Utrecht vs. Leiden (LLM Public International Law)


Hi,
I've been granted an admission for the LLM (Public International law) in Leiden and LLM (Public International law - International and European Law) from Utrecht. I am confused as to which I should pick up! I am looking for a career in international organizations later. I know that Leiden has a very high reputation, but I've also heard that Utrecht's professors are more open and easily approachable. Also, Utrecht has a compulsory masters thesis, while I'm not sure if Leiden does. I'm totally confused - I'd be glad if some of you could help me out giving your views!

Cheers,

Renuka
Hi,
I've been granted an admission for the LLM (Public International law) in Leiden and LLM (Public International law - International and European Law) from Utrecht. I am confused as to which I should pick up! I am looking for a career in international organizations later. I know that Leiden has a very high reputation, but I've also heard that Utrecht's professors are more open and easily approachable. Also, Utrecht has a compulsory masters thesis, while I'm not sure if Leiden does. I'm totally confused - I'd be glad if some of you could help me out giving your views!

Cheers,

Renuka
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AlexIL
Hi Renuka,

I'll be going to Leiden for Public International Law in September, and I did an undergrad exchange program at Utrecht. I never visited Leiden and I loved Utrecht when I was there. I think they are both good programs and you woudln't go wrong choosing either of them.

There are only a couple of things I'd say - the first is that I would absolutely not listen to statements like "Utrecht's professors are more open and easily approachable". You've been to univeristy - you know that all professors are different and whether a professor is open and easily approachable is an individual thing; there are no generalisations to be made about the professors at any university. When I was at Utrecht, some professors were friendly and others were not.

The other thing, as far as wanting a career at an international organisation after the program, is that the Leiden PIL program is taught at the Grotius Centre in the Hague. For me that counts for a lot.

Alex
Hi Renuka,

I'll be going to Leiden for Public International Law in September, and I did an undergrad exchange program at Utrecht. I never visited Leiden and I loved Utrecht when I was there. I think they are both good programs and you woudln't go wrong choosing either of them.

There are only a couple of things I'd say - the first is that I would absolutely not listen to statements like "Utrecht's professors are more open and easily approachable". You've been to univeristy - you know that all professors are different and whether a professor is open and easily approachable is an individual thing; there are no generalisations to be made about the professors at any university. When I was at Utrecht, some professors were friendly and others were not.

The other thing, as far as wanting a career at an international organisation after the program, is that the Leiden PIL program is taught at the Grotius Centre in the Hague. For me that counts for a lot.

Alex
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Ken237
hey guys,
I start at Leiden doing their LLM in ICL in september, so yesturday i flew down to leiden and visited lecturers/sat in on lectures etc. The law school at leiden is fantastic, and Mette Leon who is in charge of the LLM i am taking is one of the nicest people ive ever met! (she offered me one of her muesli bars when i visited her in her office). Martin Zwanenburg does a UN peacekeepers privatissium course which i sat in on - and it was fun and engaging, and Martin was a really nice guy. While I only came to watch, in short order I found myself engaging in debate about the role between peacekeeprs and IHL.

suffice to say, im even more excited about starting there (and going to the grotius centre as well).

so, make of that as you will. Im certainly glad im going to leiden..
hey guys,
I start at Leiden doing their LLM in ICL in september, so yesturday i flew down to leiden and visited lecturers/sat in on lectures etc. The law school at leiden is fantastic, and Mette Leon who is in charge of the LLM i am taking is one of the nicest people ive ever met! (she offered me one of her muesli bars when i visited her in her office). Martin Zwanenburg does a UN peacekeepers privatissium course which i sat in on - and it was fun and engaging, and Martin was a really nice guy. While I only came to watch, in short order I found myself engaging in debate about the role between peacekeeprs and IHL.

suffice to say, im even more excited about starting there (and going to the grotius centre as well).

so, make of that as you will. Im certainly glad im going to leiden..
quote
tttv^
Was admitted to Leiden and Utrecht, opted for Leiden. If you are interested in international organizations work, Leiden has an extensive course (10 credits) in institutional law taught by Prof. Blokker, who is probably the leading scholar in the field. Very useful once you get to international organizations.

