The Master’s programme in Public International Law aims at deepening students’ knowledge and skills of international law and provides direct insights into the activities of the United Nations and other international organizations. With the Master’s degree, students acquire the ability to perform demanding legal tasks in the global environment, working for national and supranational authorities, non-governmental organizations, international courts as well as other dispute resolution mechanisms.
The Registration deadline for non-EU Citizens to study on-site in Vienna is April 15th, 2024.
The Registration deadline for EU Citizens to study on-site in Vienna and for for online courses is September 15th, 2024.
The programme is conducted in cooperation with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research – UNITAR). Headquartered in Geneva (Switzerland) UNITAR is the official training arm of the United Nations thus adding a strong practical focus to the programme. The programme is the only LL.M. programme offered in cooperation UNITAR.
Apart from the legal qualifications, the joint Master in Public International Law also offers a direct connection to the United Nations and its agencies:
- experience the UN work environment in Vienna first-hand
- build personal relations with UN experts and staff members
- benefit from tailormade UN career development sessions
- gain support and access to entry points into the UN system
Participants have the flexibility to attend the program either in person in Vienna or online, providing diverse learning options tailored to individual preferences and circumstances.
If you decide to apply for this Master’s programme, please make sure that you fulfil the following requirements.
In order to proof the academic qualifications for this course, applicants must hold:
- At least a Bachelor of Law degree (LL.B.)
In special circumstances, applicants who are practicing lawyers and/or passed the bar exam in their respective countries may be admitted without a LL.B. (e.g. applicants that passed the First State Examination („Erstes Staatsexamen“) in Germany fulfil this requirement).
- A first academic degree in a related field with a law component
Related fields include, but are not limited to, the following:
- International Relations
- Political Sciences
- International Business
- Human Rights
2. English skills
Applicants for the Master’s programme Public International Law must also provide evidence of English language skills at least at a C1-level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages of the Council of Europe. The proof can be provided in the form of an internationally recognized, standardized language test.
The language level C1 corresponds to a score of at least
- 500 on the TOEFL Paper-based Test (pBT)
- 80 on the TOEFL Internet-based Test (iBT)
- 627 on the TOEFL ITP Plus for China at Level 1
- 6,5 on the IELTS Academic Module
- 105 on the Duolingo English Test
- 176 for the Cambridge Certificate English C1 Advanced (CAE)
The following applicants are not required to provide proof of language proficiency.
- applicants whose native language is English
- applicants who have obtained their high school diploma in an English-speaking country or at an English-speaking school in their home country
- graduates who have completed a university programme on at least Bachelor’s level (in presence) at a recognized post-secondary educational institution in an English-speaking country or one that teaches its courses in English
- employees of the United Nations and its affiliated international organizations
- employees with a job reference from their employer, that states that the main working language within the organization is English
3. Professional Experience
This Master Programme requires professional experience.
- Applicants with an LL.B. or equivalent law degree must prove at least two years of professional experience in a legal field by the start of the programme. Experience during legal traineeship, e.g. Austrian Gerichtsjahr or German Referendariat, will be considered.
- Applicants that hold a first academic degree from a related field (see –Pre-studies) require three years of professional experience within the UN, another international organisation or a NGO.
Please make sure that you fulfil all three requirements before you apply!
Find a quick checklist below to see if you qualify:
- Academic qualification (LL.B. or related Bachelor with at least 12 ECTS in legal courses)
- English C1 (or equivalent)
- Professional work experience (2 years for lawyers, 3 years for qualifying Bachelors in relevant environments)
Procedure of the admission process
Step 1: Please click on the “Apply Online” button at the top of this page
Step 2: Please register, fill out the online forms and upload the required documents
For proof of general personal data:
- letter of motivation (at least half a DIN A4-page)
- copy of your passport or identity card
- high school diploma
To prove academic qualifications (see Admission requirements, 1. Pre-Studies):
- degree certificate
To prove English proficiency (see Admission requirements, 2. English proficiency):
- English certificate OR
- proof of English as main medium of instruction at your university
This requirement doesn’t apply for native speakers or applicants that work in mainly English speaking environments.
To prove professional work experience (see Admission requirements, 3. Professional Experience):
- Curriculum Vitae
- proof of work experience (Certification of Service)
For administrative purposes:
- payment confirmation of the admission fee
Step 3: Invitation for an admission interview
Step 4: Signing of the contract
An official letter of acceptance can only be issued once the contract is signed and 50% of the first semester fee (4,000€) has been paid.
Start in winter semester:
Registration deadline for non-EU Citizens to study on-site in Vienna: April 15th, 2024
Registration deadline for EU Citizens to study on-site in Vienna and for for online courses: September 15th, 2024
Start of lectures: October 2nd, 2024
Successfully completed courses at other higher education institutions can be recognized as long as they are part of the Public International Law curriculum. In case of recognition, the tuition fees will be reduced. Nonetheless, students are welcome to attend courses that have already been credited (free of charge) in order to refresh their knowledge. The recognition is carried out by analogous application of sec. 78 para. 1 and para. 3 of the Austrian Universities Act (UG) 2002.
Please send us your collective certificate in advance by e-mail to: email@example.com
Study Structure and Content
The Public International Law program offers both in-person and fully online attendance options. The program’s structure and goals remain consistent across both formats.
The Master’s programme Public International Law is divided into four modules to which the courses are assigned to as follows:
Module 1: Core Fields of Public International Law
- Sources and Principles of Public International Law
- International Organizations Law
- International Humanitarian Law
- International Human Rights Law
- Recent Challenges in Public International Law
Module 2: Theory and Practice of Global Diplomacy
- Theories of International Relations
- Introduction to Global Diplomacy
- Introduction to the Work of the United Nations
- Conflict Analysis and Resolution
Module 3: Legal Thinking and Communication in International Contexts
- Comparative Public Law
- Europe as an Actor under International Law
- Negotiation Skills and Techniques in Intercultural Contexts
- English Report Writing Skills
Module 4: Examination Phase
- Master Seminar
- Master Thesis
- Oral Examination
The Master’s programme has a strong focus on practice. It starts with a UN Immersion Week at the Vienna International Center (VIC), where students get a first hand experience of the United Nations.
As several courses are implemented by UNITAR, instructors are highly experienced practitioners in the diplomatic field. These include current and former ambassadors, high-level UN staff or other distinguished individuals from the public and private sector. The contents of the specific courses along with the study plan are presented in detail in the Module Handbook. Overall, the programme aims, to provide students with theoretical knowledge and practical skills, and aims to guide them towards independent academic work and employment with recognized international actors.
The Master in Public International Law is a university programme designed to deepen students’ knowledge of existing international law and its foundations, to provide insight into international relations and the activities of global actors, namely international administrations, and to impart practical skills for working in global contexts.
The programme brings together international students from different cultural contexts, who exchange views on global challenges and possible solution strategies under academic guidance. It deepens students’ interest in working for international organizations, especially under the umbrella of the United Nations.
The programme helps to connect future leaders in the international sphere. It qualifies students for a doctoral programme in international law and provides proof of advanced knowledge of the English legal language on the job market.
Occupational Fields and Career Opportunities
The Master’s programme in Public International Law does not aim to prepare students primarily for access to a regulated profession (lawyer, public prosecutor, judge, and notary). Rather, the international scope of the degree programme opens up a wealth of career prospects.
Potential employers include first and foremost international organizations, such as the United Nations, which in the form of UNITAR as a cooperation partner of the programme implements a significant part of the master´s curriculum.
Other potential future employers could be the European Union, foreign ministries of student´s respective countries or other government bodies in general. For those who already have access to the regulated professions, the Master Public International Law can also serve as an additional qualification.
Graduates of the Master’s programme are also potential employees for internationally operating companies and law firms. Legal advisory work outside the traditional legal professions as well as work for a chamber, an association or a foundation present further career possibilities.
The total tuition fees are limited to the number of semesters of the standard duration of studies (Master Public International Law: 2 semesters).
Extending the programme by one year does not increase the total cost of the programme.
Costs: 8,000 € / semester
Application fee: 200 € (payment as part of the online application)
Sigmund Freud Privatuniversität Wien GmbH
IBAN: AT86 1813 0310 0096 0007
If the study programme is a further education or retraining measure, the tuition fees can be claimed under the Income Tax Act. The entire fees are then tax-deductible.
Prof. Dr. Diana zu Hohenlohe, LL.M.
Head of the Master programme Public International Law
University Professor of Public Law, European Law, and Public International Law