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Specialisation: International Law

Award(s) to which this specialisation belongs:

International Law


Macquarie Law School
Faculty of Arts

Admission Requirements:
Admission to Master of Laws or Juris Doctor
Study Mode:
Full-time, Part-time
Attendance Mode:
Internal, External
North Ryde — Session 1 (February)
North Ryde — Session 2 (July)
External — Session 1 (February)
External — Session 2 (July)

This specialisation must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Specialisation:

Completion of a minimum of 16 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

800 level

International Dispute Settlement (4)
Advanced Topics in International Law (4)
8cp from
International Environmental Law (4)
International Human Rights Law (4)
International Trade and Finance (4)
Law of International Organisations (4)
Law of the Sea (4)
Public and Global Health Law (4)


Overview and Aims of the Program This specialisation will enable students to acquire and advanced and integrated understanding of international law. They will also gain specialised knowledge and skills for research and professional practice in law of international organisations, international environmental law, law and globalisation, international human rights law, international dispute settlement, international trade and finance, and law of the sea.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes In addition to achieving PLOs of either the LLM or JD, by the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. demonstrate an advanced understanding of principles and their application to the specialised area of international law (K)
2. appreciate the special ethical, policy and professional challenges raised by practice in the area of international law (E)
3. apply advanced research and problem solving skills to address contemporary challenges in the area of international law (T, P).
Learning and Teaching Methods International Law Studies are offered and taught to students, both internal and external. The program covers a wide spectrum of international law disciplines, which are predominantly specialised and elective. Subjects are taught so that graduates at this level will be able to apply knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgement, adaptability and responsibility as a learner and future practitioner.

Generally, learning and teaching contents are a blend of both theoretical and applied aspects of international law affording critical studies of legal principles, rules, and practices and their application in real life situations to test their effectiveness, efficacies, and role in shaping a just and inclusive regulatory regime, underpinning a reform agenda. Almost all units are interdisciplinary in nature involving law, economics, politics, diplomacy, and international relations, the interplay of which is rewarding in appreciating diverse competing interests of the world community and the progressive development of international law amid its inherent geo-political dynamics in the twenty-first century.

At postgraduate level students will find seminar format teaching in units with small number of students backed by pre-assigned seminar questions to each student to ensure every student has an opportunity to take part in class discussions; a requirement in some units for satisfactory completion of on-line quizzes from a pre-determined quizzes bank; teaching international law in its political context backed by the use of legal and political materials; consideration of policy dimensions in the operational of international law and its processes and institutions in real life situations and contribution to the progressive development of international law through law reform.

When lectures are used they are taught through a two-hour lecture (live, recorded, and pre-recorded, mostly audio but some involving screen capture) available on iLearn and one hour face-to-face discussion-driven tutorial in each week. Lectures provide an overview of the law and related issues for each topic. The aim is to provide an understanding of the applicable principles, practice, and a critique of their operation. Lectures draw students’ attention to the relevant cases and other international documents that are part of the readings for that week. Students are challenged to think critically and analytically about the materials under discussions.

Tutorials, intensive teaching, seminars, and on-line quizzes provide opportunities to explore different aspects of each topic in detail. Teaching aids such as power-point slides are often displayed in all forms of learning and teaching deliveries and these slides are often made available through iLearn. Students are expected to have read in advance the assigned readings for each topic, participate and be realistically critical in class discussion, and to contribute to a better understanding of international law under study. The convenor of a given unit prepares the unit guide, sets assignment tasks, prescribes textbook/s and other relevant readings, and is in charge of the overall administration of the unit.

International law units are diverse and high in number. This is because globalisation and high-tech information system have rendered the world intensely interdependent and legal jurisdictions inter-linked. This new dimension has resulted in an increased demand for legal professionals with international and cross-border skills, expertise, and experiences. Wide-ranging international law units help students acquire multi-discipline and multi-jurisdictional skills by exposing them to diverse global regulatory regimes and their constantly changing frontiers governing various national and international jurisdictions.

The availability of these units also attracts increasing number of foreign students and exchange students at the undergraduate and postgraduate programs and higher degree research candidates, national and international, thereby facilitating the internationalisation of our academic programs.
Assessment There are diverse modes of assessment in international law studies aimed at testing and achieving different learning and teaching outcomes and graduate capabilities. Specifically, at Masters level, assessment will be designed to measure the development of expert, specialised cognitive and technical skills including the ability to analyse critically, reflect on and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories; research and apply established theories to a body of knowledge or practice; and to interpret and transmit knowledge, skills and ideas to specialist and non-specialist audiences

Modes of assessment in the main include: active class participation, a bank of on-line weekly assessable quizzes, sit-in closed book class test, problem-solving exercise, legal opinion, and research assignment.

