Taught in the critical tradition of Kent Law School, this programme examines the theory and practice of human rights law, international criminal law, humanitarian law, transitional justice, migration law and other fields in the context of different policy areas and various academic disciplines.
Students may choose modules spanning areas of law, conflict and migration to enhance their understanding of the complexities of human rights in today's world. From the migration crisis, human rights violations in conflict zones, crimes against humanity, war crimes or the work of the international criminal court. Studying this LLM in Brussels, provides excellent opportunities for students to apply their knowledge with conferences, seminars and lectures on the subject of human rights. Students may also find they can take up an internship with a human rights charity.
This LLM is particularly suited to those who currently work in, or hope to work in, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, international law firms and foreign affairs departments.
The programme is delivered at our Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS) in conjunction with our law school.
The extended programme allows students the opportunity to study their subject in greater detail, choosing a wider range of modules, and also provides the opportunity to spend one term at the Canterbury campus. The extended programme is ideal for students who require extra credits, or would like to have more time to pursue an internship.
We are committed to offering flexible study options at BSIS and enable you to tailor your degree to meet your needs. This programme is available with start dates in September and January; full- and part-time study options; split-site options, and students can combine two fields of study leading to a degree that reflects both disciplines.
For more information on study options, see the course structure tab.
About Kent Law School
The Kent Law School is a top-ten UK law school renowned for its critical style of teaching. You learn more than just the black-letter law: we want you to understand how different legal regimes came about and how they may be interpreted, challenged or possibly changed.
This aim is complemented by the real-world advantage of doing your LLM in the capital of the European Union; mere hours from the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
About the Brussels School of International Studies
The University of Kent's Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS) is a specialist postgraduate centre offering advanced English language-based degrees covering the spectrum of international affairs. We host three academic schools of the University of Kent which allows students to specialise in one programme while informing their personal approach to international studies with another, via a secondary specalisation.
The broad selection of taught and research programmes available, ranging from politics and international relations to law, migration and conflict studies, means you can choose a degree that best reflects your interests. Degrees are full degrees of the University of Kent, and the University is also recognised by the Flemish Community in Belgium (NVAO) and Flemish Government. The University of Kent is the only UK university with a campus in Brussels.
BSIS is known as a friendly, diverse, and cohesive community of approximately 250 students from about 55 different countries. Students benefit from close access to professors, a research-active environment, and exposure to practitioners from Brussels-based organisations.
Home to the main institutions of the European Union and numerous organisations, such as think tanks, lobby groups, NGOs and multinational companies, Brussels is at the heart of Europe. You can earn a degree from a top 20 British university while enjoying unparalleled opportunities for networking, academic development and professional advancement facilitated by the School's excellent location in the 'capital of Europe'.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by Kent Law School was ranked 8th in the UK for research intensity. We were also ranked 7th for research power and in the top 20 for research output, research quality and research impact.
An impressive 99% of our research was judged to be of international quality and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.
We are committed to offering flexible study options at the School and enable you to tailor your degree to meet your needs by offering start dates in September and January; full- and part-time study; split-site options, and allowing students to combine two fields of study leading to a degree that reflects both disciplines.
Standard and extended versions
The LLM is offered in both a standard version (90 ECTS credits) and an extended version (120 ECTS credits) and in each case students may take the programme with or without a secondary specialisation. Those on the extended version take more modules to gain extra credit.
To be awarded the standard LLM (90 ECTS), you must take three modules from the list for Human Rights Law and a further three modules from the full list of modules offered at BSIS. For the extended MA (120 ECTS), you must take four modules from the list for Human Rights Law and a further five modules from the full list of modules offered at BSIS.
The following modules are offered to our current students on the LLM Human Rights Law programme. At BSIS, you have a wide range of optional modules to choose from and this can be within your chosen degree, or as part of a secondary specialisation (for more information on specialisations, please see below.) This list of modules is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation:
Modules marked with * are compulsory.
On this programme you must take a minimum of four law modules (standard) or five law modules (extended).
The LLM in Human Rights Law allows students to choose secondary areas of specialisation from the range of programmes offered at BSIS. This leads to the award of an LLM degree in, for example, 'Human Rights Law with International Migration'.
To include a secondary area of focus on the standard programme, you must choose three modules from the list for Human Rights Law, two modules from one of the programmes listed below (your secondary area of study) and one module from the full list of modules offered at BSIS.
For the extended programme, you must choose four modules from the list for Human Rights Law, a further three modules from one of the programmes listed below and two modules from the full list of modules offered at BSIS.
- with EU External Relations
- with International Conflict and Security
- with International Development
- with International Law
- with International Migration
- with International Political Economy
- with International Relations
- with Political Strategy and Communications
- with Foreign Policy (available as a secondary specialisation only)
Teaching and Assessment
Assessment is by a 4-5,000-word essay for each module, or equivalent coursework, and the dissertation for the Master’s award.
For many students, coming to Brussels is a great opportunity to seek out internship and job opportunities. There is a wealth of opportunities in the city to gain valuable work experience in the institutions, organisations and companies in Brussels which could potentially lead to a career post graduation.
