LLM Program in International Human Rights
The Program in International Human Rights Law is designed for students with American JDs or law degrees from other countries who wish to undertake an in-depth study of the norms and methods of international human rights law and international criminal law and their implementation by international courts and organizations and in domestic legal systems. The degree program provides an excellent grounding in international human rights law and international criminal law for individuals with career interests in the field.
The structure of the program affords unique advantages for educational and social interaction. Students are assured of a close working relationship with the professors, all of whom have had hands-on legal practice and academic experience in the field, and access to the programs of the Center for International Human Rights. The Center is led by Professor David Scheffer, a former U.S. Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues in the Clinton Administration who played the key US role in the creation of and support for the international and hybrid criminal tribunals. Other leading faculty members in this field are Bridget Arimond, who directs the LLM degree program, and Stephen Sawyer, who teaches several seminars. Students in the program benefit from participating in small group seminars with other LLM students and joining JD law students in core and elective courses of the program. In addition, the program encourages international students to study not only relevant law, but its application to the circumstances of their home countries.
Individuals who wish to complete the LLM Program in International Human Rights must apply specifically to that program by checking the appropriate box on their application for admission. It is anticipated that most applicants to this program will already have completed a JD or first degree in law in their home countries. Applicants who have not done so, but who have significant relevant work experience, will be considered for the Master of Legal Studies (MSL) Program in International Human Rights. This program is identical to the LLM Program in all respects except the degree conferred upon completion of the program. MSL applicants should complete the application form for the LLM Program in International Human Rights.
Core and Elective Courses
Five core courses (listed below) fulfill 11 of the 20 required credits for the LLM in International Human Rights. IHR LLM students must earn an additional nine credits related to international human rights law or international criminal law, including at least one of the elective courses (listed below) in the International Human Rights Law Program. The remainder of these nine credits can be gained either via additional program electives or, after prior consultation with and approval by Professor Arimond, via another relevant course offered by the Law School. Likewise, in lieu of a core course that the student has already completed with a satisfactory grade in prior legal studies, a student may take another relevant course offered by the law school after prior consultation with and approval by Professor Arimond. In exceptional cases, elective courses that would have the student exceeding the required 20 credit hours may be taken after prior consultation with and approval by Professor Arimond.
For more information on the program courses, view the Current Course Listings.
- International Human Rights I (3 credits)
- Human Rights Advocacy: Legal Analysis and Writing (3 credits)
- Human Rights Colloquium (1 credit)
- Nation Building: International Human Rights Law in Transitional Societies
- Introduction to Trial Advocacy (International Track)
- A New World Order: the Role of the United Nations in Advancing a Rule of Law and Individual Human Rights
- International Human Rights: Differing Perspectives in Europe, the Americas, the U.S.
- The Law of War/International Humanitarian Law
- International Human Rights Advocacy Clinic
- Corporate Compliance and the Social Mandates
- Graduate Thesis (4 credits)
International Human Rights LLM students engage in intensive, supervised research and produce a thesis of substantial length and high quality. Students propose topics in the field of international human rights law or international criminal law for approval by the supervising professor and prepare at least one initial draft for review prior to finalizing the thesis.
Additional Human Rights-Related Electives within the Law School
In addition to the above-listed courses offered by the faculty of the Center for International Human Rights, every year a number of additional courses related to international human rights or international criminal law are offered as part of the general Law School course offerings. While the offerings change from year to year, the following courses, are representative of the kinds of courses offered:
All students must be proficient in English, as demonstrated by a sufficient TOEFL score.
Tuition and Financial Aid
A limited number of Northwestern University fellowships, based on merit and financial need, may be awarded to applicants or negotiated with third party funders. However, not enough funds are available for all qualified students in need. Applicants are strongly encouraged to investigate other sources of support, including employers and government agencies, scholarship funds, and family and personal funds.