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The Master’s Degree Programme in International Law and Human Rights is designed to prepare its graduates for challenging careers in international organisations, non-governmental organisations, public administration or legal practice. The programme offers specialised knowledge and an in-depth understanding of topical issues in international and human rights law. Studies within the programme consist of courses analysing the structure of the legal order governing states and organisations along with the protection of the rights of individuals in an increasingly complex international environment. The programme offers students the possibility to profile themselves in different specialisation areas, such as international human rights law, migration and refugee law, international law and conflicts, and general international law. Studies within the programme equip students with expert knowledge, provide the requisite background for advanced research, and develop the practical application skills.

The programme is made up of courses and seminars offered to small or medium-size groups of 15-30 students. Student learning is enhanced through an encouraging and supportive learning environment and close student-teacher interaction. Courses within the programme make use of a broad range of teaching methods.

Students who have successfully completed the full-time study programme will be awarded a Master of Social Sciences degree. However, the programme has a legal focus, corresponding to an LL.M. Degree.

This two-year programme is offered by the Institute for Human Rights and the Chair of Public International Law at Åbo Akademi University. The programme has been ongoing since 2006 and was originally called the Master’s Degree Programme in International Human Rights Law. In 2018, the programme was broadened by adding studies in public international law alongside the human rights law focus.

For more information about studies within the Master’s Programme please see also the website of the Institute for Human Rights.

After graduation opportunities

Graduates of the programme find employment in public institutions, international organisations, national or international non-governmental organisations, academia, legal practice and increasingly also in the private sector where, for instance, corporate social responsibility receives increasing attention.

Programme specific admission requirements

The programme is open to all applicants holding a Bachelor’s degree in law or another Bachelor’s degree with at least 45 ECTS in law or other relevant subject(s). The applicants should be familiar with the basics of public international law and/or constitutional law.

In case the applicant’s Bachelor’s degree diploma does not contain an evaluation of the academic merits of the applicant’s Bachelor’s thesis, a separate letter of evaluation by the thesis supervisor should be attached to the application. If the applicant’s Bachelor’s degree does not contain a graded Bachelor’s thesis or another equivalent academic research essay, it is recommended that the applicant supplements her/his application with a letter where a professor assesses the applicant’s academic writing abilities. Please note that a Bachelor’s thesis is not a requirement for applying to the programme.

Eligible applicants are assessed on the basis of their academic merits in relevant subjects (transcript of records including the evaluation of the Bachelor’s thesis/academic research essay) and the motivation letter included in the application form. In the statement of purpose (motivation statement in the application form), the applicant should pay attention to her/his reasons for applying to the programme.

Applicants to the Master’s degree programmes taught in English must always prove their knowledge of the English language and fulfill the general academic requirements.

Regarding the Master’s Degree Programme in International Law and Human Rights, an applicant who has completed her/his Bachelor’s degree in English at the Faculty of Law/School of Law at any of the programme’s cooperation universities (such as Addis Ababa University, Makerere University, University of Nairobi, University of Pretoria, University of Stellenbosch) can be considered for the programme without submitting any of the required English language tests. Such students need to include in their application a letter from their teacher assessing the applicant’s skills in the English language.

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