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International law: online courses

This page provides an overview of massive open online courses (MOOCs) for all those interested in international law.

What is a massive open online course, you can read here.

Child Protection: Children's Rights in Theory and Practice

Course participants will consider the strategies, international laws, standards and resources required to protect children from violence, exploitation and neglect.

Duration: 5 weeks, 1–3 hours/week.
Language: English.
Provider: Harvard University; edX.

Course introduction video.

Course syllabus:
1. Every child has the right to protection.
2. Violence against children.
3. Children and the law.
4. A systems approach to child protection.

Children’s Human Rights – an Interdisciplinary Introduction

Successful international strategies and programs promoting children’s rights will be highlighted, as well as the role of key actors involved in international organizations working in this field.

Duration: 7 weeks.
Language: English.
Provider: University of Geneva; Coursera.

Course introduction video.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. International standards and monitoring systems.
Week 2. The history of children’s rights in the context of human rights.
Week 3. Interdisciplinary children’s rights studies.
Week 4. Juvenile justice.
Week 5. Violence against children.
Week 6. Children’s right to participation.
Week 7. Children’s rights and global health.

Competing in Europe

This course is the third in a series of three exploring some of the main business aspects of European Union law. The course discusses how to compete on the internal European Union market and protect a company’s products, brands or invention.

Duration: 6 weeks.
Language: English.
Provider: Lund University; Coursera.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. Trademarks as essential assets.
Week 2. Defending patents.
Week 3. Competition: illegal cooperation.
Week 4. Competition: abuse of dominance and mergers.
Week 5. Legal writing and argumentation.
Week 6. Selling to the state and state aid.

Other courses in the series: “European Business Law: Understanding the Fundamentals”, “Doing Business in Europe”.

Defending Dignity: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The course introduces the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is dedicated to its 70th anniversary. Participants will discover how the Declaration empowers to know, claim and defend their rights.

Duration: 3 weeks, 1 hour/week.
Language: English.
Provider: Amnesty International; FutureLearn.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. Dignity and human rights.
Week 2. Promoting equality and non-discrimination in your community.
Week 3. Shaping a society based on human rights principles.

Doing Business in Europe

This course is the second in a series of three exploring some of the main business aspects of European Union law. The course provides learners with a sound knowledge base of European laws and regulations relevant to establishing and managing a company within the European Union.

Duration: 6 weeks, 10–15 hours/week.
Language: English.
Provider: Lund University; Coursera.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. Making business transactions.
Week 2. Establishing a company.
Week 3. Employing and working in Europe.
Week 4. Paying taxes and complying with environmental standards.
Week 5. Case clinic.
Week 6. Resolving cross-border disputes.

Other courses in the series: “European Business Law: Understanding the Fundamentals”, “Competing in Europe”.

The EU and Human Rights

This course teaches the basics of human rights, placing the EU at the centre of investigation.

Duration: 6 weeks, 4–6 hours/week.
Language: English.
Provider: Université catholique de Louvain; edX.

Course introduction video.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. Human rights challenges in EU policies.
Week 2. The EU as a human rights actor.
Weeks 3. The EU’s internal setting and fundamental rights policies.
Week 4. Themes and priorities of EU external human rights policies.
Week 5. Actors and geographic scope of EU external relations.
Week 6. Effectiveness challenges and the way forward.

European Business Law: Understanding the Fundamentals

This course is the first in a series of three that will provide students with an insight into European Business Law. In this course the students will examine the core structures and principles of the European Union as well as the main sources of law.

Duration: 5 weeks, 10–15 hours/week.
Language: English.
Provider: Lund University; Coursera.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. Introduction to EU law.
Week 2. Sources and method of EU law.
Week 3. Fundamental principles.
Week 4. The economic freedoms.
Week 5. The external dimension.

Other courses in the series: “Doing Business in Europe”, “Competing in Europe”.

Freedom of Expression in the Age of Globalization

Participants will learn about international human rights norms and laws that define freedom of expression and information.

Duration: 6 weeks, 4–6 hours/week.
Language: English.
Provider: Columbia University; edX.

Course introduction video.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. Making a case for freedom of expression: values.
Week 2. International norms on freedom of expression.
Week 3. Legitimate restrictions to freedom of expression.
Week 4. Scope of freedom of expression.
Week 5–6. Freedom of expression in the digital age.

Human Rights and Development

In this course, participants will discover discover why a critical understanding of development is paramount to addressing poverty, inequality, climate change, indigenous rights and issues of social justice.

Duration: 12 weeks, 8–10 hours/week.
Language: English.
Provider: Curtin University; edX.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. Introduction, human rights and development.
Week 2. The Basic Needs Approach (BNA).
Week 3. The Capability Approach (CA).
Week 4. The Rights Based Approach (RBA).
Week 5. The Human Security Approach to Development and Human Rights.
Week 6. Development, gender and human rights.
Week 7. Foreign aid, development and human rights.
Week 8. Human rights and development from indigenous perspectives.
Week 9. African perspectives on human rights and development.
Week 10. Development and the role of international financial institutions: the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Week 11. Development, human rights and the environment.
Week 12. Conclusion – human rights and development.

Human Rights for Open Societies

The course introduces the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the practice of the European Court of Human Rights.

Duration: 6 weeks, 2–3 hours/week.
Language: English.
Provider: Utrecht University; Coursera.

Course introduction video.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. Introduction to the ECHR.
Week 2. General principles.
Week 3. Human rights and democracy.
Week 4. Insiders and outsiders: non-discrimination, vulnerable groups, migrants and asylum seekers.
Week 5. Freedom of expression and public protest.
Week 6. Closure.

Human Rights Theory and Philosophy

In this course, participants will learn about the development of the conventional understanding of universal human rights as well as some of the major critiques of the concept.

Duration: 12 weeks, 8–10 hours/week.
Language: English.
Provider: Curtin University; edX.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. What do we mean by human rights?
Week 2. Modern perspectives on human rights.
Week 3. Constructing human rights: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Week 4. Human rights and the cultural relativist and postmodern critiques.
Week 5. Human rights and the postcolonial and decolonial critiques.
Week 6. Human rights beyond western perspectives.
Week 7. Indigenous rights.
Week 8. Human rights and the feminist critiques.
Week 9. Sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights.
Week 10. Disability and human rights.
Week 11. Human rights and seeking asylum.
Week 12. Human rights, the environment and the Anthropocene.

International Human Rights

This course provides an overview of how human rights are protected under international law, how and by whom such rights may be claimed, and what limitations and restrictions to rights are admissible.

Duration: self-paced.
Language: English.
Provider: Université catholique de Louvain; edX.

Course introduction video.

Course syllabus:
1. What are human rights?
2. To which situations do human rights apply?
3. When may human rights be restricted?
4. When must the state intervene to protect human rights?
5. How much must states do to fulfil human rights?
6. What is discrimination?
7. How are human rights protected at domestic level?
8. How are human rights protected at international level?

International Humanitarian Law

The participants of the course will learn how international law regulates armed conflicts, protects individuals in wartime and guarantees minimum compliance.

Duration: 12 weeks, 4–12 hours/week.
Language: English.
Provider: Catholic University of Louvain; edX.

Course introduction video.

Course syllabus:
1. Introduction to International Humanitarian Law.
2. Sources and subjects.
3. Scope of application.
4. The Geneva Law.
5. The Hague Law.
6. Implementation and enforcement of IHL.

International Humanitarian Law in Theory and Practice

The course will give you a deep insight into the rules that govern armed conflict, and aim to mitigate human suffering on the battlefield.

Duration: 5 weeks, 5 hours/week.
Language: English.
Provider: Leiden University; Coursera.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. Introduction to International Humanitarian Law.
Week 2. Conflict classification.
Week 3. Conduct of hostilities.
Week 4. Protection of persons.
Week 5. Implementation and enforcement.

International Labour Standards: How to Use Them

This course provides knowledge and practical skills for using international labour standards to promote and defend worker’s rights worldwide.

Duration: self-paced.
Language: English.
Provider: Global Labour University, International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization; Iversity.

Course introduction video.

