LLM Public International Law (University of Amsterdam/ University of Groningen)


Hi there!

I have been admitted to the LLM programmes in Public International Law in both UvA (Amsterdam) and the University of Groningen.

I would really need some advice on which one to pick: does anyone have first-hand experience with any of these?

Thank you :)

Hi there!

I have been admitted to the LLM programmes in Public International Law in both UvA (Amsterdam) and the University of Groningen.

I would really need some advice on which one to pick: does anyone have first-hand experience with any of these?

Thank you :)
quote

I did my bachelor degree in law in Groningen and it really depends on what you want. Frankly, if I were you I'd go to Amsterdam. They have a lot more extra-curricular options there like moot courts and clinics and a wider selection of courses. Also you are closer to the Hague and Utrecht where they often times have interesting events at international organisations, other institutions and their respective law faculty. In Groningen you don't have law clinics in the LLM programmes (at least not to the level compared to Amsterdam where they work with actual NGOs) and barely organise participation in moot courts. It always depends on the mood of professors and whether they want to put in the extra hours. Especially in the international law department, 90% of professors are really unmotivated. Sorry to tell you this but this is coming from someone who studied 3 years in Groningen. The city itself is really nice and they are really putting in effort to make everything even more student-friendly than it already is. It just sucks to be taking 2 hours at least to get to any major city but that depends on whether that is relevant for you.

I did my bachelor degree in law in Groningen and it really depends on what you want. Frankly, if I were you I'd go to Amsterdam. They have a lot more extra-curricular options there like moot courts and clinics and a wider selection of courses. Also you are closer to the Hague and Utrecht where they often times have interesting events at international organisations, other institutions and their respective law faculty. In Groningen you don't have law clinics in the LLM programmes (at least not to the level compared to Amsterdam where they work with actual NGOs) and barely organise participation in moot courts. It always depends on the mood of professors and whether they want to put in the extra hours. Especially in the international law department, 90% of professors are really unmotivated. Sorry to tell you this but this is coming from someone who studied 3 years in Groningen. The city itself is really nice and they are really putting in effort to make everything even more student-friendly than it already is. It just sucks to be taking 2 hours at least to get to any major city but that depends on whether that is relevant for you.
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Hi! Thank you so much for you reply and for your advice. To be honest, I am more likely to go to Amsterdam because of all of the reasons that you’ve mentioned. I think that, apart from the educational level and the extra-curricular activities, living and studying in a big city in the heart of Europe will be better job-wise and that’s why Amsterdam is my first option!

[Edited by MarcelloMagnaghi on Mar 04, 2020]

Hi! Thank you so much for you reply and for your advice. To be honest, I am more likely to go to Amsterdam because of all of the reasons that you’ve mentioned. I think that, apart from the educational level and the extra-curricular activities, living and studying in a big city in the heart of Europe will be better job-wise and that’s why Amsterdam is my first option!
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jeap

Hey :)
I'm actually doing the LLM in PIL in Groningen right now (and I also did my LLB here). Of course, Amsterdam is bigger and also closer to The Hague and some other big Dutch cities, but I would definitely disagree with the rest of Manuela's reply. I actually can't believe she said our professors are unmotivated! They are extremely kind and always there for us, and some of them have actually been using a LOT of their free time to coach my team for the ELSA Human Rights Moot Court for almost half a year now. Apart from this one, I know at least two other moots that our uni participates in. While we don't have a law clinic per se, we have the (mandatory) Seminar International Law in Practice, where we get to choose from a number of clients (e.g. the ICRC, the Dutch Cancer Association, a private AI developer, and a few more this year) who request a detailed legal advisory report from us, which we have been working on in teams. While this is tough, it's definitely a very cool experience that gives us a very good idea of what it is like to be a legal advisor (and it's very exciting to know that most of them will implement our advice!). In short, I would say there is really nothing to complain about concerning the LLM and faculty itself (in fact, I love it), and our professors have a very high level of expertise in my eyes.
Concerning the city itself, again, it's about what you're looking for, Groningen is definitely smaller than Amsterdam and has more of a cozy vibe (but there is nevertheless always something going on - music festivals, fairs, start-up events, etc.) - after a few years, you will feel like you know everyone. Personally, I could not live in Amsterdam due to the insane amount of tourists, but surely that is a tradeoff a lot of people are willing to make to like in a capital city. If it's about accessing all the international courts in The Hague for you, then I wouldn't worry too much about being a bit further away; we went on class excursions to the ICJ and a hearing at the ICC, and I know ELSA organized trips to these and the ITLOS in Hamburg, for example, too.

I hope I could help by adding a little more first-hand experience :)

Hey :)
I'm actually doing the LLM in PIL in Groningen right now (and I also did my LLB here). Of course, Amsterdam is bigger and also closer to The Hague and some other big Dutch cities, but I would definitely disagree with the rest of Manuela's reply. I actually can't believe she said our professors are unmotivated! They are extremely kind and always there for us, and some of them have actually been using a LOT of their free time to coach my team for the ELSA Human Rights Moot Court for almost half a year now. Apart from this one, I know at least two other moots that our uni participates in. While we don't have a law clinic per se, we have the (mandatory) Seminar International Law in Practice, where we get to choose from a number of clients (e.g. the ICRC, the Dutch Cancer Association, a private AI developer, and a few more this year) who request a detailed legal advisory report from us, which we have been working on in teams. While this is tough, it's definitely a very cool experience that gives us a very good idea of what it is like to be a legal advisor (and it's very exciting to know that most of them will implement our advice!). In short, I would say there is really nothing to complain about concerning the LLM and faculty itself (in fact, I love it), and our professors have a very high level of expertise in my eyes.
Concerning the city itself, again, it's about what you're looking for, Groningen is definitely smaller than Amsterdam and has more of a cozy vibe (but there is nevertheless always something going on - music festivals, fairs, start-up events, etc.) - after a few years, you will feel like you know everyone. Personally, I could not live in Amsterdam due to the insane amount of tourists, but surely that is a tradeoff a lot of people are willing to make to like in a capital city. If it's about accessing all the international courts in The Hague for you, then I wouldn't worry too much about being a bit further away; we went on class excursions to the ICJ and a hearing at the ICC, and I know ELSA organized trips to these and the ITLOS in Hamburg, for example, too.

