Situations of armed conflict and acute crisis affects the lives of millions of people globally. How does international law regulate the conduct of hostilities, and the protection of victims of conflict and acute crisis? What are the implications of developments like the so-called ‘war on terror’ and ‘migration crisis’ on the effectiveness of international law? Are the existing legal frameworks fit-for-purpose in responding to the challenges posed by new technologies such as automated weapons and cyber warfare?
In recent years, armed conflicts in Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Yemen, amongst others, have reminded us that the need to ensure respect for international law is as acute as ever.
Our LLM International Humanitarian Law has been designed to address situations such as these and provide you with the knowledge and skills to pursue or advance your career in fields related to legal regimes applicable to armed conflict and acute crisis situations. Emphasis is placed on understanding the practical application of the law. It is intended to ensure a balance between theory and practice, so that you are equipped to deal with real world situations.
You examine the legal regimes applicable to situations of armed conflict, and you develop a comprehensive understanding of:
You also explore and debate some of the biggest contemporary challenges confronting the humanitarian sector today. This includes cutting-edge issues such as the legal challenges posed by new technologies and cyber warfare, as well as more traditional issues such as the protection of displaced persons during emergency situations.
There are a range of fellowships and bursaries available for LLM study. Please see our Fees and Funding pages for more information.
We are ranked 49th for Law in THE World University Rankings by subject 2024, which is 9th in the UK, and we are 3rd in the UK for research power in law (THE research power measure, REF2021).
At Essex, our work has always been informed by the expertise of our academics, who are not only specialists in their fields, but have held – and continue to occupy – key positions in advising the Government and global NGOs on issues relating to human rights law and international humanitarian law.
You benefit from extensive research by our academics who lead this course:
Essex Law School also includes former UN Special Rapporteurs, members of UN treaty bodies, the UK member of the UN Human Rights Committee and a member of the Government’s new Advisory Group on Human Rights. We are also advisers to a range of international organisations (like the OHCHR, UNHCR and WHO), as well as to NGOs around the world, and litigators before national courts, regional human rights commissions and courts, international courts and tribunals, and the UN treaty bodies.
We also offer a range of opportunities for working with projects associated with our Human Rights Centre:
Essex Law School graduates have gone on to a wide variety of careers in international and intergovernmental organisations or employment with governments across the world, in commerce and banking, in non-governmental organisations and, as might be expected, in the legal profession and the judiciary.
We are first university in the UK to sign a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). This creates internship and research opportunities for our postgraduate students and is based on our long-established expertise in international humanitarian law.
During the year, we hold a careers session for our students in which we reflect upon our own careers and how they have been built as well as those from former students. We are always available to discuss career options and if you are interested in a particular area of human rights, we can link you up with the relevant alumni to offer advice.
We also work with the university's Careers Services to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities. Take a look at our dedicated careers pages for Law and Human Rights.
A 2:2 honours degree, or international equivalent, in a Social Science, Law or any Humanities subject.
While prior academic study or professional experience of law is desirable, it is not a requirement for admission. LLM students who have not previously studied Public International Law will take a one-term module on this topic.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.
Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.
Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.
|Status||What this means|
||You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
|Core with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.|
||You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
|Compulsory with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.
Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.
In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.
Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:
The department or school the module will be taught by.
In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.
|The module number.||
The UK academic level of the module.
A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.
A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.
A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.
The term the module will be taught in.
COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 05: OPTIONALHumanitarian Law option(s) from list
COMPONENT 06: OPTIONALHuman Rights Law option(s) from list
COMPONENT 07: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 08: COMPULSORY
We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
You will need to provide a copy of your CV with your application.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.
At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.
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