Course syllabus:
1. Introduction to international labour standards.
2. Supervision of international labour standards.
3. Freedom of association, collective bargaining and the right to strike.

International Law

The course explains what is international law, what role it plays in the world of today, by whom it must be respected and how it is applied.

Duration: 8 weeks, 4–6 hours/week.
Language: English.
Provider: Université catholique de Louvain; edX.

Course introduction video.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. Introducing international law.
Week 2. Subjects of international law.
Week 3–4. Making international law.
Week 5. Applying international law.
Week 6. Claiming responsibility.
Week 7. Seeking justice.
Week 8. Upholding peace.

International Law in Action: the Arbitration of International Disputes

This course is the third in a series of courses on international law. It explores the major aspects of international arbitration as one of the most common method of international dispute settlement.

Duration: 4 weeks, 4–6 hours/week.
Language: English.
Provider: Leiden University; Coursera.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. The history and general principles of international arbitration.
Week 2. Arbitration and the law of the sea.
Week 3. Investment arbitration.
Week 4. State immunity and the enforcement & validity of international arbitral decision.

Other courses in the series: “International Law in Action: a Guide to the International Courts and Tribunals in The Hague”, “International Law in Action: Investigating and Prosecuting International Crimes”.

International Law in Action: a Guide to the International Courts and Tribunals in The Hague

This course maps the unique roles played by international courts and tribunals located in The Hague and explains how they promote peace and global justice.

Duration: 5 weeks, 4–6 hours/week.
Language: English; subtitles available in English and French.
Provider: Leiden University; Coursera.

Course introduction video.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. An introduction to the international courts and tribunals in The Hague.
Week 2. The International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Week 3. The arbitration of international disputes.
Week 4. International criminal courts and tribunals.
Week 5. Conclusions of the three course themes.

The second course in the series: "International Law in Action: Investigating and Prosecuting International Crimes".

International Law in Action: Investigating and Prosecuting International Crimes

This course is the second in a series of courses on international law. Participants will learn how international criminal justice functions, who the actors are, what outcomes it produces, and how it can be improved.

Duration: 4 weeks, 4–6 hours/week.
Language: English.
Provider: Leiden University; Coursera.

Course introduction video.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. The international criminal justice system: core concepts and foundations.
Week 2. The international criminal justice system: justice institutions and procedures.
Week 3. Trying perpetrators.
Week 4. Remedying wrong and look to the future.

The first course in the series: "International Law in Action: a Guide to the International Courts and Tribunals in The Hague".

International Water Law

This course introduces the principles and legal standards that govern the use, sharing, management and protection of transboundary freshwaters, especially rivers, lakes and aquifers.

Duration: 5 weeks.
Language: English; subtitles available in English and French.
Provider: University of Geneva; Coursera.

Course introduction video.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. Introduction to international water law.
Week 2. The evolution of the international regulation on fresh water resources.
Week 3–4. The principles of the law on transboundary water resources.
Week 5. Prevention and resolution of water-related disputes.

Introduction to International Criminal Law

The course educates students about the fundamentals of international criminal law and policy.

Duration: 8 weeks, 7–8 hours/week.
Language: English; subtitles available in English and Spanish.
Provider: Case Western Reserve University; Coursera.

Course introduction video.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. Introduction.
Week 2. Peace versus justice.
Week 3. Terrorism and piracy.
Week 4. Unique modes of liability.
Week 5. Specialized defenses.
Week 6. Gaining custody of the accused.
Week 7. Pre-trial issues.
Week 8. Maintaining control of the courtroom.

Rethinking International Tax Law

This course explains the foundations and practice of international tax law as well as current developments and the ethical aspects of tax planning.

Duration: 6 weeks, 4–12 hours/week.
Language: English. Provider: Leiden University, Coursera.

Course introduction video.

Course syllabus:
Week 1. International tax planning – base case.
Week 2. Design of corporate tax law systems.
Week 3. Principles of international taxation and tax treaties.
Week 4. Transfer pricing.
Week 5. European Union law and fiscal state aid.
Week 6. Tax planning and ethical dimensions.

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