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Corporate law through society's lens

International Business Law

Climate Change and Corporations

Understand the implications of law in the international arena

International Business Law is a full-time, one-year graduate programme in law (LLM). It is taught in English and consists of several compulsory courses and optional courses that explore different fields of international business law.

The courses are taught by both legal practitioners and academics. Many lecturers at the Law School of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam also work in practice as lawyers or as business counsels. The curriculum is structured to form a comprehensive programme. The initial mandatory courses provide you with a general legal foundation, and the following courses develop your knowledge in more specific areas of law.

You will complete the IBL Master's programme by writing and defending a Master's thesis. You will select the topic of the Master's thesis in cooperation with a supervisor who is a lecturer at the Law School. The topic of the Master's thesis must relate to one of the subjects taught during the academic year. A Master's thesis requires between eight and ten weeks of research and writing.

Some students opt for a student internship at an international company or law firm located in the Netherlands. Normally, such internship is extracurricular (i.e. no ECTS credits are awarded).

International classroom  
The IBL Master’s programme is designed as an international and dynamic graduate programme. The relatively small number of international students in the class guarantees a highly interactive character of the courses. Students as well as lecturers coming from different countries and different legal cultures strongly contribute to a special and a truly global character of the IBL Master’s programme. It all offers a unique intellectual atmosphere for group discussions, presentation of views on legal matters and exchange of ideas that are enriched by diverse national perspectives.

Although the IBL Master’s programme is an internationally oriented programme which attracts students from all over the world, this programme is also very attractive to Dutch students. First of all, together with a Dutch bachelor in law degree the IBL Master’s degree provides for the so called civiel effect. Moreover, seen the far-reaching internationalization of businesses nowadays, it is crucial for a lawyer or an in-house legal counsel to draft various legal documents in English, as well as to understand the legal systems of other countries and other international developments in (European) law.

The start date of this programme is September 1st.

For more information, please consult the study guide

Which specialisation do you choose?

Find out what the different possibilities are within the master's programme

Summary

Previously known as International Business Law: Climate Change and Sustainability

It's the climate, stupid! 

Climate change threatens humanity. The purpose of law is to protect legitimate human interests. You want to join the new generation of lawyers who engage constructively with these problems. They see practicing law in the context of the wider developments in society -- such as climate change and sustainability -- as the way forward for the legal profession.

Anyone running a business successfully today, cannot ignore sustainability. And, anyone wanting to devote themselves to tackling climate change must have knowledge of how businesses function.

VU Amsterdam is the first university in Europe to offer an International Business Law degree that combines an outstanding, all-round Master’s programme in Business Law with a specific focus on one of the most complex legal challenges of our day: climate change.

During this Master's programme, you will be seeking answers to highly important, yet complex, questions such as: What are the legal means to fight climate change? What rights and responsibilities do businesses and governments have in terms of sustainability? Can states be forced to bring their policies in line with the Paris 2015 Agreement? How can corporate law facilitate green startups?

Climate change provides a clear lens through which we can study a range of fundamental legal concepts. In the process of studying law and climate change, you will become an all-round lawyer. The programme concentrates on private law (company law, contract law and liability law) but will also address financial regulatory law, administrative law (European legislation in particular) and international public law.

Investors, company boards, governments and society are all demanding more sustainable business models. This creates a need for more professionals versed in sustainability, including lawyers.

A study of the law’s role in climate change means looking at how the law functions. To build up a picture of the law in action, you will meet practicing professionals during this Master's programme. Lawyers, but also experts from regulatory authorities, banks and environmental organizations. These experts give guest lectures and provide input on the content of the curriculum.

Summary

Previously known as International Business Law: Transactions and Trade

Brokering deals as a world-class lawyer

The legal challenges facing today's international companies are more complex than ever before. More global interconnectedness means more international communication and commerce. Do you want to be among the world's sharpest legal minds, crafting deals with the latest knowledge at hand to navigate your clients through transactions and trade in this dynamic juridical landscape?

Today's organizations -from tech scale-ups to multinational corporations and governments- need legal advisors with a deep understanding of the laws governing global transactions and trade. As their legal counsel, you need to comprehend both the legal requirements of those operations, and the impact which the rule of law has upon them in order to negotiate the best agreements.

This International Business Law (IBL) Master’s programme in Commercial Transactions is a thorough legal education of the black letter law of international trade and commercial transactions. You will study the main legal areas and the interaction between the parties involved in business transactions.

In addition, you will develop skills to anticipate, analyze and address legal problems that may arise in practice. The courses are taught by both legal practitioners and academics. Many lecturers at the Law School of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam are also practicing lawyers, so they can help anticipate the challenges your will face in your future work.

