International Human Rights - LLM

Full Time
September 2018, January 2019
£6,900 per year for UK/EU Full Time 2018 entry (view all fees)

Our LLM in International Human Rights will expose you to the fundamental aspects of the field, and provide you with the opportunity to critically examine the impact of the international human rights standards on national constitutions and laws, with particular focus given to the conflict between international standards and national provision.

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.

Additionally, 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. 

What's covered in the course?

You will analyse and critically evaluate principle features of international human rights law, including fundamental concepts, values, principles and rules, and the main institutions and procedures. You’ll also learn to evaluate complex legal issues, communicate complex and abstract ideas, and employ strategic transferable skills.  

Why Choose Us?

    • You will earn from a dedicated and passionate teaching team, who have experience with the international human rights institutions
    • This course is a conversion LLM – you don’t need a degree in Law to be eligible to study it.
    • The course covers transnational jurisdictions, so it is international in scope.
    • The course has flexible delivery methods to suit your location and when you are able to study. You can enroll as either an on-campus student, flexible/blended learning student or as a distance learning student
    • Studying of the LLM International Human Rights will provide you with an opportunity to engage with the work of the Law School’s Centre for Human Right
    • You will have an opportunity to enhance your employability skills by completing an internship
    • Birmingham City University has just launched the UK's first Centre for Brexit Studies, researching all aspects of the UK's vote to leave the EU, including the impact it has on domestic law and legislation.
    • You will be able to benefit from the newly-introduced postgraduate loans. For more information, visit UCAS. 

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place in 2019. Register your interest and we'll send an email update nearer the time. Visit us to see our facilities and speak to our staff and students.

Book your place

This course is open to International students

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Entry Requirements

UK students

Minimum 2:2 class UK degree or international equivalent in any subject area.

EU / International students
English language requirements 2017/18
IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.0 minimum in all bands
Other accepted qualifications Visit our English language page
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 or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
LLM Sep 2018 FT 1 year £6,900 per year
Jan 2019 FT 15 Months £6,900

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
LLM Sep 2018 FT 1 year £12,000 per year
Jan 2019 FT 15 Months £12,000

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 £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans


Core Modules

Public International Law
20 credits

This module examines the principles and operations of the most important elements of public international law.  This is a potentially vast subject (in fact the subject of entire LLM programmes in its own right) so the module content will focus on the fundamental principles which underpin the legal relations between states.  In particular the law of Treaties and the law of the United Nations will form the principal bases of study.

This is a fundamental module in the sense that its subject matters underpins many of the other modules that will be offered on the LLM in International Human Rights.

The module is interdisciplinary in the way it evaluates legal issues in the context of legal history and politics.

Women's and Children’s Rights
20 credits

The module will provide an introduction to the two fields of women’s rights and children’s rights, looking at these in an international context. These will be studied within an overarching ‘rights’ context, allowing students to identify and explore differences and interrelationships between the two fields.

The module will enable you to critical analyse how international human rights law has evolved in its protection of specific categories of people. You will evaluate the main legal instruments that promote and protect women’s rights and children’s rights and different approaches to the implementation of these instruments. You will assess the underlying philosophies relating to the status of women and children in international law, and the various political and cultural barriers that prevent the effective implementation of the law.

Human Rights in International Law
20 credits

This module analyses the processes for human rights protection with a predominant focus on the United Nations. It provides an overview of the United Nations Charter organs and engages with the International Bill of Rights and associated international legislation. The role of the Security Council is critiqued along with the Special Mechanisms procedures of the Human Rights Council.

The political and legal processes for the protection of human rights are analysed, and the methods of implementation at the member state levels is presented. The module also reviews international humanitarian law, the relationship of the UN with the other human rights regions of the European Union, the Council of Europe, the Organisation of American States and the African Union.

This module is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on political science and international relations to inform the human rights standards of the UN. Employability skills are promoted through the simulated exercise of the Model United Nations.

Participation in the assessed MUN event allows you to experience working in the UN and developing the skills necessary to make a political speech, promote national interests in the voting for a UNSC resolution, and drafting clauses using the language of human rights.  This learning exercise enablesyou to develop research skills for the collation of data and law, to be practically delivered within a UN Security Council setting. 

Advanced Research Methods
20 credits

This module enables you to gain enhanced knowledge and understanding of the techniques needed for advanced legal research. It serves a double purpose. As a foundation to other Level 7 modules in law, it supports you in acquiring the knowledge of research methods and skills in applying those methods required to succeed in postgraduate legal research – both in scholarship and for practitioners. Secondly, the module as a whole and the particular mode of assessment are both designed to provide you with the essential foundation and framework for completing the Dissertation, and substantial support towards completion of a Live Project or Placement at postgraduate level.

