Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

The Aberystwyth LLM course in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law is your opportunity to engage the distinct yet complementary regimes of human rights law and humanitarian law. In studying the Human Rights and Humanitarian Law LLM you will tackle traditional subjects as well as new and emerging issues, such as the regulation of international society and the legal mechanisms of human rights during international and non-international armed conflicts.  Your study will reflect the local, national and international nuances of this complex subject matter; and you will graduate with expertise highly sought-after in law firms, government departments, think-tanks, international institutions and non-governmental organisations alike.

As a student at Aberystwyth, you will be taught by staff who, as well as being active in research and publication, participate in national and international debate and policy-making in legal, criminological and other related fields. Under their personal tutelage, you will develop your rigorous analytical skills, your abilities in presenting clear and focused arguments and your capacity for independent thought.

  • Key Facts
  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Employability
  • How to Apply

Key Facts


1 Year: September to September


Assessment takes the form of; research proposals including a related bibliographic element, case studies, oral assessments and essays. Each student will complete a master’s dissertation of 15,000 to 20,000 words which deals with an area of chosen study in the third semester.

Entry Requirements:

An Honours Degree 2:2 (minimum). Degrees in law, the social sciences, or other similar subjects are preferred. Those from other disciplines or with suitable professional experience will be considered on an individual basis.

Equivalent international qualifications are acceptable especially if ECTS evidence is available. Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) and/or Accreditation of Experiential Prior Learning (APEL) are considered on an individual basis according to current University Regulations.

English Language Requirements:

If you have a Bachelors degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test.

Further information on English Language Requirements  

Course Fees:

Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.


Possible funidng opportunites can be found in our funding calculator.


The LLM in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law provides a comprehensive overview of international law and how it works in the contemporary world.  The course balances the academic with the urgently practical – for example, combining the necessarily comprehensive detail of human rights legislation in conflict with the harsh reality of the threat posed to human rights by the same conflict. Other modules will tackle significant issues such as the ‘victory’ of democracy on the international stage and the ideological change that has shifted it in the West from a system of government to 'the only route to ensure peace and prosperity’ in places like the Middle East.

An important part of the course is the writing of a detailed dissertation within the specialism of your choice. This is your opportunity to select a project topic which has a direct bearing on your professional life.  Previous LLM students at Aberystwyth have found this opportunity to be invaluable in establishing a successful career.

The course will be particularly attractive to those seeking a career in government departments, international organisations, humanitarian and human rights advocacy, business organisations, international law firms and a range of non-governmental organisations.

The Department of Law and Criminology recently participated in the Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment. It found that 96.5% of publications submitted were of of an internationally recognised standard and that 98% of research activity in the department was rated as internationally recognised.

Our Staff

Aberystwyth Law School lecturers are mostly either qualified to PHD level or have professional experience and qualifications as practicing lawyers. Many staff also have a PGCE (Higher Education).

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (80 Credits) Students must take the following modules:

Semester 1

International Human Rights Law LAM1620
International Humanitarian Law LAM4220
Public International Law LAM4320

Semester 2

Philosophy Of Human Rights Protection LAM4520

Year 1 Options Students must choose 40 credits from the following modules:

Semester 1

Climate Change Law And Policy LAM1720

Semester 2

Criminology Of International Conflict Personnel LAM1920

Contemporary Issues In Food Policy And Law LAM2320

Law And Gender LAM2420

Human Rights, Environment And International Business LAM4820

Year 1 Core (60 Credits)

Semester 3

Dissertation LAM6260


This degree will suit you:

  • If you want to study an area of law with urgent contemporary significance and practical relevance
  • If you wish to develop a critical appreciation of legal responses to humanitarian and human rights issues
  • If you wish to nurture a legal career within government, non-governmental or corporate structures
  • If you desire skills highly sought-after in any postgraduate workplace


Every course at Aberystwyth University is designed to enhance your vocational and general employability.  Your LLM will place you in the jobs market as a rigorous legal professional armed with impressive expertise in the latest legal developments in the field of Human Rights and Humanitarian law.  In addition, this course will help you to master key skills that are required in almost every postgraduate workplace. You will be pushed to improve your approaches to planning, analysis and presentation so that you can tackle complex projects thoroughly and with professional independence, making you a highly-desirable candidate for a career in government, non-governmental and corporate contexts alike.

Study Skills

You will learn to quickly assemble, assimilate and interpret a wealth of legal data regarding Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, and you will refine your professional practices by engagement with multiple case studies.  You will learn how to deploy your knowledge to assert your expertise and build your legal case.  These skills in analysis and discourse, supported by your mastery of rigorous methodologies, will stand you in good stead for any professional workplace.

Self-Motivation and discipline

Studying at LLM level requires discipline and self-motivation from every candidate.  Though you will have access to the expertise and helpful guidance of departmental staff, you are ultimately responsible for devising and completing a sustained programme of scholarly research in pursuit of your Master’s degree.  This process will strengthen your skills as an independent and self-sufficient worker, a trait prized by most employers.

Transferable Skills

The LLM programme is designed to give you a range of transferable skills that you can apply in a variety of employment contexts.  Upon graduation, you will have proven your abilities in structuring and communicating ideas efficiently, writing for and speaking to a range of audiences, evaluating and organizing information, working effectively with others and working within timeframes and to specific deadlines.

How to Apply

Postgraduate applicants can submit their application either on-line or off-line. Please see our How to Apply page for further information.

Departmental contact details 

Tel: (01970) 622720

Fax: (01970) 622729

Email: pglaw@aber.ac.uk

Department of Law and Criminology
Aberystwyth University
Elystan Morgan Building
Llanbadarn Centre
SY23 3AS

If you'd like to see how we assess your application please click and watch our Application videos.

Further Information

It is important you feel at home in the Department, University and Town. Here are some links for you to explore these areas further: