Course Overview

This unique programme enables students to develop their knowledge of international, regional and domestic law, policy and practice in the areas of migration, human trafficking and refugee law.  Since only non-citizens are directly subject to immigration and refugee law, the programme explores concepts of citizenship, statelessness and alienage.  It navigates and critically evaluates States’ attempts to regulate regular migration and to prevent, deflect and criminalise irregular migration.  The programme also deals with human trafficking and explores the root causes of and responses to the phenomenon.  Finally, the programme focuses on refugee law – a separate legal regime for people who are forced to migrate owing to persecution or other serious human rights violations in their country of origin.  In short, this LL.M exposes students to developments in the area of voluntary and forced migration, to the distinction between refugee and immigration law, to the phenomenon of ‘crimmigration’, whereby States increasingly treat immigrants as criminals, and to the tension between state sovereignty and the human rights of immigrants and refugees.  These developments are analysed from a variety of theoretical and policy perspectives.  Students can combine the study of international migration with specialised courses in international humanitarian law and peace operations, gender and law, child rights, and international criminal law.

The LLM programme offers unique training on the practice of human rights, through specialised modules on Advocacy, Litigation and Activism and Transnational Lawyering. The core teaching programme is supplemented with an exciting programme of guest seminars, workshops and conferences engaging with leading experts and practitioners in the field of refugee protection, human trafficking, international migration, human rights law and public policy.

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.

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.

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Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

This course is the only LL.M in International Migration and Refugee Law on offer in an Irish university.  The Irish Centre for Human Rights, as one of the world’s premier university-based institutions for the study and promotion of human rights, is uniquely placed to design and deliver this course.  The LL.M in international migration and refugee law will be of interest to 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;
  • 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, develop a more solid conceptual and knowledge base to develop that role;
  • For those interested in pursuing PhD research, 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
T: +353 91 492 917