Master of Laws (LL.M.) (60 credits) in Public International Law
60 credits cr.
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Our new LL.M. in Public International Law (PIL) seeks to offer students in-depth knowledge of international law and of selected branches in the field, as well as the necessary theoretical and methodological foundations to be able to work independently with research, development or other qualified work in the area of public international law.
Please note that this programme will not be given in the academic year 2024-25 and will resume in 2025-26.
Today, international law is everywhere. It seeks to regulate international issues like armed conflict, diplomatic relations and international trade to be sure, but also reaches deep into the daily governance of states, municipalities, corporations and individuals. The current international order faces several challenges. Non-state actors, multinational corporations and international organisations challenge the traditional perception of international law as a system that is created by states and for states. There is therefore a need for scholars and lawyers to navigate in this new landscape where international law to an increasing extent is internalised in domestic law while previous assumptions about agreement between states may need to be reconsidered.
The LL.M. in Public International Law seeks to offer students the opportunity to acquire the kind of specialist knowledge and ability for critical thinking that will serve them well in professional and academic work alike, at both national and international level, in public as well as private service. The programme has an emphasis on scientific specialisation and is based on a gradual methodological training, at the same time as students tackle increasingly advanced international law issues. Students continuously practice working with sources of law and interpretation methods to analyse international law issues.
Check out our FAQ for LL.M. studies
How intensive are our LL.M.s? Can you apply for a deferral of study commencement? Are there any scholarships available? Read our FAQ and find out!
The Master's programme in Public International Law consists of four courses; three are mandatory and one is an elective advanced course depending on the chosen track. The general structure of the programme is as follows :
- Mandatory course Advanced course in public international law, 15 credits.
- Mandatory course: Human rights in a global perspective, 15 credits.
- Elective: International criminal law, 15 credits, or
- Elective: International law and the global economy, 15 credits.
- Mandatory course: Master thesis in public international law, 15 credits.
The first course "Advanced course in public international law" (ACIL), 15 credits, aims at repeating and deepening the general parts of international law, including a critical review of the research front and current development perspectives. This course also provides the foundations of public international law, such as its subjects, sources of law, relationship between national and international law, state responsibility, along with jurisdiction and immunity. After introduction course, students will choose between two tracks: in the first track, international law and the individual, students will study human rights ("Human rights in a global perspective" - HRGP) and international criminal law ("International criminal law" - ICL). In the second track, human rights and economy, students first study human rights ("Human Rights in a Global Perspective" - HRGP) and then international economic law ("International law and the global economy" - ILE). Moreover, a year-long seminar series will run through the programme and seeks to impress upon students the realization that abstract theories do not lead a separate existence from more concrete facts.
The second course, "Human rights in a global perspective" (HRGP), is mandatory and takes up important concepts, norms and compliance structures in the field of human rights. The course covers basic concepts within human rights, from a philosophical and historical standpoint, the mechanisms for protecting human rights, and substantive rights, all from both critical and practical perspectives.
The third possible course, "International criminal law" (ICL), is an elective and focuses on the national and international aspects of the criminal state jurisdiction. The course addresses the development of international criminal law, its main concepts and the international rules of criminal procedure which are applied by international courts, hybrid courts and national courts.
The other elective course, "International law and the global economy" (ILE), aims to provide general knowledge of the legal principles and mechanisms within international economic law, with a particular focus on free trade law, investment Law and financial law. International economic law is also dealt with from an economic and political perspective, and is related to other areas of law, such as environmental law and human rights.
The final course, which is mandatory, is the master thesis in public international law, 15 credits.
How to apply
Note that there is only one application round every year. The application period opens in mid-October with a deadline in mid-January for commencement the following autumn. Our LL.M. only starts in the autumn.
All prospective students, regardless of their country of origin, must apply via the national Swedish application system website called University Admissions. For general information about applications, check the university’s step-by-step guide.
In order to be eligible for our LL.M., you have to fulfil both the general entry requirements for master studies in Sweden and the specific entry requirement for the programme.
General entry requirement
- You must have been awarded an undergraduate degree in law from an internationally recognised university or hold an equivalent degree with a minimum of 180 ECTS in law. Applicants on the last year of such a degree can also apply.
- Support your proficiency in English
Specific entry requirement for LL.M. in Public International Law
To be eligible for the programme, students must have previously completed one or several course(s) in public international law for a total of at least 6 ECTS, or have acquired equivalent knowledge through e.g. other relevant academic, professional or extra-curriculum merits.
Required supporting documentation
In order to document your eligibility, you must provide University Admissions with copies of:
- your previous study information (diploma and transcript of record, including grading scale and, where possible, grade distribution)
- a document supporting your English proficiency
- a document supporting how you fulfil the specific entry requirement (if not clearly specified on the transcripts of records)
In addition, applicants must also submit the following documents in English to fulfil the selection criteria:
- a personal statement (please use the following template: Personal statement template 2023-2024 - PIL (69 Kb)
- two letters of recommendation, max. 1A4 page each (e.g. from academics, employers, internships providers etc). Make sure they are duly signed and include contact information and preferably these should be written on paper with an official letter head
- a CV
Incomplete applications, i.e. where one or several documents mentioned above are missing, will be assessed accordingly.
Eligible applicants are selected on the basis of a weighted assessment of grades from earlier legal studies, relevant extra-curricular/professional experiences, one personal statement and two letters of recommendation. Typically, grades from legal studies and extra-curricular/professional experiences carry most weight. If applicants have similar academic qualifications, the statement of purpose will be of key importance. Strong letters of recommendations can also become decisive on occasion.
For detailed information regarding admissions, including conditional admissions, waiting lists, tuition fees, costs, scholarships, please check the university’s central pages:
Meet our students
Meet Josh, a PIL student in 2022-2023
Abriam Josh D. Esteban is a lawyer from the Philippines. Listen to what he thinks of the programme and his first month here in Stockholm, and what he wishes to pursue with this LL.M.
00.27 Why did you choose public international law?
02.01 How has the programme been so far?
03.53 What are your expectations for the programme?
Meet Andrew, a PIL student in 2022-2023
Andew Simamora, from Indonesia, chose our PIL programme to learn more about international law and human rights, as well as to create a global network to benefit a career as a legal consultant. Check out his expectations!
00.13 Why did you apply for this particular programme?
00.40 How was the application process for you and do you have any tips?
01.18 How has the programme been this far, for you?
02.02 What are your expectations for the programme?
Meet our teachers
Our programme directors
Our LL.M. in Public International Law does not have one but three programme directors: Profs. Klamberg, Petman and Wrange. Together, they offer a unique combination of experience from both legal practice and academia.
We asked our programme directors a few questions about the new LLM in Public International Law that started in the autumn 2021.
You can read more about our the academic background and research of our three programme directors on their SU profile page:
You can also watch the video below in which Prof. Wrange presents PIL. The video below was recorded at Stockholm University's Master's Fair 2021, but the information provided is still relevant to the upcoming academic year.
Meet our alumni
"The promise of something more"
Read the interview with Janna, a student from the Philippines who was a part of the first cohort of students in our LL.M. in 2021.
While our LLM in PIL is a new programme which ran for the first time in the academic year 2021-22, some of its courses have been offered as electives both on the Swedish law programme and to exchange students for many years. See what former students think!