8 Best International Law Programs

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by Gina DeRose / published 12.14.2019 / updated 1.13.2020

This is a ranking of the 8 Best International Law Programs in the United States. Studying International Law allows budding lawyers to understand the law globally. International Law covers any cross-border legal matters, like international business or human rights.

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Potential career paths for those with JDs in International Law include working at law firms, the federal government, international organizations, and non-profit groups. An international law degree doesn’t guarantee your work will always be international, but the education and critical skills you’ll gain in your specialization will aid your work in any practice.

Earning a JD or Master’s Degree in international law or public affairs automatically ushers you into a new echelon of careers and pay grades. It will be important to employers that you gain a solid foundation at a great law school and then begin to specialize in your field of interest.

At each law school on this list, there is room to customize coursework, and students should take advantage of internships and clerkships to bolster resumes and working knowledge of this field before graduation. See the schools after the list for notable programs that have had tremendous academic influence in the subject of International Law.

Best International Law Programs Ranking Guidelines


8 Best International Law Programs: School Ranking


1

Harvard University
Law School
Cambridge, Massachusetts

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School Type:
Private

Number of Online Programs:
None

Types of Online Programs:
None

Degree Information:
JD in International and Comparative Law

As one of the premier law school’s in the world, Harvard Law offers a vast array of JD specializations, including a JD in International and Comparative Law. There are over 100 related courses and reading groups available to students, as well as several research programs and centers, and specialized international opportunities for cultural immersion in foreign legal cultures.

The curriculum for the program maintains an ‘integrated internationalism’ which blends the study of both domestic and international law into each class. This allows students a measure of flexibility within their studies. In addition to ‘classical’ legal subjects’ students can also pursue specialization in areas such as human rights, global trade, or development finances. The program does not require a set course of study, but rather allows students to pursue what best fits their career goals.        

Credit requirements: Varies

Selection of courses offered:

  • Comparative Digital Property
  • Poverty, Human Rights, and Development
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Feminist Legal Theory
  • Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic
  • International Counterterrorism Law
  • Laws, Markets, and Religions

Admissions and transfer credit information: Potential law students must submit all prior transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a personal statement and resume, and LSAT or GRE scores. Students must also register for the LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service.

Admissions does accept transfer students with a minimum of one year of full-time study in a JD program.

Accreditation: Harvard University receives accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Accreditation:
Harvard University receives accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education.


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2

Yale University
Law School
New Haven, Connecticut

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School Type:
Private

Number of Online Programs:
0

Types of Online Programs:
None

Degree Information:
J.D. with area of interest in International Law

Yale Law School offers JD programs, graduate degrees including LLM, MSL, and PhD programs, and a joint JD-MBA program. Students may choose from a variety of areas of interests within each degree program such as Administrative Law, Environmental Law, Law and Health, and Law Teaching.

This particular review focuses on the J.D. with area of interest in International Law. In addition to the traditional class room experience, the curriculum encourages students to participate in experiential opportunities such as international legal exchanges. Related research centers and institutes include the Paul Tsai China Center, the Gruber Program for Global Justice and Woman’s Rights, and the Yale Law School Center for Global Legal Challenges.

Credit requirements: 83 units

Selection of courses offered:

  • International Human Rights Clinic
  • Comparative Law
  • Introduction to Transnational Law
  • International Trade Law
  • International Criminal Law
  • Public Order of the World Community
  • Comparative Constitutional Law

Program length: Three years

Admissions and transfer credit information: Students must submit previous academic transcripts showing an undergraduate degree from an accredited university along with a personal statement, 250-word essay, a minimum of two letters of recommendation, and LSAT scores.

Accreditation: Yale Law School receives accreditation from the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association.

Accreditation:
Yale University receives accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education.


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3

Columbia University
Law School
New York, NY

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School Type:
Private

Number of Online Programs:
54

Types of Online Programs:
Master's, Doctorates

Degree Information:
J.D. with a focus on International Business Law

Columbia Law offers the full array of legal studies for aspiring students. The J.D. with a focus on International Business Law is just one of many excellent programs. The specialization in International Business Law allows students to focus on law and the global economy. One highlighted program of the specialization is the Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership. This program brings research and academics together to help improve the long-term financing of public corporations.

Additionally, students have access to several research facilities such as the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution, the Center for International Commercial and Investment Arbitration and the Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy. Both the Law School and the Columbia Business School co-host the Richman Center which offers interdisciplinary research opportunities and events such as the Global Business Forum.

Other international opportunities and programs include study abroad and international dual degrees, social justice externships and fellowships, international journals, advanced graduate legal studies, and the visiting scholars’ program.     

Credit requirements: Varies

Selection of courses offered:

  • Civil Procedure
  • International and Comparative Law
  • National Security Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Administrative Law and Public Policy
  • Human Rights
  • Transnational Litigation
  • International Commercial Arbitration
  • Investor-State Law and Arbitration

Admissions and transfer credit information: Traditional JD applicants must submit a personal statement/essay, two letters of recommendation, a resume, previous transcripts, and the Dean’s Appraisal Certification form. Admissions may contact students for interviews.

Admissions accepts transfer students who have 28 to 32 completed law school credits.

Accreditation: Columbia University receives accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Accreditation:
Columbia University receives accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


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4

University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley Law
Berkeley, CA

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School Type:
Public

Number of Online Programs:
5+

Types of Online Programs:
Master's

Degree Information:
Certification of Specialization in International Law

Berkeley Law School offers a Certification of Specialization in International Law that students can complete as part of a JD or LLM program. As an area of study, International and Comparative Law courses are interdisciplinary in nature and are available through other departments including the School of Business, Economics Department, and the Political-Science Department.

Students also have access to cutting-edge research programs such as the Miller Institute for Global Challenges, the Law and the International Human Rights Law Clinic, and the Human Rights Center. Students may also participate in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition which simulates a dispute between countries in front of the International Court of Justice. Competitive teams come from all over the world to participate.

Credit requirements: Varies

Selection of courses offered:

  • Advanced Human Rights Investigation Practicum
  • Anticorruption Compliance
  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Disputes with Sovereigns
  • International Trade
  • Law of the Sea
  • Refugee Law and Processes

Admissions and transfer credit information: Traditional JD applicants must submit prior academic transcripts, two to four letters of recommendation, a personal statement of approximately four double-spaced pages, a resume, LSAT scores, and a Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report. Admissions also recommends, but does not require, that students complete a supplemental socio-economic questionnaire.

Admissions accepts transfer students with one year of full-time law school credit already complete.

Accreditation: UC Berkeley receives accreditation from the Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC).

Accreditation:
The University of California at Berkeley receives accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.


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5

New York University
Law School
New York, NY

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School Type:
Private

Number of Online Programs:
150+

Types of Online Programs:
Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorates

Degree Information:
JD-LLM dual degree in International Law

NYU School of Law offers a unique JD-LLM dual degree in International Law for current NYU JD students seeking specialist academic expertise in international law. 

In addition to the traditional classes in the history and theory behind international law, the curriculum also encourages students to participate in hands-on clinics and internship opportunities.

Student have access to plentiful resources through facilities such as the Institute for International Law and Justice, the Guarini Institute for Global Legal Studies, the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law and Justice, the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, and the US-Asia Law Institute, among others.

Credit requirements: 14 credits of specialized International Law classes

Selection of courses offered:

  • History and Theory of International Law Seminar
  • International Commercial Arbitration
  • International Criminal Law and Transitional Justice Seminar
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • International Intellectual Property Law
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Global Data Law

Program length: Four years

Admissions and transfer credit information: Potential students for the JD program must submit LSAT or GRE scores, at least two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and resume. Admissions encourages students to also submit any additional information that supports the student’s application.

JD students seeking the dual JD-LLM in International Law degree must apply to the IILJ during their second year and again to the full-time LLM in International Studies during their third year.

Accreditation: NYU School of Law receives accreditation from the Council and the Accreditation Committee of the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Accreditation:
New York University receives accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


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6

University of Virginia
School of Law
Charlottesville, VA

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School Type:
Public

Number of Online Programs:
65+

Types of Online Programs:
Bachelor's, Master's, Certificates

Degree Information:
JD with and emphasis in International Law

Students may take International Law as an area of study within the degrees offered through the School of Law, such as the traditional JD program. As an area of study, there are numerous classes and research opportunities for students to engage in. Classes cover topics such as human rights, immigration, environmental law, comparative constitutional law, and more. Students also have the option to take additional classes through the neighboring Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School. Students may gain hands-on experience through semester-long exchanges, short courses in Paris and Tel Aviv, fellowships, grants, and several other opportunities.

The University of Virginia is proud to be the home of the Virginia Journal of International Law, the leading student-run international law journal in the nation.

Credit requirements: JD students must complete a minimum of 86 semester credits

Selection of courses offered:

  • International Finance
  • Emerging Markets: Principles and Practice
  • Globalization and Private Dispute Resolution
  • International Civil Litigation
  • Law of Armed Conflict
  • International Law and the Use of Force

Admissions and transfer credit information: Potential JD students must submit LSAT, GMAT, or GRE test scores, prior academic transcripts, two to four letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and resume.

Admissions accepts transfer students with a minimum of one-year law school experience.

Accreditation: The School of Law receives accreditation from the American Bar Association and the American Association of Law Schools.


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7

The University of Texas at Austin
School of Law
Austin, TX

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School Type:
Public

Number of Online Programs:
None

Types of Online Programs:
None

Degree Information:
LLM with concentration in Latin American and International Law

The University of Texas School of Law offers a comprehensive LLM with concentration in Latin American and International Law. Students have the further option to specialize in Civil Rights, Human Rights, Immigration, and Transnational Worker Rights through various clinics. The diverse curriculum includes topics such as human rights, immigration, tax, arbitration, and much more. Students may tailor their academic experience towards their career goals with flexible class options.

Students have access to several research and networking opportunities such as the Law School’s Institute for Transnational Law and the Texas International Law Journal.

Credit requirements: 24 total credit hours, including 12 concentration-specific credit hours

Selection of courses offered:

  • Introduction to Domestic and International Arbitration
  • International Human Rights Law
  • International Trade
  • Public International Law
  • Seminar: Maritime Law: Commercial Problems
  • Seminar: Citizenship
  • Terror & Consent: Constitutional and International Law

Program length: One year

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants must have a prior JD or other foreign law degree and must demonstrate proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese. Additionally, students applying to the LLM must submit previous transcripts, personal statement, resume, and three letters of recommendation.

Accreditation: UT Austin receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Accreditation:
The University of Texas at Austin receives accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


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8

The George Washington University
Law School
Washington, D.C.

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School Type:
Private University

Number of Online Programs:
95+

Types of Online Programs:
Associate, Undergraduate Certificate, Bachelor, Master, Graduate Certificate, Educational Specialist, Doctorate

Degree Information:
JD with an emphasis in International and Comparative Law

Students in the JD program offered through GW Law have several areas of study to choose from such as Animal Law, Intellectual Property, National Security, and International and Comparative Law. Professional students may also pursue these areas within an LLM, SJD, or dual degree program.

As an area of study, the International and Comparative Law curriculum is by nature diverse and interdisciplinary. Students are equally likely to address antitrust law, civil procedure, and environmental law as they are patent law or securities regulations.

Students have access to research opportunities through initiative such as the Institute for International Corporate Governance and Accountability and the Dinwoodey Center for Intellectual Property Studies.

