Law: Transnational Legal Studies

European and international law in a social context

Transnational Legal Studies: International and European Law in Context

You will study the core principles of European and international law in depth, and go beyond this to understand the role of law in a globalizing world, and the challenges that it raises to our traditional ideas of sovereignty and democracy. Optional courses allow for specialization, and whether your interests are in human rights, economic law, constitutional principles, security and terrorism, equality and justice, or cross-border phenomena such as global warming and the internet, the friendly and diverse department of Transnational Legal Studies will help you achieve a Master of Law degree (LLM) which takes you further in your career.


Issues the programme deals with

Some examples of issues the Master's programme deals with are:

  • Is there a way of achieving a Europe without barriers to movement while still preserving national identities and laws?
  • How are ideas of risk and security used in international law to create new legal regimes and justify interventions?
  • Is the European crisis of economics, society, and identity all about a dysfunctional EU, or is it a crisis of aimless and path-dependent nations?
  • Is law-making at the international and European level effective, democratic and necessary? Whose interests does it serve?
  • How are economics, politics and individual rights related at the transnational level?

Create your brochure

Transnational Legal Studies is a full-time, one-year specialization of the Law LLM graduate programme. Its curriculum should appeal to you if you want to pursue a career related to European and international issues and if you are passionate about exploring the political, economic and social context of law. You will follow: 

  • European and International Law, an intensive, advanced level course taught conjointly by international and European law scholars.
  • Transnational Human Rights and Globalization, an innovative course exploring how the protection of human rights and the course of globalization interact and influence each other.
  • Further courses of your choice, allowing you to specialize, if you wish, in areas such as economic law (EU internal market law, competition law, international trade and investment law), human rights and equality (human rights protection in Europe, EU anti-discrimination law, irregular migration), or the law surrounding international conflicts (international humanitarian law, politics of international law, international weapons law).


The curriculum offers the possibility to undertake an internship or a period of study abroad. Former students have been working as interns in law firms, but also at international organizations, such as the UNHCR in Brussels and the UN in New York.

Law: Transnational Legal Studies courses in the study guide

Programme calendar

As transnational legal regulation is becoming more and more dense, both on the international and the domestic level, the need for transnationally trained lawyers continues to increase. Apart from the traditional legal professions (i.e. within the judiciary and national bars), transnationally trained lawyers can be employed by many organisations. Future employers include: EU institutions, the UN, international organizations, ngo's, national governments, and international and national law firms. In addition, the programme is an excellent choice if you wish to pursue an academic career after graduating. All in all, students specialising in transnational law have good employment prospects: in the Netherlands, in their home countries, and on the international labour market.

  • The specialization is distinctive in having united European law and international public law in one programme. This approach allows you take a broad, and at the same time in-depth, analysis of transnational legal issues.
  • The specialization is unique because it analyses law and legal systems as social phenomena. The specialization is a good choice if you are interested in understanding law in its social, political or economic context.
  • Flexibility and freedom in designing your study programme, allowing you to specialize (in international of European law) or not. You can design your programme in line with your personal preferences, choosing to focus on international law, European law, domestic law, human rights law, economic law, labour law and social rights, or combine these areas
  • Within the specialization you will encounter lecturers and researchers from various national backgrounds and disciplines (see rechten.vu.nl/faculty/) .
  • It is possible to combine the specialization Transnational Legal Studies with another specialization within the master Law such as International Migration and Refugee Law.
  • Life in Amsterdam is affordable in comparison with some other large European cities.
  • There is an easy and fast procedure for obtaining a study visa for the Netherlands (see for more information under Visa and Insurance).
  • After you have completed your master, you can apply for a residence permit in the Netherlands for the purpose of searching a job (for a maximum of one year). 

European Law 
Research in the section European Law has several interacting themes, such as: 

  • European constitutional law;
  • The role of social and environmental interests in European economic law;
  • The development of European criminal law;
  • Issues of sovereignty and pluralism, more particularly with respect to migrants’ rights;
  • International trade;
  • The structure and competences of the EU. 


