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On this page, prospective students are able to find answers to general questions relating to the programme.

correct signApplication and selection process
correct signNature of academic programme and opportunities upon completion
correct signCosts of programme, sponsored and self-sponsored students
correct signAccommodation facilities and family assistance
correct signMedical aid, state of health
correct signSecond-semester programme 

A. Application and selection process

  1. Who can apply?
    Applications are welcome particularly from students in Africa. Applicants from Africa qualify for sponsorship consideration if selected for the programme. Applications are also welcome from other parts of the world and a few students have been admitted from countries like Germany, France, and Jamaica. However, applicants who are not citizens of African countries do not qualify for financial sponsorship and must cover all expenses to attend the programme.

  2. How to apply
    The application period is from April to July the preceding year, for the intake of the following year. Admission is on a competitive basis. Students must be in possession of an LLB degree or its equivalent. They have to have a minimum overall mark of 60-65. In exceptional circumstances, a student with an overall mark of 55% and a minimum of ten years relevant work experience can be considered.

  3. Can I receive application materials through the post?
    There are no brochures or application paraphernalia which are sent by post. All information about the programme is available on the website of the Centre for Human Rights (CHR) - www.chr.up.ac.za. Follow the link to the LLM in International Trade and Investment Law in Africa.

  4. Is there an application fee?
    There is no application fee.

  5. How many students are admitted to the programme?
    A maximum of 30 sponsored students are admitted to the programme every year. Two or three additional students may be admitted if they are self-sponsored. The total number cannot exceed 33 students for pedagogical reasons. Also there are limitations in terms of numbers that can be accommodated in the classrooms and the residences.

  6. Is there a maximum number of students who are admitted from each country?
    The aim of the programme is to admit as many nationalities to the programme as possible. Attempts are made to ensure that 30 countries are represented but this is not always possible. In instances where a country has very good applications and other countries did not apply, then generally not more than 3-4 individuals from any one country are admitted.

  7. How does one apply for funding and is one assured of a scholarship?
    When you submit your application you should motivate why you should be considered for financial assistance. Normally no more than 15 qualifying students receive scholarships. However, the programme is donor-funded and the situation could change if the required amount of money is not raised. Non-African students, i.e. students who are not citizens of African countries, do not qualify for scholarships. This is on the basis of conditions laid down by the funding institutions.

  8. My university does not give transcripts to former students yet I am required to submit all my documentation together, what should I do?
    Submit whatever information you have and make sure that you enclose a letter explaining the fact that your former of current university cannot allow you access to your transcript. You should, however, make arrangements for your university to send your transcript directly to the CHR. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the transcript has reached the CHR. The CHR cannot assist applicants to retrieve their transcripts or other official documents.

  9. Is it only academics who should write my recommendations?
    The applicant is free to get references from anyone who can vouch for the applicant’s suitability for the programme. Ideally one of the referees should be an academic but if not possible it will not prejudice an applicant who does not submit a reference from an academic.

  10. Is the selection process very strict on the length of documentation submitted in the application, e.g. letters of motivation and curriculum vitae (CV)?
    In view of the large number of applications received and in order to ensure equality of arms when assessing applications, the length of documents submitted is taken seriously. Unless the documents are official and therefore the applicant has no control on their length, or unless it is a letter of recommendation, applicants must respect the limitation on the length which has been stipulated in the application process.

  11. After submission of my application, when should I expect feedback?
    After the closing date of the application, it takes approximately two months before the selection process is complete and candidates are informed. Unsuccessful candidates are also notified.

  12. Can I apply for admission to the programme if I never studied law?
    Only holders of a law degree that would enable them to pursue a legal profession in their country or country where they completed their studies are admitted to the programme.

  13. Will I be admitted if I did not undertake my undergraduate studies in English?
    Yes, you can be admitted. You will, however, be required to prove that you are competent in the English language. This can be proved through submission of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test results, i.e TOEFEL. This is a requirement for admission at the University of Pretoria.

  14. How are applications for admission assessed?
    In assessing applications a number of criteria are taken into consideration. These include academic performance, Economic or Trade law experience or interest, writing skills and ability to cope with the intense nature of the programme.

  15. Does the programme admit only students from Africa?
    Students from other parts of the world are welcome to apply and can be admitted to the programme. However, such students do not qualify for sponsorship by the Centre for Human Rights.

