Application deadline update
- Non-EU/EEA students: 1 May (the original deadline of 1 April has been extended due to COVID-19)
- EU/EEA students and students who do not need a study visa/residence permit through VU Amsterdam*: 1 June (the original deadline of 1 May has been extended due to COVID-19)
Security in a changing world
This one-year Master's programme aims at transferring to students the knowledge, skills and insight necessary to operate as a professional or academic researcher in the area of international peace of security. Issues of international peace and security are becoming increasingly important in legal, political and administrative practice. The concept of ‘international security’ is no longer confined to traditional issues of war and peace, but now also covers topics such as terrorism, criminal law, the protection of human rights and ‘human security’.
Develop a broad view of international security
The programme is based on the assumption that international law cannot be properly understood outside its political context, whereas contemporary international politics cannot be fully grasped without a solid knowledge of international legal institutions. It offers a multidisciplinary approach to the rapidly changing field of international peace and security. It includes topics such as the United Nations system of collective security, the transformation of war (including catastrophic terrorism and other forms of political violence), human rights protection, the development of international criminal tribunals and humanitarian law.
The programme has three basic characteristics:
- a multidisciplinary approach, combining international law and international relations;
- a thematic focus on international security;
- an interactive and international academic community where staff and students are engaged in research and the development of knowledge.
The Master’s programme in Law and Politics of International Security is an interdisciplinary, one-year programme that is offered jointly by the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Social Sciences.
In addition to lectures and seminars, you will have the opportunity to take advantage of all sorts of interesting activities that are organized regularly, such as guest lectures, conferences and excursions. Field trips to international organizations and international tribunals are an integral part of the programme. You will be encouraged to participate in extra-colloquial seminars with experts and practitioners in the field of international peace and security. The programme is taught entirely in English and consists of:
- Four compulsory courses
- Two elective courses
- A Master’s thesis
If you do not have sufficient background in International Relations Theory or Public International Law, then we strongly recommend selecting these two courses as electives.
The Master’s programme in Law and Politics of International Security offers a curriculum that focuses on international security from the perspectives of international law and international relations. Moreover, it provides insight into the common foundations of the two disciplines, the different methods and theories as well as the interplay between the two in the area of international security.
Earning a Master’s degree in Law and Politics of International Security means you will have a unique interdisciplinary qualification. Your knowledge of international public and humanitarian law will qualify you for a career in one of the many fields where the concept of security is most significant. At the same time, your analytical skills and understanding of international politics will make you uniquely qualified to find solutions to complex problems.
Graduates from the programme have found positions in the broad field of international security, such as:
- Non-Governmental Organizations (incl. Transparency International, Global Witness, Oxfam Novib)
- International Organizations (OSCE; United Nations; European Union)
- Private Security Firms (e.g. Legal Advisor for Maritime Security Provider)
- Law firms
- A court (judge in training / rechterlijk ambtenaar in opleiding)
- Universities (PhD positions at the European University Institute at Florence and the universities of Aarhus, Berlin, Prague, Westminster, Duisburg-Essen, Amsterdam)
- The International Committee of the Red Cross
Why VU Amsterdam?
The Master’s programme in Law and Politics of International Security brings together a select group of international students who share a keen interest in international law and international politics. It has attracted students from all over the world, including students from Afghanistan, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Uganda and the United States. If you enjoy discussing international security in a truly international environment, then this is the ideal programme for you. Because of the limited number of students admitted each year, you will get to know your peers from many different countries very well.
Compulsory courses are delivered in a seminar-like format to classes composed of a limited number of students and have an interactive character. Students are expected to actively contribute to the discussions, to elaborate and present their personal views, to write assignments on specific topics and to make oral presentations.
Research is emphasized throughout the programme. You will be introduced to different methodologies for carrying out independent research. Your Master’s thesis will give you the opportunity to really go in-depth in examining an international security topic that is of particular interest to you. Research is combined with practical activities and exercises such as role-playing and moot courts. You will be encouraged to become a member of the editorial board of the journal Amsterdam Law Forum.
Contemporary issues in international security are impossible to understand without a solid understanding of both international law and international politics. This is why only an interdisciplinary programme is suitable for providing future analysts and practitioners with the skills needed to work successfully in today’s security environment. The Master’s programme in Law and Politics of International Security is unique in offering an interdisciplinary approach, taught by staff from the departments of international law, political science and criminology.
Lecturers are primarily drawn from the Faculties of Law and Social Sciences of the VU Amsterdam. International scholars, senior professional and recognized experts in the field of security participate both as regular lecturers and as guest lecturers.
VU Amsterdam benefits from its unique location, right in an international city in the heart of Europe and a few miles from The Hague, where the Peace Palace, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and many international courts and tribunals are located.
This Master is selective and open to a limited number of students only. The Admissions Board selects on merit.
