Frequently Asked Questions

What LL.M. programmes does the Irish Centre for Human Rights offer?

The Irish Centre for Human Rights offers three specific LL.M. programmes in International Human Rights Law, International Criminal Law and Peace Operations, Humanitarian Law and Conflict.  In addition the Centre offers an LLM by research programme.
These are postgraduate qualifications in Law. The programmes are taught by the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Law Faculty of the National University of Ireland, Galway. While the courses are designed to deliver the skills necessary to obtain qualifications in international human rights law and peace support operations, the Centre welcomes inter-disciplinary applicants with backgrounds in related fields.

How long does it take to obtain the LL.M. degree?

The programme can be undertaken full time over the course of one calendar year (starting in September each year) or part time over two calendar years (also starting in September). To complete the degree candidates are required to obtain 90 credits, which are usually distributed for four pieces of guided coursework of 15 credits each and a dissertation worth 30 credits.

LLM by research take two years to complete (full time) or four years (part time)

How many courses are required to complete the LL.M. programme?

Candidates are required to undertake a minimum of four courses of 15 credits each and to complete a dissertation worth 30 credits. There are also a number of courses that consist of 10 credit or 5 credit modules.   Whilst there are required modules for each of the LLM programmes, there is significant flexibility in choosing optional courses.  The requirement is that for each semester the total number of credits is equal to 30 for full time students and 15 for part time.
Students cannot take in excess of 30 credits per semester (or 15 if part time) but depending on space, they are welcome to sit in on additional classes.

What is the calendar for the programme?

September First Term
  Choice of Modules
  Commencement of classes
December Submission of all written assessments
January Second Term
  Receipt of results
  Commencement of classes
May Submission of all written assessments
  Start of Dissertation term
July Deadline for submission of dissertation
September    Final Exams Board Meeting
October Graduation Ceremony


How can I apply for the programme?

Applications must be completed online at:  Students must ensure that the registration fee of €35.00 is paid.

What is the closing date for admissions?

The Centre's application system operates on a rolling basis. Once a complete application is submitted online, we aim at issing a decision within two weeks. It is strongly encouraged that students submit their applications as early as possible. The programme has a limited capacity and once quota is reached, students who are accepted may be subject to a wait-list. As well, non EU students requiring a visa (see separate section for information for non-EU students) also should apply early to allow sufficient time for Visa processing.

When can I expect to be notified about successful entry into the programme?

Successful applicants will be notified of their acceptance to the programme as quickly as possible. We have endeavoured to send out acceptance notices 2 weeks after the submission of a complete application. They will thereafter be expected to pay a deposit to secure their place at a date specified on their acceptance letter.

Please note that we also endeavour to send out decisions by email, therefore please ensure that the email address that you list on your application form is current, will accept emails from general email addresses and is clearly written on the form.

What are the fees for the programme?

Please refer to the Fees and Grants Office website for the most up to date information regarding fees or consult the following direct links:

Please note: fees are correct at the time of online publication, but are subject to change (E&EO); non-E.U. fees must be paid in full prior to registration.

Who are the faculty who teach on the programme?

The following permanent Faculty teach on the programme. In addition the Centre is successful in attracting high quality lecturers throughout the year, besides drawing on Faculty from other departments & Universities. The profiles of Faculty members are available here.  

  • Professor Siobhán Mullally
  • Professor Ray Murphy
  • Professor Shane Darcy
  • Dr. Ekaterina Yahyaoui Krivenko
  • Dr. Anita Ferrara
  • Dr. Ciara Smyth

Who awards the final degree and when?

The final degree is awarded to candidates who successfully meet the requirements set out by the programme. The degrees are awarded through the Law Faculty by the National University of Ireland, Galway, at a ceremony held in Galway in November of each year.

Is it possible to spend a single term at the Irish Centre for Human Rights?

While the Centre does occasionally accept visiting students, interested candidates on programmes at other Universities need to contact the Administrator of LL.M. programme for more details.

What kind of academic background is required for entry into the programme?

While it is preferable that candidates to the LL.M. programme have a law degree the programme is genuinely inter-disciplinary and welcomes people from a variety of backgrounds. This is partly due to the fact that the study of human rights law takes into account several different academic disciplines. Thus the following categories of candidates can be discerned who would be eligible for entry into the programme (for more accurate indicators of this please see the Law Faculty Calendar, available from the Admissions Department). 

a) Candidates with a law degree, having achieved 2:1 (or equivalent) in that law degree. 
b) Candidates with a law degree who have not achieved a 2:1 (or equivalent) but can demonstrate human rights involvement. 
c) Candidates with a degree in a related subject (politics, anthropology, sociology, history etc.) who have achieved a 2:1 (or equivalent) in their degrees.

The class is generally selected to reflect a good mixture between law and non-law students, with the emphasis on academic excellence and relevant work experience.

