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International Law and Politics

29 September 2023

UC offers a specialist Master of Laws degree (LLM) in International Law and Politics (ILAP) through our Faculty of Law and the Department of Political Science and International Relations. Find out about studying International Law and Politics at UC.


A specialist Master of Laws degree (LLM) in International Law and Politics, the ILAP is offered through the Faculty of Law and the Department of Political Science and International Relations.

A top education and lifestyle

UC's Faculty of Law has a strong focus on research and teaching in the field of international law. Choosing to study at Canterbury also means that you are at the heart of New Zealand outdoor life, surrounded by beautiful scenery, with many national parks and reserves on your doorstep.

The degree courses emphasise current problems and issues in international law and politics, with attention to the theoretical significance, as well as to the practical challenges, of actions in the international arena.

The various topics covered range from a general course on the Principles of Public International law to specialist courses in such varied but potentially cognate areas as World Trade Law and International Human Rights Law.

How you will learn

The degree is both taught and research-based. You will examine the international order from two distinct perspectives, law and politics, and have the possibility to specialise. The programme is made up of two compulsory courses (one advanced international law course and one on international relations and diplomacy) and two elective international law subjects. Additionally, you work on a 15,000 word research project of your choice.

Admission requirements

For admission to the ILAP, students are required to hold a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) with a B average. Depending on previous work and study experience, students may also be admitted on academic equivalent standing.

Graduate attributes

ILAP graduates have advanced knowledge of international law and the influence of international politics. They have the skills necessary to understand theoretical and practical problems in the field of international law. Graduates also carry out a substantial piece of independent research, and so have the ability to find and synthesise relevant information, and to think critically and independently about international law and politics.

On completion of the ILAP, you will have acquired:

  • Advanced knowledge of specific areas of international law and politics
  • The ability to think critically and independently about international law and politics
  • The ability to find and synthesise relevant information in international law and politics
  • Transferable skills such as the ability to communicate effectively in writing and verbally


We recommend that students start in February as the compulsory courses are offered in semester one each year. It is also possible to do the ILAP part-time (minimum period of enrolment two years, maximum period of enrolment four years).


To qualify for the ILAP a candidate will be required to:

  1. Satisfactorily complete a written 60-point dissertation on an international law topic (ILAP 640)
  2. Be credited with 30 points from two compulsory courses, namely Advanced Principles of Public International Law (ILAP 613) and Principles and Practice of International Relations and Diplomacy (ILAP 614)
  3. Be credited with 30 points from two optional courses listed below
  4. Pass each course for which they are enrolled.

Optional ILAP courses

Not all courses will be offered in any one year. Each optional course counts for 15 points. Graduates of UC should also note that optional courses are restricted against the respective undergraduate courses.

A candidate must, before enrolling for the ILAP:

  1. Either qualify for the Degree of Bachelor of Laws with a minimum B grade average, or be admitted with academic equivalent standing as entitled to enrol for the Degree of Master of Laws; and
  2. Be approved as a candidate by the Executive Dean of Law or nominee.

Those applicants who are required to demonstrate competency in English must provide evidence of:

(i) IELTS (Academic) 7, with no individual score below 6.5; or

(ii) TOEFL iBT - total minimum 100, with minimum writing score of 23; or

(iii) Pearson Test of English (Academic) - overall score 64 and no band below 58.

Note that relevance and standard of undergraduate studies will be criteria for approval. The degree may be studied full-time (minimum period of enrolment one year, maximum two years) or part-time (minimum period of enrolment two years, maximum four years). Students are required to re-enrol each year.

How to enrol

Students who have been advised by the University that they have been admitted to candidature for either degree need to follow the standard enrolment process.

For further details email the University Admissions Office or the International Relationships Office for international students.

Pathway to international careers

The ILAP is designed to meet a growing interest in multi-disciplinary study in international law and politics. Our graduates work for international organisations such as the United Nations, government departments such as foreign ministries, international law firms, and international non-governmental organisations.

Notable features of the ILAP programme include its international student body, the ability to work closely with academics leading in their fields, and the opportunity to publish your own work in international law journals.

2024 ILAP Handbook

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