Plus, half of Leiden course will be taught in the Hague. You will have an opportunity to attend numerous guest lectures, court hearings, conferences, etc. Might as well do an internship or two in international courts afterwards.

Both Leiden and Utrecht are very nice towns with canals and etc., whichever you decide.
Was admitted to Leiden and Utrecht, opted for Leiden. If you are interested in international organizations work, Leiden has an extensive course (10 credits) in institutional law taught by Prof. Blokker, who is probably the leading scholar in the field. Very useful once you get to international organizations.

Plus, half of Leiden course will be taught in the Hague. You will have an opportunity to attend numerous guest lectures, court hearings, conferences, etc. Might as well do an internship or two in international courts afterwards.

Both Leiden and Utrecht are very nice towns with canals and etc., whichever you decide.
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I would strongly advise Utrecht, having been to Leiden. Blokker is good, the others not so much (half the professors left in the middle of the year). Half the courses are taught at Leiden are taught in The Hague, but they do not really use any of the Hague's international law facilities, so it just means a long commute to take a regular class. Definitely I would recommend Utrecht, you can always do an internship in The Hague afterwards, where you will actually make use of The Hague's facilities.
I would strongly advise Utrecht, having been to Leiden. Blokker is good, the others not so much (half the professors left in the middle of the year). Half the courses are taught at Leiden are taught in The Hague, but they do not really use any of the Hague's international law facilities, so it just means a long commute to take a regular class. Definitely I would recommend Utrecht, you can always do an internship in The Hague afterwards, where you will actually make use of The Hague's facilities.
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Hi, could you please be more specific and tell us which professors left in the middle of the year? I think many of us here are interested in Leiden and are reaching the time of the year when we have to make a decision which schools to apply to. I certainly would not appreciate if some professors took on the jobs elsewhere in the middle of the year. As far as I know, Carsten Stahn and Larissa van den Herik are still there....
Hi, could you please be more specific and tell us which professors left in the middle of the year? I think many of us here are interested in Leiden and are reaching the time of the year when we have to make a decision which schools to apply to. I certainly would not appreciate if some professors took on the jobs elsewhere in the middle of the year. As far as I know, Carsten Stahn and Larissa van den Herik are still there....
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Jean D'Aspremont, who was head of the LLM Public International Law program at Leiden, left the university in January 2009 for the University of Amsterdam, halfway through the year. He took with him another professor whose name escapes me. If you are a Dutch student, then you have more choice of classes, but for us international students, that was half the faculty teaching us! Professor Brandebere took over running the program for a month or so and then they hired a new professor, Heinsch, to take over the program. It seemed strange that I had been at Leiden for 4 months, but that was longer than the head of the department.
I have no problem with Brandebere and Heinsch, they seemed like good professors. But the whole Leiden program seemed so disorganized and amateur, especially since they did not draw on many assets from the legal professionals in The Hague. I would have learned more by skipping all of my classes and spending every day in The Hague, reading at the Peace Palace and attending trials.
Jean D'Aspremont, who was head of the LLM Public International Law program at Leiden, left the university in January 2009 for the University of Amsterdam, halfway through the year. He took with him another professor whose name escapes me. If you are a Dutch student, then you have more choice of classes, but for us international students, that was half the faculty teaching us! Professor Brandebere took over running the program for a month or so and then they hired a new professor, Heinsch, to take over the program. It seemed strange that I had been at Leiden for 4 months, but that was longer than the head of the department.
I have no problem with Brandebere and Heinsch, they seemed like good professors. But the whole Leiden program seemed so disorganized and amateur, especially since they did not draw on many assets from the legal professionals in The Hague. I would have learned more by skipping all of my classes and spending every day in The Hague, reading at the Peace Palace and attending trials.
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AlexIL
Hey all,
I thought this thread was a little bit outdated since the school year has already commenced, but I guess it might still be relevant for people thinking of commencing in Feb or Sept next year.
I have only been at Leiden for 2 months now, but I am very happy with the course. There's not a huge amount of choice in elective subjects, but it is exactly as described on the course website: there is one elective subject in the first semester and the rest of the time we are following a set program.
I am yet to have a few different professors to have a really good idea of the quality of the teaching, but it seems like the professors we have are pretty much teaching in their field of expertise and interest and also tailoring certain parts of the course to convey their own professional experience.
I can see how goaltender might have experienced the program as chaotic with the turnover of staff, but I haven't noticed anything like that this year - Heinsch was great as a teacher and also seems to have got the program in control.
I'm not sure if this helps, but it's another perspective.
Alex
Hey all,
I thought this thread was a little bit outdated since the school year has already commenced, but I guess it might still be relevant for people thinking of commencing in Feb or Sept next year.
I have only been at Leiden for 2 months now, but I am very happy with the course. There's not a huge amount of choice in elective subjects, but it is exactly as described on the course website: there is one elective subject in the first semester and the rest of the time we are following a set program.
I am yet to have a few different professors to have a really good idea of the quality of the teaching, but it seems like the professors we have are pretty much teaching in their field of expertise and interest and also tailoring certain parts of the course to convey their own professional experience.
I can see how goaltender might have experienced the program as chaotic with the turnover of staff, but I haven't noticed anything like that this year - Heinsch was great as a teacher and also seems to have got the program in control.
I'm not sure if this helps, but it's another perspective.
Alex
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JonH
Having just completed the master's program in public international law at Utrecht University, I thought I would add my thoughts to this discussion. I must say up front that I am not that familiar with the program in Leiden, but I can whole-heartedly recommend Utrecht. The class sizes are optimal for facilitating discussion and active participation. The required coursework provides a solid foundation for the remainder of the program, and there is a sufficient variety of elective courses to ensure that you will at least find a couple that fit into your areas of interest. In terms of the professors, I found them all to be very open and accommodating. In fact, I have established good personal relationships with a number of them - something that will prove invaluable for career networking. Also, most if not all of the professors have experience outside of academia, and are often still involved in the government, international courts and international organizations, meaning they can take the theory and ground it in real-world scenarios informed by first-hand observation. Looking back, the program at Utrecht was intense yet extremely fulfilling. I learned a lot in a relatively short amount of time and am convinced that I made the right choice in choosing to study there. Utrecht is a beautiful city centered around its world-renowned, first-class university. On the extracurricular side, there is plenty to do, as many of the activities taking place in the center are aimed at students (and often organized by student associations). One can also join URIOS, the Utrecht University study association for international and European law, which organizes trips both within the Netherlands and abroad to various international organizations, publishes its own internationa law journal and puts on an annual symposium covering a topic of current interest. To conclude, I must say that the whole experience of studying in Utrecht - from the coursework to the contacts to the other activities - was definitely worthwile.
Having just completed the master's program in public international law at Utrecht University, I thought I would add my thoughts to this discussion. I must say up front that I am not that familiar with the program in Leiden, but I can whole-heartedly recommend Utrecht. The class sizes are optimal for facilitating discussion and active participation. The required coursework provides a solid foundation for the remainder of the program, and there is a sufficient variety of elective courses to ensure that you will at least find a couple that fit into your areas of interest. In terms of the professors, I found them all to be very open and accommodating. In fact, I have established good personal relationships with a number of them - something that will prove invaluable for career networking. Also, most if not all of the professors have experience outside of academia, and are often still involved in the government, international courts and international organizations, meaning they can take the theory and ground it in real-world scenarios informed by first-hand observation. Looking back, the program at Utrecht was intense yet extremely fulfilling. I learned a lot in a relatively short amount of time and am convinced that I made the right choice in choosing to study there. Utrecht is a beautiful city centered around its world-renowned, first-class university. On the extracurricular side, there is plenty to do, as many of the activities taking place in the center are aimed at students (and often organized by student associations). One can also join URIOS, the Utrecht University study association for international and European law, which organizes trips both within the Netherlands and abroad to various international organizations, publishes its own internationa law journal and puts on an annual symposium covering a topic of current interest. To conclude, I must say that the whole experience of studying in Utrecht - from the coursework to the contacts to the other activities - was definitely worthwile.
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Paula2222
The choice of school depends on your field of specialization and one must check the programme and the subjects within it. Both are very good.

Just a reaction -
Leiden's new professors, previously mentioned - Brabandere and Heinsch, are excellent. Brabandere comes to class like a well-oiled and efficient machine and can talk for hours from general to specific, including all the tiny details, and is very thorough. No one can ever say Brabandere is not extremely well prepared for every class. Heinsch is a wonderful professor who trains students to become very skillful litigators and legal advisers. Students are all awake and alert because Heinsch can just deliver an argument and catch you off-guard. Your brain has to work very fast with Heinsch. He has an exciting way of teaching that is his and his alone. He trains students to think on their feet and think of all aspects of law before delivering a great argument. And this is how you do it when you need to argue for inclusion or amendment of a provision in the proceedings for drafting an international convention, defense of a convention's implementation, and for any type of litigation.

One great strength of Leiden is exposing its students to the network of each and every professor who is a luminary in his field. A very important consideration in your choice of law school.

I have watched Jean D'Aspremont as well and his arguments can be very creative, but he teaches in Amsterdam.

All of them are great. But Leiden is at THE HAGUE where all great experts lecture formally and meet you in informal discussions. Dont forget that. There is no substitute for being educated by great litigators in law with direct access to the highest tribunals of the world as if it was an extension of the university. Utrecht has very experienced and wonderful professors as well. Again, check the programme before making your choice.

The choice of school depends on your field of specialization and one must check the programme and the subjects within it. Both are very good.

Just a reaction -
Leiden's new professors, previously mentioned - Brabandere and Heinsch, are excellent. Brabandere comes to class like a well-oiled and efficient machine and can talk for hours from general to specific, including all the tiny details, and is very thorough. No one can ever say Brabandere is not extremely well prepared for every class. Heinsch is a wonderful professor who trains students to become very skillful litigators and legal advisers. Students are all awake and alert because Heinsch can just deliver an argument and catch you off-guard. Your brain has to work very fast with Heinsch. He has an exciting way of teaching that is his and his alone. He trains students to think on their feet and think of all aspects of law before delivering a great argument. And this is how you do it when you need to argue for inclusion or amendment of a provision in the proceedings for drafting an international convention, defense of a convention's implementation, and for any type of litigation.

One great strength of Leiden is exposing its students to the network of each and every professor who is a luminary in his field. A very important consideration in your choice of law school.

I have watched Jean D'Aspremont as well and his arguments can be very creative, but he teaches in Amsterdam.

All of them are great. But Leiden is at THE HAGUE where all great experts lecture formally and meet you in informal discussions. Dont forget that. There is no substitute for being educated by great litigators in law with direct access to the highest tribunals of the world as if it was an extension of the university. Utrecht has very experienced and wonderful professors as well. Again, check the programme before making your choice.
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Paula2222
Just a P.S.

Dugard, Shrijver and Blokker are in Leiden. If you dont know them, you dont know international law.
Just a P.S.

Dugard, Shrijver and Blokker are in Leiden. If you dont know them, you dont know international law.
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Bystander
Having finished my LL.M at Leiden, I would like to share my thoughts . We found the program a bit disorganized. Our classes for the same subject were never in the same campus and we spent much time commuting, running from Leiden to Den Haag back and forth. We could have spent that time studying. The university online blackboard was likewise disorganized. Some doctoral students who lectured were boring.

Having finished my LL.M at Leiden, I would like to share my thoughts . We found the program a bit disorganized. Our classes for the same subject were never in the same campus and we spent much time commuting, running from Leiden to Den Haag back and forth. We could have spent that time studying. The university online blackboard was likewise disorganized. Some doctoral students who lectured were boring.
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