Dissertation, Project or Placement
60 credits

The aim of this module is to provide a framework for you to undertake a substantial piece of disciplinary-relevant research the output of which may be either a placement, integrated project or dissertation.  This is founded upon Birmingham City University’s teaching and learning philosophy which integrates theory into practice. 

The module allows you to conduct a study integrating the principles, tools and methods from your programme in particular the study of research paradigms and development of achievable methodologies in the Advanced Legal Research Methods module. The format for the study whether it be a placement, practice-led integrated project or dissertation will vary depending on which one you choose, however it must relate to the specific pathway that you are studying, either the LLM in International Business Law, International Human Rights or International Law.

Optional Modules

You will study all core modules and two optional modules. The number of optional modules available each year depend on timetabling, staff availability and student numbers. Optional modules with low student numbers will not run but you can still engage in research of that area of law on the Dissertation/Live Project/Placement module, and you will receive appropriate supervision. 

Global Health Law
20 credits

Medical Law and Ethics is an optional module that forms one of your choices on the programme to provide an introduction for you to the ever-growing body of law, policy and ethics concerned with the global health and some of the ethical dilemmas advances in this field.

This module focuses on the international law, standards and norms relevant to the protection and advancement of health; including international law adopted by the UN and the WHO; the norms and standards adopted by the WHO through ‘soft-law’, and human rights law, with particular reference to the right to health, and how they may be achieved through international standards and norms. 

Substantive content that will be covered includes: international health law-making and the institutional structure of the relevant international organs; health security threats and the legal framework for responding to them (including the spread of infectious diseases and man-made and natural disasters); global health inequalities, the ethical impetuses for reducing the inequalities and the legal challenges to achieving this; access to healthcare services and essential medicines; the tensions between international trade and the protection of health; the right to health in international law; biosecurity and the control of biological materials with human pandemic potential; Health and Human Rights.

International Criminal Law
20 credits

The importance of international criminal law has grown considerably in recent years. Similarly to domestic criminal law, international criminal law aims to prohibit and penalise certain actions when committed by individuals. Unlike domestic criminal law however, the crimes that concern international community are particularly serious: prohibitions such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression involve conduct that is capable of affecting large numbers of the world's population. As such international criminal law is also relevant to study of international human rights, in that it establishes an additional accountability mechanism and protection to some of the most fundamental rights such as life, liberty, and security of the person.

This module aims to equip you with in-depth knowledge and understanding of some of the key concepts, principles, rules and standards of international criminal law.

Starting from historical and conceptual overview of this vast and growing field, we will proceed to examine national and international responses to international criminal law violations, definition and content of the core crimes, principles of individual responsibility in international criminal law including available defences, enforcement of sentencing, and alternatives to criminal prosecution.

The teaching is designed with the view to promote your use of analytical and synthetical skills in mastering the material. As the topics within the module are studied at an advanced level with many issues not having a "black and white” answer or solution, at every corner you are given the opportunity and encouraged to think about, analyse and give justified opinions. 

Human Rights and the Environment
20 credits

This module examines the relationship between human rights and the rights of the environment.  At a time when the effects of climate change are increasingly compromising the realisation of human rights a module such as this is essential to demonstrate the inter-dependence of environmental quality and human well-being. The module will analyse 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 will be analysed in detail. 

Any course in human rights must be delivered within a political and economic context; and the conflict between economic imperatives and the right to economic development and environmental protection will be examined in depth.  The emphasis of the module will be on the international, global aspects of human and environmental rights rather than the domestic situation as such, though it will be essential to examine the way in which international obligations are discharged in domestic jurisdictions. 

The module will concentrate particularly on the effects of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures and how these have the potential to influence human rights, especially rights to property, life, health and family life.  This module is jointly delivered on the LLM International Human Rights and the MA/LLM in Planning law.  Thus there will be an emphasis on land use decisions as a vehicle for exploring the principles described below.

Refugees and the Free Movement of People
20 credits

The module examines the international law relating to refugees and the free movement of people and how that law has been executed in certain municipal contexts. The development and scope of the relevant law will be explored including both ‘mandate’ refugees, ‘statutory refugees’ and regional developments. Relevant international human rights protections will also be examined and their impact on refugee law and the doctrine of non-refoulement. The area of free movement of people will also be examined in an immigration context.

The aim will be to place the relevant international law in its social, political and human rights context and to evaluate its impact and effectiveness for those who find themselves in flight from their country or who are migrants for other reasons such as marriage, education or work. This will be studied within an overarching ‘rights’ context, allowing students to identify and explore and its ability to link with other human rights areas such as women and children.

Our LLM is taught by an outstanding team of professionals. You must complete six taught modules and either a dissertation, project or placement.

