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


Public International Law is a one-year Master’s specialisation at the internationally acclaimed Leiden Law School at Leiden University. The programme focuses on the legal framework that governs international relations in an increasingly complex global society.


Different perspectives
In this programme you will gain a thorough understanding of the fundamental doctrines of public international law, studying different perspectives from theory and practice. We will also challenge you to develop your own views on the role and functioning of law in international society.


Current global challenges
As a result of globalisation and international interdependence, international law is changing. Whereas in the past, this law was limited to relations between states, in recent years, organisations, peoples, business and individuals have also become part of the realm of international law. Who is entitled to intervene in situations of mass violations of human rights? Which means are allowed to combat international terrorism? Can the international community develop governance mechanisms, including law, to deal with problems such as global climate change?


International organisations and courts
This Master’s is taught in Leiden and at Campus The Hague. A unique feature of the programme is that it makes use of the expertise available in the various international institutions located in The Hague, such as the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Court and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

About the programme

The Public International Law Master’s specialisation is taught by lecturers who possess expertise in a wide range of aspects of public international law, including international criminal law, international humanitarian law, international human rights law, the law on peace and security, international institutional law, international dispute settlement, international economic law and international environmental law.


Programme overview
Semester 1
Dutch students
Interaction between Legal Systems - Legal Decision Making or
Interaction between Legal Systems - Law Enforcement

International students
International Relations


All students
Public International Law
International Dispute Settlement
International Criminal Law
Thesis Master of Law part 1


Semester 2
All students
Practicing International Law - Practicum
Contemporary Issues - Privatissimum
The Law & Practice of International Organizations - Practicum
Human Rights, Humanitarian Law and Terrorism
Thesis Master of Law part 2


Full-time or part-time
The programme is offered full-time (one academic year) and part-time (two academic years), both with daytime classes. Part-time students are offered the same facilities and courses as full-time students. For non-European students, the part-time option is not possible because of visa requirements. You may start the programme either in September or in February, although we would strongly recommend students to enter the programme at the actual start of the programme, which is in September.


Note for international students
Before applying to the programme, international students are advised to verify with the relevant authorities whether the diploma of this master’s programme, together with their bachelor’s degree, qualifies as full legal education and provides access to the legal profession in their home countries. Dutch students with a bachelor in law fulfil the requirements for the effectus civilis (civiel effect) upon successful completion of this master’s programme.


NVAO accreditation

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