I hope I could help by adding a little more first-hand experience :)
quote

Hi Jeap!
I really want to thank you for your reply...the choice is even harder now!
Would you mind to tell me something about class size? I’ve read, but I don’t know if it’s actually true, that in Amsterdam the classes are quite large, if it make sense, and honestly I would prefer small classes and, as a result, more interacting lectures.
Thanks so much for your time!!

Hi Jeap!
I really want to thank you for your reply...the choice is even harder now!
Would you mind to tell me something about class size? I’ve read, but I don’t know if it’s actually true, that in Amsterdam the classes are quite large, if it make sense, and honestly I would prefer small classes and, as a result, more interacting lectures.
Thanks so much for your time!!
quote
jeap

Hey, no worries, I am happy to help :)
In the first block (quarter) of the year, we have two classes together with the students of the International Human Rights Law LLM, so then the classes are quite large - we were with about 60 people, I would say. Nevertheless, most lecturers encourage questions and discussions, and we had a few students in our groups who always started such discussions. Apart from those two classes, you will just be with people from PIL, which will usually be around 17 students, depending on how many people enroll and attend, of course. In those three courses, we were engaged in discussions 50% of the time, I would say. In the second semester, there are some joint electives with the LLM IHRL, and for those it simply depends on popularity - we're a very large group in Refugee & Asylum Law, 40-50 people I think, whereas International Humanitarian law is only a group of around 20 people, and the other two electives have less than 10 students, as far as I know.

Hey, no worries, I am happy to help :)
In the first block (quarter) of the year, we have two classes together with the students of the International Human Rights Law LLM, so then the classes are quite large - we were with about 60 people, I would say. Nevertheless, most lecturers encourage questions and discussions, and we had a few students in our groups who always started such discussions. Apart from those two classes, you will just be with people from PIL, which will usually be around 17 students, depending on how many people enroll and attend, of course. In those three courses, we were engaged in discussions 50% of the time, I would say. In the second semester, there are some joint electives with the LLM IHRL, and for those it simply depends on popularity - we're a very large group in Refugee & Asylum Law, 40-50 people I think, whereas International Humanitarian law is only a group of around 20 people, and the other two electives have less than 10 students, as far as I know.
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That's good to know! Now I will consider all this aspect and I hope to make the right decision.

thanks a lot :)

That's good to know! Now I will consider all this aspect and I hope to make the right decision.

thanks a lot :)
quote

Just to be clear, I wasn’t purposely painting the law faculty in Groningen in a negative light. It is just based on my experiences and expectations that were not met. The people in Groningen are amazing and I found great friends and the fact that the city is a bit smaller makes it great to have everyone and everything so close by. I am a bit of a international law nerd and hoped that there would be opportunities other than courses that would give me the possibility to learn more. The fact is that there’s simply wasn’t at the time I was studying there. The international law journal currently gets neglected which is a shame (but hey maybe you can revive it :) ) and as mentioned there were no extracurricular activities available that were organised by the faculty. I can imagine that it’s better in the LLM though, I haven’t heard much from friends of mine (that was a few ago though). Obviously the faculty is always improving. In Amsterdam they work with law clinics, law firms and NGOs that have real-life cases going on that are not that insignificant and a wider range of courses for you to choose from. Ultimately, they are also more aware of the fact that the job market out there is though and being able to state that you’ve worked on a certain project and gained valuable skills is indispensable. So my point wasn’t that Groningen is a bad university but rather that having a significant practice-component in PIL included in the programme, which in Amsterdam is just more advanced, is something to consider. Especially when looking for internships & jobs it’s good to have connections that you cultivated during your studies.

Just to be clear, I wasn’t purposely painting the law faculty in Groningen in a negative light. It is just based on my experiences and expectations that were not met. The people in Groningen are amazing and I found great friends and the fact that the city is a bit smaller makes it great to have everyone and everything so close by. I am a bit of a international law nerd and hoped that there would be opportunities other than courses that would give me the possibility to learn more. The fact is that there’s simply wasn’t at the time I was studying there. The international law journal currently gets neglected which is a shame (but hey maybe you can revive it :) ) and as mentioned there were no extracurricular activities available that were organised by the faculty. I can imagine that it’s better in the LLM though, I haven’t heard much from friends of mine (that was a few ago though). Obviously the faculty is always improving. In Amsterdam they work with law clinics, law firms and NGOs that have real-life cases going on that are not that insignificant and a wider range of courses for you to choose from. Ultimately, they are also more aware of the fact that the job market out there is though and being able to state that you’ve worked on a certain project and gained valuable skills is indispensable. So my point wasn’t that Groningen is a bad university but rather that having a significant practice-component in PIL included in the programme, which in Amsterdam is just more advanced, is something to consider. Especially when looking for internships & jobs it’s good to have connections that you cultivated during your studies.
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