LLM in International and European Law

Programme and curriculum

The LLM in International and European law (60 ECTS) has been an internationally renowned programme for decades, with an alumni network of over 1300 lawyers from 109 countries. Created in 1971 as the Programme on international and Legal Cooperation (PILC), it is one of the most established LLMs of its kind. The programme offers each year a selection of up to 40 international postgraduate students a demanding and versatile curriculum that opens fascinating career paths in European and international legal affairs.

The educational techniques of the programme include, in addition to the more traditional forms of lecturing, interactive class teaching as well as practical case studies that simulate day to day professional life. The programme offers a balanced, versatile package and combines European and international law across the curriculum. International audits and the leading positions of its graduates in various international organizations attest to the programme's excellence.

Its location in Brussels gives the programme the opportunity to benefit from the immediate vicinity of EU institutions and numerous international organizations, law firms and companies during the course of the year.

Limited class size ensures high interaction amongst professors and students, who are of truly versatile international backgrounds.

This programme was established in 1971.

The Brussels School of Governance is an alliance between the Institute for European Studies (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Vesalius College. This LLM is a programme that is organised by the Institute for European Studies, a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, and of which the degree will be awarded by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).


Key features

  • Central location in Brussels, the heart of the EU: excellent research, networking and job possibilities 
  • ​Demanding, exclusively advanced master (i.e. post-graduate) level curriculum; 
  • Experience: offering excellence since 1971 
  • Perfect for the global job market: the curriculum covers the essential areas of international and European law in parallel 
  • Taught at the IES which, as a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, constitutes a hub of cutting edge research and activities on the EU in an international context and is currently presided by former trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht 
  • The Chairs are nominated exclusively for this programme and are an international mixture of high-ranking practitioners and leading academics 
  • Limited class size ensures high interaction and close contacts among students and with the professors, helping create true bonds that last
  • Alumni network of over 1300 lawyers from 109 countries 
  • Brings together students of truly versatile international backgrounds and of outstanding quality 
  • Supported by the extensive expertise of our Office for Teaching, Learning and Innovation to accommodate sophisticated blended teaching methods 


Academic Calendar

The programme follows the academic calendar of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). The first day of classes of the 2021-22 academic year is 27 September.



The LLM in International and European law is a 60 ECTS Advanced Master’s degree obtained in one academic year (from end September until early July). After a solid set of 8 core courses on EU institutional law and judicial protection, EU external relations law, public international and comparative law, human rights and competition law, students can choose to focus on one of 3 specialisation options: Public law; Business law; and Data Law. The programme also has a Moot Court special course, which is subject to a separate selection process. Students finish the programme with a Masters' thesis.

Compulsory courses

Optional courses

Master's thesis

Special course: Moot Court

STEP approach

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Compulsory courses

Giving you a broad overview (18 credits) as well as deepening insights (12 credits) into international and EU law, including a short research paper by teams of up to four students.

Optional courses 

Specialise in either the public, business, or data law option (12 credits), including practical exercises and a real life case study simulation, for instance in the field of European competition law.

Public law

Business law

Data law


Master's thesis

Finish the Programme with a Masters' thesis, worth 18 credits. Engage in an exciting intellectual journey on the topic of your choice.


Special course: Moot Court

The moot court will enable students to further deepen their skills in pertinent areas of law and supplement their theoretical knowledge with the practical aspects of international law, human rights law, and EU procedural law.


STEP approach

At the BSoG, we offer our students a unique educational experience, based on what we call the STEP approach to teaching and learning: our programmes are Student-centered, have a solid Theoretical knowledge base, their educational Excellence is guaranteed, and they are strongly Practice-oriented. It makes our School a prominent hub for the study of European and global challenges, from the BA right up to the PhD level. Find out what STEP can offer you.


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Success stories

  • “This demanding LLM not only enhanced my knowledge about European and International law -and data protection, of course- but it also sharpened my critical and analytical thinking, making me a better legal professional.”

    Alessandra Calvi (Italy)
    2018 - 2019 Student
  • “The LL.M in International and European Law, taught by highly qualified professionals, did offer in-depth studies and helped me understand in detail how the EU works and, by all means, expand my knowledge. Studying at the IES was indeed an amazing experience. I was offered the chance to interact with brilliant students from all around the world and make friendships that will last. Brussels is the ideal place to be, it is a very international city that currently feels like home.”

