LL.M. in International Legal Studies
Specialization in Gender and International Law


Use Your Law Degree to Champion Women's Rights

Defending women's rights requires a commitment to justice, creative approaches to the law, and specialized knowledge of the legal challenges facing women. American University, Washington College of Law offers the only LLM degree in International Legal Studies with a specialization in Gender and International Law. This advanced program offers holders of law degrees the opportunity to explore issues that have a deep impact on the lives of women, yet which are often overlooked in law school: women's human rights; reproductive justice; domestic violence; comparative family law; sexual and gender-based crims in armed conflict; sexuality; human trafficking; gender inequality in employment and education; and female workers in a globalized economy.

Preparing for International Practice

Women's ministries, non-governmental organizations, development agencies, and interantional bodies hire candidates with strong academic qualifications and excellent writing skills. They also look for candidates with resumes that indicate a commitment to women's rights. The specialization is designed especially for attorneys who want to use their law degrees to advocate for women's rights or enter policy making positions that affect women's lives. We help our students build the specific knowledge and skills required to understand and fight for gender equality.

The Program

To obtain the LLM degree, students must successfully complete twenty-four credit hours in international legal studies, twelve of which must be in courses focused on gender and international or comparative law. We frequently offer classes that examine international and comparative approaches to women’s rights, such as:


  • Advanced Legal Writing: Gender & Law
  • Asylum & Refugee Law
  • Children of LGBT Parents
  • Comparative Family Law
  • Domestic Violence
  • Feminist Jurisprudence
  • Gender, Cultural Difference, & Human Rights
  • Gender, Labor, & the Global Economy
  • Gender & Health Law & Policy
  • Gender and Int’l and Comparative Law (required)
  • Human Rights
  • Immigration Issues: Family & Employment
  • Immigrant Women, Law & Policy
  • International Trafficking in Persons
  • Reproductive Rights & the Law
  • Sex-Based Discrimination
  • Sexuality and the Law
  • Women, Crime, & the Law
  • Women & Conflict
  • Women’s Legal History
  • Women & International Human Rights Law (Summer Academy on Human Rights)

Studying at Washington College of Law

The first law school founded by women, Washington College of Law has been committed to advancing women's rights for over 100 years. To honor that legacy, the school formed the Women and the Law Program in 1984. The program works with networks of law professors and activits in many countries to integrate gender and the concerns of women into legal education and doctrine.

Studying in Washington, D.C.

Because we are located in Washington, D.C. students have the opportunity to build contacts and gain work experience by interning at local, national, and international women's rights organizations. The International Legal Studies Program and the Women and the Law Program work closely with students specializing in Gender and International Law, helping them to select courses and find internships. The programs organize events where students meet officials, policy -makers, and advocates who shape the women's rights agenda around the world.

To Apply

In order to be eligible for the LLM in International Legal Studies, applicants must:

  1. Have completed a law degree at a U.S. law school accredited by the American Bar Association, or at a foreign law school with equivalent standards.
  2. Submit a completed application form along with supporting materials before the application deadline.
  3. Provide proof of competency in English.

Please consult the International Legal Studies Program webpage for application instructions and requirments.