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At University of Galway, we believe that the best learning takes place when you apply what you learn in a real world context. That's why many of our courses include work placements or community projects.
International Migration and Refugee Law and Policy (LLM)
The LLM in International Migration and Refugee Law is the only course of its kind on offer in an Irish university. This unique programme enables students to develop their knowledge of international and regional law, policy and practice as it relates to the phenomena of international migration, human trafficking and refugee law.
Students can combine the study of international migration with specialised courses in international humanitarian law and peace operations, gender and law, child rights, and international criminal law.
The programme engages students with current developments on the human rights of migrants and refugees, globally, regionally and nationally. It includes unique practice-oriented teaching, allowing students to specialise in oral and written advocacy (legal and policy), strategic litigation, fact-finding and international development.
- The Irish Centre for Human Rights is one the world’s premier university-based institutions for the study and promotion of human rights.
- Expert lecturers deliver programme modules. Our academics are internationally recognised scholars with world-class expertise and strong records of engagement and impact in the fields of international migration, human trafficking and refugee law.
- Unique qualification on the practice of migration and refugee law through specialised modules, clinical lawyering and advocacy training.
- Excellent networks and links to leading international organisations and practitioners.
- Graduates will join a global alumni network of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, with options to pursue careers in the fields of migration, forced displacement, refugee law and policy, and human rights. Students are supported in seeking internship and work placement opportunities and provided with targeted career advice and supports.
- Skills development is enhanced through practice-oriented teaching, allowing students to specialise in oral and written advocacy (legal and policy), strategic litigation, fact-finding and international development and transnational lawyering clinical skills.
- Seminars and workshops with leading international practitioners in migration and refugee law and policy.
- Career support with targeted career advice and assistance in seeking internship and work placement opportunities.
- Field trips to the Hague and/or Strasbourg to visit leading international law institutions are optional.
- Assessment is primarily through research papers, presentations and minor thesis rather than exams.
Applications and Selections
Applications are made online via the University of Galway Postgraduate Applications System.
Who Teaches this Course
- Dr. Gearóid O'Cuinn
Irish Centre for Human Rights
School of Law
Irish Centre For Human Rights
Requirements and Assessment
The Irish Centre for Human Rights welcomes students with undergraduate Level 8 degrees in disciplines such as law, political science, international relations, international development or social sciences. In cases where applicants come from a non-law background, the Irish 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.
International students should refer to the country-specific information section of the International Office website.
1 year, full-time; 2 years, part-time
Next start date
A Level Grades ()
QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes
See offer rounds website for information.
Mode of study
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 in mid-July. 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.
Students will undertake two core modules: one in International Migration Law and one in International Refugee Law. These modules are taught by academics who are active researchers in the area of migration and/or refugee law and whose work has significant policy and practical impact at the national, regional and international levels. Guest speakers who work in the field will also contribute to some seminars.
Students will also undertake a number of optional modules and can choose from a wide suite of options, including a module on the Common European Asylum System and on human trafficking, as well as various human rights, international criminal law and international humanitarian law modules.
The degree of Master of Law in International Migration and Refugee Law is awarded by the School of Law at University of Galway.
Curriculum InformationCurriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.
Glossary of Terms
- You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
- An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
- Some courses allow you to choose subjects, where related modules are grouped together. Subjects have their own required number of credits, so you must take all that subject's required modules and may also need to obtain the remainder of the subject's total credits by choosing from its available optional modules.
- A module you may choose to study.
- A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
- Required Core Subject
- A subject you must study because it's integral to that course.
- Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year, so a three-year course will have six semesters in total. For clarity, this page will refer to the first semester of year 2 as 'Semester 3'.
Year 1 (90 Credits)Optional LW5110: International Human Rights Law Clinic - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5111: Business and Human Rights 2 - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5112: Human Rights and Global Governance - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5106: Economic Social and Cultural Rights - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5107: International Child Rights - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW455: Minority Rights - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW471: International Humanitarian Law - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW475: Field Experience Assignment - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW525: Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW530: Procedure Before International Criminal Courts - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW538: Transitional Justice - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW546: Contemporary Issues in Human Rights III - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW417: Contemporary Issues in Human Rights II - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5104: Islam and Human Rights II - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW439: Advocacy, Activism and Public Interest Law - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW561: Mental Health Law and Policy - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5116: Gender and Human Rights - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5117: International Human Rights Law - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5118: Public International Law - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5119: The Politics of Law - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5120: European Convention on Human Rights: Law and Politics - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5121: Transnational Lawyering - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5122: International Criminal Law - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5123: International Peace Operations - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5103: Islam and Human Rights I - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5124: Climate Justice - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5125: International Criminal Law: Issues and Application - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW552: Foundational Theoretical Framework in Disability Law and Policy - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW558: Legal Capacity Law and Policy - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5101: International Disability Human Rights Clinic - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW562: Regional Disability Law and Policy - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW551: Contemporary Challenges in Disability Law and Policy - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW550: Advocacy and Access to Justice - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW553: Inclusive Education Law and Policy - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW556: Law and Policy on Independent Living - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5126: Critical Race Theory and Human Rights - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW491: Equality Law: Principles & Thematic Application - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Required LW450: Dissertation - 30 Credits - Semester 1
Required LW5105: Contemporary Issues in International Migration Law - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Required LW5114: International Refugee Law - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Required LW5113: The Common European Asylum System - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Required LW5109: European Migration Law - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW548: Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW547: Human Rights Field Work: Law and Practice - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Why Choose This Course?
- Work with domestic, regional or international non-governmental or inter-governmental organisations specialising in migration or refugee protection, human trafficking or human rights law or policy;
- Develop specialised legal practice skills in the expanding field of migration and asylum law and human rights;
- For those already working in the area of international migration/ refugee law, develop a more solid conceptual and knowledge base to develop that role;
- For those interested in pursuing PhD research, identify a suitable research question, method and theoretical framework for that research.
Who’s Suited to This Course
Transferable Skills Employers Value
Related Student Organisations
Fees: Student levy
Fees: Non EU
Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant – please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €4,000 towards your tuition (2023/24). 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 €140.
Postgraduate fee breakdown = Tuition (EU or NON EU) + Student levy as outlined above.
Note to non-EU students: learn about the 24-month Stayback Visa here.
Find out More
Dr Ciara Smyth (Programme Director)
T: +353 91 492 917
Queries about this and other LLM programmes in the School of Law can also be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Luke Hamilton | PhD student in International Refugee Law and LLM Graduate
I always thought that I wanted to work in the human rights field. However, it was through studying refugee law at the Irish Centre for Human Rights that my interest really crystallised. The interactive lectures and supportive staff inspired me to work towards a career promoting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. I am currently applying the knowledge gained from my LLM studies in my work as Legal Officer with the Irish Refugee Council’s Independent Law Centre where I provide legal advice to people seeking asylum in Ireland. I remain very-much involved in the life of the Centre as I am also in the process of completing a PhD in International Refugee Law there, funded by the Irish Research Council.