LL.M. in International Law

The LL.M. in International Law is a one-year postgraduate degree course that provides advanced, comprehensive and practice-oriented training in international law.

2021-2022 Course Dates

To be confirmed

Contact us

Stefania Di Stefano, Programme Manager
+41 (0)22 908 45 03 | llm@graduateinstitute.ch

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In theory, there is no gap between the theory and the practice of public international law. In practice, there is. The LL.M. in International Law at the Graduate Institute, Geneva is specifically designed to bridge this gap. Founded in 1927, the Graduate Institute is Europe's oldest school of international affairs and, since the time of Hans Kelsen, the Institute's International Law Department has been at the forefront of public international law, in theory and in practice.

The LL.M. in International Law is a one-year postgraduate degree course that provides advanced, comprehensive and practice-oriented training in international law. Students on the LL.M. Programme gain exposure to world-renowned faculty, benefit from being at the heart of international legal affairs in Geneva and share ideas with other participants who come from an array of different legal backgrounds and perspectives.

The Programme allows for students to tailor their studies according to their particular interests, while compulsory courses provide a firm grounding in public international law. Our courses are designed to facilitate a deeper exploration of the most pressing questions in the field with professors and practitioners at the cutting edge of international law.

The LL.M. in International Law is also profoundly committed to developing the transferable skills necessary to succeed in the professional world. To this end, law clinics, workshops on legal writing, presentation skills and career development, as well as a variety of network-building events, provide the best possible springboard from which to launch or advance a career in international law.

programme highlights


One-year full-time programme

World-renowned faculty

Foundational and concentration courses

Law clinicsworkshops and tutorials

Focus on professional skills

Network-building events

Located in Geneva


Pietro Bombonato


Pietro Bombonato '18

Associate Attorney, Omnia Strategy LLP

"The LL.M. in International Law allowed me to develop and foster my academic and practical knowledge on a variety of international law topics. Studying at the Graduate Institute gave me the opportunity to interact and connect with students and professors from all over the world. Situated in a truly bilingual Institution and city, the LL.M programme also helped me to perfect my English language skills as well as developing my French language skills.

I graduated with honours in June 2018 and was hired right away by a public international law firm in London, Volterra Fietta, as a Staff Lawyer. I have recently joined Omnia Strategy, a London-based law firm founded by Cherie Blair CBE, QC that specialises in international dispute resolution, where I work as an associate attorney.

I would strongly recommend the LL.M. in International Law at the Graduate Institute to lawyers who are keen to embrace a holistic approach to international law and to develop a truly international legal career."

Maria Cecilia Ercole


Maria Cecilia Ercole '14

Human Rights Officer, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

"I had the privilege to be part of the first class of the LL.M programme in International Law at the Graduate Institute (2013-2014). I only have words of gratitude and invaluable memories from the Institute, and I would recommend this programme to any law practitioner seeking to deepen her/his knowledge of international law in a unique international setting.

As an Argentinian human rights lawyer, and after having worked in Argentina and in the US, deciding to come and study at the IHEID in Geneva was, so far, one of my wisest career choices. Exposure to outstanding faculty, guest speakers and lecturers from all around the world and a culturally diverse group of students from which I ended up learning more than I could imagine, made my LL.M experience unforgettable.

Today, I am living in Geneva and I have been working for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for more than 5 years."

Patrick Wall


Patrick wall '16

Global Refugee Forum Coordination Team, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

"I came to Geneva from Australia in the summer of 2015 hoping to use the LL.M. programme as a springboard to a career in international law. Through the combination of coursework with leading academics and practitioners, exercises focused on professional development, and the seemingly endless public events on cutting-edge topics at the Graduate Institute and throughout Geneva, the LL.M. gave me a strong basis on which to build an international career. Indeed, the course offering was so rich that I ended up attending classes for a much larger number of courses than I was enrolled in.

Since completing the programme, I have spent almost three years with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees working on the development of the Global Compact on Refugees and now the first-ever Global Refugee Forum. This has been enormously fulfilling work, and would simply not have been possible if I had not undertaken the LL.M. In International Law at the Graduate Institute."

