Master's Degree Programme in International Law and Human Rights


Program Description

Degree awarded: Politices Magister - Master of Social Sciences
Annual intake: 20

This two-year programme is designed to prepare its graduates for challenging careers in international and non-governmental organisations, public administration and academia, in the field of human rights law or another field of public international law. The programme consists of the following modules:

  • Compulsory courses in international law and human rights (40 credits) of which 20 credits are common for all students. In addition, students must study 20 credits in public international law. These courses may belong to the area of international human rights law, international refugee law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, general international law, or any other field of public international law.
  • A research seminar and a Master's thesis (40 credits).
  • Elective specialisation (20 credits) in one freely chosen subject, within public international law or any other subject at Åbo Akademi University.
  • Free elective studies (20 credits) which need not be in one subject only.

The degree awarded is Master of Social Sciences. However, the programme has a legal focus, corresponding to an LL.M. Degree.

Study Environment

The programme is offered by the Institute for Human Rights and the Chair of Public International Law, which is closely linked. The Institute for Human Rights is a renowned unit at Åbo Akademi University which conducts outstanding academic human rights research and offers research-based education together with national and international partners.

The courses and seminars are offered to small or medium-size groups of 15-30 students. Student learning is enhanced through an encouraging and supportive learning environment with close student-teacher interaction. Courses within the programme make use of a broad range of teaching methods.

Admission Requirements

The programme is open to all applicants holding a Bachelor's degree in law or another Bachelor's degree with at least 45 ECTS in law or other relevant subjects. The applicants should be familiar with the basics of public international law and/or constitutional law.

In case the applicant’s Bachelor’s degree diploma does not contain an evaluation of the academic merits of the applicant’s Bachelor’s thesis, a separate letter of evaluation by the thesis supervisor should be attached to the application. If the applicant’s Bachelor’s degree does not contain a graded Bachelor’s thesis or another equivalent academic research essay, it is recommended that the applicant supplements her/his application with a letter where a professor assesses the applicant’s academic writing abilities. Please note that a Bachelor’s thesis is not a requirement for applying to the programme.

Eligible applicants are assessed on the basis of their academic merits in relevant subjects (transcript of records including the evaluation of the Bachelor's thesis/academic research essay) and the motivation letter included in the application form. In the statement of purpose (motivation statement in the application form), the applicant should pay attention to her/his reasons for applying to the programme.

Applicants to the Master's degree programmes taught in English must always prove their knowledge of the English language. Most applicants need to prove their level of English through one of the following language tests: TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic. This regardless previous studies in English. For language requirements, please see

An applicant who has completed his/her Bachelor's degree in English at the Faculty of Law/School of Law at any of the programme's cooperation universities (such as Addis Ababa University, Makerere University, University of Nairobi, University of Pretoria, University of Stellenbosch) can be considered for the programme without submitting any of the required English language tests. Such students need to include in their application a letter from their teacher assessing the applicant's skills in the English language.

No entrance examination. Admission granted on basis of the application.

Tuition fee and scholarships

Finland has, from the beginning of 2017, introduced tuition fees for all master's programmes taught in English. The fees have been introduced for non-EU/EEA students starting their studies at an international master's programme from autumn 2017 onwards.

The tuition fees for the Master’s Degree Programme in International Law and Human Rights is 10 000€/ year.

For more information please see

In addition studying at Åbo Akademi University requires a Student Union fee (at the moment 121 € per year). This fee provides low cost health care for students, including medical care, dental care, and mental counseling. The fee also allows students reduced prices for domestic traveling. Insurance and funds to cover your stay are required by the Migration officials.

Scholarships are available for students applying to our master's degree programmes and liable for tuition fee. There are two categories:

  1. Tuition Fee Scholarship, covering 100 % of the tuition fee, awarded for 2 years (second year conditional)
  2. Tuition Fee Scholarship, covering 50 % of the tuition fee, awarded for 2 years (second year conditional)

The decision to grant a scholarship is based on:

  • the academic performance of the student in his/her previous studies,
  • how well the applicant meets the programme requirements
  • the answers the applicants have given in the application form

The application to our scholarships is included in online application form to our master's degree programmes.


For more information about

  • the international master's degree programmes in general, tuition fees and scholarships please see
  • the Migration Officials requirements please see
  • living in Finland and Turku (cost of life, education, working), please see

For further information regarding the application processes please contact, questions regarding specifically the programme can be sent to

How to apply?

For more information on the application requirements and procedures, tuition fee and scholarships, please see

Last updated Nov 2018

About the School

The task of Åbo Akademi University is to provide an open university environment for quality research and studies with a Nordic and international anchorage. Åbo Akademi University is particularly taske ... Read More

The task of Åbo Akademi University is to provide an open university environment for quality research and studies with a Nordic and international anchorage. Åbo Akademi University is particularly tasked with educating Swedish- speaking experts to satisfy the future needs in Finland. Read less
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