LLM International Trade and Investment Law in Africa (Coursework)

Programme Code


Closing Dates

  • SA – 31/10/2019
  • Non-SA – 31/08/2019

Admission Requirements

In addition to an LLB, BProc or equivalent qualification from a foreign university that allows the applicant entrance to the formal legal profession, the following requirements are set for admission of a prospective student to the LLM Coursework programme:

A minimum average mark of 65% with respect to the prescribed final-year modules of the undergraduate programme is required for admission to an LLM coursework programme.

Where an average of below 65% is achieved, the student may be admitted on recommendation of the relevant head of department after consultation with the programme coordinator and consideration of other merits (eg relevant professional experience; the applicant’s performance in undergraduate modules related to the particular LLM; the candidate’s performance in independent research essays or similar components) and/or an admission examination.

Linguistic competence, primarily in English; foreign applicants who did not complete undergraduate studies through the medium of English must show proof of competence in English at a minimum average level of 6 out of 10 for IELTS or a minimum total score of 83 in TOEFL calculated as follows: reading 21, listening 17, speaking 23 and writing 22. In any other instance where there is doubt as to the English linguistic competence of an applicant, the Dean may require the same proof as prescribed for foreign applicants. 

Foreign qualifications are subject to SAQA evaluation. (Some LLM coursework programmes or modules as indicated in the yearbook may only be available to students who hold a relevant South African legal qualification.)

Even though a student may comply with the above requirements, the Dean may, on the recommendation of the head of department presenting a specific degree or module, refuse to accept a prospective student for any LLM programme if such a student's performance in the chosen modules or field of study during undergraduate study was not satisfactory. Alternatively, the Dean could set additional requirements with a view to admission.

An admission examination may also be required in respect of a particular programme or module.

Selection Process

A limited number of approximately between 15 and 25 students are selected per year. Depending on the availability of funding, scholarships covering at least tuition, accommodation and official programme activities are covered for as many of these students as possible. Students who do not receive scholarships may be admitted as self-funding students, provided they meet all the minimum criteria below, and provided they guarantee payment of at least all or a significant part of tuition, accommodation and official programme activities, to an amount set by the Centre annually.

As this LLM cycle runs over a two year period, new applicants are only admitted every second year.  The programme is presented at the University of the Western Cape in the other alternate years. Applicants must submit fully completed applications to the Centre for Human Rights by 31 January every year, for eligibility to study on a programme starting in June/ July of a particular year.

In addition to the general admission requirements, the following specific selection criteria are used in combination to select the eligible students:

  1. a demonstrated professional, academic and personal interest in and commitment to international trade and investment law
  2. an indication that the applicant would be likely to put the qualification to good use in his or her future career, preferably in his or her country of origin (the ‘multiplier effect’);
  3. geographic representation (in the sense that an overrepresentation of students from a particular African country will be avoided, given the pan-African scope and ambitions of the programme);
  4. gender representation (in the sense that an equitable balance between women and men is sought);
  5. equitable representation of persons from vulnerable communities (such as persons with disabilities, persons belonging to indigenous communities and LGBTI persons).

All complete applications, received by 31 January of a particular year, are processed and considered by the LLM programme coordinator, who identifies a number of eligible candidates three times the available positions, for consideration by the Director of the International Development Law Unit (IDLU).

The Director of IDLU presents the suggested candidates to the Director of the Centre for Human Rights and the Assistant Director of the Centre for Human Rights, for their confirmation.

Duration of study

1 year, full-time.

Faculty Notes

The duration of the programme will in general be four semesters (2 years) but may be completed within two semesters (1 year) where possible, subject to fulfilment of all the requirements for the degree and payment of the full amount prescribed for the LLM degree. Programmes may also be structured to allow for one year of study only. The one- or two-year period may only be extended by the Postgraduate Committee on recommendation of the Head of Department based on good reason shown and if it is clear that the student will be able to complete the programme in a further year of study.

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