International Law Programs And Law Degrees Overview

If you are interested in studying law as it relates to the international community and international politics, there are various international law programs and law degrees available. 

A career in international law involves representing clients before important international organizations like the World Trade Organization or the International Court of Justice.

You may also pursue a career promoting environmental and human rights causes with international law programs and law degrees.

This article contains all available information on international law programs and law degrees.

International Law Programs And Law Degrees Overview

International law is the study and application of the body of laws, accords, and treaties that apply to all nations. 

International law is created when nations agree upon something, whether it be through treaty agreements or international agreements. 

Bilateral agreements only involve two nations, while multilateral agreements cover a large number of nations.

International law has numerous subcategories because it supports trade, common interests, justice, and peace.

One of the fundamental building blocks of the United Nations system and other countries is international law. 

It provides the framework for consistent, peaceful, and just interactions between States and their citizens. 

Private international law deals with interactions between nationals of various countries like for instance, a French woman and an American man who were wed in France and currently reside in Quebec. 

If they need to get a divorce, the principles of private international law will determine whether they should do so in a court in the US, France, or Quebec.

There are additional circumstances in which domestic law not only does not constitute international law but also runs counter to it.  

Top International Law Programs And Law Degrees

Juris Doctor With A Concentration In International Law

Various law schools allow students to pursue a J.D. while specializing in international law programs.

Both comparative law and international law are covered in these programs. 

Successful graduates in some schools receive a certificate, while others may receive honors in international law in addition to their J.D.

J.D. program applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, good LSAT scores, and provide personal recommendations. 

There are no requirements for declaring international law as a specialization, but applicants to law school may need to indicate their intention to combine.

Broad topics and specialized areas of international law are both covered in the course, such as:

  • Criminal law
  • Intellectual property law
  • Global trade
  • Climate change
  • Law of the European Union

Master Of Laws In International Law

Students can pursue a Master of Laws (LL.M.) program after completing a J.D. program because, in some law schools, candidates can earn both a J.D. in law and an LL.M. in international law. 

American graduate students and lawyers with foreign legal education can enroll in this program since they’ll get real-world experience through programs like international internships and study abroad.

A professional law degree (J.D.) from an American Bar Association-accredited law school is often required while for some programs, the equivalent from a foreign law school is acceptable.  

Students are exposed to the fundamental concepts of international law through their coursework, including human rights, international trade relations, and international regulation. 

Students may also have courses such as:

  • Ocean resources law
  • Human rights
  • International Taxation
  • Business law
  • Environmental law

Doctor Of The Science Of Law (J.S.D.) In International Law

The highest degree in law, the J.S.D., is available to those who are interested in international law and want to work in teaching and research. 

Similar to Ph.D. programs, those that grant the J.S.D. call for students to finish coursework and tests before creating a thesis based on original research with the help of faculty advisers. 

This program typically requires at least an additional four years of study and is started after the LL.M. program is finished.

When applying, students need to have a research topic and potential adviser in mind because a student’s research focus and the program’s structure will determine their coursework. 

For the most part, students will focus on research and a dissertation, with faculty advisers working with the student to determine any other specific coursework needed. 

Students may also be required to take one or two courses in areas like colloquium law.

International Law Programs And Law Degrees Employment And Salary Outlook 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of lawyers, in general, was expected to increase by 4% between 2019 and 2029, or about as quickly as the average for all occupations.

J.S.D. international law programs and law degrees are a great way to get a job teaching law, especially abroad.

According to the BLS, the median pay for law school instructors was $116,430 and the average pay for attorneys is $126,930.

International Law Programs And Law Degrees Employment Career Options

The foundations of practicing international law are taught to law students who earn a J.D. with a concentration in international law. 

While a J.S.D. provides students with the skills necessary to teach and conduct research in international law, an LL.M. in International Law enables students to focus on particular areas.

After completing these international law programs and law degrees, graduates will find employment in a range of governmental organizations as well as nongovernmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations, and private law firms. 

Various career settings include:

  • European Court of Human Rights
  • Amnesty International
  • European Commission
  • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  • Department of Justice


Students must hold a bachelor’s degree before enrolling in the three-year Juris Doctor program with a focus on international law. 

While for students who already have a J.D., the Master of Laws in international law takes an additional two years to complete.

Most applicants for the J.S.D. program must also hold an LL.M., although outstanding JD graduates may occasionally be accepted. 

The internships and study abroad programs must typically be completed for each of these international law programs and law degrees.


Which law school is best for international law?

  • Harvard University.
  • Columbia University.
  • Georgetown University.
  • Yale University.
  • The University of Virginia.
  • American University (Washington)
  • University of California–Berkeley.
  • University of Michigan–Ann Arbor.

Can I study law and international relations together?

You can study law in conjunction with another recognizable academic discipline through joint programs. You will take a variety of classes from the Law School and the School with which your program is combined for four years of study.

Is international law a good course?

Graduates of international law programs can find careers that are both stimulating and incredibly rewarding. The type of job you choose will determine your salary; these jobs can be long-term, project-based, or short-term. The job market is very competitive, so finding a job soon after graduation may not be simple.

Is international law in demand?

Jobs in international law are extremely competitive because the field is so well-known. Take a variety of international law courses as well as advanced coursework in the area of specialization you intend to pursue to put yourself in the best possible position to find employment in the field.

What jobs can you get if you study international law?

  • International lawyer.
  • Consultant.
  • Ambassador.
  • Diplomat.
  • Attaché
  • Foreign correspondent.
  • A legal officer within the international organisation.
  • NGO employee.

What are the 3 types of international law?

International Law can be broadly divided into three types: Public International law, Private International law and Supranational Law.

Who should study international law?

Studying international law can be a great fit for you if you love to travel, are passionate about learning about other cultures and collaborating across boundaries, and are deeply interested in geopolitics and the status of the globe.

What are the 4 international laws?

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979) United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982).

How many years does it take to study international law?

Although the minimum duration of an undergraduate degree program in international law is three years, many prestigious programs last four years to give students the chance to gain experience working in the legal sector abroad.

Is international law hard law?

A certain form of fundamental legal authority, notably in international law, is referred to as “hard law” in this context. It is best understood in light of its polar opposite, soft law. Hard law refers to legally binding and enforceable documents, such as ratified international treaties and U.N. resolutions.

Leave a Comment