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LLM International Development Law and Human Rights

LLM International Development Law and
Human Rights

Course Code: P-M1M2

Start Date:
30 September 2024

Entry Requirements:
2:i UG degree or equivalent

1 year (Full-time)

Master of Laws (LLM)

Our LLM in International Development Law and Human Rights (IDLHR) adopts an interdisciplinary approach to examine the relationship between development, human rights and global justice with a particular focus on the global South. It is designed to encourage critical thinking and creative practice and examines the inter-relationship between development, human rights and global justice, with emphasis both on theories and visions of these concepts as well as the practice and effects of their operation in the world.

What makes our LLM special?

Image of Alumna Seyi Afolabi

My masters was the pivotal moment when my concern for human rights opened the possibility of viable career pathways within law and international development. My LLM prepared me theoretically for the sector and gave me the crucial space to explore and write about issues that I was passionate about.

Seyi Afolabi, Executive Officer, Houses of Parliament (IDLHR LLM, 2013-14)

This course gives you the opportunity to focus on specific areas of interest pertaining to development and human rights including globalisation, economic and natural resources regulation, gender justice, climate justice, security, humanitarian and criminal law, democracy and governance, social movements and civil society activism. The programme also emphasises the development of skills in social and legal policy analyses, critical thinking and reading, writing and presentation, and advocacy and cause lawyering. It is taught by an international team of scholars with rich experience of development and human rights work in the South.

It is suitable for law graduates interested in pursuing Human Rights-based practice, careers in academia, international, government and non-governmental organisations; graduates with a social science background interested in the legal contexts and implications of development and social justice; legal professionals and activists working in the broad areas of development and human rights or, journalists and media activists.

You will take our core study modules to give you a firm grounding in the subject as well as legal research and writing skills, along with three optional modules in each term. You will undertake a dissertation in term three.

Core Modules

  • LA951 - Theory and Practice of International Development Law and Human Rights: This module provides an overview of the main contemporary issues in international development law and human rights. It provides an introduction to topics that all students are expected to have an understanding of and thus provides the background for all modules and the dissertation. Students who read and understand the module materials are more likely to achieve higher grades. Group work is an important part of the module as experience shows that participatory study is a successful pedagogical method.

Optional Modules

There are a range of optional modules available. See which modules are currently running in the Law School.

The modules due to run next year may vary from the list above, depending on staff availability, research priorities, and student uptake. While we do our best to run as wide a variety of subjects as possible, it is not always possible to offer every module.

With permission, it is possible to take up to two modules external to your programme, as optional choices.


You will take a selection of modules totalling 120 CATS followed by a 10,000 word dissertation worth 60 CATS. All assessed modules are worth 20 CATS and run for one term. Modules will be taken during terms one and two, leaving you term three and the summer to complete your dissertation. If you choose to study part-time, this will be split over two years of study.

You will be taught by academics who are recognised subject experts with UK and international experience. As well as teaching, most are involved in producing world leading research, often providing expert advice to outside bodies.

How the programme will be taught will depend on the modules you opt to take, but you can expect a mixture of lectures, seminars and group work.

Contact Hours

You will typically have up to 12 hours of contact time per week on the full-time programme, depending on your LLM programme and modules selected, but will be expected to do additional research and reading outside of the classroom.

Class Sizes

This will depend on the popularity of the modules you select but class sizes can range from between 10 and 40 students per module.


All IDLHR modules will be assessed by essay rather than examination. The core module will be assessed by your dissertation. Assessment methods of optional modules may include essays, examinations, portfolios and presentations.

We regard feedback as a vital part of the assessment process. We seek to help you reach your full potential by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your work and the actions needed to develop your understanding. You will be given feedback after your assessments each term.


With help and support from our world-class academic staff, you will write a 10,000 word dissertation on a suitable topic in your third term. We will help guide you in choosing a topic and title, and train you in how to research and how to structure your dissertation, setting you in excellent stead if you should choose to continue your studies with a PhD.

Teaching and assessment methods may be subject to change. If you have concerns about changes to teaching and assessment formats before applying or taking up your offer to study with us, please contact us via email.

What sort of careers can I go on to?

Studying at postgraduate level can provide a platform to a wide range of career opportunities. It enables students to differentiate themselves for opportunities where a postgraduate qualification is a requirement or desirable. We have recently had graduates go on to successful careers in:

  • Human Rights, public interest and social justice-related legal practice
  • International organisations, NGOs and policy think-tanks
  • National regulatory bodies, local government, judiciary and civil service
  • Academia
  • Media and Advocacy groups

Skills from this degree

  • Critical reading and analysis of theoretical, empirical and legal texts
  • Research skills and methods
  • Preparation of diverse forms of written submissions
  • Oral presentations and advocacy skills
  • Group work

Course Director:

Director of LLM in International Development Law and Human Rights - Professor Sam Adelman

Professor Adelman has degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand, Harvard University and Warwick University. He was banned, detained and exiled during the struggle against apartheid. Professor Adelman's primary areas of teaching and research are climate change and international development law and human rights. Find out more about Sam.