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. This programme can also be used as a route into PhD research.
The programme contains a broad range of optional modules from the Law, Politics and Philosophy departments.
You will take a core module in theory and methods, choosing from:
- Research Skills and Methods,which provides an introduction to the methods of contemporary Philosophy
- Socio-Legal Theory, which introduces key law and society concepts and theories
You will also attend 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. 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.
Your core module will be assessed by written assignment; assessment methods for optional modules vary depending on options chosen. You will also complete a dissertation with support from a supervisor; you may choose between a 15,000-word written dissertation or a practice-based dissertation which combines a placement, the production of a practical output for the host organisation and a written report. Dissertations may be supervised by any of the three schools involved in the MA, or joint-supervision may occur for interdisciplinary dissertations.
- Flexibility - the wide range of modules on offer allows you to both identify and explore your specific interests across three different departments.
- Taught by experts – you will study alongside some of the finest minds in Philosophy. Times Higher Education ranked the Department of Philosophy second in the country for its performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework exercise.
- Friendly and relaxed atmosphere – staff within the Department of Philosophy are very approachable and happy to offer additional advice on academic performance.
- Small classes – teaching on the Masters-level modules involve mainly small-group seminars allowing you to really get to grips with the learning material.
- 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.
You will study a core module in theory and methods, choosing from:
Research Skills and Methods
This module provides an introduction to the methods of contemporary philosophy. Topics addressed typically include: critical thinking in philosophy, reading in philosophy, research skills, dissertation planning, and presenting philosophical arguments in written work. You will also participate in online sessions focused on generic research skills.
Assessment: Written assignment
This module introduces key law and society concepts and theories. The module will introduce students to the jurisprudential underpinnings of socio-legal research, including the classical sociological thinkers that influenced the development of socio-legal research, sociological jurisprudence, American realism, structuralism and systems theory, critical perspectives, feminist legal theory and queer theory, the interpretive tradition, postmodernism and legal pluralism. Students will also be introduced to a range of key law and society texts, projects and writers, and encouraged to critically analyse socio-legal work.
Assessment: Written assignment
You will also choose at least one module from each of the Law, Politics and Philosophy departments, and a further two modules from any of the three departments. The range of modules available typically includes:
You will then complete the programme with a research project:
Dissertation or Practice-Based Dissertation
If you choose to complete a written dissertation, this will be a substantial and sustained investigation of a topic related to one or more of the disciplines being studied, culminating in a 15,000-word dissertation.
The practice-based dissertation is ideal for those who have begun careers and are returning to study after time in employment, or those who are aiming to enhance their employability by obtaining (further) experience within related professional contexts. It offers a more applied, contextualised approach to independent research than the more traditional dissertation route. In addition to completing 160 hours on placement, you are asked to produce a practical output/project for the organisation hosting your placement. This can take various forms, such as a report for internal use, a piece of research, a contribution to a report or policy document, a video, a feature article for a newspaper or another form or media output. You complete the placement with a 10-12,000-word report encompassing aspects including the rationale for the placement, a reflection on the tasks performed, and a theoretical discussion of an issue related to the placement.
Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2018/19 are as follows:
UK / EU: £9,000 full-time; £4,500 part-time
International: £16,290 full-time
The above fees quoted are for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.
Eligibility for UK/EU or international fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students
We can also confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who have an offer to start their studies in the 2018-19 academic year will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time, provided this continues to be permitted by UK law. The UK Government has also confirmed that students from the EU applying to courses starting in the 2018-19 academic year will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status. This guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.
Paying your fees
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.
You need an upper second-class Honours degree, or equivalent, preferably in Law, Philosophy, Politics or another relevant subject. Appropriate work experience will also be taken into consideration.
If your undergraduate degree is in another subject, you are still very welcome to apply. We consider every application on its merits and we are happy to consider applicants with diverse academic backgrounds. Your level of academic achievement, letters of reference, and personal statement will all have strong influence on our decision. We may also require you to submit a writing sample.
We ask you to submit two academic references as part of your application, but if you have been out of academia for some time we will also accept a professional reference in addition to one academic reference.
Learn more about entry requirements
We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.
English language requirements
You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:
Please review our Entry Requirements before making your application.
International students requiring visas
Monday 2 July 2018 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2018 made after this date - a new application should be made for September 2019. Applications will reopen for 2019 entry on Monday 1 October 2018.
Please apply by Friday 31 August 2018. However, we would encourage you to apply at the earliest opportunity, to allow adequate time to prepare for starting your studies once receiving a decision on your application. Please also be aware that earlier deadlines may apply if you wish to make an application for funding.
Late applicants are encouraged to contact the Admissions Tutor for advice.
Before you make your application
You may wish to
register your interest with us
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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
The MA in International Law, Ethics and Politics has been designed to allow in-depth analysis across multiple disciplines.
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.
You will take six taught modules and write a 15,000-word dissertation. We have two 11-week teaching terms per year, the autumn term and spring term. Term dates can be found on our website. Modules run for one term, and each module involves a two-hour weekly seminar which you are required to attend. In addition to the weekly seminars, you will have to allow adequate study time for each of your modules.
You will spread your module work over the two teaching terms, ideally studying three modules in each term. However, this depends on your module choices and it is also possible to study two in one term and four in another. Most of the work for your dissertation takes place in the summer term.
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. You spread your modules over four teaching terms (autumn and spring of year one, and autumn and spring of year two). Classes will be scheduled between 9am-6pm and you will typically have between 2-4 hours of teaching each week. You will work on your dissertation in year two; again, most of this work takes place in the summer term.
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 Birmingham International Academy provides a range of support in reading and writing academic English.
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 for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).
Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.
The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.
You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive 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.
You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.
Postgraduate employability: Philosophy
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.
Due to the transferable nature of their skills, Philosophy postgraduates traditionally enter a wide range of employment areas, from teaching and lecturing to publishing. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: BBC; Friends of the Earth; Birmingham Children?s Hospital; Highways England; and University of Birmingham.
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.
The Guild of Students hosts over 250 student groups and societies to suit a wide range of interests. These include the Postgraduate and Mature Students Association which runs a regular and varied programme of events specifically tailored to postgraduate students.
In addition, you will find that each Department runs its own social activities, research fora and student groups.
We offer accommodation for postgraduates on or near to campus, although many of our students also choose to live privately in student accommodation, shared houses or flats. If you do choose to live in private accommodation, the University has dedicated support services to help you to find properties from accredited landlords.
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.