    Antigone Tsakona (Greece)
    2018 - 2019 Student
  • “The enriching academic year I spent attending this LLM in Brussels really surpassed my expectations, revealing itself as of unparalleled quality and interest. After my legal studies in Rome, this Master has given a completely different, multifaceted and tailored dimension to my career perspectives in European and International affairs. It constitutes a strong and valuable basis for my professional future. Thanks to this LLM I look forward to the next challenges with absolute confidence!”

    Eleonora Camela (Italy)
    2018 - 2019 Student
  • "PILC was for me an eye opener as to the importance of the law for the orderly conduct of affairs between individuals and states and sparked a profound life-long interest in EU law."

    Eugene Regan
    Judge, European Court of Justice, PILC ‘79
  • "The LLM in International and European Law is a demanding as well as rewarding programme. The wide range of courses and the specialization in Public Law has enhanced my knowledge and interest on EU and International affairs beyond what I expected. Definitely, after concluding the LLM I reckon myself as a well-prepared legal professional who has gained a deep insight into latest legal matters."

    Leire Alberdi (Spain)
    2018 - 2019 Student
Admission requirements

Each year we make a careful selection of maximum 40 students from all over the world, based on the following requirements:

  • Students are eligible to apply when they have completed their study of law and have received, in accordance with the requirements in their host country, a final law degree that provides access to the legal profession or to the qualifying exams for admission to the Bar. The equivalence of foreign degrees will be decided by the Academic Board of the Programme.
  • Students are selected by the Academic Board of the Programme on the basis of an overall assessment of their profiles, including their academic qualifications, work and other relevant experience, motivation as well as the required level of proficiency in English (see below).

Language requirements

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The Programme’s language of instruction is English. As a starting point, every student who applies must provide recent certified proof of proficiency in English, by means of one of the 5 tests with the required minimum level or score indicated below:

  • TOEFL test [min. score 233 (computer-based) min. score 90 (internet-based) min.score 577 (paper-based)]
  • Academic IELTS: 7.0
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English – CPE
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English – CAE (grade B)
  • ITACE (at the VUB) – C1

If English is the candidate’s mother tongue or if the candidate has completed his or her entire legal education in English, he or she will be waived from having to produce recent certified proof of proficiency in English. In the case of the entire legal education, please include in your application a document issued by the university proving that all courses were taught in English. We also reserve the right to assess the level of language skills separately in unclear cases.


Can I already apply when the result of the English test is not yet known or if I have not yet obtained my degree?

Yes. Even if you are still in the process of obtaining your law degree, you can already apply and should indicate this information in the ‘Current and previous higher education section’ of the application form, mentioning the date (as precisely as possible) by which you will obtain the degree. If the Academic Board then decides that you meet all other admission criteria you will be accepted on the condition that you provide us with your diploma and transcript at the very latest before the Programme starts and that you obtain the required grades to start the programme.

The same applies to the English language test certificate: if you have not obtained this certificate yet, you can nevertheless already apply. If the Academic Board then decides that you meet all other admission criteria you will be accepted on the condition that you provide us with your English certificate, theoretically at the very latest before the Programme starts, but preferably as soon as possible, as your place in the programme is only confirmed once you have sent us this certificate and once you have confirmed your place by e-mail and by payment, as mentioned in the acceptance letter.

We advise strongly against leaving this to the last minute, however, as there are for example only limited dates when the official language tests are organised. As soon as you have obtained your diploma or certificate, please send a certified copy of it to us by e-mail. In addition, please send us details of your grades from the previous academic years and mention on the application form the precise date by which you will obtain the degree and/or when you will sit the English test.


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Deadlines and application process

We accept and review applications on a rolling basis, starting in October. Example: students can apply for the 2021-22 academic year as of October 2020. Before October 2020 they can of course apply for the programme as well, but only for the academic year 2020-21.

We recommend prospective students to apply as soon as possible to maximize the chances of being admitted. You can apply, even if you will receive your degree or English language test certificate only later. You need to have completed all the requirements prior to the start of the Programme.

Applicants who need to apply for a visa (students not from an EU country, an EEA country, or Switzerland) are strongly encouraged to send their application as soon as possible, as visa procedures may take several months before the visa is eventually delivered. Late applications may therefore lead to the applicant not being able to start the programme.

