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Lay the foundation for your legal career

Immerse yourself in law

After getting your Bachelor’s degree in Law, you can go in many different directions. For example, you can opt for the specialisation in European and International Law and develop an understanding of the role of law in a globalising world. Or do you want to focus on issues like big data, human rights and information security by choosing the specialisation in International Technology Law?

The possibilities are almost endless. Thanks to the wide range of specialisations, you can immerse yourself in the issues that appeal to you the most.

The start dates of this programme are September 1st and February 1st.

Which specialisation do you choose?

Find out what the different possibilities are within the master's programme

Summary

You will study the core principles of European and international law in depth, and go beyond this to understand the role of law in a globalizing world, and the challenges that it raises to our traditional ideas of sovereignty and democracy. Optional courses allow for specialization, and whether your interests are in human rights, economic law, constitutional principles, security and terrorism, equality and justice, or cross-border phenomena such as global warming and the internet, the friendly and diverse department of Transnational Legal Studies will help you achieve a Master of Law degree (LLM) which takes you further in your career.

Issues the programme deals with

Some examples of issues the Master's programme deals with are: 

  • Can international and European law help address the challenges of our time, such as climate change, migration, new technologies,  and conflicts between cultures?
  • How are ideas of risk and security used in international law? Do states use these ideas to promote peace, or justify aggression?
  • Is the EU effective and democratic? Can it provide security and freedom to its citizens? Does it undermine the sovereignty of its Member States?

How are economic interests and human rights balanced in European and international law? Does free trade help states develop, or encourage exploitation? 

Skills on graduation 

You will have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the core elements of EU and international law; you will have specialist knowledge of a number of fields of EU and international law, such as international and EU trade law, EU integration, climate change law, human rights, the law of war, or EU discrimination law. You will be able to conduct research, and present your results orally and in writing. You will be able to construct and criticise legal arguments based on cases and situations. You will therefore be able to advise clients, help make new regulation, or do academic research within your fields.

Curriculum details

Subjects

  • Master's Thesis Law
  • European and International Law
  • Legal Methodology
  • Transnational Human Rights and Globalisation

Please consult the Study Guide or more information

Summary

Refugees of the Syrian Civil War who have escaped warfare are subsequently forced to navigate urgent and complex legal issues in pursuit of state protection and safety. A Filipino parent seeking reunification with their family in Europe faces similar obstacles. Both are confronted with the interrelationships between humanitarian and human rights law, and the interactions between international and domestic legal systems.

Due to the complex interplay between different jurisdictions and fields of law, international migration and refugee law must be analysed from a multitude of angles and disciplines. This specialisation studies international migration from the perspective of international and European law, and focuses on how they function in domestic legal orders.

During the master program, you will have plenty of opportunities to work on your skillset. While all offered courses will enable you to further explore your academic capabilities, the degree is highly focused on practically preparing students for a career in the field of migration. Compulsory as well as elective courses such as Refugee and Family Migration Law, Irregular Migration, Philosophy of International law and Migration and  the Migration Law Clinic will allow you to work on writing skills and critical reflection. The degree also offers a space for the improvement of oral skills with the moot courts and working groups of the compulsory course Migration and Legal Remedies. 

The Migration Law Clinic is a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between academia and legal practitioners, offering students the chance to write expert opinions in real migration law cases that are pending before national and European courts. During the clinic, participants define and work on their own learning goals, such as cooperation or communication skills and reflect on the development of those skills during the course.

Master students are also encouraged to enhance their skills by taking part in extracurricular activities by, for example, volunteering for refugees, writing blogs for the Verblijfblog, taking part in moot court competitions or presenting work experiences to their fellow students. 

The programme prioritises a personal learning experience by offering close attention from lecturers as well as assigned tutors who individually guide students throughout the year with educational and professional concerns.

The master program attracts a diverse group of very motivated students from European and non-European countries, who usually form a close community. Many students have already worked in the field of migration law and share their knowledge and practical experiences during the courses.

