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International Law



This course, which is geared in particular toward students of International Politics, centers on the politics of international law. It surveys the main debates, both classic and current, among International Politics scholars of international law. These debates concern, inter alia, the origins of international law; the (ir)relevance of international legal rules; the different types of international law (e.g. hard, soft and customary); compliance; the role of international courts as actors; and the growing backlash against international law, and human rights in particular. The course combines an emphasis on theoretical approaches and concepts with an exploration of empirical cases.

Course objectives

Objective 1: Students will be able to display a familiary with the main debates on the role of international law in international politics. They will be able to bring different theoretical perspectives into conversation with each other.
Objective 2: Students will learn to engage critically with the assumption that international law matters. They will be able to articulate the strengths and limitations of international law. Furthermore, they will be able to use empirical examples to support their argument.
Objective 3: Students will be able to discuss, in an informed manner, the contemporary challenges that international law faces.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Assessment takes the form of a three-hour final exam that consists of a mix of short-answer and essay questions.

Attendance of the lectures is not mandatory. However, the exam will concern material discussed in the readings and lectures. Presentation slides will be uploaded onto Blackboard after class. Students will be responsible for familiarizing themselves with the content of missed classes, for instance by consulting the slides and obtaining notes from fellow students.

In the exam, students will, inter alia, be expected to define core concepts; to associate arguments with specific authors and theoretical schools; and to demonstrate their knowledge of empirical examples. The exam is closed book. This means that notebooks, laptops or phones may not be brought to the exam.

The time and location of inspection and debriefing of the exam will be announced via Brightspace no later than the publication of the grades

Reading list

Textbook TBA


See general information on tab 'Year 2'.

Timetable - courses and exams



Martijn Mos. Email: