International Operational Law – one-year Master’s Programme

This programme is suitable for those wanting to immerse themselves in the specific field of international law that regulates the actions of armed forces and other actors in armed conflict and crises. Among other things, you will study the law of armed conflict, human rights and the legal frameworks for peace operations.

The programme is an international, practice-informed Master’s programme for those who hold a law degree or bachelor’s degree in law specialising in International Law, or an equivalent Swedish or foreign degree. The programme leads to the Degree of Master of Laws (LL.M.), (60 credits) in International Operational Law. All courses are given in English.

Future career opportunities

The programme prepares you for a career in the armed forces, government agencies or ministries with a focus on foreign policy, crisis management, security and defence, international or national humanitarian or crisis management organizations, and civil society organizations.

The programme also gives you an opportunity to specialise before applying for doctoral studies in law.

About the programme

The Master’s programme in International Operational Law gives you as a student a highly specialised, practice-informed education in the international law that governs armed conflict and other crises.

The programme focuses on studying the legal room for manoeuvre for states and other actors in the areas of crisis management, defence and security. The programme covers the entire spectrum from peace to crisis and armed conflict from an international legal perspective.

You will have the opportunity to study, for example:

  • The right of states to use force against other states or against non-state actors.
  • The rules of international law applicable to non-state actors in armed conflicts.
  • How violations of international law, such as war crimes, are regulated and enforced by domestic and international courts.
  • How cyber operations and hybrid warfare are regulated.
  • Which laws govern the way countries deal with, and can support each other in the event of major crises and natural disasters such as storms, earthquakes or volcanic eruptions.
  • How human rights can be affected in the event of crisis or armed conflict through limitations and state of emergency regimes.

The programme is practice-informed and contains a high degree of application elements, such as different types of exercises and gaming, as well as Socratic course components in order to create an educational environment that is characterised by a high degree of active participation in the programme. Courses are taught in a combination of physical in-class teaching and distance-learning.

Your teachers will be internationally acknowledged and highly specialised academics and practitioners who link the programme to both current international research and experience drawn from work in international organisations, the armed forces and in international contexts. The teaching staff and the student group are also characterised by a high degree of internationalisation with links to relevant national and international government agencies and intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations. All in all, this creates a dynamic, stimulating educational environment in which students and teachers work closely together.

Outline of the programme

The programme starts with five mandatory courses during the first term, which lay the foundations for the subject of international operational law. This also includes a course on Selected Aspects of Operational Law, in which a topical subject will be studied under the guidance of a visiting professor who conducts research in that specific area.

During the second term you will choose two courses, each comprising 7.5 credits, which provide an opportunity for further specialisation, practical application or a broadening towards any of the Swedish Defence University’s other subjects, such as leadership, defence systems or political science. The term and the programme are then completed with the writing of a master thesis. The thesis course comprises 15 credits.

The teaching of all mandatory courses and the elective courses mentioned below are offered in English.

The mandatory courses are:

  • Advanced Law of Armed Conflict, 5 credits
  • Human Rights in Crisis and Conflict, 5 credits
  • International Criminal Law, 5 credits
  • International Law and the Use of Force, 5 credits
  • International Operational Law and Peace Operations, 5 credits
  • International Operational Law – Capita Selecta, 5 credits

Examples of elective courses:

  • International Operational Law in Operational Planning, 7,5 credits
  • International Operational Law on Hybrid Warfare and Terrorism, 7,5 credits
  • International Disaster Law, 7,5 credits
  • War, Law and Emerging Technology, 7,5 credits

The second part of semester 2:

  • Master's Thesis, 15 credits

Obtain more information about our Master programme

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Advanced level





Start week

Week 35

End week

Week 22


Swedish Degree of Master of Laws or Degree of Bachelor of Science in Law with Specialisation in International Law, plus English B or English 6

Form of teaching






Course fee

Application fee: SEK 900. Tuition fee: SEK105 000 per year

Study pace



Applicants should attach a CV (no more than 2 pages written in English), a motivation letter (no more than 1 page, in English), 2 reference letters (one academic reference and one professional). If no work-related reference letter can be issued, two academic reference letters are acceptable. All official academic transcripts and necessary official translations to English or Swedish (this applies to applicants with documents in other languages than English, Swedish, Norwegian or Danish), must be uploaded to your University Admissions account under Documents or showing under Merits in the same portal. All documents must be uploaded by February 1, 2022.

Other things

The program leads to a Degree of Master of Laws (LL.M.), (60 credits) in International Operational Law. Application period opens 18 October 2021 and closes 17 January 2022.



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Published 2021-07-08 Updated 2022-04-20