B. Nature of academic programme and opportunities upon completion

  1. The programme is advertised as “intensive”, what does “intensive” mean?
    The programme is extremely intensive. Students spend six-eight (6-8) hours in class at least 4 days a week. They are expected to complete approximately 10 assignments over the course of the first semester. Only persons who are able to dedicate the entire year to the programme should apply. Individuals who are working or who are engaged in other activities that will result in divided attention cannot be admitted to the programme as chances of successfully completing the programme will be greatly reduced. The programme requires full dedication during the year in order for a candidate to succeed.

    The degree was developed under the auspices of the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria (UP) and is presented by UP and the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in partnership with The Washington College of Law in the USA and the University of Amsterdam.

    Students spend the first part of the full-time one-year degree in South Africa (with alternate intakes at UP and UWC), and they have the option, depending on available funding, of spending the second semester at one of the assigned overseas partner universities.

    Classes are presented by leading academics from partner universities; representatives from international organisations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Bank; practicing lawyers; and representatives from South African institutions, including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and the Competition Tribunal.
  1. What is the duration of the study?
    One academic year, full-time.

  2. When did the Programme Start?

Past Intakes:

  • July 2010, University of the Western Cape
  • July 2011, University of Pretoria
  • July 2012, University of the Western Cape
  • July 2013, University of Pretoria
  • July 2014, University of the Western Cape
  • July 2015, University of Pretoria
  • July 2016, University of the Western Cape
  • January 2017, University of Pretoria
  • January 2018, University of the Western Cape
  • January 2019, University of Pretoria

Current Intake:

  • January 2020, University of the Western Cape

Next Intake:

  • January 2021 University of Pretoria
  1. How is the course conducted?

Topics covered:
The South African component provides the students with an introduction to international trade and investment law, with an African focus, while the advanced courses offered by the overseas partners provide students with the opportunity to specialise. The SA component, therefore, covers a variety of issues relating to international trade and investment, including an introduction to the basic principles of international economics.

The following 14 modules are offered in consecutive blocks over the first semester:

  1. Introduction to: legal research and writing (including general aspects of project management); computer skills; and basic communication through short presentation (e.g. on cultural diversity).
  2. Accounting and International Development Economics: basic accounting, reading financial statements, principles of international economics.
  3. Introduction to International Law: focus on public and private law; state responsibility, treaties, sovereignty, nationalisation, private international law, international development of law.
  4. Global Economic Institutes: an overview of institutions and changing functions, Role of UNCTAD (development in Africa, independence), African Development Bank, IMF etc.
  5. Regulation of International Trade: WTO - general introduction, the concept of free trade, agriculture, dumping etc.
  6. International Intellectual Property Law and Transfers of Technology: TRIPS, WIPO, WTO etc., licensing, pharmaceuticals.
  7. Forms of International Business: international sales, international finance, competition.
  8. Regulation of Foreign Investment in Africa: private and public aspects; agreements and privatisation, international insolvencies.
  9. Dispute Settlement in International Business Transactions: an overview of public and private aspects, arbitration.
  10. International Business and Environmental Law and Social Considerations: environment, ethics, human rights etc.
  11. Introduction to European Union Law.
  12. Introduction to African Economic Relations: including GSP, AGOA, EPA, Cotonou, SA/EU TDCA, etc. African Regional and Sub-Regional Organisations: AU, PTA, SADC etc.;
  13. Implementation of International Economic Agreements into Domestic Law in Africa.
  14. The role of Africa and African lawyers in International Trade Negotiations and the role of lawyers in International Economic and Business Transactions.

Method of instruction:

Formal lectures, practical exercises, visits to trade organisations, extensive library and IT access

The medium of instruction:


  1. Who are the lecturers on the programme?
    Lecturers are experts in the fields of International Economic and trade law. They are drawn from different parts of the world and usually teach on the programme for a few days. Lecturers from partner universities are also involved in teaching on the programme.

  2. During the programme how are assignments, tests and examinations assessed?
    Please check the student guide which gives a comprehensive explanation of how this is done.

  3. What happens if I fail a course/s during the first semester, can I proceed to the second semester or repeat the course in the following year?
    If a student fails during the first semester s/he is immediately discontinued from the programme. There are no arrangements for a student to repeat the course.

  4. During the course can I travel to attend short courses in other countries?
    Due to the intense nature of the course, students are required to dedicate themselves fully to the LLM programme. Students are not expected to travel unless such travel is related to the programme or undertaken during holidays.