Public International Law
 
Research of the section Public International Law focuses on the following themes:

  • International peace and security;
  • International economic law;
  • International legal regulation of migration;
  • Theory of international law;
  • The relation between international law and international politics.

Sandra Campos

Alumna (Peru)

Sandra TLS

"My time at VU Amsterdam has absolutely broadened my horizons and has equipped me with the knowledge and skills necessary for a successful international career in the field of law."

Overview Law: Transnational Legal Studies

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

1 year (fulltime)

TUITION FEE

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 April for students from outside the EU. 1 June for EU-students with a non-Dutch degree. 15 July for all other students.

START DATE

1 February or 1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

FIELD OF INTEREST

Economics, Business and Law

Laurens Lagaaij

Alumnus

Laurens Lagaaij TLS

"The teachers stimulate debate and force you to articulate your own opinion, and the curriculum is built up to train your academic writing so you are equipped with the right skills to write your final thesis."

Student experiences

Sandra TLS

"My decision to pursue a Masters in Law at VU Amsterdam was certainly the right one. Besides being located in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, VU Amsterdam offers a unique specialization in Transnational Legal Studies that no other universities have. This programme offers students the possibility to study International Law without the constraints of the traditional private/public dichotomy. You are encouraged to critically look at law from multiple perspectives, and include in your analysis the political and social factors that shape law and vice versa. The cultural diversity in the classrooms is definitely an advantage for this sort of discussion." 

"The professors' renowned academic and professional experience was inspiring. I really enjoyed the content of the courses and the use of real-life examples for teaching." 
  
"My time at VU Amsterdam has absolutely broadened my horizons and has equipped me with the knowledge and skills necessary for a successful international career in the field of law." 

Sandra Campos, alumna (Peru) 


Laurens Lagaaij TLS

"International law to me has always been the most fascinating and complex discipline of legal studies, one that deals with moral issues, political reality and the very essence of what constitutes law. The great thing about Transnational Legal Studies is the ability to adapt it to your interests. You can choose courses according to what direction within international law you prefer: you could go for public international law, European private law, or something in between. " 

"Another unique aspect of this Masters in Law is the focus on interdisciplinary research and specific academic movements that help you view international law through a completely different lens. The teachers stimulate debate and force you to articulate your own opinion, and the curriculum is built up to train your academic writing so you are equipped with the right skills to write your final thesis." 
  
"Finally, there are opportunities to transition into your professional career: the International Law Clinic has you apply your research skills for real clients and the teachers are more than willing to help you start an academic career or apply for a PhD scholarship. Plus, if you combine this programme with a Dutch Bachelor in Law, you will have both a Dutch law degree and the international LL.M degree." 

Laurens Lagaaij, alumnus 

Naomi Mohamed

Student

Naomi Mohammed TLS Testimonial

"There is a vibrant community of students and scholars who are all passionate about international law. That's very motivating." 

Admission with a Dutch degree

Applicants with a Bachelor's degree in Law (LLB) or equivalent can apply to all specializations.

Applicants with a Liberal Arts and Sciences degree (or equivalent) with a legal track of at least 60 EC may be eligible for enrollment. This is determined by the Admission Board.

If you have an academic degree which is relevant for the specialization you wish to do and you have knowledge of and insight into at least one area of law to at least the level of the end-terms of the VU Law bachelor, and you can prove this through at least 60 EC in completed courses in law or knowledge and experience in the field of law equivalent to this, you may also be eligible for enrollment. This is determined by the Admission Board.

Find out if you are eligible before you apply?
Ask the Admission board (contact details under 'Contact').

Send us the following documents:

  • scan diploma or proof of enrollment
  • scan (provisonal) transcript
  • description of the relevant courses
  • optional: report on relevant experience, including specification of your responsibilities
  • Specify which specialization you wish to do
You can be admitted on the basis of an HBO-Rechten degree and the premaster: VU Schakelzone Rechtsgeleerdheid at the Open Universiteit. This premaster is offered exclusively in Dutch. This premaster is offered exclusively in Dutch. You can find more information on our Dutch website.

There is no premaster in English for this master. Admission on the basis of a different degree from a University of Applied Sciences in not possible.