The legal frameworks that govern migration, asylum procedures and (refugee) protection are crucial to accurately grasp the shortcomings in the current systems as well as the humanitarian crises forcibly displaced persons find themselves in. Accordingly, the LL.M. is as valuable for those who have already been active within the field of migration and refugees to expand their expertise. Are you interested in a close and rigorous scrutiny of legal instruments involved in migration and refugee law and their relationship with fundamental human rights law, while maintaining an interdisciplinary approach? Then the Master’s in International Migration and Refugee Law is the programme for you.

Research

For fifteen years now, the Amsterdam Centre of Migration and Refugee Law of VU Amsterdam has been one of the most prominent programmes in the field. It aims at tracking the multiplicity of complex developments in migration law that take place at the global, European and national levels. The ACMRL does research in fields such as asylum and refugee law, family reunion law, nationality law and the intersection between migration law and, for example, gender and colonialism. Specific examples of research topics include the human costs of border control, the intersection between the family and migration law, the meaning of time for residence entitlements, the relation between (irregular) migration and the welfare state, the regulation of ‘interracialized’ relationships in Europe and human rights claims of irregular migrants. Methods are varied, focusing on legal doctrinal, sociological, philosophical questions as well as more practice-oriented matters.

The excellent quality of the programme is reflected in the scholars’ numerous publications and in two VICI grants from NWO (the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) in 2010 (Van Walsum) and 2013 (Spijkerboer), two NWO VENI grants in 2010 (Brouwer) and in 2018 (Slingenberg), a NWO Research Talent grant in 2012 (Battjes and Stronks) and in 2019 (Spijkerboer and Dez), a NWO Comenius grant in 2019 (Reneman) and an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2017 (De Hart). Members have conducted research for the European Commission, the European Parliament, UNHCR, WODC and the Dutch Refugee Council.

The research group is very visible in the public debate, and its scholars are active in advisory committees to the government and non-governmental organisations and publish frequently on Verblijfblog.nl, where topical migration law issues are explained for a broader public.

Career prospects

On completing this Master’s programme, you can start working or do more research. Our graduates work for international (non-governmental) organisations involved in migration, e.g. UNHCR, the European Commission and EASO as well as national and local NGO’s. Moreover, they are employed as immigration lawyers, clerks at national courts and employees for national immigration services and ministries as well as PhD students at universities.

As national law on migration is derived from international legal frameworks, solid knowledge of international migration and refugee law is also most valuable for national institutions and organisations dealing with migration law, such as migration law firms, the judiciary, national and local governments or NGOs.

The International Migration and Refugee Law master programme has a strong network of alumni, who share job opportunities and experiences with current students.

Scholarships

As an international student you can apply for scholarships. See for more information: Scholarships for international Master's students - More about - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (vu.nl)

Contact

Do you have questions about the master track International Migration and Refugee Law? Please contact us via email: IMRL.rch@vu.nl

Subjects

  • Master's Thesis Law
  • Refugee and Family Migration Law
  • Legal Methodology
  • Migration and Legal Remedies

Please consult the Study Guide or more information

Summary

Technology creates situations that were the stuff of fantasy when most of our laws were created. Robots, biotech, autonomous vehicles and weapons, and the endless amassing and crunching of data - what does it mean to be a human being? And how do we relate to each other and to the natural world? These are questions we are forced to ask ourselves again in the face of technological progress. Law shapes and reflects the answers that we find.

Alongside core courses in international technology law, and big data, human rights and security, you will choose from subjects including: international weapons law, biotech and law, robots and artificial intelligence, and blockchain and disruptive tech.

You will be part of an international and diverse group of teachers and students interested in exploring the frontiers of regulation and technology, and you will graduate as a specialist with in-demand knowledge and skills.

