Law, by itself, is a challenging field to undertake but studying international law brings that up by a notch. Thankfully, though, we have compiled this list of some of the best international law schools around the world.

What’s the Difference Between an LLM and JD Degree?

In the United States, a JD degree allows its holder to sit for the bar exam and be qualified to practice law. Generally speaking, a JD degree requires three years of training in Law School. An LLM or a Master of Law degree is for non-law graduates who want to enhance their legal knowledge or JD holders who wish to expand their knowledge on a particular topic or branch of law. If you are interested in either degree, you can check out the best Law Courses for international students from your country on our Law Courses Page, or you can check out our Open Courses Page for courses that might be of interest to you.

See Also: Best Countries to Study International Law

Top International Law Schools in the World

1. Harvard University

A well-known and prestigious Ivy League institution in Massachusetts, Harvard University is one of the best international law schools in the world. Its law school, founded in 1817, has the largest academic law library in the world.  The admission procedures for this institution are very demanding and students most of the time need tips for getting into Harvard Law School.

The Harvard Law School offers the following programs: Juris Doctor, Master of Laws, and Doctor of Juridical Science. Besides these, they also offer special joint degree programs in law and business, law and government, law and public health, law and urban planning, and J.D./LL.M joint degree program of Harvard Law and the University of Cambridge.

In Harvard Law School, all Juris Doctor students must take up an international or comparative law class at some point to fulfill a program of study requirement. This gives them insight into different cases around the globe through immersions and projects conducted abroad.

2. University of Oxford

The University of Oxford in England is among the world’s most prestigious and oldest universities. Its roots go back to 1096 and have since then established a reputation for academic excellence in many fields, including law.

The University of Oxford’s Faculty of Law offers a part-time degree program for aspiring lawyers and human rights advocates who want to focus on international law. This degree is the MSt in International Human Rights Law, which can be accomplished within two academic years.

The MSc in International Human Rights Law aims to mold the students at this excellent international law school to be knowledgeable in international human rights laws’ depth, application, and implementation. It is delivered through online learning and summer residentials in New College, Oxford.

3. University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is considered an offshoot of the University of Oxford, leading to many similarities between these two institutions. The two are even dubbed ‘Oxbridge.’ It is also among the world’s most known and oldest universities, founded in 1209.

The university’s Faculty of Law offers a Postgraduate Diploma in International Law, which can be undertaken within two years and either through full-time or part-time studies. Students must accomplish a dissertation to be awarded the degree. This course aims to impart to students the knowledge to conduct research on international law, develop skills relevant to their research, and participate in innovative work.

Besides the said postgraduate diploma, the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Law also offers an undergraduate degree (BA Tripos Degree in Law) and postgraduate degrees (Master of Law, Masters in Corporate Law, Doctorate in Law).

Learn More: How to Apply to the University of Cambridge

4. Yale University

Like Harvard University, Yale University is also a private, Ivy League Institution. This university was founded in 1701 in New Haven, Connecticut, and is the third-oldest higher education institution in the United States.

Students at Yale’s Law School may choose from the five degree programs it offers. These programs are Juris Doctor, Master of Laws, Doctor of the Science of Law, Master of Studies in Law, Doctor of Philosophy in Law, and Joint Degrees with other schools and departments.

The university’s law school also has an International Laws Program that brings together and oversees the many programs that engage with international law. It helps students of this prestigious international law school find opportunities within and outside the law school. They also offer traditional courses, workshops, student-generated courses, clinical courses, and other options.

5. Stanford University

Among the best international law schools, Stanford University is located in Stanford, California, and is part of the top schools worldwide.

In international law, Stanford University’s Law School offers a Master of Laws Program specializing in International Economic Law, Business, and Policy. It aims to provide expert knowledge in international trade, dispute resolution, business transactions, environmental law, and other matters that affect international business. However, only students with a primary law degree from outside the United States are allowed into the program.

Their law school also offers the Stanford Program in International Legal Studies. This leads to completing a Master of Science in Law degree for students who earned their primary law degree outside the country. Besides these programs, they also offer other programs granting master’s degrees, a Juris Doctor program, and joint degrees.

6. The London School of Economics and Political Science

The London School of Economics and Political Science is a constituent college of the University of London. It was founded in 1895 but only started granting degrees in its name in 2008.

The institution’s law school offers various degree-granting programs, including an undergraduate law program (LLB), a Ph.D. program in law, and master’s programs (Executive LLM, LLM Master of Laws). They also offer a double degree program (LLB/JD).

Their law school considers its public international law programs an essential part of teaching and research. Undergraduate students are educated in general public international law and human rights. An advanced public international law course and other specialized courses are also offered to Master of Laws Students. Their faculty also oversees the research of doctoral students focusing on international law.

7. Columbia University

Columbia University in the City of New York, or Columbia University, is an Ivy League university established in 1754. It is one of the most ancient higher education institutions in New York and among the oldest in the United States.

Recognized as one of the most prestigious international law schools in the world, Columbia Law School offers the following degree-granting programs: Juris Doctor, Master of Laws, Executive Master of Laws, and Doctor of the Science of Law. They also have an area of study that focuses on international and comparative law.

8. University of California – Berkeley (UC Berkeley)

Founded in 1869, the University of California – Berkeley, more commonly known as UC Berkeley, is California’s first university in the state’s public research system.

The university is famous for ranking among the world’s top universities. UCC Berkeley has around fourteen colleges that house about 40,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students scattered around its 350-degree programs.

Its Law School is known for its excellence in teaching, backed by an internationally renowned faculty and 25 research centers. With such a high standard of education, UC Berkeley has cemented its status as one of the best international law institutes in the world. Prospective students can choose between the Three-year Juris Doctorate Program, Master of Laws, Doctor of Juridical Science, and Jurisprudence and Social Policy Ph.D. Doctorate Degree.

9. University of Chicago (UChicago)

The University of Chicago (UChicago) is a private research university established in 1890 based in Chicago, Illinois. UChicago is considered a leading institution that advanced development in several academic disciplines, and because of that, they are also very selective in choosing potential students.

The University of Chicago Law School offers prospective students an engaging learning environment designed to turn them into competent professionals. The Law School has over 170 courses, with 30 electives specializing in international and comparative law. Students pursuing a similar legal career can apply to UChicago’s JD Program and then continue through its LLM or JSD Programs.

10. Georgetown University

Founded as Georgetown College in 1789, Georgetown University is a private research university in Washington, D.C. The university is one of the top-rated universities in the USS and is ranked #22 out of 443 National Universities. Due to this, the university is famous for being highly selective of prospective students.

The university law school offers J..D/Ph.D. degree programs for students wanting to study American law and processes. For J.D. students that prefer getting into international law, they can apply for the LL.M. International Legal Studies and LL.M. International Business and Economic Law.

11. University of Amsterdam (UvAA)

Established in 1632, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is a public-funded research university in the Netherlands. UvA is famous for being the third-oldest university in the country and one of the largest research universities in Europe. It is also reputed to be one of the world’s top schools for aspiring international lawyers.

UvAA is also known for upholding excellent education within its curricula, specializing in many sciences and art degrees, particularly in linguistics, geography, economics, and finance. Most recently, their media and communication degree programs were ranked first by the QS Rankings in 2019.

The university offers a Master’s program in Public International Law where postgraduate students can deepen their understanding of general international law while considering their preferred specializations.

Check Also: Top International Law Schools in Europe

12. University College London (UCL)

Founded in 1827, the University College London (UCL) is a public research university in the United Kingdom. UCL’s Law School is considered one of the top law schools in the UK and has been pioneering the study and research of law for almost 200 years.

The university has also contributed to developing national and global laws. Students interested in learning about international law can apply for the Master’s program in Public International Law. Expert professors teach lessons here and ensure students receive up-to-date information and quality education.

13. New York University (NYU)

New York University (NYU) is a private research institution chartered in 1831 by the New York State Legislature. It is considered one of the top universities in the world, ranking 9th in the QS World University Rankings and other minor rankings spread across its 25 schools.

Notably, its Law School is famous for being an intellectual powerhouse. NYU Law School has more than 100 faculty members spread across its 300 courses and 16 areas of study and is backed by over 30 research centers.

Aspiring law students can enroll in the JDD degree program that branches out into eight specializations they can take.

14. University of Melbourne (Unimelb)

Founded in 1853, the University of Melbourne is a public research university in Victoria, Australia. It is known to be Australia’s second university and a member of the country’s Group of Eight. The university is also a member of the Universitas 21 and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities.

As one of the best schools for international law in the world, Unimelb’s Law School is a leader in domestic and international legal education, and students can expect a competitive learning environment within its campus grounds. The Law School offers a wide variety of study fields to aspiring law students, namely international humanitarian law, international criminal law, finance, tax, law, and development, or international arbitration.

Students interested in international law can take a Graduate Diploma in International Law and an LL.M. in Public and International Law.

15. George Washington University

Chartered by the United States Congress in 1821, George Washington University (GWU) is a private research university in Washington, D.C. It is most famous for being a research-intensive university and the most prominent college institution in the state.

Its GW Law School is also considered the oldest in Washington, D.C. At GW Law, the administration prioritizes training students in international legal theories and doctrines to be competitive and practical on the world stage.

The university offers JD programs, a general LLM program that can branch out to 11 specializations, and various JSD programs. And as well as several joint-degree programs. Aspiring postgraduate international law students can take over 50 specialized international and comparative law courses.

16. University of Helsinki

Established in 1829, the University of Helsinki is a public research university in Finland. It’s famous for being the oldest and largest university in the country that accommodates a wide variety of disciplines in its wing.

The university is spread across four main campuses, initially located in the heart of Helsinki. Still, due to rapid expansion, the university built additional facilities near the outskirts and surrounding boroughs of the city.

The university has three mediums of instruction, Finnish, Swedish, and English. The university offers two English-taught Master’s degree programs in International Business Law and Global Governance Law.

17. University of New South Wales

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) is a public research university established in 1949 in Sydney, Australia. The university is known for consistently joining the ranks of top universities, ranking 44th place globally in the QS World University Rankings and 67th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

UNSW’s Law and Justice School is the global frontrunner in law and criminology research in Australia for the past 50 years. This alone is a testament to why the university can be considered one of the top schools for international law in the world. UNSW offers a degree in the Master of Laws program where professors teach students with top-level teaching and guidance.


I hope that you found this article on the world’s best international law schools informative and helpful. Make sure to also check out the Law Programs for International Students to know more!

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