Xuan Shao


Xuan Shao '17

D.Phil Candidate, University of Oxford

"I spent a very stimulating, exciting and happy year in Geneva during my LL.M. at the Graduate Institute. I was taught by many leading academics and professionals from different areas of international law, and befriended with some of the most wonderful people I’ve met in my life.

The workload was challenging but manageable. The small size of our class allowed me to engage in substantial and intense discussions with professors and classmates.

My year in Geneva was a great asset for my current research that I am conducting as a D.Phil candidate at the University of Oxford. The diverse perspectives of international law I gained from this programme helped to enrich my understanding of international law."

Rebecca Zard


Rebecca Zard '18

Trainee Solicitor, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

"The LL.M in International Law at the Graduate Institute has one main advantage over any other LL.M - that is the small class size. I chose the LL.M in International Law because I wanted close contact with professors and to be in the heart of Geneva. Before pursuing my LL.M, I received an offer of a training contract with the international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which meant that my LL.M year became entirely focused on making the most of the programme, building up my knowledge in international economic law and specifically investment arbitration.

The faculty at the Graduate Institute is unparalleled as far as international law is concerned. The programme offers you the flexibility to make what you want of it. I deep-dived into the reading lists in the first semester which were carefully selected to give you both a broad and specialist knowledge in general public international law. The second semester was equally rewarding and gave students the opportunity to engage with international institutions via the LL.M clinic. Our beneficiary was UNCTAD's International Investment Agreements section and my group was supervised by Professor Makane Mbengue who had himself participated in the negotiations of the Code Pan-Africain des Investissements. Again, this was an experience that was both academic and practical, aiming at providing a technical note for negotiators of international investment agreements that aimed to tailor the drafting agreements in such a way that negotiators would be aware of the liabilities they were assuming and the sovereign powers they were limiting in ratifying these agreements.

The LL.M in International Law played a transformational role in widening my knowledge of international law, and realising my potential."

Maria Gabriela Pereira


Maria Gabriela Pereira '19

Associate Legal Officer, International Organization for Migration

"I chose this LL.M program because I wanted to follow my passion and needed a major shift in my career.

The Graduate Institute offers a concentration stream in human rights, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, and migration law, which suited my interests. The professors are esteemed lecturers highly qualified in their respective fields, but also very approachable and often helped us navigate our academic challenges in Geneva.

During the LL.M, I had the opportunity to work at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights during the first semester and at Human Rights Watch during the second semester. It was my first peek into the United Nations system and my first time working for a non-governmental organization. These two experiences were immensely valuable and served as stepping stones to other offers and opportunities. After the LL.M, I joined the International Organization for Migration, where I now work as an Associate Legal Officer, and hope to continue this challenging yet immensely fulfilling path in international law."

Ashley Stanley-Ryan


Ashley Stanley-Ryan ‘20

Associate, International Committee of the Red Cross

"I travelled from New Zealand to Geneva to pursue a career in international law, with a particular focus on human protection and dignity. The LL.M. in International Law Programme at the Graduate Institute was the best possible place to gain the professional, academic, and personal knowledge necessary to begin that career.  I applied to the LL.M. because of the strength of its teaching faculty, the opportunity to learn from leading international lawyers, and the excellent reputation of the Graduate Institute.

The LL.M. equips its students to excel in any field of international law through a strong generalist education and concentration streams taught by leading professionals. The faculty in the 2019-2020 Protection of the Individual concentration stream included a member of the Human Rights Committee, and an advisor to several international organisations. In the core courses, lecturers ranged from notable academics to judges, law firm partners, legal advisors to international organisations, and barristers specialised in international litigation. The diversity of the faculty and courses provided both a breadth of knowledge and thought, and excellent opportunities to learn about career paths in international law. I was also fortunate enough to complete a UN internship and a challenging law clinic during my LL.M., which provided important professional experience.

After graduating from the LL.M., I began working as an associate at the ICRC."

Upcoming events


To ensure a high level of safety while maintaining the highest academic standards, the format of our programmes might be adjusted. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with our programme manager for more information.

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