Skills on graduation and future ahead 

You will have an overview of the major fields where law and technology interact and be familiar with the core legislation and legal principles; you will have in-depth knowledge of the law concerning data and privacy, as well as a number of other fields, such as e-commerce, bioethics, cybersecurity, robot and algorithm law, blockchain law, and regulation of tech giants. You will be able to do research and present oral and written arguments in these fields, and you will be aware of how technology law is created and shaped, and the issues it will face in the coming years. You will therefore be able to advise clients, make legal arguments, or conduct research, within the field of technology law. Your knowledge will be primarily of the law applying in the Member States of the EU, but you will also be aware of global trends, and differences and similarities with the US.

As an ITL graduate, you will use, develop or research the regulation of emerging technologies. Typically, you will work in law firms, international organizations such as the UN, EU or international technology regulators, governments, or NGOs.

There are relatively few lawyers with a solid understanding and knowledge of the law concerning emerging technologies, so graduates will be part of a specialized and in-demand group.

The career opportunities are as fascinating as they are wide-ranging. After graduating, you will be prepared for a career in:

  • Law firms – both large commercial firms and smaller specialised ones, including technology, IP and human rights firms.
  • Industry, banking or commerce – as a legal advisor dealing with privacy, cybersecurity, data, blockchain, liability or other issues
  • Government regulators – as a specialist helping regulate the tech industry
  • University research or NGOs – contributing to further understanding and debate and technology and law

Curriculum details

Registration in Studielink

When you are applying via Studielink, please choose the general master in law. Later on in the admissions process, you will be able to choose a specialization.

Subjects

  • Master's Thesis Law
  • Technology Law
  • Legal Methodology
  • Data, Privacy, and Human Rights

Please consult the Study Guide or more information

  • European and International Law

    Summary

    You will study the core principles of European and international law in depth, and go beyond this to understand the role of law in a globalizing world, and the challenges that it raises to our traditional ideas of sovereignty and democracy. Optional courses allow for specialization, and whether your interests are in human rights, economic law, constitutional principles, security and terrorism, equality and justice, or cross-border phenomena such as global warming and the internet, the friendly and diverse department of Transnational Legal Studies will help you achieve a Master of Law degree (LLM) which takes you further in your career.

    Issues the programme deals with

    Some examples of issues the Master's programme deals with are: 

    • Can international and European law help address the challenges of our time, such as climate change, migration, new technologies,  and conflicts between cultures?
    • How are ideas of risk and security used in international law? Do states use these ideas to promote peace, or justify aggression?
    • Is the EU effective and democratic? Can it provide security and freedom to its citizens? Does it undermine the sovereignty of its Member States?

    How are economic interests and human rights balanced in European and international law? Does free trade help states develop, or encourage exploitation? 

    Skills on graduation 

    You will have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the core elements of EU and international law; you will have specialist knowledge of a number of fields of EU and international law, such as international and EU trade law, EU integration, climate change law, human rights, the law of war, or EU discrimination law. You will be able to conduct research, and present your results orally and in writing. You will be able to construct and criticise legal arguments based on cases and situations. You will therefore be able to advise clients, help make new regulation, or do academic research within your fields.

    Curriculum details

    Subjects

    • Master's Thesis Law
    • European and International Law
    • Legal Methodology
    • Transnational Human Rights and Globalisation

    Please consult the Study Guide or more information

  • International Migration and Refugee Law

    Summary

    Refugees of the Syrian Civil War who have escaped warfare are subsequently forced to navigate urgent and complex legal issues in pursuit of state protection and safety. A Filipino parent seeking reunification with their family in Europe faces similar obstacles. Both are confronted with the interrelationships between humanitarian and human rights law, and the interactions between international and domestic legal systems.

    Due to the complex interplay between different jurisdictions and fields of law, international migration and refugee law must be analysed from a multitude of angles and disciplines. This specialisation studies international migration from the perspective of international and European law, and focuses on how they function in domestic legal orders.