The programme may be studied on-campus, or on a flexible/blended learning basis or by distance learning, allowing you to access it irrespective of your location. All three modes offer a coherent, staged and progressive learning structure in which you will benefit from teaching which is informed by the research expertise of our academic team. Our approach is experiential and practice-led and will give you opportunities to apply your learning and to develop skills to enhance your employability and career.

This programme will support you in becoming an independent learner during the teaching, learning and assessment process. During induction we will support you in developing key study skills.  Throughout the programme you will have the chance to complete activities which will enable you to practice legal skills including legal research, problem-solving, advocacy and drafting in order to develop and practice.

These activities also enable you to practice transferable skills including structuring and presenting arguments, working independently or in teams to complete tasks, oral and written communication, and time management. These skills will be valuable whatever your final choice of future career.

During the September and January terms you will study three 20-credit modules, thereafter you will study one 60-credit module: the LLM dissertation/placement/project module. The 20-credit Advanced Legal Research Methods module (studied in the January term) is delivered online via the Virtual Learning Environment, providing maximum flexibility.

For on-campus students there in an opportunity to study abroad in the January term and this offers a unique and exciting opportunity for you to experience the teaching environment from a different perspective, in another country, helping you to become a true globalised citizen. For all students further opportunities are also available to undertake a placement and obtain practical experience of how International Business Law operates.

If you choose to study on-campus in the September and January termsyou will benefit from a block of intensive face-to-face teaching near the start of each term, especially designed to get you off to a really strong start to each module. Throughout the two terms there will then be regular facilitated workshops which are interactive sessions designed to develop your knowledge, understanding and critical evaluation of directed pre-reading, with an emphasis on peer-led learning to develop your skills in legal analysis and evaluation.

We expect you to attend all teaching sessions as well as to read and prepare before these sessions. Good preparation will enable you to get the most from your contact time and will help you become an autonomous learner. Advance preparation is also a critical skill which you must develop if you wish to succeed in business or professional practice. 

When you progress to the dissertation/placement/project there will be a shorter block of intensive face-to-face teaching near the start followed by regular one-to-one sessions with your supervisor.

If you choose to study as a flexible/blended learning student you will attend sessions delivered in block of intensive face-to-face teaching near the start of each term, especially designed to get you off to a really strong start to each module. The intensive face-to-face sessions are delivered over one week in the September term and one week in the January term.

Throughout the rest of the term you will be provided with learning materials and learn through online activities, including participating in online discussion forums, webinars, and contact with your tutors through the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Moodle. You will be expected to contribute to all online activities. This will include logging in and participating in webinars and discussion forums and completing other tasks assigned by your tutor.

For the LLM dissertation/placement/project there will be a shorter block of intensive face-to-face teaching near the start followed a one-to-one session with your supervisor. Subsequent supervisory sessions will be delivered using appropriate available means such as via telephone, the VLE or Skype.

If you choose to study by distance learning you will be able to benefit from the expertise of our academic team without being restricted by the need to attend on-campus. You will be provided with learning materials and learn through online activities, including participating in online discussion forums, webinars, and contact with your tutors through the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Moodle.

You will be expected to contribute to all online activities. This will include logging in and participating in webinars and discussion forums and completing other tasks assigned by your tutor. In the LLM dissertation/placement/project module the supervisory sessions will be delivered using appropriate available means such as via telephone, the VLE or Skype. 

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.

International Opportunities 

There is the opportunity to undertake a placement abroad as an alternative to a dissertation. 

Further Study

The LLM enables students to progress onto doctoral studies. A number of LLM studies have successfully obtained funding from the Midland 3Cities Doctoral Training Programme. 

Employment Opportunities

You will have the opportunity to undertake a placement or complete a project as an alternative to a dissertation.

In addition we have active, student-led Legal, Mooting and Debate Societies. Our Student Mooting Society is one of the most successful in England, with our students reaching five finals in the past six years, regularly beating teams from some of the country’s most prestigious universities.

We also have a staff and student led Pro-Bono Unit that provides legal advice to the public.


There is the opportunity to undertake a placement abroad as an alternative to a dissertation. The School of Law’s Centre for American Legal Studies operates the UK’s largest student internship programme to the USA. In order to be applicable, you need to apply for the internship programme.

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. 

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.

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.

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

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.

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).

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.

Professor Haydn Davies

Head of the School of Law

Professor Haydn Davies has taught and researched environmental protection (both technology and law) since the 1990s. He is currently the assistant vice chair of the UK Environmental Law Association, and co-convenor of the Welsh Working Party.

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.

Mark Eccleston-Turner

Mark Eccleston-Turner


Mark Eccleston-Turner is a Lecturer in Law. His main research interests are in global health law, medical law and public law. Mark lectures in Public Law and English legal System and Practice.