To apply, please click the ‘Apply here’ button at the top of this page, which will take you to a page on a website dedicated to this programme, on which you will find the application form, as well as a checklist of the documents and information we require from you to assess your application.

Application process

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Before you apply: check our admission requirements!

Before applying, be sure to check the admission requirements above. It is essential that you make sure that you meet these requirements before applying (or are in the process of meeting them in your current studies). Example: If you have not obtained or are not in the process of obtaining a final law degree that, in accordance with the requirements in your host country, provides access to the legal profession or to the qualifying exams for admission to the Bar, then please do not apply, as your application will in any case be rejected.


Application deadline

We accept and review applications on a rolling basis, starting 1 October each year. We recommend prospective students to apply as soon as possible, as the selection will be closed once the full quota of maximum 40 qualifying candidates is reached.
Applicants who need to apply for a visa are strongly encouraged to send their application before 1 April, as it may take several months before the visa is eventually issued.


How to apply + next steps

  1. Pay the application fee of 50 EUR either by credit card, or bank transfer:
    ING BANK, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
    IBAN: BE47 3630 6344 2080
    Account holder: VUB-IES
    (Please make sure that in the comments section of your payment you mention ‘LLM application fee’ + your name)
    For international transfers, the main office of the bank is: ING Bank, Marnixlaan 24, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium.

  2. Send your complete application (see document checklist below)

  3. We aim at providing you with a decision within three weeks from receiving your complete application AND your payment of the 50 EUR application fee. You will receive our decision by e-mail.

    If offered a place on the programme, you will receive an e-mail with a digital copy of your (either or not conditional) acceptance letter, including information on the tuition fee payment. After having been accepted and first instalment or full fees having been settled, you will be invited to register online at the VUB university.


Document checklist

Please ensure that you send a complete file, including all of the documents below that are applicable to your situation (e.g. if English is your mother tongue, you do not need to send us the English proficiency certificate (E1). When sending in these documents, please make sure the file names start with the codes indicated in the table below (A1, A2, B1, etc.).

  • A1. The application form duly completed and signed (incl. its completed and signed Annex 1)
  • A2. A complete and up-to-date CV
  • B1. Official copy of the candidate’s final law degree, if available (If you are still in the process of obtaining your law degree, you can already apply and should indicate this information in section 2 of this form.)
  • C1. Official copy of academic transcripts of the candidate’s relevant previous degree
  • C2. Translation (certified) of academic transcript if not in English, Dutch, French or German languages
  • E1. Recent English proficiency certificate, if applicable and available (see section 4 of the application form for further details). If you require such a certificate but have not obtained it yet, you can nevertheless already apply. If our Academic Board then decides that you meet all other admission criteria you will be accepted on the condition that you provide us with your certificate at the very latest before the Programme starts.
  • P1. Copy of passport or identity document
  • P2. Photograph of candidate
  • W1. For applications for a waiver, a separate motivation including documented evidence of need.
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Tuition and scholarships

The tuition fee is €13,000 for academic year 2021-22 (including e.g. a field trip to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg). It excludes the cost for study materials, which is approx. €500.
The above is applicable to both EU and non-EU students.

We have a scholarship system in place in the shape of comprehensive and partial tuition fee waivers, that allow a tuition fee reduction by up to €12,000. See the tuition fee waivers question below for further details.

Please note that when applying, a 50 EUR application fee is due, which is not refundable but will be deducted from your tuition fee when you enrol in the programme. See the 'Deadlines and application process' section on this page for payment instructions.

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What are the possibilities for scholarships or tuition fee waivers?

Scholarships: (partial) tuition fee waivers

The LLM Programme offers a number of scholarships that take the form of comprehensive or partial tuition fee waivers. The waivers aim at ensuring that applicants with different backgrounds and financial means are able to access the Programme. As such, they are an important element in the Programme’s diversity from viewpoints such as gender, culture and geography. A waiver can be applied for by writing a personal statement in the relevant section of the application form. Applications for a waiver are assessed separately from, and have no impact on the assessment of, the applicant’s admission to the programme. The waiver application is assessed using the criteria of merit and financial need as outlined in the Programme application and the waiver application, to the most deserving candidates, while paying attention to thegeographic balance between the students.

