I learned how to think and work academically

I cannot emphasize enough, how good the Public International Law Master’s Programme at Utrecht University is. On the one hand, the programme naturally provided me with a lot of substantive knowledge about Public International Law and Human Rights. On the other hand – and I feel more importantly so – it taught me how to think and work academically. In contrast to what I knew from my home country, each lecture was accompanied by a seminar in which the professors encouraged and challenged us not  only to reproduce what we had learned, but also to critically question the things we had learned and to defend our opinions in a well-founded manner during discussions. The criticism I received on my papers was consistently constructive, so that I experienced a steep learning curve and continuously improved my academic writing skills throughout the programme. I also acquired and improved my research skills, time management and my ability to work in teams.

However, one of the greatest aspects of the programme for me - besides making lifelong friends - were the professors of the programme. Not only were they very approachable, but also very attentive to students' wishes and to creating new opportunities for the students. For example, my thesis supervisor Cedric Ryngaert offered me to co-author a blog post with him on my thesis topic. The feedback from the professors and their genuine interest in the students’ progress and success, were very encouraging for me to do my ultimate best.

At this point of time, I am pursuing my PhD and am writing my dissertation on a topic at the interface of Criminal Law and Public International Law. Without the programme, this would most likely not have been the case. Therefore, I owe a big thank you to the professors, who gave me the feeling of having what it takes to pursue a PhD and encouraged me to do so.

Esther Vehling (Germany, LLM Public International Law, PhD Candidate Criminal Procedure Law

Participating in the Jessup Moot Court was the most exciting part of my Master's year!

Haotian Tan

When I first heard about the ancient Dutch city of Utrecht at a lecture in Beijing in winter 2016, I didn’t imagine that, two years later, I would be spending my Master’s year at Utrecht University. The famous 1713 Peace and Friendship Treaty between Spain/France and Great Britain signed at Utrecht played a significant role in the development of modern international law. It was my great pleasure to study and meet excellent lecturers and friends in this fascinating city, which has so much to offer from both an academic and a historical perspective.

The PIL LL.M. programme offered by Utrecht Law School combines academic study with professional practices, and is an excellent platform from which to begin the journey of an international lawyer. It allows students to combine their key interests with concrete, real-world issues. The two tracks of the programme – Human Rights track and Ocean, Environment & Sustainability track – take full advantage of the Law School’s academic resources, providing a unique study experience to students with an interest in these specific fields. Most LL.M. courses take the form of lectures and seminars, through which students are encouraged to share their opinions and ideas.

Away from my studies, engaging in after-class academic and professional events, such as seminars on professional training and PIL luncheons, also inspired me to keep my mind open to as many different directions as possible. For example, many of the Public International Law students take part in Moot Courts, including Jessup, Telders and the new NILOS Moot Court Competition. In fact, my proudest achievement during my time at Utrecht was representing Utrecht Law School in the Jessup Moot Court Competition – what an amazing experience that was!

Haotian Tan (China), LLM Public International Law

The Master’s programme provokes and stimulates your thirst for learning international law

From the first year of law school, I have been interested in international law. Choosing to study at the Utrecht University was the most rational choice. Utrecht University offers a generous scholarship, has a good master’s programme in Public International Law and is close to the Hague, the dream city for any international lawyer.

Having completed the LLM programme now, I can say that Utrecht did not disappoint me. I chose the Human Rights Track with modules on International Humanitarian Law and International and European Security Law. I loved the International Humanitarian Law classes in particular wherein lectures were delivered by professionals practicing in the field.

I wrote my thesis on establishing the criminal liability of corporations before international criminal tribunals. I could not have researched on such a challenging topic without the guidance of my supervisors and the benefit of a well-equipped library. Overall the master’s programme provokes and stimulates your thirst for learning international law.

Furthermore, I participated in the Clinical programme with the Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG), a global pro bono law firm involved in things like war crimes prosecution and peace negotiations. Working with PILPG exposed me to the practical aspects of being an international lawyer, with my work involving researching various international law topics and working with clients.

My experience at the Utrecht University has prepared me to take on the challenge of establishing a career in international law. The LLM programme has given me the confidence that this dream can become reality!

Andrea Marilyn Pragashini Immanuel (India), LLM Public International Law

The teaching staff is very accessible and point out possible internships, lectures and study trips

Tom Diederen

For those that are interested in this field of law, I strongly recommend the programme in Public International Law at Utrecht University. The lectures provide a strong basis of the theory of international law, but attention is also given to the actual practice of international law. The teaching staff is very accessible and point out possible internships, lectures, and study trips. All in all, the programme left me well prepared for my first internship and, thereafter, my first job.

Tom Diederen (The Netherlands), LLM Public International Law, Legal Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands