LLM International Human Rights and Development

Southwark Campus

Mode: Full-time


Shaping professional futures

With over 30 years of expertise, LSBU Law has shaped the professional futures of thousands of law students. This course offers a mixture of international human rights law, development studies and refugee studies modules. You'll explore contemporary debates in the context of specific countries and themes.

You'll gain knowledge of the protection of international human rights within the context of international development and refugee practice and the role of a rights-based approach to international development practice.

Why Law at LSBU?

Happy students: No.1 UK wide for Satisfied overall with the course in Law (Guardian League Table, 2018) with an energetic Student Law Society that arranges talks, visits and competitions.

Top 10 in UK for satisfaction with teaching in Law (Guardian 2019).

Ranked 2nd for Overall Satisfaction amongst London competitors in Law (National Student Survey 2020)
Expert academics – our teachers are qualified solicitors and barristers, passing on their insights, real-world case expertise and passion for law.
Outstanding facilities – we'll equip you with an iPad or tablet, complete online support and access to a personal law e-library worth £6000.
The School of Law enjoys strong links with the South London Law Society, and cooperates with them to provide a programme of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for local practitioners and members of the Society.
Key course information - ordered by mode
Mode Duration Start date Location
12 months
Start Date
Southwark Campus


Core Modules

  • International law and human rights
    You'll study core subjects such as the nature and development of international law, sources of international law, the subjects of international law, international institutions and the international protection of human rights.  The aim of this module is to develop your intellectual, practical and transferable skills in the context of International Public Law and the protection of human rights. 
  • Dissertation
    The Dissertation module requires completion of a 15000 words Master's level dissertation in an area consistent with, and appropriate to (and, if relevant, the specialist pathway within) the degree being sought. You'll be required to virtually independently conceive, plan and execute an appropriate piece of research based on firm academic foundations. In doing so, the dissertation is required to address an issue or matter of some importance within the areas and/or disciplines encompassed across the Master's degree being sought. 
  • Contemporary issues in development The module aims to provide a comprehensive and detailed introduction to the contemporary challenges facing developing countries in the coming years. Topics vary from one year to the next, but currently the focus is on issues of poverty and poverty reduction; aid and its effectiveness; debt and debt servicing; governance and transparency; the environmental impact of development; patterns of inequality; the impact of urbanisation; and more generally, on changing economic relations within the world economy following the 2008-9 global crisis and subsequent events. The course also assesses the main developing strategies followed by selected middle and low-income countries, with detailed case studies drawn from Asia, Africa and Latin America. It also examines these topics from a gender perspective.
    Aims: The module aims to introduce students to the analysis of general issues of development by focusing on selected subjects amenable to an interdisciplinary approach. Topics are selected for their contemporary relevance and for their importance to the future development of developing countries.  They are also areas around which there exist thorough, detailed and accessible bodies of literature.
  • International Human Rights and development Students will study Human Rights and Development in the context of specific countries and themes. Lectures will introduce students to key topics such as the UN procedures and Human Rights Activism. Students will then research these topics in the context of a specific country (such as Myanmar, Nigeria or Pakistan) and theme (such as Forced Labour, Fair Trial, Torture or Violence against Women). Seminar discussion will be based on students’ research on their selected country and theme. There will be an emphasis on developing effective strategies for combating human rights abuses. Assessment is by a single piece of Coursework.
  • Research methods
    This module is essential to understanding the development, implementation, and analysis of graduate level research in legal studies. It is designed to assure that you have a comprehensive knowledge of research design development, and the ability to review and understand journal articles in various subjects of common law.  The ultimate purpose of the Module is to encourage you to become engaged in independent legal research in order to be able to submit successfully the dissertation of 15,000 words by the end of the course. You'll build on the research skills already acquired in undergraduate studies by covering topics such as literature review, research presentation and research evaluation, with an emphasis on practical exercises.

Optional Modules

  • Economies in Transition: strategies for development The Module Analyses and assesses the main development strategies implemented by developing countries in recent years, focusing on case studies from Africa, Latin America and  Asia, outlining their key achievements and problem areas. This analysis then forms the basis for examining the possibilities for and outcomes of different types of industrialisation in the coming years, within a global context. The module combines detailed case study examples from particular types of industrialising economy, including examples from the rural, services, and raw material extractive sectors.
    Aims: This module aims to introduce students to the relative advantages and disadvantages of different and contending approaches to, and strategies for, the development of manufacturing, service and raw material –based industrialisation.
  • Forced migration and resettlement The module introduces the concepts of refugees, internally displaced persons and analyses the interface between development and forced displacement, as well as resettlement. It examines the complex causes, solutions and consequences of Forced Migration and resettlement in the developing societies of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the responses of the international community, host governments and populations to the plight of refugees, returnees, IDPs, oustees. It also examines how displaced populations reconstruct their livelihoods and how they relate with the hosts in the areas concerned.
  • Economies in Transition: strategies for development The Module Analyses and assesses the main development strategies implemented by developing countries in recent years, focusing on case studies from Africa, Latin America and  Asia, outlining their key achievements and problem areas. This analysis then forms the basis for examining the possibilities for and outcomes of different types of industrialisation in the coming years, within a global context. The module combines detailed case study examples from particular types of industrialising economy, including examples from the rural, services, and raw material extractive sectors.
    Aims: This module aims to introduce students to the relative advantages and disadvantages of different and contending approaches to, and strategies for, the development of manufacturing, service and raw material –based industrialisation.
  • International refugee law The objective of the Module is to enable students to place the law in its context, and develop a critical appreciation of the law’s content, application and possible reform. Students will learn the centrality of law in protecting the rights of refugees - in this field, perhaps more than any other, actions are often motivated on the basis of humanitarianism: refugees are assisted out of a benevolent and charitable spirit.This has pernicious consequences, including disempowering the refugees and forced migrants and creating a haphazard, unreliable system of assistance.  Understanding that all forced migrants are the holders of rights, and part of an international regime of protection, is the essential basis on which to take forward work in this field.
    The module begins with an introduction to the basic principles of international law that are central to understanding how international refugee law operates. Next, students will examine how refugee law is “brought to life” through a discussion of the relevant domestic and international institutions and mechanisms. The last four classes deal with the substantive content of international refugee law: students will learn who a refugee is; they will learn about non-refoulement, and a possible right to asylum; about exclusion and cessation; and about international law relating to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).  The final section of the course will examine specific issues in refugee law: the overlap between refugee protection and trafficking, gender based persecution; they will learn about the international legal regimes that apply to refugees at sea, and to the trafficking of people; also, the common European asylum system will be reviewed and critically assessed compared to other systems of refugee protection.
    The course will conclude with a debate on the future directions of international refugee law.
  • Case management
    In this module you'll enhance your knowledge of the structure and process of the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales via an in-depth analysis of complex case management.  You'll explore relevant statutory provisions regulating the management of cases, and explores some of the socio-political issues that arise from the function of the law in practice. You'll be provided with a critical overview of the system of justice and the key procedural decisions that are made within the system.  You'll consider the process of justice via practical, classroom based, engagement with the litigation process, using a dedicated case study and group-based work to enhance their practical and theoretical understanding of the criminal process. 
  • Advocacy
    You'll examine the interaction between decision makers in the criminal litigation process and advocates who appear before them.  you'll explore the principles of advocacy throughout the litigation process, including trial preparation, constructing and presenting speeches and arguments, working with lay and professional witnesses, using IT and graphics in the courtroom, effective communication and the psychology of persuasion. 
  • Forced migration in developing societies The module examines critically the varied and the complex forms of conflicts that cause internal and external population displacements, the quality of protection and rights accorded to rural and urban refugees, the roles of inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, assistance programmes—emergency relief, self-sufficiency, refugee aid and development, the relationship between refugees and host populations, repatriation and (re)-construction of post-conflict societies.
  • Comparative law


You'll graduate with the necessary knowledge and skills to work in the fields of law, human rights and development (either in the UK or abroad) as advisors, experts, researchers and policy makers.

With a background in law, you might practise in human rights, immigration and asylum, and public law.

With a development studies background you might go on to practice in the NGO sector employing a rights-based approach to development.

Employability Service

We are University of the Year for Graduate Employment for the second year in a row - The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018, 2019.

At LSBU, we want to set you up for a successful career. During your studies – and for two years after you graduate – you’ll have access to our Employability Service, which includes:

  • An online board where you can see a wide range of placements: part-time, full-time or voluntary. You can also drop in to see our Job Shop advisers, who are always available to help you take the next step in your search.
  • Our Careers Gym offering group workshops on CVs, interview techniques and finding work experience, as well as regular presentations from employers across a range of sectors.

Our Student Enterprise team can also help you start your own business and develop valuable entrepreneurial skills.

Through our growing pool of visiting fellows and professors, the Law Department has developed a strong network of contacts with leading law practitioners in the UK. Many members of the Law Department are practitioners, or retain strong links with the legal profession. We enjoy strong links with a number of leading European Law Faculties, including Universitie Cergy Pontoise in France, INHOLLAND University in the Netherlands and Zagreb University in Croatia.

Recent guest lecturers:

  • Ko Aung, Burma Human Rights Campaigner;
  • Vera Baird, QC, MP;
  • Joel Bennathan, QC, Barrister;
  • Sir Geoffrey Bindman, Solicitor;
  • Imran Khan, Solicitor;
  • Roger Smith, Director of Justice.

Teaching and learning

LSBU Law has a strong set of experts, consultants and international advisors in the field of Human Rights and hosts a number of annual events and conferences.

Head of the Law Department, Andy Unger, has worked as a consultant in former communist countries such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Georgia. In the South Caucuses, his most recent working has been with the British East-West Centre, designing and supervising the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office funded projects offering human rights training to lawyers and justice officials in the region.

Senior Lecturer in Law, Caron Thatcher, has observed elections in many parts of the former Soviet Union including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and also in Russia itself and monitoring the final election of Mr. Putin in 2004.


Entry requirements

  • An LLB (Hons) Law degree at 2:2/Bachelor degree equivalent to UK Second Class Honours Lower Division.
  • UK graduates with a non Law degree (2:2) and relevant knowledge and experience.
  • Individual applications for accreditation of prior learning and experience will be considered in accordance with the FAHS Policy on APL and APEL.
  • We welcome equivalent qualifications from around the world. English language qualifications for international students: IELTS score of 6.5, Cambridge Proficiency or Advanced Grade C.

How to apply

International students

International (non Home/EU) applicants should follow our international how to apply guide.

Home/EU applicants

Mode Duration Start date Application code Application method
12 months
Start date
Application code
Application method

Postgraduate students and research students should apply through our dedicated application system. Full details of how to do this are supplied on our How to apply section for postgraduate students and our How to apply section for research students.

See our admissions policy (PDF File 544 KB) and complaints policy (PDF File 127 KB).


Students should apply for accommodation at London South Bank University (LSBU) as soon as possible, once we have made an offer of a place on one of our academic courses. Read more about applying for accommodation at LSBU.


It's a good idea to think about how you'll pay university tuition and maintenance costs while you're still applying for a place to study. Remember – you don't need to wait for a confirmed place on a course to start applying for student finance. Read how to pay your fees as a postgraduate student.

Postgraduate Application Service

Book a session with one of our specialist Postgraduate Advisors. Over a one on one Advice Session they'll advise you on postgraduate degrees at LSBU that match your interests and experience.

Prepare to start

We help our students prepare for university even before the semester starts. To find out when you should apply for your LSBU accommodation or student finance read the How to apply tab for this course.


Before you start your course we’ll send you information on what you’ll need to do before you arrive and during your first few days on campus. You can read about the process on our Enrolment pages.

Preparatory Reading List

  • Steiner, H.J. et al (2008): International human rights in context: law, politics, morals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Fees and funding

Fees are shown for new entrants to courses, for each individual year of a course, together with the total fee for all the years of a course. Continuing LSBU students should refer to the Finance section of our student portal, MyLSBU. Queries regarding fees should be directed to the Fees and Bursaries Team on: +44 (0)20 7815 6181.


Year 1 FT Southwark SEPT

The fee shown is for entry 2020/21
UK/EU fee: £8270International fee: £14470
AOS/LSBU code: 3669Session code: 1FS00

For more information, including how and when to pay, see our fees and funding section for postgraduate students.

See our Tuition Fees Regulations (PDF File 160 KB) and Refund Policy (PDF File 102 KB).

Possible fee changes

The University reserves the right to increase its fees in line with changes to legislation, regulation and any government guidance or decisions.

The fees for international students are reviewed annually and the University reserves the right to increase the tuition fees in line with the RPIX measure of inflation up to 4 per cent.

Postgraduate loan (PGL) for Masters study

If you are starting a Masters course, studying either full- or part-time, you may be entitled to apply for a postgraduate study loan. Find out more at our postgraduate fees and funding section.


We offer several types of fee reduction through our scholarships and bursaries. Find the full list and other useful information on funding your studies on the scholarships and fee discounts page.

Fee status

Please check your fee status and whether you are considered a Home, EU or International student for fee-paying purposes and for our regulatory returns, by reading the UKCISA regulations.

Contact information

Course Enquiries - UK/EU

Tel: 0800 923 8888

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7815 6100

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