A comprehensive waiver covers the entire cost of the tuition, deducted by the annual registration fees (€1,000) payable to the VUB and the IES, so it amounts to €13,000 - €1,000 = €12,000. A partial waiver is 5,500, leaving to the student the remaining part and the annual registration fees payable to the VUB and the IES (so €6.500 + €1.000 = €7.500). The fees of either €1.000 or €7.500, remaining on the charge of the student, are to be paid within three weeks of receiving the waiver offer for the offer to remain valid.

Due to the very international scope of our Programme, we receive large numbers of highly merited candidates from very varied backgrounds, including some of the poorest countries in the world. In order to allocate the available waivers to the applicants in the fairest and most efficient manner, the Board of the Programme has taken the decision to assess all waiver applications, received before or on 15 March 2021, by the end of March. This way, we are able to compare the needs and merits of all the applicants with great care and precision, and take decisions accordingly.

The process will thus be as follows: the waiver applicants with the strongest file will be informed of the positive decision regarding their waiver application, and will be requested to confirm the acceptance of their waiver by paying a non-refundable first instalment (€1.000 in 2021-2022) within two weeks of the decision on the waiver.

By 20 March, any non-confirmed waiver will be granted to the next most deserving waiver applicant, who also needs to confirm acceptance as stated above. The process of granting waivers is continued until the entire waiver fund is used for applicants that fulfil the necessary levels of need and merit.

Once all the available waivers have been claimed, all other applicants will be informed. In case there are less applicants than waivers at the time of granting them, the timeframe for accepting requests and offering waivers can be extended.

Students that re-enroll after one year of studies can also apply for a waiver, unless they have been judged to have committed fraud during their exams or in their master thesis. A student who was granted a waiver may, as all other students, defer his/her participation in the Programme to the next academic year, but will then need to re-apply for a waiver.

Please see the separate Waiver application form for further information.

University scholarships

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel yearly awards a number of scholarships for advanced studies at Master or Advanced Master level. The candidates are also advised to carefully explore the possibilities of obtaining financial assistance in their home countries. For more information, please see the Vrije Universiteit Brussel’s Scholarships webpage.

Other scholarships may be available from the following sources:

  • Rotary Foundation Fellowships may be available. Candidates should contact the Rotary Foundation within their district.
  • Within the framework of bilateral cultural agreements concluded by Belgium or the Flemish Community, fellowships are offered to students in a number of countries. Interested students should inquire directly with the relevant Ministry in their home country or the Belgian Embassy.
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Which entity awards the degree of this programme?

How to apply for a visa?

What happens after I applied?

When do I get a VUB student card?

Is accommodation provided by the University or should it be arranged individually?

Can I combine work and studies?

Where can I find more information about campus and facilities?

Is there a possibility to follow language courses at the VUB?

Will I get career advice as a student?

What are the cancellation terms?

May I demonstrate sufficient financial support for visa purposes using a ‘blocked account’ with the IES?

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Which entity awards the degree of this programme?

The Brussels School of Governance is an alliance between the Institute for European Studies (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Vesalius College. This LLM in international and European law is a programme of which the degree will be awarded by Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).


How to apply for a visa?

As you will undoubtedly want to travel during your stay in Brussels, we strongly recommend that you ask for a long-stay Schengen Visa, or ‘Type D’ Schengen Visa, which will allow you to travel hassle-free to any of the countries within the Schengen region and to make multiple entries into Belgium. This type of visa is not issued by all embassies/consulates. Please contact the Belgian embassy or consulate nearest to you for details on specific procedures and requirements. Click here for more information about visa regulations.



What happens after I applied?

We aim at providing you with a decision within three weeks from receiving your complete application AND your payment of the 50 EUR application fee. You will receive our decision by e-mail. In case of acceptance to the programme, this e-mail will contain practical info about the next steps (registration fee / tuition fee payment, cost of living, etc.).


When do I get my VUB student card?

Upon your registration with the academic administration, you will get a VUB student card.


Is accommodation provided by the University or should it be arranged individually?