At the Brussels School of International Studies, students have access to the services of Key2advance, a dedicated careers service that provides students with assistance in developing skills and accessing the international job market. The weekly career workshops cover all aspects of the job market starting with rewriting your CV and cover letters to learning networking skills. This leads to a networking event during the Autumn Term that allows students to meet and network with employers and alumni.
The University of Kent has its own excellent network in the city which has developed over the last 20 years. These networks enable students to take up internships with some key players in the Brussels job market such as NGOs, charities, public relation firms, think tanks, lobbying companies and the international institutions. Students will find there are many opportunities for an internship during their time at BSIS and In addition, our students and alumni comprise a tightly-knit network through which internship opportunities pass frequently.
Recent examples of internships are with the Red Cross, Norwegian Refugee Council, Weber Shandwick, Coca cola, International Crisis Group, Human Rights Watch, Transatlantic Business Council (among many others).
Kent has an excellent record for postgraduate employment: of Kent graduate students who graduated in 2016, 98% of those who responded to a national survey were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).
Students have access to excellent e-library facilities online via the Templeman library in Canterbury; inter-library loans within Belgium; 50,000 online journals are also available off-campus. Students also have outstanding access to libraries in Brussels, such as at our partner universities Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Université Libre de Bruxelles, the Royal Library of Belgium, among others. The School’s resources include a dedicated selection of more than 1,000 key texbooks on the subject of international affairs and law. In addition, postgraduate research students have their own designated room with computer terminals and access to wi-fi in all areas at the Brussels centre.
Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. The Brussels School produces its own journal, The Brussels Journal of International Studies, which was founded in 2003. Details of recently published books can be found within the staff research interests section.
Global Skills Award
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.
Students should hold a bachelor degree for entry to this master's degree.
We accept a wide range of subjects for entry and you do not need to have necessarily studied Law previously. Typical first degrees of our students include Politics, International Relations, Economics, History, Classics, Languages, Philosophy, Geography & Psychology (among others).
The standard of the degree will normally be at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree from countries such as the UK, Ghana, Nigeria or Kenya, or a minimum Grade Point Average of 3.0 under the American system from an accredited institution or equivalent. We do review candidates application on a case by case basis and extensive work experience may compensate for a slightly lower degree result.
We accept a wide range of qualifications and you can find the general entry requirements for some countries on the University’s main website. If your country is not listed or you need further clarification, please contact the School directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students can apply before completion of the bachelor degree and if successful in obtaining a place, you would be made a conditional offer.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. Please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.
English language entry requirements
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Need help with English?
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
European and Comparative Law
European and Comparative Law is being conducted both at an individual level as well as at the Kent Centre for European and Comparative Law, which was established in 2004 with a view to providing a framework for the further development of the Law School’s research and teaching activities in this area. Research and teaching reaches from general areas of comparative and European public and private law to more specialised areas and specific projects.
Governance and Regulation
Legal research involves studying processes of regulation and governance. This research cluster focuses on the character of regulation and governance to critically understand the different modes through which governing takes place such as the conditions, relations of power and effects of governance and regulation. Work within this area is methodologically diverse.
Intellectually, it draws on a range of areas including socio-legal studies; Foucauldian perspectives on power and governmentality; Actor Network Theory; feminist political theory and political economy; postcolonial studies; continental political philosophy; and cultural and utopian studies.
The starting point for research in international law at Kent Law School is that international law is not apolitical and that its political ideology reflects the interests of powerful states and transnational economic actors. In both research and teaching, staff situate international law in the context of histories of colonialism to analyse critically its development, doctrines and ramifications.
Critical International Law at KLS engages with theories of political economy, international relations and gender and sexuality to contribute to scholarly and policy debates across the spectrum of international law, which includes public, economic, human rights, criminal and commercial law. Scholars at the Centre for Critical International Law engage in the practical application of international law through litigation, training, research and consultancies for international organisations, NGOs and states.
Law and Political Economy & Law and Development
Law and its relation to political economy are addressed from a variety of angles, including the exploration of the micro- and macrolevel of economic regulations as well as theoretical aspects of law and political economy.
Legal Theories and Philosophy
Identifying the fact that several academics do work in cultural theory and political theory (including on normative concepts, religion and the state). While feminist and critical legal theories are focal points at Kent Law School, the departmental expertise also covers more essential aspects such as classical jurisprudence and the application of philosophy to law.
Other research areas within KLS include:
- human rights
- labour law
- law and culture
- law, science and technology
- legal methods and epistemology
- public law
- race, religion and the law.
Staff research interests
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Professor Yutaka Arai: Professor in Law
International humanitarian law (including part of international criminal law); the relationship between international humanitarian law and international human rights law.View Profile
Professor Harm Schepel: Professor
Legal sociology; international and European economic law.View Profile
The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
|Human Rights Law 90 ECTS - LLM at Brussels:|
|Human Rights Law 120 ECTS - LLM at Brussels:|
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact email@example.com
General additional costs
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
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