Graduate level programmes in French and English combine world class teaching in international law with internship opportunities unique to Geneva.
One of the Faculty’s thematic Masters programmes (taught in French) is a Master in International and European Law, with an equal focus on public international law, conflict of laws, arbitration and European law. An internship in a law firm or administration in Switzerland or abroad may replace one of the optional courses.
The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights offers an MAS/LLM in International Humanitarian Law, covering fields of international law related to armed conflicts. Internationally renowned scholars and practitioners teach the core subjects of international humanitarian law, public international law, in particular the legal regulation of the use of force, human rights law and international criminal law. Selected students may replace one optional course with an internship at a human rights NGO in Geneva, where they prepare actual submissions to Geneva-based human rights bodies. In addition, experts from international organizations and/or judicial bodies lead topical seminars related to professional practice. Finally, a simulation exercise puts students into real-life professional situations. Last year, for example, students simulated the universal periodic review process in the UN Human Rights Council on the United Kingdom and Algeria, taking the positions of different States. This exercise runs parallel to the actual review process held at the same time in Geneva.
The emphasis of the program is on practice. The Academy is closely connected to many international organizations based in Geneva: the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The MIDS is a response to a growing need for specialists triggered by a true explosion of international disputes and dispute settlement mechanisms these last decades, which increasingly overlap and cover both public and private law. For the creation of this unique programme, Geneva was seen as the ideal place because of its longstanding tradition in international arbitration and the presence of numerous international organizations.
The programme enrols candidates from a variety of backgrounds, typically including recent law school graduates, lawyers working in law firms, governments, international organizations and NGOs, as well as judges and doctoral students. It specifically prepares its students for a practitioner’s or academic career in the field of international dispute resolution, be it in the arbitration departments of law firms, in international organizations, in government service or as corporate counsel.
The MIDS features an international faculty of renowned professors from such universities as Harvard or China Foreign Affairs, of high ranking representatives of international organizations such as WTO and WIPO and arbitral institutions such as the ICC, and of well-known practitioners.
In addition, the Law Faculty and Duke University offer a summer programme, Duke-Geneva Institute in Transnational Law, held in Geneva and bringing together teachers and students from both Duke and Geneva. The programme is designed for J.D. students who have completed at least one year of study. LL.M. candidates from American law schools and for advanced law students from Europe. The programme is also designed for students from any country planning to study for an LL.M. degree in the United States or to practice law in the United States.
Bachelor level studies
The Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva also welcomes foreign students who wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Swiss law in French – or to follow the curriculum for one or two years as exchange students. Bachelor level students must take a year-long course in public international law and a one-semester course in conflict of laws. They may add options such as international criminal law, international humanitarian law, or international tax law and may participate in the exchange programmes described below.
Alternatively, both foreign and Swiss students who have begun but not yet completed their legal studies may apply for the Certificate in Transnational Law programme (in French). The programme can be completed in one or two semesters and provides a solid grounding in subjects such as public international law, conflict of laws, comparative law, uniform legislation and European law.
Study abroad opportunities from Geneva
In the framework of the European Erasmus/Socrates Programme, the Faculty has 17 partner Law Faculties all around Europe where our students may study part of their curriculum.
An agreement – unique in Europe – allows two exchange students at the masters level and two at the doctoral level from the Geneva Law Faculty to study at Harvard Law School for a semester. A similar agreement has also been concluded with the Russian Legal Academy in Moscow, where our students may study law for one or two semesters in Russian and are offered summer internships in Russian administrations, law firms, prosecutorial and police services.