  5. What career opportunities exist upon completion of the programme and what is the level of employment of past students?
    Career opportunities include working with national, regional and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), working with governments, working as legal practitioners, teaching at academic institutions and working as consultants. The rate of employment among former students is currently at over 98%.

C. Costs of programme, sponsored and self-sponsored students

The total cost to attend the programme is estimated at US$ 6650/R 100000. This amount covers the following:

  1. Tuition at the University of Pretoria.
  2. Accommodation as provided to students on the programme.
  3. Prescribed textbooks.
  4. Travel and related expenses during the programme, e.g. study visits and travel to and from the partner university.
  5. Photocopying of study materials as identified by lecturers.

Those students who are sponsored by the CHR, what do their scholarships cover?
Among others the scholarships cover the following:

  1. Tuition at the University of Pretoria.
  2. Accommodation as provided to students on the programme.
  3. Prescribed textbooks.
  4. Travel and related expenses during the programme, e.g. study visits and travel to and from the partner university.
  5. Photocopying of study materials as identified by lecturers.

Please note: Scholarships for this programme are limited and admission to the programme does not guarantee the award of a scholarship.

D. Accommodation facilities and family assistance

  1. What type of accommodation is available during the first semester in Pretoria?
    Students live in University of Pretoria residences known as communes. These are houses where everyone has their own room. The communes are reserved for the LLM programme. Students share bathrooms and toilets, the kitchen and have a common living area. Male students live in separate communes from female students. All the houses are within walking distance of each other and therefore students can easily interact. All students have access to washing machines. Houses are cleaned at regular intervals by cleaners who are employed by the University of Pretoria. Students are responsible for cleaning their own rooms. Each student is provided with a bed, mattress, reading table, blankets and bed sheets. Each house is equipped with a stove and cooking utensils which are supplied by the University. Each house has access to a computer with a printer. In instances where more than 30 students are admitted the extra students are usually placed in a commune with other students from the University of Pretoria but who are not on the LLM programme. In terms of distance from the residences to the main campus, it takes less than 10 minutes to walk from the houses to the main campus of the University of Pretoria.

  2. I have a family, can I move with them to Pretoria and if so can I be assisted in relocating them?
    Unfortunately, the facilities at the University of Pretoria and the partner universities cannot accommodate anyone else besides the LLM candidate. Neither the CHR nor the partner universities can assist or make any undertakings concerning anyone else besides the LLM candidate.

E. Medical aid, state of health

  1. What company provides medical aid?
    While at the University of Pretoria medical aid is taken out for each student with a company called Bestmed. This is a requirement of both the University of Pretoria and the South African Ministry of Home Affairs. During the second semester, those students who go to the University of the Western Cape will remain on Bestmed medical aid. Students who go to other partner universities are placed on medical aid schemes in the countries where they will be based. In instances where host countries do not have well organised medical aid schemes, students will have access to the medical facilities which are used by students and staff at the host institution. However, much effort is made to ensure that every student is on some medical aid or scheme during the programme.

  2. What does the medical aid cover?
    The medical aid during the first semester is meant to cover emergencies only. In the event of hospitalisation, the student would be admitted to a private hospital. In terms of other covers it covers urgent dental attention but cosmetic dentistry or expensive procedures eg root canal treatment are excluded. Pre-existing conditions (ie conditions which a person comes with when enrolled to the programme) are also excluded from coverage. The medical aid covers accidents and visits to the general practitioner for ordinary ailments that might afflict a student during the course of the year.

  3. Can I attend the programme if I will need constant medical attention?
    The programme is extremely intensive and is not suitable for anyone who would need constant medical attention. Students are required to work for long hours. They are also required to travel during the course of the programme and the medical aid cover is limited. If you need constant medical attention and if you will be hospitalised from time to time, this programme would be highly unsuitable and it might not be possible to complete the programme successfully.

  4. Are there facilities to accommodate students with physical disabilities?
    The programme welcomes persons with disabilities and would be able to accommodate a student/s with disabilities. Access to most facilities will be possible.
    Should you be admitted and you have a disability you should notify the CHR as soon as possible so that necessary arrangements are put in place to cater for your specific needs. The partner institution where the student would spend the second semester would also need to be informed to ensure that adequate preparations are made in this regard.

Contact Details

Dr R. Jonathan Kabre
Programme Manager, LLM in International Trade and Investment Law in Africa (TILA)

Tel +27 (0)12 420 6200
Fax +27 (0)86 580 5743 



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