledge of the law to real-life situations. This academic and challenging English-taught LLM programme reflects the Law School’s multi-dimensional approach to legal teaching: developments in public international law are best seen from a broad perspective.

Active, self-designed learning

Our Master’s programme in Public International Law offers you active learning methods in which your own interests, ambitions and aims will guide your learning experiences. Your lecturers take a supportive role in this self-created, individualised approach to your studies. In the Capita Selecta modules and in your own specialisation, you will be trained in the essential skill of how to quickly deepen your knowledge of a current, specialised legal topic. From the very beginning, you will also take part in research and thesis training that prepares you to write your Master’s thesis, the culmination of your LLM programme.

Specific knowledge, broad perspectives

This Master's programme provides you with thorough and highly individualised training that will prepare you for a legal career in an international environment. You will particularly develop your academic and practical abilities through taking part in moot courts, visiting international courts and other institutions and undertaking research focused on your thesis. You will also learn to reflect critically on current legal dilemmas, pertaining to human rights, environment and security, presented by our globalised and interdependent world. Whether you aim to build a career as a diplomat, attorney or policy officer in national government, researcher, legal advisor in an NGO or governmental organisation, or attorney in the legal department of a multinational corporation business, you will learn to work effectively and ethically in the complex world of public international law.

What does this Master entail?

During your studies, you will:

  • Craft your own study path by customising your programme through a specialisation and selecting different modules offered within Capita Selecta.
  • Examine real-life cases from pending legal proceedings of the International Court of Justice and other international dispute settlement mechanisms.
  • Take advantage of the cutting-edge public international law research emerging from the Utrecht University School of Law, in particular from the Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea (NILOS), the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (SIM) and the Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law (UCWOSL).
  • Receive focused training in conducting research and writing your thesis.
  • Participate in small-scale classes, meaning more interaction time with lecturers and other students.
  • Take part in a Master's programme that is distinguished by its close connections with international courts (notably the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs). 
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The perfect location

Utrecht is more than just a well-established classical university. It is a vibrant town where Dutch history, a cosmopolitan population and an active student network meet. Every year, students from all over the world come to Utrecht and have the experience of a lifetime. Why not join them?

Key facts

Public International Law
Language of instruction: 
Mode of study: 
Study duration: 
1 year
Tuition fees: 
Dutch and other EU/EEA students (statutory fee, full-time) 2024-2025: € 2,530

Non-EU/EEA students (institutional fee) 2024-2025: € 20,043

More information about fees
Croho code: 
Law, Economics and Governance 
Graduate school: 
School of Law
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