LLM Programme

The taught modules offered on the LLM programme vary from year to year. Please check the full list of taught modules list for details of modules running in specific academic years. We make every effort to ensure that every module will be offered, but modules are subject to change and cancellation. You are therefore advised to check this site regularly for further updates throughout the year preceding entry to the LLM programme.

Credit value: 15 credits (6 ECTS)
Module Convenor: Dr Ingrid Boccardi Other Teachers:
Intercollegiate teaching: No
Teaching Method: 10 x two-hour seminars
Who may enrol: LLM students, SIL students, other UCL Masters students
Prerequisites: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core module for specialism: European Union Law, Human Rights Law, International Law, Public Law
Practice Assessment: practice essay
Assessment method for Masters students: 3,000 word coursework essay
Assessment method for SIL students: 3,000 word coursework essay
Module Overview

Module summary

According to recent estimates there are roughly 214 million migrants in the world today – the total has increased by 30% in last decade. Migration is also big business: migrants generate over USD 500 billion remittances world-wide, over two thirds of which are sent to developing countries.

International migration law is a broad term that reflects the complex web of legal relationships among persons, groups and states that together regulate the movement of individuals across borders. Traditionally, international law has mostly focused on the protection of forced migrants and refugees – however, the regulation of non-forced migration has experienced a fast pace of development in the past few decades. The focus of this course is on non-forced migration, an umbrella term that encompasses instances of human mobility attributable to different push factors ranging from economic enrichment and family reunification, to study or tourism purposes.

Unfortunately, international migration norms relating to non-forced migration do not present themselves in a coherent and integrated form. This course will provide an overview of international migration law by focusing on three main branches of regulation, both at the universal and regional level. Firstly, the course will examine the regulation of human mobility and the human rights of persons involved in migration including the rights of vulnerable migrants such as women and children. Secondly, it will analyse the exercise of State sovereignty on the regulation of human mobility, focusing on the regulation of borders, nationality, admission and expulsion rules and the fight against trafficking. Finally, the course will focus on international co-operation efforts to manage the movement of people across borders in the face of emerging challenges such as environmental migration, the development of a global migration industry, brain drain and the critical role of remittances in the global economy.

Module syllabus

Each of these topics might span over a number of weeks:

1) The international regulation of human mobility: Key concepts
2) Main instruments on human mobility: international and regional approaches – the challenges of regulation
3) Human rights of migrants and vulnerable individuals
4) State sovereignty and the regulation of human mobility (to include citizenship and nationality, norms on statelessness, regulation of borders and access/expulsion regimes; fight against trafficking; immigration regimes; state security and migration)
5) Global migration governance: emerging migratory challenges (to include environmental migration; regulation of the migration industry; global mobility regimes; brain drain and circular migration; regulation of remittances)

Recommended materials

Brian Opeskin, Richard Perruchoud and Jillyanne Redpath-Cross, Foundations of International Migration Law (Cambridge University Press, 2012)

Preliminary reading

Alexander Betts, Global Migration Governance (OUP, 2011)

Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen, Ninna Nyberg Sorensen, The Migration Industry and the Commercialization of International Migration (Routledge, 2013)

Other information: The course will run as a weekly two-hour seminar. Students will be expected to familiarise themselves with the weekly topic in advance in order to contribute to the seminars through discussion and debate groups.
Prizes for this module: There are currently no prizes available for this module.


The application process for the 2015-16 academic session is now open.

Please note, for the 2015-16 intake, we are not accepting the TOEFL test. If you have an English condition to meet, you must take one of the alternative tests listed here instead.