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Introduction to Public International LawOrganization logo: Utrecht University

About this course

Introduction to Public International Law’ is a general survey course, which provides an introduction to the basic principles and areas of application of public international law. The course consists of weekly lectures and interactive seminars and is designed to provide students without extensive prior knowledge of the subject with a good basic knowledge of the most important rules and principles of international law. It also aims to provide insight into the place of international law within the international (legal) system. The course further provides foundational knowledge for students intending to follow further specialised courses in international law or international relations, either in Utrecht or elsewhere.
In terms of scope, the course covers the most important topics in international law (sources, subjects, jurisdiction and immunities, peaceful dispute settlement, collective security and the use of force, law of the sea and environmental law). It seeks both to explain basic rules and general principles, and to critically analyse their application to contemporary problems in international relations. During the interactive seminars, students are expected to discuss the weekly assigned questions. These questions are meant to allow students practice the application of what has been learned during the lectures.
Students intending to follow this course do not need prior knowledge of international law, but a good active and passive command of English is essential to successfully complete the course in light of the fact that the reading materials, lectures, seminars and exams are entirely in English.

Place of the course in the curriculum:
• Optional Course only open for exchange students

Additional requirements:
Any additional requirements of the course are listed in the "Leidraad" of the course.body { font-size: 9pt;

Learning outcomes

After this course:

  • The student will have acquired a substantial body of new knowledge in key areas of Public International Law;
  • The student can understand and explain the most important rules and principles of Public International Law;
  • The student can identify key challenges in Public International Law and understand how these are interrelated;
  • The student can apply the theoretical knowledge to relatively straightforward practical cases to resolve legal problems;
  • The student can analyze fundamental rules and principles, and express their views effectively;
  • The student can undertake independent research, seek out relevant primary and secondary sources of Public International Law, read, analyze and distil core points from international jurisprudence, as well as situate their arguments in relation to arguments/positions advanced in relevant literature;
  • The student can give brief presentations, construct and communicate legal arguments concisely and clearly (using the IRAC method) in both spoken and written English;
  • The student produce brief written essays related to the course’s themes.

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Prior knowledge

Sufficient knowledge of the level 1 courses of the bachelor program.

About registration

Do you study at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) or Wageningen University and Research (WUR)? You can enrol via

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There are currently no offerings available for students of TU Eindhoven