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International Human Rights - LLM

  • Level: Postgraduate Taught
  • Starting: September 2016, January 2017
  • Study mode: Full Time, Part Time
  • Location: City Centre , Curzon Building

Our LLM International Human Rights examines the impact of international human rights standards on national constitutions and laws, with particular focus given to the conflict between international standards and national provision.

The course will expose you to the fundamental aspects of international human rights and provide you with the opportunity to critically examine different systems of law at a higher level. In addition, our LLM provides an opportunity to acquire, or build upon existing skills gained from your undergraduate course - enhancing employment opportunities in the legal profession and providing a basis for progression to doctoral studies.

We have active student-led Legal, Mooting and Debate Societies. Our Student Mooting Society is one of the most successful in England. Our students have reached five finals in the past six years and have regularly beaten teams from some of the country’s most prestigious universities. In the past 10 years, we have beaten eight of the elite Russell Group of universities, including Cambridge, Oxford and Warwick.

Continuing Professional Development

The LLM is accredited for Continuing Professional Development purposes by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board.

What's covered in the course?

The LLM International Human Rights also provides you with an opportunity to assess how international human rights law offers protection to different categories of vulnerable groups. You’ll also study the new and emerging area of law and catastrophe.

We’ll develop your ability to analyse and evaluate the principle features of international human rights, as well as being able to synthesise complex legal issues, arguments and discourse. You’ll learn how to communicate complex and abstract ideas in an articulate and confident manner, as well as developing a host of transferrable skills that employers crave.

The key areas on International Human Rights covered on the LLM modules include:

  • research methods
  • the United Nations human rights system
  • regional human rights systems
  • women’s rights
  • children’s rights
  • the rights of refugees
  • the relationship between business and human rights
  • environmental rights
  • criminal justice
  • the right to life

Why Choose Us?

  • Our outstanding facilities include two mock courtrooms and an e-learning suite that can be used to bring study to life.
  • Our Student Mooting Society is one of the most successful in the country; our students have reached five finals in the past six years and have regularly beaten teams from some of the country’s most prestigious universities including Cambridge University. Two members of the Society are the current Web Legal national mooting champions.
  • The School’s Centre for American Legal Studies operates the UK’s largest US internship scheme, giving you the opportunity to gain practical experience in federal and state public defenders’ offices, private attorney offices and American university law schools.
  • We have strong professional links with the Birmingham Law Society (the UK’s largest Law Society outside London), the four Inns of Court, and respected firms such as Squire Sanders LLP.
  • We also boast a comprehensive law library and an outstanding team of staff with extensive practice experience. This gives you ample access to information, experience and insight.

This course is open to International students

*Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2016

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Esos (Head Office, Recruitment Agency
  • Nationwide

And in jobs such as:

  • Trainee Litigation Assistant
  • Customer service advisor

New £10,906 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,906 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Entry Requirements

UK students

Minimum 2:2 on a UK degree in law (e.g LLB): or

Minimum 2:2 on a UK degree which includes law as a substantial component (e.g. BA Law and Management); or

An equivalent overseas qualification. IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum score of 6.0 in each category), or equivalent will also be required for international students whose first language is not English.

Examples of equivalent qualification include:

Bangladesh - completion of a four-year LLB average 50% from a Bangladesh public university or average 55% from a Bangladesh private university rated good by UGC

India - completion of an LLB average 55% (or average 50% from a five-star university). Following changes to the English Language requirements introduced by the UKBA during 2011, we can now accept the Standard 12th CBSE with an average score of 65% as being equivalent to IELTS 6.5.

We may be able to accept Standard 12th Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and the CISCE - details will appear here.

Pakistan - completion of an LLB average 55%

Sri Lanka - completion of a four-year LLB average 55%

International Students

Entry requirements here

International Students

Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.

Apply now

  • UK/EU students
  • International students

Award: LLM

Starting: Sep 2016

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year

Award: LLM

Starting: Jan 2017

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year

Award: LLM

Starting: Sep 2016

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year

Award: LLM

Starting: Jan 2017

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Additional costs

While there are no additional costs associated with purchasing text books, there may be other costs to you. If you are joining the course which has a professional body accreditation you may be required to pay membership or examination costs. For details of these costs, please click on the link below.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.


Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,906 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans


Students wishing to pursue a general LLM can also select modules from the LLM International Business Law programme.

Advanced Legal Research Methods
15 credits

You’ll learn how to design a research proposal based on your identified and chosen methods that not only critically reflects on existing scholarship, but also facilitates a sustained piece of legal research. Using your own research interest as a foundation, you’ll further develop valuable transferable skills such as presentation, project planning and communication.

Business and Human Rights
15 credits

This module focuses on corporate social responsibility and business ethnics, exploring how business and human rights impact on each other. You’ll examine the rights of employees through employment law, human rights aspects of intellectual property protection and corporate environmental concerns.


Human Rights and the Environment
15 credits

This module examines the relationship between human rights and the rights of the environment.  This includes an analysis of the feasibility of creating rights for a non-legal entity and the extent to which the rights of the environment have already been developed “on the back of” specifically human rights (such as the right to family life).  In addition, the potential for conflict between individual human rights and the wider public interest in a clean environment is analysed in detail. The emphasis of the unit is on how international, global aspects of human and environmental rights affect domestic governance and regulation.

International Human Rights Law
30 credits

You’ll study the history and concept of human rights at an advanced level. We’ll provide you with an understanding of the  concept of human rights, and how our understanding of the subject has developed over the 20th century. The module explores normative features, mechanisms and challenges faced by the United Nations, European, Inter-American and African human rights systems.

Human Rights and Vulnerability
30 credits

This module will develop your knowledge and understanding of the way in which international conventions and agreements create a platform of rights for all people. You’ll focus on women’s rights, the rights of refugees and children’s rights, and analyse the extent to which the state responses enable individuals to overcome vulnerability.

Law and Catastrophe
30 credits

This module provides an opportunity to study the growing area of law and catastrophe.  The course will engage with the philosophy of sovereignty and the legal structures imposed to normalise catastrophic events – both human made and environmental. The module considers the crimes of genocide and democide and analyses the attempts to bring perpetrators to justice through international criminal tribunals and the International Criminal Court.

60 credits

Building upon the research skills developed in Advanced Research Methods, you’ll undertake a study of a legal topic of issue that you are particularly interested in. You’ll conduct thorough research and display a strong sense of critical awareness. You’ll assess and reconcile complex legal issues and present them in an academic and authoritative format.

The LLM is taught by an outstanding team of professional research active staff who have extensive practice experience.

The modules are delivered through weekly seminars, which you’re required to underpin with preparatory reading and research.  The seminars are designed to facilitate participation and you will be required to articulate your preparatory reading and work in the seminar and complete activities.

You’ll also conduct work via our online learning system, Moodle. We’ll use this support interaction with the materials through online activities, including discussion forums.

Course Structure

To qualify for a Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) you must complete 60 credits of taught modules.

To qualify for a Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) you must complete 120 credits of taught modules.

To qualify for the LLM you must complete all the taught modules and a dissertation.


Full-time attendance is two days per week. Part-time attendance is one day per week.

LLM Modules

You’re required to complete the following modules:

  • Advanced Legal Research Methods  (15 credits)
  • Business and Human Rights (15 credits) or Human Rights and the Environment (15 credits)
  • International Human Rights Law (30 credits)
  • Human Rights and Vulnerability (30 credits)
  • Law and Catastrophe (30 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)

Note – the running of certain optional modules, for example Human Rights and the Environment, depend on staff availability and student numbers.

General LLM

If you wish to pursue a general LLM, you can also select modules from the LLM International Business Law course.

Student stories

Jayantha Ramasubramanyam

I have always been interested in the subject of International Human Rights. However, it was very spur of the moment in terms of me finding out about this course and coming to study at Birmingham City University. My mother happened to see an advert in a newspaper announcing that a representative from Birmingham City University would be present at a British Council Fair in my hometown of Chennai, India.

Further Study

The LLM provides students with a strong basis for progression to doctoral studies. Upon graduation you may progress on to our Legal Practice Course (LPC), or our PhD research degrees. Details can be found in the postgraduate section.

Student stories

Elshareef Ali Mohammed is an international human rights lawyer who worked on one of the most significant global cases of 2014. He graduated from the School of Law with a LLM in International Human Rights in 2013.

