UCL Faculty of Laws


LLM International Law

Professor Kimberley Trapp, Professor of Public International Law at UCL Faculty of Laws, shares some further information on the LLM in International Law for prospective students:

What are the backgrounds or interests of students who normally select this specialism?

Students who study on the Public International Law (PIL) specialism come from a variety of backgrounds and undertake the LLM for a range of reasons. Some of our students have recently completed their undergraduate studies, and are looking to develop more specialised knowledge in a subject area they particularly enjoyed and want to work in. Some have a non-PIL background and are looking to change the focus of their career. Others have been working broadly in the field of international law, and want to further develop their expertise in particular sub-fields so as to enhance their future career prospects. One thing students who undertake the graduate study of PIL tend to have in common is a deep commitment to progressing the rule of law in international relations.

What do you think are the top highlights of this specialism?

One of the highlights of the specialism is its pluralism and diversity. This is both in respect of the subjects we offer on the PIL specialism, which is notable for its breadth and depth, and equally in respect of the profile of our students – who hail from around the world. A second important highlight of the specialism, reflected in the breadth and depth of our offerings, is the strength of the PIL teaching team. Students who study on the PIL specialism are taught by leading experts in their field whose teaching is informed by their research and scholarship, ensuring that our PIL modules engage with current issues and controversies. The third highlight of the PIL specialism is the wide range of PIL extra-curricular activities students at UCL Laws might engage in, including the possibility of participating in the PIL Pro Bono Project, or in international law moots which the Faculty supports.

What do students who have studied this specialism usually go on to do?

Our PIL specialism students go on to do the most extraordinary work. For example, UCL LLM alumni work for their governments (in the foreign office or international law section of the department of state or justice); work for international and non-governmental organisations which serve to protect human rights and the international rule-of-law the world over (in both policy and legal capacities); practice international law (for example international investment or trade law); and clerk for or intern with international courts and tribunals.

Which books, podcasts, blogs or newspapers do you recommend to students interested in taking this specialism?

There are a number of blogs which are particularly helpful in keeping students up to date with current international law issues, including EJIL:Talk!; Opinio Juris; Public international law notes; and International Law Observer (to name a few).  

What would you say to a student who is considering taking this specialism but hasn’t made up their mind yet?

Public international law is a calling – it takes hard work and dedication and often requires specialised expertise and a strong grounding in general PIL. The UCL LLM specialism offers students that balance between specialised and general: the specialism covers a very broad range of PIL specialist subject areas in depth, and the Faculty’s teaching is deeply grounded in the general framework of international law. 

Find out how to apply to one of our LLM programmes