    During the master program, you will have plenty of opportunities to work on your skillset. While all offered courses will enable you to further explore your academic capabilities, the degree is highly focused on practically preparing students for a career in the field of migration. Compulsory as well as elective courses such as Refugee and Family Migration Law, Irregular Migration, Philosophy of International law and Migration and  the Migration Law Clinic will allow you to work on writing skills and critical reflection. The degree also offers a space for the improvement of oral skills with the moot courts and working groups of the compulsory course Migration and Legal Remedies. 

    The Migration Law Clinic is a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between academia and legal practitioners, offering students the chance to write expert opinions in real migration law cases that are pending before national and European courts. During the clinic, participants define and work on their own learning goals, such as cooperation or communication skills and reflect on the development of those skills during the course.

    Master students are also encouraged to enhance their skills by taking part in extracurricular activities by, for example, volunteering for refugees, writing blogs for the Verblijfblog, taking part in moot court competitions or presenting work experiences to their fellow students. 

    The programme prioritises a personal learning experience by offering close attention from lecturers as well as assigned tutors who individually guide students throughout the year with educational and professional concerns.

    The master program attracts a diverse group of very motivated students from European and non-European countries, who usually form a close community. Many students have already worked in the field of migration law and share their knowledge and practical experiences during the courses.

    The legal frameworks that govern migration, asylum procedures and (refugee) protection are crucial to accurately grasp the shortcomings in the current systems as well as the humanitarian crises forcibly displaced persons find themselves in. Accordingly, the LL.M. is as valuable for those who have already been active within the field of migration and refugees to expand their expertise. Are you interested in a close and rigorous scrutiny of legal instruments involved in migration and refugee law and their relationship with fundamental human rights law, while maintaining an interdisciplinary approach? Then the Master’s in International Migration and Refugee Law is the programme for you.

    Research

    For fifteen years now, the Amsterdam Centre of Migration and Refugee Law of VU Amsterdam has been one of the most prominent programmes in the field. It aims at tracking the multiplicity of complex developments in migration law that take place at the global, European and national levels. The ACMRL does research in fields such as asylum and refugee law, family reunion law, nationality law and the intersection between migration law and, for example, gender and colonialism. Specific examples of research topics include the human costs of border control, the intersection between the family and migration law, the meaning of time for residence entitlements, the relation between (irregular) migration and the welfare state, the regulation of ‘interracialized’ relationships in Europe and human rights claims of irregular migrants. Methods are varied, focusing on legal doctrinal, sociological, philosophical questions as well as more practice-oriented matters.

    The excellent quality of the programme is reflected in the scholars’ numerous publications and in two VICI grants from NWO (the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) in 2010 (Van Walsum) and 2013 (Spijkerboer), two NWO VENI grants in 2010 (Brouwer) and in 2018 (Slingenberg), a NWO Research Talent grant in 2012 (Battjes and Stronks) and in 2019 (Spijkerboer and Dez), a NWO Comenius grant in 2019 (Reneman) and an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2017 (De Hart). Members have conducted research for the European Commission, the European Parliament, UNHCR, WODC and the Dutch Refugee Council.

    The research group is very visible in the public debate, and its scholars are active in advisory committees to the government and non-governmental organisations and publish frequently on Verblijfblog.nl, where topical migration law issues are explained for a broader public.

    Career prospects

    On completing this Master’s programme, you can start working or do more research. Our graduates work for international (non-governmental) organisations involved in migration, e.g. UNHCR, the European Commission and EASO as well as national and local NGO’s. Moreover, they are employed as immigration lawyers, clerks at national courts and employees for national immigration services and ministries as well as PhD students at universities.

    As national law on migration is derived from international legal frameworks, solid knowledge of international migration and refugee law is also most valuable for national institutions and organisations dealing with migration law, such as migration law firms, the judiciary, national and local governments or NGOs.

    The International Migration and Refugee Law master programme has a strong network of alumni, who share job opportunities and experiences with current students.

