JD-LLM in International Human Rights
Northwestern Law and its Center for International Human Rights offers a four-year joint degree program leading to both a JD and an LLM in International Human Rights, with a focus on both international human rights law and international criminal law. Northwestern Law remains the only law school in the country to offer a joint JD-LLM in International Human Rights (JD-LLM IHR) program.
Students enrolled in the JD-LLM IHR program will receive a thorough grounding in the norms and mechanisms of international human rights law and international criminal law. A distinctive feature of the new program will be the requirement that students complete a semester-long externship with one of a number of designated international and hybrid criminal tribunals, foreign supreme courts, and international human rights organizations.
The joint degree program requires the completion of the requirements for the JD, plus an additional 20 credits from courses related to international human rights law. These courses must include the following core courses:
- International Human Rights I
- International Criminal Law
- Human Rights Colloquium
The remaining 12 credits can be fulfilled from an array of elective courses relating to international human rights law or international criminal law. While courses may vary from year to year, elective courses offered may include:
- Clinic Practice: Human Rights Advocacy at Home and Abroad
- Clinic Practice: Center for International Human Rights
- Nation Building: International Human Rights in Transitional Societies
- Comparative Human Rights: Differing Perspectives in Europe, the Americas, the U.S.
- A New World Order: the Role of the United Nations in Advancing a Rule of Law and Individual Human Rights
- The Law of War/International Humanitarian Law
- Corporate Human Rights Responsibility
- Refugees and Asylum
- International Environmental Law
- Women, Children and Human Rights
- Graduate Thesis
Students must also complete a 12-credit, semester-long externship with one of a number of designated international and hybrid criminal tribunals, foreign supreme courts, or international human rights organizations. The externship can be undertaken during the joint degree student’s second, third, or fourth years. For further information regarding externships, please see the International Externship page.
Upon completion of all requirements, JD-LLM IHR students are awarded both degrees simultaneously.
All JD-LLM IHR students who are interested in journal service must compete in the journal writing competition during the spring following their first year of law school.
Students must identify their program on the administrative contact form (and not on any competition submissions to be evaluated).
Journal service must consist of two consecutive years. Non-consecutive years of journal service result in an incomplete and limited journal experience for both the student and the journal.
When journals submit their list of selected student competitors, the journal will be informed if any selections are JD-LLM IHR students. If so, when making the offer, the journal will ask that student to declare his or her intentions between the following options:
To serve for two consecutive years (student plans to complete externship in his or her 4th year)
- To defer journal service for one year (student plans to complete externship in his or her 2nd year)
In exceptional circumstances, a student may be able to complete his/her externship during the third year. If a student wishes to complete his/her externship during the third year, then the student must communicate his or her absence in a timely manner to the journal executive board. During the year in which a student is completing an externship, his or her journal role must be consistent with both the student's absence and the journal's needs regarding that student's service. Thus, the journal will only allow the student to take on a role that can be fulfilled without being physically present on campus for both semesters of the academic year. Such roles will vary from journal to journal and from board position to board position. This approach is the same that is applied when any journal member seeks to study abroad during a year of journal service.
For further information, please contact by email: