MA International Law, Ethics and Politics

Are you interested in learning about the issues at the intersections of International Law, European Law, ethics and international politics and how they are all interrelated?

The MA in International Law, Ethics and Politics will cover the application of International Law, European Law, ethics and international politics to problems such as poverty reduction; international trade; war and terrorism; climate change; and democracy.

This programme is ideal for candidates from the NGO world who wish to improve their academic credentials, and students from the humanities and social sciences who want to take Law courses. The course should also be of interest to graduates in public or European law who want to deepen their understanding of issues that they have previously encountered only within a legal framework.

Dr Scott Wisor

Dr Scott Wisor

“There is a lively community of faculty and students that are really both experts in their fields and very eager to change the world. So any time a new crisis erupts in the world, I can count on a colleague who will be an expert in that part of the world and there will be a big cohort of students who will want to put on event on campus or be involved in activism around the issue. ”

The programme contains a broad range of optional modules from the Law, Politics and Philosophy departments. 

You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • For students with a law background - Research Skills and Methods. You will also attend mandatory pre-sessional generic LLM introductory classes
  • For students without a law background - Socio-Legal Theory. You will also attend mandatory bespoke pre-sessional introduction to law classes and mandatory pre-sessional generic LLM introductory classes

In addition, you will  take at least one module from each of the Law, Politics and Philosophy departments and complete a 15,000-word dissertation. Students may choose between a dissertation or practice-based dissertation. Dissertations may be supervised by any of the three schools involved in the MA, or joint-supervision may occur for interdisciplinary dissertations.

You will also be required to take two further modules from any of the three departments. Examples of the modules on offer (split by department) can be found below. 

Why study this course

  1. Flexibility - the wide range of modules on offer allows you to both identify and explore your specific interests.
  2. Taught by experts – you will study alongside some of the finest minds in Philosophy. We are ranked second among all Philosophy departments in the UK in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
  3. Friendly and relaxed atmosphere – staff within the Department of Philosophy know students by name and are always happy to talk through work and provide additional feedback on academic performance.
  4. Small classes – teaching on the Masters-level modules involve mainly small-group seminars allowing you to really get to grips with the learning material.
  5. Be a part of an active postgraduate community – you will join a lively and stimulating Department where you can contribute to on-going research activities, including research seminars and events such as our weekly speaker series and various workshops, reading groups and conferences throughout the year.


Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2016/17 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £6,570 full-time; £3,285 part-time
  • Overseas: £14,850 full-time

For part-time students, the above fee quoted is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in year two of your programme.

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Entry requirements

You need an upper second-class Honours degree, or equivalent, in Law, Philosophy, Politics or another relevant subject (e.g. Sociology, Theology, English). Appropriate work experience will also be taken into consideration.

Additional information:

International students:

International qualifications which are equivalent to a UK honours degree in will be considered. Learn more about international entry requirements

If your first language is not English you must provide an English language qualification. Recognised qualifications include:

  • IELTS: 7.0 with no less than 6.5 in any band
  • TOEFL: 95 with no less than 22 in any band

How to apply

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

The MA in International Law, Ethics and Politics has been designed to allow in-depth analysis across multiple disciplines. 

Modules are all 20 credits in length to enable students to develop significant expertise which will enhance their career prospects.

The programme lasts 12 months, running from September to September.

  • In part I of the programmes, you take six 20 credit modules and are assessed by either essay or formal examination.
  • In part II of the programmes, you research and write a dissertation/practice based dissertation under the supervision of a member of staff.

The programme enables you to develop expertise in a range of subjects. You will acquire a systematic understanding of these along with a critical appreciation of the problems that arise these fields. You will be encouraged to demonstrate originality in the application of knowledge together with a practical understanding of how established research techniques are used to create and interpret knowledge.

Students do not register for modules before arrival as we feel it is important that you are able to make an informed choice. As part of the induction process module leaders will give a detailed description of what their subject entails.

Studying part-time

The programme may be taken part-time and completed over a period of two years. This mode of study is particularly suitable for professionals who wish to combine professional practice with university-level study, gaining CPD points in the process.

Classes for part-time students on the MA will be scheduled between 9am-6pm and students will typically have between 2-4 hours of teaching each week. Fees are the same as for full-time study but are split over two years.

International students

International students are invited to participate in an orientation course run by the university’s International Office before the start of the academic session. For students from outside the UK, there are also lectures on the British constitution, sources of English law and the working methods of the common law system. The English for International Students Unit provides a range of support in reading and writing academic English.

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the vibrant international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support through the English for International Students Unit (EISU).

The University has been recognised for its impressive graduate employment, being named ‘University of the Year for Graduate Employment’ in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016.

In addition, the global edition of The New York Times has ranked the University 60th in the world and 9th in UK for post-qualification employability. The rankings illustrate the top 150 universities most frequently selected by global employers and are the result of a survey by French consulting firm Emerging and German consulting firm Trendence.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School. The University also offers a wide range of activities and services to give our students the edge in the job market, including: career planning designed to meet the needs of postgraduates; opportunities to meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs, employer presentations and skills workshops; individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.


Birmingham's Philosophy postgraduates develop a range of skills that are highly desirable in the job market, including: articulacy; precise analytical thought; clarity; rigour in formulating complex problems; and the ability to analyse and construct sound arguments.

Over the past five years, over 93% of Philosophy postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Due to the transferable nature of their skills, Philosophy postgraduates traditionally enter a wide range of employment areas, from the Civil Service to finance. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Afrikids (child rights organisation); Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust; Muslim Scout Fellowship; Rights and Humanity; University of Birmingham; and University of Edinburgh.

Graduates from Politics have gone on to work in a range of careers, with recent graduates working with organisations such as the United Nations, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, local authorities in the UK and overseas and the Department for International Development.

Links to the Legal Profession

The Law School maintains strong links with the professional world, through our network of alumni and contacts in the barristers’ and solicitors’ professions. These links allow us to put on a series of law careers events throughout the academic year.

Each autumn, the University hosts the Law Fair, in which we welcome over 50 law firms, including some of the largest law firms in the world, to the University's Great Hall. The attendees represent law firms of all sizes and most areas of practice.

The Law School also organises “Law in Practice” seminars, in which practitioners explain to students how the area of law relevant to a specific module works in practice. These are invaluable opportunities for students to enhance their studies, and enable them to improve their commercial awareness.

In June each year, the Law School hosts “Employability Fortnight”, after the end of the examinations period in the summer term. The events which run in this fortnight have included an Applications Process Panel Session, a Midlands Circuit Court Visit followed by an Inner Temple Drinks Reception in the evening, an Alternative Dispute Resolution Workshop by Herbert Smith, and dedicated Careers Advice Drop-in Sessions.

The Careers Network

The Careers Network organises regular events including presentations by top law firms and the annual Law Fair. It also runs workshops to help students prepare effective applications and to prepare for their next move. Its events on non-law careers, including journalism, marketing and working with charities, can be of interest to law students.

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

In addition to the student groups hosted by the Guild of Students, each school runs its own social activities, research fora, seminars and groups for postgraduates.


Coming to Birmingham to study might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.