Tilburg Law School

Master thesis International and European Law

To complete the Master's Program International and European Law, students of both tracks (International Law and Global Governance, and European Law and Global Risk) must write an individual LLM thesis (12 ECTS) in International or European Law.

The Master's thesis must fulfil the following requirements:

  • The LLM Thesis must be written in English.
  • The LLM Thesis must be the outcome of individual work.
  • The LLM Thesis should contain 12.500 words (+/- 10%), excluding citations, table of contents, indexes, summary, bibliography (and appendices, if included).

For all students in the track International Law and Global Governance, thesis supervision is structured via the compulsory course called Research Design and Methods for Postnational Lawyers (RePL).

Learning goals

By researching and writing an individual LLM thesis in International or European law, students will:

  • Learn how to formulate a feasible research question by distinguishing core questions from minor issues
  • Learn how to choose a methodology and to design a research project, which are well suited to answer the formulated research question
  • Engage in self-study to follow and assess legal developments in the field of thesis research
  • Learn how to articulate and critically analyse a complex legal problem
  • Learn how to formulate sound conclusions based on the conducted research.


Students will start to work on their LLM thesis projects in the first semester of the program. The thesis trajectory includes three feedback moments: two group meetings and one individual feedback meeting. The timeline for completing the thesis is a fixed one, and it is announced in the LLM thesis manual (available on Canvas).

The first step of the thesis trajectory is the thesis sign-up process, which will be announced and managed via Canvas. Based on students’ preferences and supervisors’ capacity, students will be assigned to a thesis circle. Each circle will consist of a group of students writing on a related topic.

In the first semester, there will be two thesis circle meetings. These are meetings where all students working on a related topic meet and receive oral feedback from their supervisors on the proposed research project. During these thesis circles, the following subjects will be discussed: the choice of subject, the formulation of the research question, the design of the thesis.

After the second thesis circle meeting, students must submit a thesis proposal that will be assessed by the supervisor. The approval of the thesis proposal is an essential step to continue the thesis trajectory.

In the second semester, students are entitled to one individual meeting, which is generally used to discuss two substantial thesis’ chapters.

Deadlines to submit both the thesis proposal and the complete thesis are set at the program level.

Thesis defense

After finishing and submitting the final version of their LLM thesis, students will orally defend the thesis. The defense will take 50 minutes. During this time students will be asked to briefly (maximum 10 minutes) present the topic, and to outline the methodology and findings of the thesis. Subsequently the defense committee will ask the student several questions about the thesis. The defense committee consists of the student’s supervisor and a second reader – both employed at the Law Faculty of Tilburg University.

More information in Osiris and Canvas

For more information on the thesis trajectory, please consult Osiris (690933-M-12) and Canvas.