LLM in International Law or Human Rights at UCL or MSc Human Rights at LSE


vandyalum

Hello -

I think I've seen a similar post/question here before but wanted to get a perspective tailored to my situation.

I'm a U.S. qualified lawyer (have a bachelor's and a juris doctor) that's been practicing in commercial litigation in NYC for the past 4-5 years. I would like to refocus my career in human rights advocacy, policy, and/or administration. In this respect, do you think it is more advantageous to pursue an LLM in International Law/Human Rights at UCL or an MSc in Human Rights at LSE?

I would not necessarily seek to move back to the U.S. after my degree but may try to stay in the UK after passing the QLTS exam this next year. I like the global "brand name" of LSE but do not want to hamstring myself by getting an MSc instead of a LLM (albeit UCL is a very good institution -- just doesn't have a "brand" recognition that LSE does should I choose to return to the States). Thoughts?

Hello -

I think I've seen a similar post/question here before but wanted to get a perspective tailored to my situation.

I'm a U.S. qualified lawyer (have a bachelor's and a juris doctor) that's been practicing in commercial litigation in NYC for the past 4-5 years. I would like to refocus my career in human rights advocacy, policy, and/or administration. In this respect, do you think it is more advantageous to pursue an LLM in International Law/Human Rights at UCL or an MSc in Human Rights at LSE?

I would not necessarily seek to move back to the U.S. after my degree but may try to stay in the UK after passing the QLTS exam this next year. I like the global "brand name" of LSE but do not want to hamstring myself by getting an MSc instead of a LLM (albeit UCL is a very good institution -- just doesn't have a "brand" recognition that LSE does should I choose to return to the States). Thoughts?
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andresob5

I agree with you, I would rather have a LLM than a MSc. UCL is a great university. Is the program a joint degree between International Law and Human Rights or would you have to chose one of those programs? If I were you I would chose International Law and focus it on Human Rights because with international law you would have a broad view of international law in general, and international human rights law in particular.

I agree with you, I would rather have a LLM than a MSc. UCL is a great university. Is the program a joint degree between International Law and Human Rights or would you have to chose one of those programs? If I were you I would chose International Law and focus it on Human Rights because with international law you would have a broad view of international law in general, and international human rights law in particular.
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vandyalum

No, I would have to choose between a specialized LLM in International Law or in Human Rights. Do you think NGOs/public interest organizations would prefer an LLM even though I'm already a qualified attorney?

No, I would have to choose between a specialized LLM in International Law or in Human Rights. Do you think NGOs/public interest organizations would prefer an LLM even though I'm already a qualified attorney?
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andresob5

I do think so, because in most organizations they require professionals with Master degrees at least, so even though you have the experience, you need to complete your academic formation (the bachelor, the jd and the llm). As I told you before, I think the LLM in International Law would give you a broader knowledge of International Law, which is very important. However, if you get to chose some courses at UCL, you could chose those related to Human Rights and that way you would have both the degree in International Law and the track of Human Rights

I do think so, because in most organizations they require professionals with Master degrees at least, so even though you have the experience, you need to complete your academic formation (the bachelor, the jd and the llm). As I told you before, I think the LLM in International Law would give you a broader knowledge of International Law, which is very important. However, if you get to chose some courses at UCL, you could chose those related to Human Rights and that way you would have both the degree in International Law and the track of Human Rights
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haesd

Vandyalum

In your case, I dont think that the NGOs will necessarily favour the LLM over the MSc. These organisations usually seek candidates with some experience in litigation, as you do, although they may occasionally express a specific preference for experience in criminal prosecution or trials. It is not a preference that you cannot overcome during an interview, if you get that far.

What matters more, I think, is to consider why you chose to enrol for the MSc in Human Rights and not the LLM at LSE. Both the MSc (LSE) and LLM (UCL) will provide the foundation you need for human rights. As you must be aware, the MSc is taught from a multi-disciplinary perspective: you will study the sociology, philosophy and - of course legal aspects of human rights in your compulsory module (Approaches to Human Rights). Apart from this module and your dissertation, you have many options, even though you may only take 2 (or the equivalent of 2), which are offered by the departments of anthropology, sociology, law etc.

If you choose to take the LLM, whether at LSE or UCL, the focus of a specialist masters in human rights at these schools will be international human rights. In other words, you will study and become familiar with the treaties, the international institutions which are created, and the development of case law, that govern this growing field. Some LLM modules will emphasise the effect of these treaties in domestic law, through implementing legislation, and how the jurisprudence of domestic courts on interpreting human rights comport or not with that of international tribunals. It seems fair to say that the approach for international law at British universities (including even the LSE) are positivistic, so you will examine the state practice and formal rules that States have accepted at the international level. Here you will deploy legal techniques and arguments - a familiar exercise to students with a legal background - but you will probably need to adjust them for non-law modules for the MSc.

If your purpose is not merely to acquire knowledge of the law on human rights, then the MSc is an excellent programme because it engages the subject more broadly than the LLM. You are correct, though, that the LSE has a stronger international brand than UCL, even though both are very strong law schools.


Vandyalum

In your case, I don’t think that the NGOs will necessarily favour the LLM over the MSc. These organisations usually seek candidates with some experience in litigation, as you do, although they may occasionally express a specific preference for experience in criminal prosecution or trials. It is not a preference that you cannot overcome during an interview, if you get that far.

What matters more, I think, is to consider why you chose to enrol for the MSc in Human Rights and not the LLM at LSE. Both the MSc (LSE) and LLM (UCL) will provide the foundation you need for human rights. As you must be aware, the MSc is taught from a multi-disciplinary perspective: you will study the sociology, philosophy and - of course – legal aspects of human rights in your compulsory module (Approaches to Human Rights). Apart from this module and your dissertation, you have many options, even though you may only take 2 (or the equivalent of 2), which are offered by the departments of anthropology, sociology, law etc.

If you choose to take the LLM, whether at LSE or UCL, the focus of a specialist masters in human rights at these schools will be international human rights. In other words, you will study and become familiar with the treaties, the international institutions which are created, and the development of “case law”, that govern this growing field. Some LLM modules will emphasise the effect of these treaties in domestic law, through implementing legislation, and how the jurisprudence of domestic courts on interpreting human rights comport – or not – with that of international tribunals. It seems fair to say that the approach for international law at British universities (including even the LSE) are positivistic, so you will examine the state practice and formal rules that States have accepted at the international level. Here you will deploy legal techniques and arguments - a familiar exercise to students with a legal background - but you will probably need to adjust them for non-law modules for the MSc.

If your purpose is not merely to acquire knowledge of the law on human rights, then the MSc is an excellent programme because it engages the subject more broadly than the LLM. You are correct, though, that the LSE has a stronger international brand than UCL, even though both are very strong law schools.

quote
Mclegally

Both LSE and UCL have their own significance. I believe an LLM will add to your specialization in international human rights law, which might not be the case if you choose an Msc. But at the same time you should keep in mind the modules/subjects you'll be studying as a part of these courses. Choose a course with a strong repute in teaching a subject of your interest, as it will open up more opportunities for you in building a career in that specific area of human rights.The basic international law and human rights law are a core of most of the human rights masters offered by various universities. The key is to choose a masters that will compliment your interests. If you don't find the courses at LSE or UCL in sync with your focus, don't hesitate to look beyond them.

Both LSE and UCL have their own significance. I believe an LLM will add to your specialization in international human rights law, which might not be the case if you choose an Msc. But at the same time you should keep in mind the modules/subjects you'll be studying as a part of these courses. Choose a course with a strong repute in teaching a subject of your interest, as it will open up more opportunities for you in building a career in that specific area of human rights.The basic international law and human rights law are a core of most of the human rights masters offered by various universities. The key is to choose a masters that will compliment your interests. If you don't find the courses at LSE or UCL in sync with your focus, don't hesitate to look beyond them.
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