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The Fletcher School was founded to bring international law to bear on international relations.  International law is an essential component of international relations, and its role grows as political, economic, business, social, and technological interactions between countries grow.  The International Legal Studies Field provides Fletcher students with a distinctive opportunity to study international law in depth and in interdisciplinary context, leading to a unique understanding of the development, use and effects of international law.   

The Fletcher interdisciplinary approach to international relations, and to international law, prepares students for vision and leadership in international relations.  Fletcher offers a full curriculum in international law, including but not limited to the fundamentals of the international legal order, public international law, international business and economic law, human rights law, and the law of armed conflict.  Students who specialize in the field acquire a) the ability to identify international law; b) fluency in analysis, discourse, and argumentation relating to international law; b) critical thinking skills regarding precise use of language, decision-making procedures, and formal organizational dynamics; c) understanding of the role international law plays in international relations, both in the governmental and in the non-governmental context; and d) knowledge of the law applicable in particular fields of international law and proposals for reform.  

Career opportunities for those who specialize in the field include international organizations, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and positions in private sector firms that engage in international business and that recognize international law as part of their strategic context.   

Field Advisor

Joel P. Trachtman

Research Centers 

Center for International Law and Governance

Field Requirements 

MALD: 3 courses in field of study 

MGA: 5 courses in field of study 

Total Credits Required

MALD: 9.00 credits 

MGA: 15.00 credits

Field Electives

All ILO courses are eligible as electives. In addition, the following courses are eligible as electives. 

  • DHP D233 Migration and Human Rights: Movement, Community and Mobilization 
  • DHP D238 Current Issues in Global Immigration Policy 
  • DHP D290 Cyber Risk Management 
  • EIB B239 Corporate Governance in International Business and Finance 
  • EIB B252 Corporate Social Responsibility in the Age of Globalization
Practicum Requirement (MGA only)

MGA students must take either the International Law Practicum or an ad hoc practicum, which will vary from year to year. 

Skills Requirements (MGA only)

The field does not require any skills courses.  Students are expected to select skills courses that will complement the courses that comprise their field studies.  For MGA students offering this field, one of the following skills courses may substitute for one of the required five courses in the field:  

  • DHP D220 Processes of International Negotiation 
  • DHP P203 Analytic Frameworks for International Public Policy Decisions 
  • DHP P234M The Arts of Communication 
  • EIB B205 Data Analysis and Statistical Methods 
Track Requirements (optional)

MGA track options:  

  1. Public International Law 
  2. International Business and Economic Law 

Students following the Public International Law track are required to complete ILO L200 The International Legal Order and ILO L201 Public International Law. 

International Business and Economic Law does not include required courses, but recommended courses include ILO L230 International Business Transactions and ILO L240 Legal and Institutional Aspects of International Trade as foundational topics in this field.