Law of the Sea - master

Varighet: 3 Semesters

Law of the Sea - master

Varighet: 3 Semesters

Application deadline
Nordic applicants: 15 April
International applicants: 1 December
How to apply?

The oceans cover over 70 percent of the surface of the Earth. Humans depend on the oceans for life, work, food, travel, and human health. The ocean is the world's greatest reservoir of biodiversity, including marine mammals, fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and countless of other species.

The LL.M. programme aims to broaden the traditional approach to the Law of the Sea from jurisdictional issues to also include substantial law such as conservation and sustainable use of biological resources and protection of biodiversity and the environment. Although the programme of study has a clear global profile, it also has a distinct Arctic dimension. Much of the Arctic consists of marine areas. Global climate change will increasingly subject these areas to various uses such as navigation, oil and gas exploitation, fisheries and research. The Arctic regions provide unique opportunities for studying both global and regional legal approaches to protect and preserve the marine environment.

Spørsmål om studiet
Neves, Maria Madalena das


Lene Emilie Øye ns 122.jpg
Øye, Lene Emilie

Rådgiver - Internasjonal koordinator

The programme will through its courses and master's thesis give the students a broad introduction and knowledge of the Law of the Sea, including its development and the political and institutional aspects. Students at the programme are taught by legal experts from the Faculty of Law and JCLOS as well as other institutions, such as intergovernmental organizations, international tribunals, academics and practitioners. The teaching includes lectures, problem-based seminars, writing courses, moot-court experiences and excursions to relevant institutions, where in all activities students are active participants.

The programme is intensive with a structure of three semesters through one calendar year, starting in August. The autumn semester consists of two introductory courses on the Law of the Sea and the politics of the Law of the Sea. The spring semester focuses on more specific topics on the Arctic and protection of the Marine Environment. In the third semester students select their own topic for an individual research project, which is to be completed during the summer.

Programme outline:


  • JUR-3050 General Law of the Sea

The course provides a general introduction to the Law of the Sea, i.e. the rules and principles of international public law that cover the maritime areas.

  • JUR-3054 General Law of the Sea II

The course bases on JUR-3050 and goes deeper into the selected topics.  


  • JUR-3052 Protection of the Marine Environment by International Law

The course focuses on the international legal rules concerning the protection of the marine environment from adverse effects of different human uses and the sustainable use of marine resources.

  • JUR-3053 Law of the sea and the Arctic

The course focuses on Law of the Sea and Arctic issues. The general Law of the Sea is applicable to the marine areas Arctic. But at the same time the region has special traits that must be considered. In this course, the students will have to apply the knowledge they have acquired during the previous courses on Arctic issues. Generally, the course therefore has the character of case studies, with special emphasis on the Arctic.


  • JUR-3910 Master's thesis in Law of the Sea

It consists of an obligatory thesis based on themes and questions from the Law of the Sea. The students will be provided with individual supervision. The thesis must be minimum 37 pages and maximum 55 pages, with formatting in accordance with the Regulations for the Law of the Sea program, section 14. The theme of the thesis shall be of a legal or semi-legal character, and may include perspectives such as legal theory, legal history. The thesis must consist of independent analyses of the theme and the legal sources available. The thesis shall provide the student with an in-depth study of a particular topic. The discussions of the thesis are to be transparent and as complete as possible. The references to the sources shall be precise and verifiable.

The candidates shall during the LL.M-programme acquire knowledge, skills and general competence enabling them to hold positions dealing with law of the sea issues. They shall be capable of identifying and analyzing legal questions and relate themselves to the legal system in an independent and critical manner.

To achieve these objectives the candidates are to acquire and develop the following qualifications:


An LL.M. candidate in the law of the sea shall have:

- Advanced knowledge on the central subjects of the law of the sea;

- Specialized knowledge on other subjects of the law of the sea;

- Knowledge on scientific research methods.


An LL.M. candidate in the law of the sea shall be able to:

- identify and analyze questions of theoretical and practical character in a methodological and ethical proper manner;

- apply the relevant sources of law independently and critically ;

- identify the limitations of existing law and discuss need for changes;

- independently undertake a limited research work under supervision in accordance with norms of research ethics;

- organize and apply extensive and complex information, including identifying main and sub- research questions;

- communicate in English both orally and in writing legal reasoning in a clear and precise manner;

- stay up to date on legal developments within the law of the sea and to further develop his/her qualifications.

The candidate shall be able to apply the knowledge and skills individually and in cooperation with others, as well as finalize tasks within given time frames.

General Competence:

After passing the program, the student can:

- Apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the field of the Law of the Sea individually and in cooperation with others.

- Communicate reasoning within the field of the Law of the Sea in a clear and precise manner, orally and in writing to the academic community and the public.

- Apply knowledge and skills acquired within the field of the Law of the Sea to other fields of international law, and for all tasks and projects where relevant.

- Identify and reflect on ethical dilemmas that may arise within the field of the Law of the Sea in particular and deal with these in a responsible manner.

- Apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the field of the Law of the Sea to carry out tasks within given timeframes.

The program qualifies students for jobs both at national and international level, within the United Nations and its specialized agencies, in national diplomatic service as well as public administration and industry and commerce. Further, our students have been selected for internships at leading international institutions, such as the United Nations Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS) and International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). Students may also be qualified to make a career within academia as doctoral students within in law of the sea or other research areas.

Term 10 ects 10 ects 10 ects
First semester (fall)
(15 ECTS)
(15 ECTS)
Second semester (spring)
(15 ECTS)
(15 ECTS)
Third semester (summer)
(30 ECTS)

Admission to the Master's programme in Law of the Sea requires a Bachelor's degree (180 ECTS) in Law or equivalent qualification, such as three years duration in law or political science at university level. You must also document knowledge of the fundamentals of international law and international politics. Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent issued in Norway, Europe, Canada, USA, Australia & New Zealand: An average grade of C is the minimum requirement. Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent issued in countries other than the above mentioned region/countries: An average grade of B or better. The average grade is calculated from the bachelor as a whole.

Applicants must enclose an essay of approximately 2 pages in English where they describe their background and motivation for taking this Master's degree. There are approximately 20 available places on the programme, where the best of applicants based on background, academic results and the motivational letter are admitted.

More information on admission requirements:

Applicants from Norway or Nordic countries:

  • The application deadline for Norwegian and other Nordic applicants is April 15th for admission to the autumn semester
  • Online application, study code 7001

Applicants from outside the Nordic countries:

  • The application deadline for international applicants is December 1st for admission to the autumn semester.
  • Online application, study code 2033.

Are you an international applicant? Read more here.

The teaching, assignments and exams shall reflect the different types of tasks the students will have to deal with in their future professional careers. The objective is to be achieved through active participation of the students during the courses; through study, discussions and papers. Lectures will provide for the introduction to the themes while problem-based seminars will make most of the teaching where students and teachers identify and discuss legal questions. Students are also encouraged to hand in papers during the courses to develop their knowledge on subjects and analytical skills.

During the writing of the masters thesis, the students are entitled to supervision cf. the regulations for the Law of the Sea programme section 18.

The students are assessed during and at the end of the study. The forms of assessment include work requirements, six hour written school exams, a home exam followed by an oral exam, and at the end of the study each student must write a master's thesis. The exams and thesis are graded A-F, with F as not passed. Students that fail or have other legitimate grounds for absence may repeat exams, cf. Regulations for examinations at the University of Tromsø Sections 21 and 22.

For further information about work requirements, exam format and evaluative criteria, see the individual course descriptions on the UiT website.