Credit requirements: 84 credit hours for the JD program, a minimum of 12 credits for the area of study

Selection of courses offered:

  • Trade and Sustainable Development
  • Procurement in International Development
  • International Money Laundering, Corruption, and Terrorism
  • International Family Law
  • Refugee and Asylum Law
  • Law of War
  • International Human Rights of Women

Learning enrollment options: Full or part-time

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants must submit prior transcripts and LSAT scores. Additional material includes a resume, two-page personal statement, and a minimum of one letter of recommendation.

Admissions accepts up to 28 transfer credit towards a law school degree.

Accreditation: GW University receives accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Admission Requirements for Undergraduate Students:SAT or ACT requirement: No
Admission Requirements for Graduate Students:GRE or GMAT requirement: Yes, for most programs


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Colleges with Related Programs in International Law


1

Princeton University
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Princeton, New Jersey

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School Type:
Private

Number of Online Programs:
0

Types of Online Programs:
None

Degree Information:
Master in Public Affairs

The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs offers three relevant degrees: Master in Public Affairs, Master in Public Policy, or a PhD in Public Affairs.

The Master in Public Affairs program offers several concentrations including International Relations, International Development, Domestic Policy, and Economics and Public Policy. Students gain an understanding of politics and economics as they relate to public policy in addition to mastering analytic and quantitative skills.

Students have access to resources such as the Center for Information Technology Policy, the Center for International Security Studies, and the Julis-Rabinowitz Center for Public Policy and Finance.

Additional certifications are available through the MPA program in Health and Health Policy, Urban Policy, and Science/Technology and Environmental Policy.

Credit requirements:

Selection of required courses:

  • Politics of Public Policy
  • Psychology for Policy Analysis and Implementation
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Econometrics: Applied OR Econometrics and Public Policy: Advanced
  • Microeconomic Analysis
  • Macroeconomic Analysis

Learning enrollment options: Full time

Program length: Two years

Admissions and transfer credit information: Interested applicants must submit previous transcripts, GRE test scores, resume, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a supplemental essay, and a four-page/double-spaced policy memo on a topic related to the applicant’s professional interests.

Accreditation: Princeton University receives accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Accreditation:
Princeton University receives accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


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2

Johns Hopkins University
School of Advanced International Studies
Baltimore, MD

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School Type:
Private, Research University

Number of Online Programs:
303

Types of Online Programs:
Master's, Doctorates, Certificates

Degree Information:
Master of Arts in International Affairs

The School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University offers several relevant degrees in the area of International study and law including MA degrees in International Economics and Finance, Global Policy, European Public Policy, and more. This entry focuses on the Master of Arts in International Affairs.

The MA in International Affairs degree allows students to spend one to two years of the program at a SAIS cooperative school in Europe. The curriculum allows students flexibility within class options in order to tailor their educational experience towards their professional goals. There are more than 350 relevant courses discussing international relations for students to choose from between the Washington D.C. and Bologna, Italy campuses.

In lieu of a thesis, students may opt to take two additional classes, one of which must include a research paper.

Credit requirements:

Selection of courses offered:

  • Theories of International Relations
  • Risk in International Politics and Economics
  • Migration and Security
  • Political Systems of the Developing World

Learning enrollment options: Full time

Program length: Two years

Admissions and transfer credit information: Applicants must submit prior transcripts, a resume, statement of purpose, an analytical essay, and two letters of recommendation. GRE test scores are optional. SAIS candidates must also participate in an interview.

Accreditation: Johns Hopkins University receives accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Accreditation:
Johns Hopkins University receives accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


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End of School List


8 Best International Law Programs Ranking Guidelines:

SuccessfulStudent.org ranks programs by factors most beneficial to students. As such we strive to be a guide to students, helping students navigate education. In this ranking, we looked at our partner site AcademicInfluence.com*, which ranks schools by the influence that their alumni and faculty have had in the field of International Law, by way of publications and citations. We then considered each program on its own merits, and rank ordered the schools for degrees offered, variety of coursework, and academic reputation.

*AcademicInfluence.com ranking methodology.

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