Law, National Security
Edu type:
Formele educatie
Master (EQF 7)
Start datum:
1680 uur
1 jaar
Meer informatie


Have you been studying law but want to understand the political context? Is your background in international politics, but you’re looking for insights into how the law shapes political decisions? Or is your Bachelor’s in a liberal arts subject and you want to focus on something more vocational?

Either way, this multi-disciplinary Master’s programme that combines the study of law and politics with a focus on international security may be just what you’re looking for.

War and peace, terrorism, human rights, criminal law – these are all fascinating areas of research that have never been more pertinent than in today’s global society. Which makes the career prospects afterwards just as interesting.


The law of politics; the politics of law

Both of these sides of the debate are translated into legal claims, but which should we follow? If a state is attacked by a terrorist group, does it have the right to use military force in self defense? Is it politically prudent to do so? Should we use force against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, for example? How does law limit hostilities from being carried out? How are legal requirements translated into the military? How are these rules affected by politics? 

In this one-year interdisciplinary Master’s programme, you’ll learn how to ask the right questions to increase your understanding of the complexities involved in these dilemmas. These questions are legal, political and ethical at the same time. International law is not treated as an abstract set of rules, but as a professional practice. You’ll therefore study what it is to be a lawyer in a variety of professional contexts, including litigation, legal advisory and diplomatic negotiations. 

The programme is made up of four compulsory core courses, two electives and a Master’s thesis. We also offer interesting, related, extracurricular activities, such as the opportunity to be on the editorial board of the Amsterdam Law Forum. 



The core course on Theories and Approaches to War and Collective Security is about the transformation of war as a legal concept as well as a political reality. You’ll start with Medieval just war theories, moving through to the collective security system of the United Nations. You’ll learn about the Security Council, peacekeeping operations, private security companies, regional organisations and self-defence by states.  

The Security Studies course discusses the potential and limits of competing theoretical approaches to international security. You’ll become familiar with specific problems such as (counter) terrorism, new forms of warfare, new technologies of war, surveillance, migration and private security.

The International Humanitarian Law course covers the laws that apply in times of armed conflict, and the ways in which these are framed in academic, legal and policy debates. This includes targeting and protection of civilians, the law of military occupation, humanitarian aid in conflict, and environmental protection in war. You’ll hear from a former student who worked for the Red Cross in Palestine about how the law matters on a daily basis in areas of conflict.

The final core course is about the Politics of International Law, which looks at the different ways in which law and politics interact. The course devotes special attention to the political role and ethical dilemmas of legal advisors, while taking postcolonial perspectives into account. For example: when we look at humanitarian intervention from a postcolonial perspective, how does that help in understanding the invasion in Iraq?

In addition to these core courses, you’ll take two electives out of a choice of eight, including topics like international tribunals, terrorism and security, and the philosophy of international law and migration. For students who don’t have a background in International Relations Theory or Public International Law, we strongly recommend you to choose these two courses as electives.

Last but not least, your Master’s thesis starts with a thesis market in November at which faculty staff present their research. You’ll propose your own thesis topics, and you’ll then work on the selected topics in small groups, presenting your research via a series of ongoing meetings.



NVAO accreditation

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