Course Overview

This programme is offered at the Irish Centre for Human Rights within the School of Law. This Centre is one of the world’s premier university-based institutions for the study and promotion of human rights and humanitarian law.

The LLM in International Human Rights Law provides students with a comprehensive insight into international and regional legal frameworks of human rights protection, and engages students in the practice and policy context of human rights globally and locally. The programme focuses on essential human rights skills, including advocacy, strategic litigation, human rights fact-finding and international development.

The LLM programme offers unique training on the practice of human rights, through specialised modules on Advocacy, Litigation and Activism and Transnational Lawyering. The core teaching programme is supplemented with an exciting programme of guest seminars, workshops and conferences engaging with leading experts and practitioners in the field of human rights law and public policy.

A partnership with the Global Legal Action Network (based at the Irish Centre for Human Rights), gives selected students the opportunity for hands-on engagement with human rights litigation and advocacy globally, on issues such as climate justice, international migration, control over natural resources. A unique International Human Rights Law clinic provides students with hands-on training on mobilising human rights standards to secure reform, engaging human rights bodies, at UN and regional levels.

Students chose from a wide range of specialised modules taught by leading world experts, including on: Refugee Protection, International Criminal Law, Gender and Law, Post-Conflict Justice, International Humanitarian Law, Contemporary Issues in International Migration Law, Business and Human Rights, European Human Rights Law, International Child Rights and Counter-terrorism.

While the emphasis of the course is legal, we accept suitably qualified candidates from other backgrounds in the firm belief that human rights itself is multidisciplinary.

Drawing on the expertise and support of a global network of alumni and an outstanding network of contacts, we support students in identifying career opportunities and work placements following graduation with international organisations, civil society, Government and public policy, legal practice and international development.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

Assessment for individual modules includes a combination of essays, presentations and group work, as well as other methods. Students must also complete a research thesis/dissertation of 20,000 words.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

It is preferred that applicants hold a Level 8 degree in law. However, the Centre for Human Rights also welcomes students with undergraduate degrees in disciplines other than law. In cases where applicants come from a non-law background, the Centre for Human Rights will consider academic background, relevant work experience, references and a personal statement. Applicants must normally have attained at primary degree level a result of Second Class Honours
Grade 1 or equivalent. However, those falling short of this standard may be considered where they can demonstrate other appropriate academic accomplishments as well as relevant work experience.

Additional Requirements


1 year, full-time
2 years, part-time

Next start date

September 2019

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date

 Please view the offer rounds website.

NFQ level

Mode of study


ECTS weighting




Course code

1ML2, full-time
1ML3, part-time

Course Outline

The one-year programme is divided into three four-month terms. The first term commences in September and runs through to December, the second term begins in January and ends in April, while the third term begins in May and terminates with the submission of a dissertation at the end of August. During the first two terms candidates are required to attend a full course load as prescribed in the Guidelines, while the third term is devoted entirely to the research required for the preparation of the final dissertation. 

The two-year programme comprises part-time study, combining two semesters of course work the first year with a third semester the second year, devoted entirely to the research required for preparation of a final dissertation. 
The coursework begins with a general introduction to the systems and documents of international human rights law, and proceeds to a series of specialised courses in such areas as minority rights law, regional human rights systems such as the European Convention on Human Rights, criminal prosecution by international tribunals of human rights violators, gender and child rights, refugees and asylum seekers, and international humanitarian law. The course emphasises the analysis and critique of international human rights law and legal regimes.

Courses each year are subject to change, but may include the following:

  • Business and Human Rights 
  • Children's Rights 
  • Conflict and Post-Conflict 
  • Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights 
  • Economic, Social & Cultural Rights 
  • European Convention on Human Rights 
  • European Union and Human Rights 
  • Gender and Human Rights
  • Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  • Human Rights Field Work: Law and Practice
  • Islam and Human Rights
  • International Criminal Law 
  • International Criminal Procedure 
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • Introduction to Human Rights Law 
  • Minority Rights 
  • Peace Support Operations 
  • Public International Law 
  • Procedure before International Criminal Courts 
  • Refugee Protection
  • Right to Development 
  • Transitional Justice

Module details for the Full Time course

Module details for the Part Time course

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

The human rights field is a competitive market and students in the programme are encouraged to obtain as much practical, as well as academic experience as possible whilst in the programme. Securing a place in the human rights field necessitates initiative and will likely entail several minor placements before securing the desired position. That said, students who have undertaken and successfully completed the programme tend to fall into one of four categories:

  1. those who work within UN or UN affiliated organisations
  2. those who work in NGOs and quasi NGOs--both human rights and development
  3. those who work in academic institutions or pursue of PhD/JD
  4. those who work in diplomatic or government based work (in human rights divisions of the Dept of Foreign Affairs, for example).  

Underneath these umbrella categories, students have pursued work in the ICC, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, ICRC, the UN system (Geneva and NYC), local based NGOs, trade and health organisations, domestic law firm work that draws on international legal mechanisms, and research based work in University research centres, to name but a few. The main and sub categories are by no means exhaustive, but give a flavor of the different fields that students have pursued.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€7,000 p.a. 2019/20

Fees: Tuition

€6,776 p.a. 2019/20

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2019/20

Fees: Non EU

€15,500 p.a. 2019/20

EU full-time programme:  €6,500 p.a.  EU part-time programme:  €3,305 p.a.

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant—please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224.

Find out More

Professor Siobhán Mullally 

What Our Students Say


Rebecca Pawul |   LLM in International Human Rights

The courses offered for the LLM in International Human Rights are both interesting and diverse, allowing students to adjust their concentration of study in order to identify an area of specialization suited to their interests. This diversity has allowed me to explore various areas of human rights that I may not have had the opportunity to study otherwise. I chose this program above others due to the background and diversity of staff and students, and am very happy with my decision.