Law, National Security
Edu type:
Formal education
Master (EQF 7)
Start date:
Study Load:
1680 hrs
1 year
More information


This one-year Master's programme aims at transferring to students the knowledge, skills and insight necessary to operate as a professional or academic researcher in the area of international peace of security. Issues of international peace and security are becoming increasingly important in legal, political and administrative practice. The concept of ‘international security’ is no longer confined to traditional issues of war and peace, but now also covers topics such as terrorism, criminal law, the protection of human rights and ‘human security’.


The programme is based on the assumption that international law cannot be properly understood outside its political context, whereas contemporary international politics cannot be fully grasped without a solid knowledge of international legal institutions. It offers a multidisciplinary approach to the rapidly changing field of international peace and security. It includes topics such as the United Nations system of collective security, the transformation of war (including catastrophic terrorism and other forms of political violence), human rights protection, the development of international criminal tribunals and humanitarian law.


The programme has three basic characteristics:

- a multidisciplinary approach, combining international law and international relations;
- a thematic focus on international security;
- an interactive and international academic community where staff and students are engaged in research and the development of knowledge.

The Master’s programme in Law and Politics of International Security is an interdisciplinary, one-year programme that is offered jointly by the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Social Sciences.


In addition to lectures and seminars, you will have the opportunity to take advantage of all sorts of interesting activities that are organized regularly, such as guest lectures, conferences and excursions. Field trips to international organizations and international tribunals are an integral part of the programme. You will be encouraged to participate in extra-colloquial seminars with experts and practitioners in the field of international peace and security. The programme is taught entirely in English and consists of:

- Four compulsory courses
- Two elective courses
- A Master’s thesis

If you do not have sufficient background in International Relations Theory or Public International Law, then we strongly recommend selecting these two courses as electives.



The Master’s programme in Law and Politics of International Security offers a curriculum that focuses on international security from the perspectives of international law and international relations. Moreover, it provides insight into the common foundations of the two disciplines, the different methods and theories as well as the interplay between the two in the area of international security. Below you will find a couple of examples of topics that are covered in the programme.


Civil wars and terrorism
The laws of armed conflict have been made by nations for nations. However, most armed conflicts these days are no longer inter-state wars but civil wars or armed repression of international terrorism. How can the laws of armed conflict be applied to these struggles?


The United Nations and humanitarian interventions
To what extent is the collective security system established under the UN Charter effective? Should the rules and principles governing the conduct of war be reconsidered in the light of new types of conflicts as they are taking place today? How should the international community deal with genocide or gross human rights violations?


Other subjects:
- Historical doctrines and theories of war
- UN system of collective security
- Role and powers of the Security Council
- The changing nature of war
- Legal constraints on warfare
- Principles and limits of humanitarian law
- International terrorism
- Counter-terrorism, human rights and humanitarian law
- Security dilemma
- Arms control and disarmament
- Building of security communities
- Democratic politics and war
- Democratization processes and conflict
- Human security


Earning a Master’s degree in Law and Politics of International Security means you will have a unique interdisciplinary qualification. Your knowledge of international public and humanitarian law will qualify you for a career in one of the many fields where the concept of security is most significant. At the same time, your analytical skills and understanding of international politics will make you uniquely qualified to find solutions to complex problems.


Graduates from the programme have found positions in the broad field of international security, such as:

- Ministries
- Parliament
- Non-Governmental Organizations (incl. Transparency International, Global Witness, Oxfam Novib)
- International Organizations (OSCE; United Nations; European Union)
- Private Security Firms (e.g. Legal Advisor for Maritime Security Provider)
- Law firms
- A court (judge in training / rechterlijk ambtenaar in opleiding)
- Universities (PhD positions at the European University Institute at Florence and the universities of Aarhus, Berlin, Prague, Westminster, Duisburg-Essen, Amsterdam)
- The International Committee of the Red Cross


NVAO accreditation

This program is legally recognized and accredited by the Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO).