LLM - Geneva Graduate Institute (AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!)


Long story short, I was accepted into the LLM program at the Geneva Graduate Institute last year (graduation is just around the corner), and I'm completely disappointed! I was also admitted to Leiden University, Utrecht, and UCL but ended up going to Geneva. If I could go back in time, I would have chosen the University of American Samoa before even considering spending my time and money at the Graduate Institute. The program looks appealing from the outset, but it is very chaotic, disorganized, and extremely expensive. Geneva is a nice city but super expensive for students. The professors at the Graduate Institute and Geneva University are generally good, although some faculty members apparently do not even know the difference between the International Criminal Court and the ICJ. I was interested in specializing in environmental law, so I took most classes in that stream, including a class about International Environmental Law and Policy. I was honestly shocked by how little the professor in question knew about international (environmental) law, to the point that she didn't even know what the Rio Declaration or UNFCCC were. Not to say that we had half of the semester with student presentations. I complained to the administration, but the professor in question was also the head of the LLM program and nothing was done. The program manager was also unhelpful most of the time. In the end, I lost one year of my life and 40k. I really feel like I got scammed.

Long story short, I was accepted into the LLM program at the Geneva Graduate Institute last year (graduation is just around the corner), and I'm completely disappointed! I was also admitted to Leiden University, Utrecht, and UCL but ended up going to Geneva. If I could go back in time, I would have chosen the University of American Samoa before even considering spending my time and money at the Graduate Institute. The program looks appealing from the outset, but it is very chaotic, disorganized, and extremely expensive. Geneva is a nice city but super expensive for students. The professors at the Graduate Institute and Geneva University are generally good, although some faculty members apparently do not even know the difference between the International Criminal Court and the ICJ. I was interested in specializing in environmental law, so I took most classes in that stream, including a class about International Environmental Law and Policy. I was honestly shocked by how little the professor in question knew about international (environmental) law, to the point that she didn't even know what the Rio Declaration or UNFCCC were. Not to say that we had half of the semester with student presentations. I complained to the administration, but the professor in question was also the head of the LLM program and nothing was done. The program manager was also unhelpful most of the time. In the end, I lost one year of my life and 40k. I really feel like I got scammed.
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balloonlaw

Not discrediting your experience, but I am curious why you chose Geneva for 40k over UCL or Leiden. To me, the latter are much more reputable, even prestigious, than the former. What made GGI seem appealing?

Not discrediting your experience, but I am curious why you chose Geneva for 40k over UCL or Leiden. To me, the latter are much more reputable, even prestigious, than the former. What made GGI seem appealing?
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Not discrediting your experience, but I am curious why you chose Geneva for 40k over UCL or Leiden. To me, the latter are much more reputable, even prestigious, than the former. What made GGI seem appealing?






It was a tough choice, I'm not gonna lie. But at the time I got an offer for the regular LLM at Leiden. Geneva looked a bit more appealing bc of the location (I always wanted to work for the UN). It turns out the teaching is very shallow and sometimes just trash. In Italy, the GGI has a nice reputation but the big names are no longer there. 40k was roughly the total amount (fees + living costs). If I knew how poorly structured the GGI program was, I would have gone to Leiden without hesitation.

[Edited by Internationalist1995 on Jul 06, 2024]

[quote]Not discrediting your experience, but I am curious why you chose Geneva for 40k over UCL or Leiden. To me, the latter are much more reputable, even prestigious, than the former. What made GGI seem appealing? [/quote]<br><br>
<br><br>
It was a tough choice, I'm not gonna lie. But at the time I got an offer for the regular LLM at Leiden. Geneva looked a bit more appealing bc of the location (I always wanted to work for the UN). It turns out the teaching is very shallow and sometimes just trash. In Italy, the GGI has a nice reputation but the big names are no longer there. 40k was roughly the total amount (fees + living costs). If I knew how poorly structured the GGI program was, I would have gone to Leiden without hesitation.
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I'm sorry to hear about your experience. It's incredibly frustrating to invest so much time and money into a program only to feel let down by its quality and organization. It sounds like you had high hopes for your LLM and were especially excited about specializing in environmental law. It's disheartening that the program didn't meet your expectations and that the faculty and administration were not as supportive or knowledgeable as you'd hoped.





Your experience highlights the importance of thorough research and seeking feedback from current or past students before committing to a program. Unfortunately, sometimes even the most prestigious institutions can fall short. It's also disappointing to hear about the high costs and living expenses in Geneva, which can add to the overall stress and dissatisfaction.





If you have the chance, sharing your feedback with prospective students or on platforms where future students can see it might help others make more informed decisions. Also, if you haven't already, you might want to explore any options for recourse or compensation, though I understand that might be a long shot.

[Link removed by Admin]


I hope your future endeavors in law are more rewarding and that you can find a path that aligns better with your expectations and career goals.

[Edited by Board Admin on Jul 15, 2024]

I'm sorry to hear about your experience. It's incredibly frustrating to invest so much time and money into a program only to feel let down by its quality and organization. It sounds like you had high hopes for your LLM and were especially excited about specializing in environmental law. It's disheartening that the program didn't meet your expectations and that the faculty and administration were not as supportive or knowledgeable as you'd hoped.<br><br>
<div><br><br>
</div><div>Your experience highlights the importance of thorough research and seeking feedback from current or past students before committing to a program. Unfortunately, sometimes even the most prestigious institutions can fall short. It's also disappointing to hear about the high costs and living expenses in Geneva, which can add to the overall stress and dissatisfaction.<br><br>
</div><div><br><br>
</div><div>If you have the chance, sharing your feedback with prospective students or on platforms where future students can see it might help others make more informed decisions. Also, if you haven't already, you might want to explore any options for recourse or compensation, though I understand that might be a long shot.<br>
</div><div>[Link removed by Admin]<br><br>
</div><div>I hope your future endeavors in law are more rewarding and that you can find a path that aligns better with your expectations and career goals.</div>
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Lshaw4934

I am also a current student of the GGI LLM in international law graduating this September, but I really had a different experience from internationalist1995! I thoroughly enjoyed the program and can say that the classmates with whom I have spoken did too. For me, the best aspect of the program is undoubtedly its faculty. I agree that sometimes the schedule can feel a bit chaotic, but I think the reason for that is that GGI is bringing the best professors in their given field to the institute to teach (including one stellar professor from Leiden). For example, our international human rights law class was taught by a former member and chair of the ICCPR human rights committee, law of the sea taught by an ITLOS judge, etc. I feel like I learned so much! To me the program is as advertised-the school is very upfront about the high costs of living in Geneva and the tuition fees. On the other hand, due to being in Geneva, I was able to attend so many interesting UN sessions and am currently assisting a member of the ILC at the UN for the summer who has asked me to co-author a paper with him, which will undoubtedly further my career. I can’t speak to the environmental law courses myself but others who took those classes have reported finding them to be beneficial. In short, I hope people won’t place too much weight on the opinion of one person because I and so many of my classmates thoroughly enjoyed this program. 

I am also a current student of the GGI LLM in international law graduating this September, but I really had a different experience from internationalist1995! I thoroughly enjoyed the program and can say that the classmates with whom I have spoken did too. For me, the best aspect of the program is undoubtedly its faculty. I agree that sometimes the schedule can feel a bit chaotic, but I think the reason for that is that GGI is bringing the best professors in their given field to the institute to teach (including one stellar professor from Leiden). For example, our international human rights law class was taught by a former member and chair of the ICCPR human rights committee, law of the sea taught by an ITLOS judge, etc. I feel like I learned so much! To me the program is as advertised-the school is very upfront about the high costs of living in Geneva and the tuition fees. On the other hand, due to being in Geneva, I was able to attend so many interesting UN sessions and am currently assisting a member of the ILC at the UN for the summer who has asked me to co-author a paper with him, which will undoubtedly further my career. I can’t speak to the environmental law courses myself but others who took those classes have reported finding them to be beneficial. In short, I hope people won’t place too much weight on the opinion of one person because I and so many of my classmates thoroughly enjoyed this program.&nbsp;<br>
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I am also a current LLM student at IHEID and my experience has been totally different to that of @internationalist1995. I agree 100% with what @lshaw4934 said in her comment. Yes, Geneva and the Institute are expensive, but the faculty consists of some of the world's most renowned international lawyers and come with great theoretical and practical expertise and experience as well as excellent teaching skills. The professors are definetely not as @internationalist1995 described. Only very few schools in the world can compete with the Institute's reputation in IL.
I chose the environmental law stream and, in contrast to @internationalist1995, for me it was a great experience through which I could considerably deepen my already existing knowledge in IEL. It also gave me the unique opportunity to be part of a legal clinic team for UNEP. Generally, being based in Geneva gives you the opportunity to gain practical experience in IL during and directly after your studies, such as in one of the hundreds of Geneva-based IOs and NGOs - something that neither Oxbridge nor Leiden or Harvard etc. can provide, which is why IHEID was by far my first choice. And after the LLM year I can say that the tuition and living expenses in Geneva were absolutely worth it.
I have studied at many universities in Europe and the US and IHEID was the best of them all in terms of organization, reputation and quality of the program. I doubt that @internationalist1995 would have been any happier at Leiden, Utrecht or UCL. In any case, in my experience and that of my fellow students, the IHEID LLM program would not give rise to such frustration. On the contrary, I highly recommend it!

[Edited by globalist2000 on Jul 14, 2024]

I am also a current LLM student at IHEID and my experience has been totally different to that of @internationalist1995. I agree 100% with what @lshaw4934 said in her comment. Yes, Geneva and the Institute are expensive, but the faculty consists of some of the world's most renowned international lawyers and come with great theoretical and practical expertise and experience as well as excellent teaching skills. The professors are definetely not as @internationalist1995 described. Only very few schools in the world can compete with the Institute's reputation in IL.<div><br>I chose the environmental law stream and, in contrast to @internationalist1995, for me it was a great experience through which I could considerably deepen my already existing knowledge in IEL. It also gave me the unique opportunity to be part of a legal clinic team for UNEP. Generally, being based in Geneva gives you the opportunity to gain practical experience in IL during and directly after your studies, such as in one of the hundreds of Geneva-based IOs and NGOs - something that neither Oxbridge nor Leiden or Harvard etc. can provide, which is why IHEID was by far my first choice. And after the LLM year I can say that the tuition and living expenses in Geneva were absolutely worth it.</div><div><br>I have studied at many universities in Europe and the US and IHEID was the best of them all in terms of organization, reputation and quality of the program. I doubt that @internationalist1995 would have been any happier at Leiden, Utrecht or UCL. In any case, in my experience and that of my fellow students, the IHEID LLM program would not give rise to such frustration. On the contrary, I highly recommend it!</div>
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Master22

I have also studied at the Graduate Institute - in fact, I still am. I did the MA in International Law, but was also admitted into the LLM at the Institute, the Geneva Academy, UCL, KCL, and LSE. I was between the LLM and the MA in the end, but went for the latter since I wanted to follow a career in academia. Although I did not do the same programme as @internationalist1995, I do know the faculty quite well and can only subscribe to what Lshaw4934 and globalist2000 have already said. Indeed, there has been a change in the research focus at the Institute in the past decade or so, but I think the LLM Programme was barely affected by that. The programme managers seem very attentive to the needs of a professional-oriented, LLM programme (just check the leading practitioners and scholars they invite to teach there). Geneva is indeed a very expensive city, I give you that. But it is also one of the beating hearts of the international law profession. You have the ILC, OHCHR, UNHCR, IOM, ICRC, WTO, WIPO, ITC, and some hundred or so of Permanent Missions, NGOs etc. There is a good chance that you will be getting that 40k back in less than a year.

[Edited by Master22 on Jul 15, 2024]

I have also studied at the Graduate Institute - in fact, I still am. I did the MA in International Law, but was also admitted into the LLM at the Institute, the Geneva Academy, UCL, KCL, and LSE. I was between the LLM and the MA in the end, but went for the latter since I wanted to follow a career in academia. Although I did not do the same programme as @internationalist1995, I do know the faculty quite well and can only subscribe to what Lshaw4934 and globalist2000 have already said. Indeed, there has been a change in the research focus at the Institute in the past decade or so, but I think the LLM Programme was barely affected by that. The programme managers seem very attentive to the needs of a professional-oriented, LLM programme (just check the leading practitioners and scholars they invite to teach there). Geneva is indeed a very expensive city, I give you that. But it is also one of the beating hearts of the international law profession. You have the ILC, OHCHR, UNHCR, IOM, ICRC, WTO, WIPO, ITC, and some hundred or so of Permanent Missions, NGOs etc. There is a good chance that you will be getting that 40k back in less than a year.
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