LL.M. in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law



The LL.M. in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law is the only specialized advanced degree among the top law schools in the country. The International Law Program of American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) is ranked among the 9 top law schools in the country according to the 2024 U.S. News & World Report.  

American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) offers one of the most prestigious advanced LL.M. degrees in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law programs in the United States. It is the only specialized advanced degree for human rights among the top law schools in the United States. In 2015, the LL.M. in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (HRHL LL.M.) was the first hybrid program of its kind, offering virtual and residential courses in Washington, D.C., and it is also the first ABA-recognized LL.M. program in the U.S. available in Spanish. Globally renowned, our program offers a unique specialized curriculum taught by a prominent group of AUWCL and international faculty which includes over 40 internationally preeminent and experienced leaders in the field of human rights and humanitarian law. Our expert faculty, frequently cited in the field, includes presidents and judges from international and regional courts, former presidents of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, UN special rapporteurs, members of UN human rights committees, and leaders of civil society organizations from around the world. Among the top 9 programs in International Law in the US (USA News)1, AUWCL strategically positions the LL.M. in Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (HRHL LL.M.) among the world's leading programs. The LL.M. trains lawyers from around the world with a commitment to social justice and a desire to make a positive global impact as active practitioners in the field of international human rights and humanitarian law.

Through its multi-track and bilingual options, the program equips students with a deep understanding of international human rights theory and practice through specialized courses, research, and externships. With a legacy spanning decades, the program has produced a dynamic community of lawyers dedicated to advancing global human rights which includes thousands of successful graduates from over 100 countries. Many of our alumni play pivotal roles in shaping global policy and holding key positions in regional human rights courts and global institutions. Uniquely, the LL.M. program offers three distinct tracks (residential, hybrid, online) and is available in both English and Spanish (hybrid and online tracks only). The faculty, composed of world-renowned human rights leaders, foster a stimulating and supportive learning environment that encourages critical thinking, practical skills, and effective advocacy for human rights and social justice. The LL.M. program offers comprehensive core courses in international human rights and humanitarian law, covering advanced topics such as international criminal law; asylum and refugee law; genocide prevention; strategic litigation in international human rights; human rights and terrorism; business and human rights; international human trafficking; and gender and cultural differences. Students have the flexibility to select from various electives, and gain hands-on experience through research and externship opportunities. Additionally, the program offers courses required for those seeking eligibility for the New York Bar exam.

The Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, a leading global academic center in the field, is committed to a culture that promotes human rights and humanitarian law worldwide by offering advanced, relevant, and empowering education for students from around the globe. As one of the most distinguished human rights and humanitarian law centers of learning, the Academy attracts the most renowned experts in the field while striving to strengthen the connection between human rights organizations, practitioners, and educators worldwide.

Quick Facts

  • #1 International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Specialty Program
  • Graded A+ by Prelaw Magazine for International Law
  • Top 25 best schools for foreign-trained lawyers, International Jurists
  • Over 100 full-time and adjunct faculty specialized in various areas of international law
  • Students from over 70 countries and thousands of alumni worldwide
  • Only LL.M. in the United States offered in 3 tracks (in-person, hybrid, online) and two languages (English and Spanish)
  • 90% of students participate in internships in top human rights institutions
  • Over 200 conferences, symposia, and networking events annually

LL.M. Tracks

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