Course Overview

The LLM in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy is unique in the world as an innovative and internationally focused LLM dealing with the process of law reform in the field of disability. The programme delivers a solid grounding for future practitioners, policymakers and academics in the field of disability reform.

The introduction of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has resulted in significant changes in the area of disability law and policy. Our graduates will be among the first to be skilled in this growing area of law and policy.

This programme will be of interest to students who have completed a primary law degree, legal practitioners, public servants, disability and human rights advocates and people working in disability services.

Course highlights:

  • Prestigious internships based in Geneva with the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are exclusively offered to two of our students. Interns will complete research to support the UN Committee’s work and will have the chance to participate and observe Committee sessions.
  • Unique qualification achieved as no other university offers a similar programme. This LLM is innovative, pioneering and provides specialist education for our students. 
  • Expert Lecturers with national, European and international teaching and research profiles deliver the programme.
  • The Centre for Disability Law and Policy (CDLP) is the only research centre of its kind in Ireland dedicated to producing research that informs the debate on national and international disability law reform and policy.
  • Skills development is a key focus of this programme.  Modules develop expertise and an ability to critically appraise issues faced by law and policy-makers in this rapidly changing environment.
  • Guest lectures from practitioners and international experts on current challenges around disability policy and reformStudents are also encouraged to attend the conferences, seminars and events run by the CDLP.
  • A Minor Thesis is completed by students on a topic of their choice under close supervision by leading national and international experts.
  • Career Support is provided through professional workshops concentrating on students CV and interview skills.  Careers in Law Week also provides an opportunity to meet partners from leading law firms.
  • 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

Academic staff from NUI Galway including Dr Eilionóir Flynn, Dr Shivaun Quinlivan, Dr Lucy-Ann Buckley, as well as international guest speakers such as Ms Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, and Professor Theresia Degener.

Requirements and Assessment

A range of assessment methods are utilised including essays, projects, reports, presentations and case studies. A dissertation must also be submitted in July.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Applicants must hold a Second Class Honours, Grade 1, degree (2.1) in law, or an interdisciplinary degree in which law was a major component. In exceptional circumstances, applicants holding a degree in another discipline or a degree of less than a 2.1 standard may be considered where they have relevant professional experience in law or disability rights. 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 2021

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date

Please view the offer rounds website.

NFQ level

Mode of study

Taught, via lectures, seminars, projects, and assignments.

ECTS weighting




Course code

1ML17, full-time; 1ML18, part-time

Course Outline

The mandatory modules address two issues, firstly, to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the core foundational themes in disability law and policy, secondly, to provide students with the necessary research skills to complete their programme of study. The optional modules address law and policy at international and regional level as well as some very topical subjects such as Legal Capacity, Independent Living, and Inclusive Education.

Students are required to take one mandatory subject: Foundational Theoretical Framework for Disability Law.  Thereafter students may choose five optional modules from a number of options including the following: Regional Disability Law and Policy; Law and Policy on Independent Living; Legal Capacity Law and Policy; Mental Health Law and Policy; Inclusive Education Law and Policy; Advocacy and Access to Justice; Contemporary Challenges in Disability Law and Policy; and International Human Rights Disability Clinic. Finally, over the summer months, students will complete a Dissertation on a subject of their choosing.

This course-load will be spread over two years for those opting for the part-time mode.

The benefit of studying this Masters lies in its uniqueness. Students will benefit from unprecedented access to international experts who participate in the programme throughout the year.

The programme is affiliated with the Centre for Disability Law and Policy (CDLP), which is recognised worldwide as a research centre of excellence at the School of Law, NUI Galway. The CDLP is dedicated to producing research that informs the debate on national and international disability law reform and policy. The formation of the centre coincided with one of the most intensive periods of disability law reform in Ireland as well as internationally. For more information visit

Module Details for the Full Time Course

Module Details for the Part Time Course

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 LW561: Mental Health Law and Policy - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW484: Law, Regulation & Policy - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW551: Contemporary Challenges in Disability Law and Policy - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW550: Advocacy and Access to Justice - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW562: Regional Disability Law and Policy - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW558: Legal Capacity Law and Policy - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW556: Law and Policy on Independent Living - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW553: Inclusive Education Law and Policy - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW575: Crime and Disorder - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5115: Medical Device Law and Regulation - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW5101: International Disability Human Rights Clinic - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW496: Local Government Law - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW493: The Criminal Jury - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW491: Equality Law: Principles & Thematic Application - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW485: Sentencing & Penal Policy - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW483: Advanced Legal Research & Method - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW488: Processes of Law Reform - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW439: Advocacy, Activism and Public Interest Law - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional LW486: Theories of Judicial Activism - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Required LW552: Foundational Theoretical Framework in Disability Law and Policy - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Required LW450: Dissertation - 30 Credits - Semester 1

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Graduates have found employment in a variety of areas, including work at the UN, in senior legal appointments, as lecturers, solicitors, and barristers, on the national advocacy board and human rights commissions, as government advisors and with non-governmental organisations.

Many of our graduates are leading change and law reform in disability law throughout the world. Graduates of the programme have also secured funding to pursue PhD research and are now working in universities around the world.

The majority of countries in the world are currently in the process of ratifying the new UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities creating a real demand for skilled knowledge workers to help states draft their legislation and policy in this field. This programme is aimed at those who work in governmental and non-governmental organisations as well as for those who wish to progress to doctoral research.

Graduates have been hired by such companies as the National Advocacy body, Inclusion International, and Zafod (disability public interest litigation firm in Zambia). Some have gone on to pursue further research either at CDLP or back in their home country, e.g., one graduate  embarked on the MSCA DREAM PhD programme (receiving funding for 3 years est. 36K salary per annum).

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€7,300 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Tuition

€7,076 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Non EU

€16,500 p.a. 2020/21

EU full-time programme: €7,500 p.a. (1ML17);  EU part-time programme: €3,705 p.a. (1ML18).

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 Eilionóir Flynn
T: +353 91 495 888

Queries about this and other LLM programmes in the School of Law can also be directed to

What Our Students Say


Elizabeth Kamundia |    

The LL.M in International and Comparative Disability Law and Policy offered at the NUI Galway is fantastic! It has equipped me with an in-depth understanding of disability human rights, and the opportunity to study under world renowned experts in disability is one not to be passed up! The programme attracts students from all over the world, creating an exchange of perspectives and realities that is truly stimulating. It avails of numerous conferences to enrich student experience, and last but not least, the school is situated in the beautiful seaside town of Galway. I would highly recommend it!

Charlotte May-Simera |    

I think this course has provided me with the necessary tools to understand the development of disability law and policy across the globe. Not only has it provided a detailed insight and understanding of the purpose and implications of the UN CRPD, it has also addressed contemporary, practical everday life issues that effect persons with disabilities. I feel well equipped to address any disability issues, whther legislative, theoretical or practical. Embedded within the Centre of Disability Law and Policy, this course greatly benefitted from an active environment and experts that worked in the centre.

Aisling Glynn |    

This is an exceptionally interesting course. The modules are unique and the lecturers are extremely knowledgeable, enthusiastic and approachable. I particularly like the emphasis on applying law and policy into practice in order to positively impact on the lives of disabled people


Former President of Ireland, Dr Mary Robinson pictured with Elizabeth Kamundia. Elizabeth was the recipient of the Gold Medal for finishing top of the inaugural graduating class of the LLM (International and Comparative Disability Law).


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