Due to a limited number of rooms on campus, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel cannot provide housing for all international students and scholars. Hence they are advised to find other means of accommodation in Belgium, preferably prior to departure.
The Br(ik organisation aims to create a network of safe, reliable housing. The landlords and the accommodations linked to Br(ik, must meet criteria set by Br(ik and in case of problems between the landlord and the tenant, the Br(ik organisation can intervene.

Prearranged housing is only available for VLIR-UOS scholars who are registered for one or two year master programmes. All other students and scholars are advised to seek transit, short term or long term housing prior to departure. It is recommended that the search for accommodation is started as soon as the letter of acceptance or invitation has been received.

For more information, please visit: https://student.vub.be/en/housing#housing-in-brussels

Contact: international.relations@vub.ac.be



Can I combine work and studies?

The LLM is a full-time daytime programme and attendance at classes is required. Therefore, studying the programme at the same time as working part-time is strongly discouraged and allowed only in exceptional circumstances, with the permission of the Programme Director. To be granted the right to work part time while studying, we also require a letter stating that your employer gives you permission to attend the courses.


Where can I find more information about campus and facilities?

The School is located on the campus of the Vrije Univeriteit Brussel (VUB), a green campus in Etterbeek in Brussels. Modern sports facilities with sports halls, tennis and squash courts, and a swimming pool can all be found on site. Monthly gym subscriptions are available at Basic Fit, a modern and well-equipped gym right on campus. The student restaurant offers a large choice of meals and snacks at self-service counters. The campus is easy to reach by train, tram, bus or metro from the city centre or the outskirts of Brussels. Also the school offers the opportunity to attend career seminars and individual coaching sessions and psychological counselling (free of charge) as well. Click here for more informations about campus life, services & facilities and Living in Brussels.



Is there a possibility to follow language courses at the VUB?

Yes. There are two possibilities:
BRUSSELS EDUCATION CENTER C.V.O – Day and evening language courses: VUB Campus – Pleinlaan 2 – Building D (Room D.1.33)
phone : +32 (0)2/629.39.08
website : https://www.cvosemper.be/en/?en


ITO : University Language Institute – Pleinlaan 5 – 3° floor
phone : +32 (0)2/629.26.07
e-mail : secritow@vub.ac.be


Will I get career advice as a student?

The VUB offers IES students a unique career advice service. Its Career Centre’s clients include the European Commission. Its services include CV editing, interview preparation and general career advice.
For more information:
e-mail: info@vubcareercenter.be
tel: +32 2 629 11 88
or immediately sign up here.


What are the cancellation terms?

In case of cancellation before the start of the academic year, any tuition fees already paid will be reimbursed, with the exception of the 1,000€ registration deposit. Cancellations after the start of the academic year but before 1 December will result in a reimbursement of 50% of the total tuition fee minus the 1,000€ registration deposit, unless the student has received a maximum waiver in which case no tuition fees will be reimbursed. Cancellations after 1 December will not be reimbursed.

The registration deposit (1.000€) on any Brussels School of Governance programme is non-refundable, unless cancellation in a programme is due to events beyond the control of the applicant, otherwise known as force majeure (for example, if the student applied for a visa but was unable to obtain it, or if due to medical reasons the required previous degree was not obtained). In those cases, the full deposit will be refunded.


May I demonstrate sufficient financial support for visa purposes using a ‘blocked account’ with the IES?

Yes, the IES allows students to opt for a blocked account for visa purposes. The amount is linked to the duration of the student’s stay in Belgium and it is proof that you have sufficient financial income or support for the duration of your stay. This must cover your healthcare, living, study and accommodation costs as well as the cost of your return ticket. This can be in the form of a certificate stating you have received a grant or scholarship, an agreement of financial responsibility from your sponsor, or your personal bank statement showing sufficient funds. More information can be found on the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, here. Students who have been accepted to one of our programmes can inquire more about this option directly with our Financial Department at billing@ies.be

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Have a question about this programme? Ask our alumni…

If you want to know more about our programme, who better to ask than the people who have recently finished it? The alumni below are available to provide you with their honest, first-hand feedback!

Year of graduation: 2019
Year of graduation: 2019
Year of graduation: 2019
Year of graduation: 2019

…or get in touch with us directly!

I have already applied and have a question about my application.


If you have not submitted an application yet, use the Contact Form on this page, or
one of the other contact options below.

I have not applied yet and want to book a virtual appointment.

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