To complete the master successfully, your English proficiency should be on at least C1 level. C1 level is comparable to a TOEFL iBT score of at least 100 or an IELTS score of at least 7.0.

Application is possible from 11 October. The application deadline is:

To start on 1 September:15 July
To start on 1 February:1 January

Application steps

  1. Check if you are eligible for admission. 
  2. Register for the master before the application deadline via Studielink. More information for Dutch students.
  3. After registering you will receive log-in details for VUnet.
  4. Select the specialization which you want to do on VUnet and complete your application.
  5. You can follow the status of your application on VUnet.
  6. You receive a decision within 3 weeks after your application was completed on VUnet.

More information on the application process + documents

You will receive practical information regarding the start of the programme during the summer.

Admission Boardadmission.law@vu.nl (Rianne van Empelen/Anneke de Laaf)
Details programmecontact@vu.nl
Tuition, Studielink, VUnetStudent Desk
Information days, general questionscontact@vu.nl


Information days

Visit our VU Master's event and get acquainted with our Master's degree programmes. Our students and staff are available to help you with all your questions during the information sessions and at the information market.

Admission with an international degree

Applicants with a Bachelor's or equivalent degree in Law can apply. To be admitted you need permission from the Admission Board.

Your bachelor education is compared to and valued through the UK Naric comparison system and, if necessary, through the Nuffic comparison and validation programmes. Especially students from non-EU countries should factor in the possibility that a relevant Bachelor’s degree proves insufficient to enroll in this Master in Law programme.

Please note that language requirements apply.

If you have an academic degree which is relevant for the specialization you wish to do and you have knowledge of and insight into at least one area of law to at least the level of the end-terms of the VU Law bachelor, and you can prove this through at least 60 EC in completed courses in law or knowledge and experience in the field of law equivalent to this, you may also be eligible for enrollment. This is determined by the Admission Board.

Find out if you are eligible before you apply?
Ask the Admission board (contact details under 'Contact').

Send us the following documents:

  • scan diploma or proof of enrollment
  • scan (provisional) transcripts
  • description of the relevant courses
  • optional: report on relevant experience, including specification of your responsibilities
  • specify which specialization you wish to pursue

Your bachelor education is compared to and valued through the UK Naric comparison system and, if necessary, through the Nuffic comparison and validation programmes.

Please note that language requirements apply.

Admission on the basis of a degree from a University of Applied Sciences in not possible.

To complete the master successfully, your English proficiency should be on at least C1 level. C1 level is comparable to a TOEFL iBT score of at least 100 or an IELTS score of at least 7.0.

Application is possible from 11 October. The application deadline is:

To start on 1 September:1 February for international students who wish to apply for one of the VU scholarships.
1 April for students from outside the EU
1 April for EU students not residing in the Netherland who wish to apply for housing
15 July for EU students
To start on 1 February:1 November for students from outside the EU
1 Januari for EU students

Application steps

  1. Check if you are eligible for admission.
  2. If you unsure whether you meet the requirements, ask the Admission Board permission to be admitted (for contact details see 'Contact'). Send the following documents:
    • Certified transcript in English of grades obtained so far
    • Your CV
  3. Register for the master before the application deadline via Studielink. In Studielink you select the Master of Law without the specialization, you can specify this later.
  4. After registering you will receive log-in details for VUnet. For help, refer to this document.
  5. Select the specialization which you want to do on VUnet and complete your application. Please note, you only have to upload these documents:
    • transcript of records of your previous academic education; 
    • a copy of your passport; and 
    • a passport photo.
      So, not the complete set of documents noted on the central admission information pages.
  6. You generally receive a decision within 3 weeks after your application was completed on VUnet.

More information on the application process.

You will receive practical information regarding the start of the programme during the summer.

Admission / Application/ International services
masters.law@vu.nl (Laura Smit)
Details programmecontact@vu.nl
Tuition, Studielink, VUnetStudent Desk
Information days, general questionscontact@vu.nl


Information days
Visit our VU Master's event and get acquainted with our Master's degree programmes. Our students and staff are available to help you with all your questions during the information sessions and at the information market.
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