Active class participation requires students to read and understand various issues scheduled for discussions in advance prior to tutorials (Unit Guides list week-to-week topics/issues for discussion). It is designed to augment students’ oral communication and interpersonal skills.

Students need to understand their reading materials to gather discipline specific knowledge in answering specific questions. A given take-home fact-based problem-solving exercise focusing on a problem of international law requires independent determination, examination, and research on applicable legal rules and principles and their creative application to a new, real, or hypothetical factual situation of contemporary international life. It affords students with an opportunity to understand core fundamentals of international law through an exploration of the present challenges that contemporary issues pose to these fundamentals. A take-home legal opinion is designed to provide a means for students to develop an independent understanding of legal rules and principles and their application in a given factual situation, and enhance their writing abilities through explanation, analysis, and argument. This is expected to lead students to understand how international law operates in the world today and how it may develop in the future. It is meant to be thought-provoking, warranting an innovative and interdisciplinary approach.

A research assignment is a thought provoking exercise intended to stimulate students to develop their own topic of research and to work out an appropriate research proposal. It usually requires students to respond to existing issues warranting reform, critically analyse a contemporary issue, report on a case study, or prepare a brief on an emerging issue to chat its future direction of evolution. Students are expected to go deep into the topic, creatively apply theoretical scholarship (legal and interdisciplinary), and present it in a logically coherent manner. This mode enables students to demonstrate their independent legal research and analytical skill, to be free and innovative thinkers and ventilators of new ideas, and adopt a policy-oriented approach to pursue a reform agenda.

Post-graduate students may expect a variety of requirements and experiences regarding assessment in which:
• written assignments involve policy consideration for law reform, requiring analyses of legal and non-legal (multi-disciplinary) materials/contents and are usually longer in word length (than undergrad)
• written assignments also take the form of written pleadings or legal advices for clients, practicing law firms, or government to develop professional skill
• research assignment is quite rigorous and in-depth on any contemporary/pressing issues, warranting independent research beyond the prescribed reading materials
• individual feedback are provided on written assignment, followed by global feedback to all students in the unit; feedback are also given to students for their seminar performance
• informal and indicative marks are given to students on their performance in the class, seminar, and assignment so that students can assess their position to prepare and improve in the future.

The Unit Guide of each unit usually contains the due dates for assignment submission (mostly through Turnitin), formal and substantive requirements, marking rubrics, and marking criteria of each mode of the assessment scheme. Brief written comments and feedbacks are provided for all written assignments usually prior to the next assignment enabling students to understand comments and feedback to be used for improvement in future assignments. Additional comments and feedback may be provided if necessary and upon request from students. Marked assignments are returned to internal students in their tutorials and by COE to external students and may be viewed through Turnitin. Marks available for each mode of assessment are raw marks which may change through a moderation process for the sake of consistency between markers. Assignment submission after its due date and without having obtained time extension and/or alternative end of the semester test on special consideration for study disruption will not be marked. Late submission is not an option. There is no scope for remarking in any unit. Students are entitled to grade appeal at the end of the semester and these appeals are determined in accordance with the Macquarie University Policy on Appeals against Grade provided in Unit Guides.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit. 

Domestic Students
For undergraduate RPL information visit
For domestic postgraduate RPL information visit

International Students
For RPL information visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability Graduates with this specialisation will apply their expertise to a range of professional practice areas in international law, including government, NGOs, foreign service and the private sector.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or program necessary for a student to successfully achieve the core learning outcomes of a course or program. Students must meet the inherent requirements to complete their Macquarie University course or program.

Inherent requirements for Macquarie University programs fall under the following categories:

Physical: The physical inherent requirement is to have the physical capabilities to safely and effectively perform the activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Cognition: The inherent requirement for cognition is possessing the intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative capabilities to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Communication: The inherent requirement for communication is the capacity to communicate information, thoughts and ideas through a variety of mediums and with a range of audiences.

Behavioural: The behavioural inherent requirement is the capacity to sustain appropriate behaviour over the duration of units of study to engage in activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

For more information see

2018 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148