Course Overview

The LL.M in International Migration and Refugee Law is the only course of its kind on offer in an Irish university.  This unique programme enables students to develop their knowledge of international and regional law, policy and practice as it relates to the phenomena of international migration, human trafficking and refugee law.

Students can combine the study of international migration with specialised modules in international humanitarian law and peace operations, business and human rights, gender and law, child rights, international criminal law, advocacy, activism and strategic litigation, transnational lawyering, post-conflict justice, Islam and human rights.

This programme will be of interest to those who wish to develop specialised legal practice skills in the expanding field of migration and asylum law and human rights.  For those already working in the area of international migration/refugee law, you will develop a more solid conceptual and knowledge base to enhance that role.

Course Highlights:

  • The Irish Centre for Human Rights is one the world’s premier university-based institutions for the study and promotion of human rights.  
  • Expert Lecturers deliver programme modules.  Our academics are internationally recognised scholars with world-class expertise and strong records of engagement and impact in the fields of international migration, human trafficking and refugee law. 
  • Unique qualification on the practice of migration and refugee law through specialised modules, clinical lawyering and advocacy training.
  • Excellent networks and links to leading international organisations and practitioners. 
  • Skills development is enhanced through practice-oriented teaching, allowing students to specialise in oral and written advocacy (legal and policy), strategic litigation, fact-finding and international development and transnational lawyering clinical skills.
  • Seminars and workshops with leading international practitioners in migration and refugee law and policy.
  • Career Support with targeted career advice and assistance in seeking internship and work placement opportunities.
  • Field trips to the Hague and / or Strasbourg to visit leading international law institutions are optional.  
  • Assessment is primarily through research papers, presentations and minor thesis rather than exams.

LLM Welcome

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

The Irish Centre for Human Rights welcomes students with undergraduate Level 8 degrees in disciplines such as law, political science, international relations, international development or social sciences. In cases where applicants come from a non-law background, the Irish Centre for Human Rights will consider academic background, relevant work experience, references and a personal statement. Applicants must normally have attained at primary degree level a result of Second Class Honours Grade 1 or equivalent. However, those falling short of this standard may be considered where they can demonstrate other appropriate academic accomplishments as well as relevant work experience.

International students should refer to the country specific information section of the International Office website.

Additional Requirements


1 year, full-time; 2 years, part-time

Next start date

September 2019

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date

See offer rounds website for information.

NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting



Course code

1ML30, full-time; 1ML31 & 1ML32, part-time

Course Outline

The one-year programme is divided into three four-month terms. The first term commences in September and runs through to December, the second term begins in January and ends in April, while the third term begins in May and terminates with the submission of a dissertation in mid-July. During the first two terms candidates are required to attend a full course load as prescribed in the Guidelines, while the third term is devoted entirely to the research required for the preparation of the final dissertation.

The two-year programme comprises part-time study, combining two semesters of course work the first year with a third semester the second year, devoted entirely to the research required for preparation of a final dissertation.

Students will undertake two core modules: one in International Migration Law and one in International Refugee Law.  These modules are taught by academics who are active researchers in the area of migration and/or refugee law and whose work has significant policy and practical impact at the national, regional and international levels.  Guest speakers who work in the field will also contribute to some seminars.  

Students will also undertake a number of optional modules and can choose from a wide suite of options, including a module on the Common European Asylum System and on human trafficking, as well as various human rights, international criminal law and international humanitarian law modules.

The degree of Master of Law in International Migration and Refugee Law is awarded by the School of Law at the National University of Ireland Galway.

Curriculum Information

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
Some courses allow you to choose subjects, where related modules are grouped together. Subjects have their own required number of credits, so you must take all that subject's required modules and may also need to obtain the remainder of the subject's total credits by choosing from its available optional modules.
A module you may choose to study.
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Required Core Subject
A subject you must study because it's integral to that course.
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year, so a three-year course will have six semesters in total. For clarity, this page will refer to the first semester of year 2 as 'Semester 3'.

Year 1 (90 Credits)

Optional LW5110: International Human Rights Law Clinic - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5111: Business and Human Rights 2 - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5112: Human Rights and Global Governance - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW451: Introduction To International Human Rights Law - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW458.I: International Humanitarian Law And Human Rights - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5106: Economic Social and Cultural Rights - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5107: International Child Rights - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW547: Human Rights Field Work: Law and Practice - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW548: Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Required LW450: Dissertation - 30 Credits - Semester 1
Required LW5105: Contemporary Issues in International Migration Law - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Required LW5114: International Refugee Law - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Required LW5113: The Common European Asylum System - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Required LW5109: European Migration Law - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW469: International Peace Support Operations - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW520: Introduction to International Criminal Law - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW531: Introduction to Public International Law I - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW385: European Human Rights - 5 Credits - Semester 2
Optional LW432: Business & Human Rights 1 - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW455: Minority Rights - Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW456: Gender And Human Rights - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW470: Conflict & Post Conflict Studies - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW471: International Humanitarian Law - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW475: Field Experience Assignment - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW525: Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights - Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW530: Procedure Before International Criminal Courts - Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW538: Transitional Justice - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW546: Contemporary Issues in Human Rights III - 5 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW416: Contemporary Issues in Human Rights I - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW417: Contemporary Issues in Human Rights II - 10 Credits - Semester 1

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

The LL.M in International Migration and Refugee Law is an ideal programme for those who wish to work with domestic, regional or international non-governmental or inter-governmental organisations specialising in migration or refugee protection, human trafficking or human rights law or policy. 

For those interested in pursuing PhD research, students will identify a suitable research question, method and theoretical framework for that research.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€7,000 p.a. 2019/20

Fees: Tuition

€6,776 p.a. 2019/20

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2019/20

Fees: Non EU

€15,500 p.a. 2019/20
Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant—please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224.

Find out More

Dr Ciara Smyth (Programme Director)
T: +353 91 492 917

Luke Hamilton |   PhD student in International Refugee Law and LLM Graduate

I always thought that I wanted to work in the human rights field. However, it was through studying refugee law at the Irish Centre for Human Rights that my interest really crystallised. The interactive lectures and supportive staff inspired me to work towards a career promoting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. I am currently applying the knowledge gained from my LLM studies in my work as Legal Officer with the Irish Refugee Council’s Independent Law Centre where I provide legal advice to people seeking asylum in Ireland. I remain very-much involved in the life of the Centre as I am also in the process of completing a PhD in International Refugee Law there, funded by the Irish Research Council.


  • Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2019

    Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2019 PDF (12.6 MB)

  • Postgraduate Programmes 2019-20

    Postgraduate Programmes 2019-20 PDF (4.7 MB)

  • School of Law Postgraduate Prospectus 2019

    School of Law Postgraduate Prospectus 2019 PDF (4mb)