Is there an English language requirement?

Students should note that the LLM course is instructed in English. The University requires that students are able to effectively engage in English in order to successfully complete the course (all exams are in the English language). Therefore, prospective students (not being native English speakers) are required to undertake an English language course before undertaking the LLM. The required scores are as follows: IELTS: 6.5; TOEFL (paper-based): 580; TOEFL (computer-based): 240; and TOEFL (internet-based): 92.

What if I have been outside of academia for several years and wish to apply for one of the LL.M. programmes?

The Centre has frequently had applications and accepted students who have worked professionally and then have opted to return to academia. We factor in work experience and contributions the programme would make to the individual and the individual would make to the programme when reviewing such applications. Under these circumstances, letters of references from employers (as opposed to strictly academic references) are considered. Equally, if the applicant can demonstrate a strong professional background working in the field of human rights, this is taken into consideration if the students fails to meet the otherwise strict 2.1 academic requirement.

If I have applied to the programme in a previous year and have been accepted but have (for whatever reason) not attended, can I reactivate that old application?

The answer is no. You must apply again. The University does not allow for applications from previous years to be used again. Unfortunately, this applies even in cases where the student was denied a Visa, which resulted in their inability to attend. The application process is quite easy and references used in previous applications can again be noted on the application form but students must again undergo the application process.

What are the possible career opportunities upon graduation from the LL.M. programme?

This question is often asked by both incoming and prospective students. The short answer is that the degree is very much what you make of it. That is, students who have taken full advantage of the opportunities presented during the course of the year (to engage in projects, undertake internships, or publications) have found themselves well positioned to enter into the job market. The human rights field is a competitive market and students in the programme are encouraged to obtain as much practical, as well as academic experience as possible whilst in the programme. Securing a place in the human rights field necessitates initiative and will likely entail several minor placements before securing the desired position. That said, students who have undertaken and successfully completed the programme tend to fall into one of four categories 1- those who work within UN or UN affiliated organisations 2- those who work in NGO and quasi NGOs--both human rights and development 3- those who work in academic institutions or pursue of PhD/JD 4- those who work in diplomatic or government based work (in human rights divisions of the Dept of Foreign Affairs, for example).

Underneath these umbrella categories, students have pursued work in the ICC, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, ICRC, the UN system (Geneva and NYC), local based NGOs, trade and health organisations, domestic law firm work that draws on international legal mechanisms, and research based work in University research centres, to name but a few. The main and sub categories are by no means exhaustive, but give a flavor of the different fields that students have pursued.

Again, the question can only be answered in the general sense as so much of a student's success in securing a position post LL.M. will depend on a variety of factors, which include the student's own initiative and how much they take advantage of the quite varied and rich projects and programmes that are available at the Centre. Engagement in these initiatives can provide valuable experience and opportunities to network.    

Does the Centre offer any support for graduates wishing to undertake internship?

The Irish Centre for Human Rights provides information and careers advice to students applying for internships, work placements and other career opportunities, after their LLM with relevant non-governmental and international organisations, judicial bodies or international human rights institutions. Internships allow students to put their LLM in to practice, as well as to provide much needed assistance to both local and international groups working in the field of human rights. Since the LLM programme began, the Centre has assisted approximately 150 students undertake internships in over twenty countries with a range of organisations, from the international criminal tribunals, UN agencies, local human rights NGOs and public interest litigation firms, international human rights organisations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and national human rights commissions, including those in South Africa, Cambodia, Mexico, Brazil and Northern Ireland. A number of students have gone on to obtain job placements with these organisations after the completion of their internship.


 Ritika Pillai

I chose to study at the Irish Centre for Human Rights particularly because of the wide range of different subjects that they offered for the course which I did not find in most other universities. The one to one interaction with the professors helped me understand the subject very well. All the students and the staff have been very welcoming and the multicultural nature of the class makes for very interesting discussions. Overall, my study at the Centre has made me feel a lot more confident in my future career in the field of human rights.

 Fiona McCarry

I chose to study at the Irish Centre for Human Rights because of their reputation for teaching excellence and the unique LLM programme in Peace Operations, Humanitarian Law and Conflict which allowed me to specialise in my areas of interest. The Centre provides a warm and friendly study environment. The great support system at the Centre provides a network that compliments the career development-focussed approach to teaching and encourages student participation.

 Johanna Grzywotz

I chose the ICHR due to its magnificent reputation in the field of International Criminal Law. The variety of courses taught not only offers the chance to get a good overview of the topic but also makes it possible to specialise in a particular field. The small classes allow for motivated discussions and personal, familiar relationships between the staff and the students. The fact that students from all over the world attended the lectures broadened my knowledge and understanding of different legal systems and led to a refreshing exchange of perspectives during the many ‘round-table’ discussions in class.