Factors which will be taken into account are:
- GPA or an overall grade average. Minimum requirement: B+ or 7.3 as an overall average or a GPA of at least 3.25
- a student's level of interdisciplinarity
- mark and content of the bachelor or master thesis
- relevant extra-curricular activities (e.g. internship and (voluntary) work)
- general impression of the candidate based on shown interest in international law, politics and security; letter of motivation; letter(s) of recommendation, and proof of academic writing
These criteria are of equal importance.
Applicants with a Bachelor's or equivalent degree in Law (LLB) can apply.
Your bachelor education is compared to and valued through the UK Naric comparison system and, if necessary, through the Nuffic comparison and validation programmes. Especially students from non-EU countries should factor in the possibility that a relevant Bachelor’s degree could not be sufficient to enter into this LLM programme and their application could result in a rejection.
Applicants with a Bachelor's degree Social Sciences or Liberal Arts and a basic knowledge of international law or international relations theory may apply.
Applicants who do not meet the abovementioned requirement(s) are also encouraged to apply, provided that they have a sound academic background and considerable experience in the field of Law, Social Sciences or Liberal Arts (which they can support with documentary evidence).
Your previous education is compared to and valued through the UK Naric comparison system and, if necessary, through the Nuffic comparison and validation programmes. Especially students from non-EU countries should factor in the possibility that a relevant Bachelor’s degree could not be sufficient to enter into this LLM programme and their application could result in a rejection.
You cannot apply on the basis of a degree from a University of Applied Sciences alone. The faculty does not offer a premaster for the LPIS Master.
For the master Law and Politics of International Security a minimum C1 proficiency in English is required. This requirement is met if no longer than two years before the start of the programme, the applicant has successfully completed one of the following examinations with at least the scores indicated:
- IELTS: minimum total score ≥ 7.0, minimum score per test section: 6.5
- TOEFL paper based test: 600
- TOEFL PBT: minimum total score 68, minimum score per test section: 22
- TOEFL iBT (internet based test): minimum total score ≥ 100, minimum score per test section: 22
- C1 Advanced (formerly Cambridge Advanced English): minimum score B
- C2 Proficiency (formerly Cambridge English: Proficiency): minimum score C
Exemption is granted to students who:
- have completed their secondary education or an academic degree in the Netherlands, UK, Ireland, Canada, USA, New Zealand or Australia; or
- have an English-language ‘international baccalaureate’ diploma; or
- have earned a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an accredited English-taught programme in the EU.
The proof of English proficiency can be submitted after the application deadline, but must have been received by the faculty before the start of the programme. Without an English proficiency test score which meets the specifications mentioned above or a waiver, you cannot start the programme.
Application is possible from 1 October. The application deadline is:
1 February for international students applying for one of the VU scholarships.
1 April for international degree holders from non-EU/EEA countries
1 June for degree holders from EU/EAA countries
International students applying for university accomodation are strongly advised to apply before 1 April.
- Register via Studielink.
- After registering you will receive log-in details for VUnet.
- Upload the following application documents via VUnet (preferably PDF format):
- certified copy of academic degree or if not yet graduated: declaration from your home university with an expected graduation date;
- certified transcript in English of grades obtained so far;
- curriculum vitae;
- letter of motivation, explaining your reasons for wishing to participate in the programme;
- proof of academic writing in English:
- Write a short essay, in which you discuss a current issue of ‘law and politics in international security’.
Please argue in about 750 words how this issue is relevant to the LPIS program, making use of relevant academic literature. Please include references (in-text or footnotes) and a full bibliography.
- Upload the essay as document type thesis; this is your proof of academic writing in English – do not submit your thesis itself! ;
- Write a short essay, in which you discuss a current issue of ‘law and politics in international security’.
- 2 letters of recommendation from academic referees (including the ranking position of the applicant and information on how they know the prospective student). We prefer digital copies uploaded in VUnet, but referees may also mail their references directly to firstname.lastname@example.org;
- copy of passport and copy of residence permit (if applicable);
- If applicable to you: send proof of English proficiency to email@example.com. This may be sent at a later stage (see Language requirements for details).
- As soon as all required application documents have been received, your dossier is submitted to the Admissions board. Please note that your dossier must be complete on the application deadline! Incomplete dossiers cannot be taken into consideration. The Admissions board may ask for additional information on your academic record if this is deemed necessary to come to a decision.
- You receive a decision according to the schedule below.
- If you have been admitted: finalize your application.
You will receive practical information regarding the start of the programme during the summer.
Overview Law and Politics of International Security.
- Language of instruction: English
- Duration: 1 year
- Application deadline: 1 June for Dutch and EU-students. 1 April for non-EU-students.
- Start date: 1 September
- Study type: Full-time
- Field of interest: Economics, Business and Law, Behavioural and Social Sciences
About the School
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,00 ... Read More