    Scholarships

    As an international student you can apply for scholarships. See for more information: Scholarships for international Master's students - More about - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (vu.nl)

    Contact

    Do you have questions about the master track International Migration and Refugee Law? Please contact us via email: IMRL.rch@vu.nl

    Subjects

    • Master's Thesis Law
    • Refugee and Family Migration Law
    • Legal Methodology
    • Migration and Legal Remedies

    Please consult the Study Guide or more information

  • International Technology Law

    Summary

    Technology creates situations that were the stuff of fantasy when most of our laws were created. Robots, biotech, autonomous vehicles and weapons, and the endless amassing and crunching of data - what does it mean to be a human being? And how do we relate to each other and to the natural world? These are questions we are forced to ask ourselves again in the face of technological progress. Law shapes and reflects the answers that we find.

    Alongside core courses in international technology law, and big data, human rights and security, you will choose from subjects including: international weapons law, biotech and law, robots and artificial intelligence, and blockchain and disruptive tech.

    You will be part of an international and diverse group of teachers and students interested in exploring the frontiers of regulation and technology, and you will graduate as a specialist with in-demand knowledge and skills.

    Skills on graduation and future ahead 

    You will have an overview of the major fields where law and technology interact and be familiar with the core legislation and legal principles; you will have in-depth knowledge of the law concerning data and privacy, as well as a number of other fields, such as e-commerce, bioethics, cybersecurity, robot and algorithm law, blockchain law, and regulation of tech giants. You will be able to do research and present oral and written arguments in these fields, and you will be aware of how technology law is created and shaped, and the issues it will face in the coming years. You will therefore be able to advise clients, make legal arguments, or conduct research, within the field of technology law. Your knowledge will be primarily of the law applying in the Member States of the EU, but you will also be aware of global trends, and differences and similarities with the US.

    As an ITL graduate, you will use, develop or research the regulation of emerging technologies. Typically, you will work in law firms, international organizations such as the UN, EU or international technology regulators, governments, or NGOs.

    There are relatively few lawyers with a solid understanding and knowledge of the law concerning emerging technologies, so graduates will be part of a specialized and in-demand group.

    The career opportunities are as fascinating as they are wide-ranging. After graduating, you will be prepared for a career in:

    • Law firms – both large commercial firms and smaller specialised ones, including technology, IP and human rights firms.
    • Industry, banking or commerce – as a legal advisor dealing with privacy, cybersecurity, data, blockchain, liability or other issues
    • Government regulators – as a specialist helping regulate the tech industry
    • University research or NGOs – contributing to further understanding and debate and technology and law

    Curriculum details

    Registration in Studielink

    When you are applying via Studielink, please choose the general master in law. Later on in the admissions process, you will be able to choose a specialization.

    Subjects

    • Master's Thesis Law
    • Technology Law
    • Legal Methodology
    • Data, Privacy, and Human Rights

    Please consult the Study Guide or more information

Combining specialisations

It is also possible to follow two specialisations simultaneously. You can learn about how this works and what is involved in the manual (pdf). In this document, you can also read about what to do if you want to follow an extra specialisation after you graduate, and what to do if you want to put together your own unique curriculum.

Have you read the document carefully and do you still have questions? If so, please contact one of the academic advisors.

Please note that if you combine two specialisations within one Master's programme, you will receive one degree certificate in which both specialisations are mentioned.

Research Talent Track

Are you looking for an extra academic challenge, next to this one-year Master's programme? Are you interested in research? The Research Talent Track might be a good fit for you as well. It’s a selective programme aimed at motivated and talented masterstudents who want to further develop their analytical research skills. You will learn and experience how to do scientific research. This will help you in deciding whether you want to pursue a career in the academic world, and/or will improve your opportunities on the labour market outside academia. 

More information 

Change your future with the Law programme

Change your future with the Law programme

The Master's programme is an important step in preparing for your career. A Master's degree is not only required for admission to the programmes for becoming a judge, lawyer or public prosecutor, but it is often required outside of these so-called robed professions as well. During the Master's programme in Law, you will further sharpen your legal skills. And you will have plenty of room to put your own stamp on the programme. 

Explore your future prospects