The case of Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan created a global media storm in May after she was sentenced to death for apostasy and sexual immorality for marrying a Christian man. Elshareef was part of the legal team who successfully secured her freedom.

Elshareef was given an Alumni of the Year award in 2015.

Enhancing employability

We have active student-led Legal, Mooting and Debate Societies. Our Student Mooting Society is one of the most successful in England. Our students have reached five finals in the past six years and have regularly beaten teams from some of the country’s most prestigious universities. In the past 10 years, we have beaten eight of the elite Russell Group of universities, including Cambridge, Oxford and Warwick.

You may be working, or aspiring to work as a solicitor, barrister, or in-house counsel specialising (or seeking to specialise) in this area of the law. Public sector organisations increasingly require the 'private sector' skills and understanding which you will develop throughout your studies.


The School of Law’s Centre for American Legal Studies operates the UK’s largest student internship programme to the USA.

The programme was established in 1994 and to date we have placed over 500 students in Federal and State Public Defender offices, private attorney offices, American University Law Schools, law projects and organisations across the USA, from New York City to West Texas and San Francisco. Undergraduate placements last for between six and eight weeks, and count as a fully accredited part of the LLB degree.

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs

Our students progress on to a range of jobs within the law sector. They have gone on to work with leading establishments such as Alegeh & Co, working as associate legal practitioners.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our international human rights course is most popular with international students from:

Curzon facilities eatery
Curzon facilities staircase
Curzon facilities student hub

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

The Curzon Building

This course is based at the City Centre Campus – and specifically The Curzon Building, alongside other Law, Business, Social Sciences and English courses

The £63m building offers students a unique social learning space, including a dedicated student hub incorporating student support services, in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside development.

The facilities at the Curzon building include two bespoke Law Courtrooms, replicating a Crown court and a Magistrates court. These rooms will play a key part in your learning experience, allowing you to try your hand in mock court cases, whilst also being the venue for our Mooting and Debating Societies.

On top of this, the Curzon building houses an extensive Law library, with books covering every aspect of Law history.

The Curzon Building also features:

  • An impressive new library with access to over 65 million full text items and stunning views of Eastside City Park
  • Your Students’ Union which is located in a beautifully restored 19th century pub, The Eagle and Ball
  • A modern 300-seat food court with space to study and socialise
  • Brand new, accessible IT facilities with full Office365 for all students for free
  • Shared facilities with the wider campus including the Parkside Building and Millennium Point

Chipo Mwale

Chipo Mwale

Senior Lecturer, Course Director of the LLM International Human Rights and International Law

Chipo Mwale is Programme Director for LLM International Human Rights and also a Senior Lecturer in the School of Law. She currently teaches the following courses: LL.B.; LL.M. Corporate and Business Law; LLM International Human Rights; BA Joint Honours Programme (Business Law Pathway).

Full Profile

Jon Yorke

Professor Jon Yorke

Professor of Human Rights and Director of the Centre for Human Rights

Jon Yorke is the Professor of Human Rights in the School of Law and is the Director of the Centre for Human Rights. His qualifications include LL.B. (Hons) (BCU), LL.M. and Ph.D. (Warwick). He currently teaches LL.B. International Human Rights and LL.M. Human Rights in the Wider World.

Full Profile

Ian Fox-Williams

Ian Fox-Williams

Director of International Recruitment and Development

Ian Fox-Williams has strategic oversight and responsibility for all international activity in the School of Law from international student recruitment, development of partnerships with overseas institutions, designing collaborative courses taught overseas, as well as student and staff international mobility. 

Full Profile

Safina Din

Senior Lecturer and Link Tutor for HND Legal Studies

Safina Din is a Senior Lecturer in Law who teaches Skills, Criminal Law, Human Rights Law and Asylum and Immigration on the LLB programme. She also teaches Legal Processes with Criminal Law on the BA Criminal Investigations Programme and Refugees and the Law on the LLM IHR programme.

Full Profile

Dr Olia Arustamyan


Dr Olia Arustamyan is a Lecturer in Law. Her main research interests are in philosophy of law and moral philosophy more generally. Olia lectures in criminal law and criminal evidence at undergraduate level, and human rights law in the LLM.

Full Profile