This IBL Master’s programme opens the gateway for you to begin a career path anywhere in the world at the crossroads of law and international commerce or public service. It will arm you with the skills to create legal solutions and communicate with counterparts all over the world in English with your colleagues and your competitors alike.

Summary

Previously known as International Business Law: Finance and Behavior

The law is not enough! Financial and corporate law in a wider moral perspective -- the road to Lawyer 2.0

In the wake of the global financial crisis and today's economic upheaval due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increasing awareness that finance and corporate law should not only be studied in terms of its doctrine, but include a wider perspective of its social function.

You are well aware of these new legal schools of thought. You want to become a "T-shaped lawyer" also known as Lawyer 2.0. That means someone with a deep legal knowledge (the upright in the T) combined with soft skills and broader business knowledge (the crossbar of the T).

Clients today demand lawyers who are both fully versed in the letter of financial and corporate law, but also have a broader view on the context of that law: society itself. This demands a multidisciplinary approach. The innovative curriculum of International Business Law: Markets and Behavior at VU Amsterdam answers that call.

This LLM Master's programme aims to train you to become an excellent lawyer who has a broader knowledge of the economic and behavioural context of financial and corporate law. You will therefore gain new insights, provided by experts with knowledge of other disciplines such as behavioural economics, psychology, sociology and political science. It has been designed for students taking their first LLM degree. This is one of the only financial and corporate master’s programmes in the Netherlands offering a multidisciplinary approach.

The courses in English will be taught jointly by lawyers and researchers from the VU Faculties of Economics and Behavioral Sciences. In addition, professionals from sectors such as banking, insurance, pension funds and government regulators will also be involved as guest lecturers and providers of practical cases studies.

Although this master’s programme is modern in its approach, you will still study the legal basics of Corporate Law, Contract Law, Tort Law, Insolvency Law and Financial Law. This course in international in its outlook, therefore it focusses on the principles of these various tools, and not Dutch positive law. This makes the curriculum equally interesting for Dutch and international students.

  • Climate Change and Corporations

    Summary

    Previously known as International Business Law: Climate Change and Sustainability

    It's the climate, stupid! 

    Climate change threatens humanity. The purpose of law is to protect legitimate human interests. You want to join the new generation of lawyers who engage constructively with these problems. They see practicing law in the context of the wider developments in society -- such as climate change and sustainability -- as the way forward for the legal profession.

    Anyone running a business successfully today, cannot ignore sustainability. And, anyone wanting to devote themselves to tackling climate change must have knowledge of how businesses function.

    VU Amsterdam is the first university in Europe to offer an International Business Law degree that combines an outstanding, all-round Master’s programme in Business Law with a specific focus on one of the most complex legal challenges of our day: climate change.

    During this Master's programme, you will be seeking answers to highly important, yet complex, questions such as: What are the legal means to fight climate change? What rights and responsibilities do businesses and governments have in terms of sustainability? Can states be forced to bring their policies in line with the Paris 2015 Agreement? How can corporate law facilitate green startups?

    Climate change provides a clear lens through which we can study a range of fundamental legal concepts. In the process of studying law and climate change, you will become an all-round lawyer. The programme concentrates on private law (company law, contract law and liability law) but will also address financial regulatory law, administrative law (European legislation in particular) and international public law.

    Investors, company boards, governments and society are all demanding more sustainable business models. This creates a need for more professionals versed in sustainability, including lawyers.

    A study of the law’s role in climate change means looking at how the law functions. To build up a picture of the law in action, you will meet practicing professionals during this Master's programme. Lawyers, but also experts from regulatory authorities, banks and environmental organizations. These experts give guest lectures and provide input on the content of the curriculum.

  • Commercial Transactions

    Summary

    Previously known as International Business Law: Transactions and Trade

    Brokering deals as a world-class lawyer

    The legal challenges facing today's international companies are more complex than ever before. More global interconnectedness means more international communication and commerce. Do you want to be among the world's sharpest legal minds, crafting deals with the latest knowledge at hand to navigate your clients through transactions and trade in this dynamic juridical landscape?

    Today's organizations -from tech scale-ups to multinational corporations and governments- need legal advisors with a deep understanding of the laws governing global transactions and trade. As their legal counsel, you need to comprehend both the legal requirements of those operations, and the impact which the rule of law has upon them in order to negotiate the best agreements.

    This International Business Law (IBL) Master’s programme in Commercial Transactions is a thorough legal education of the black letter law of international trade and commercial transactions. You will study the main legal areas and the interaction between the parties involved in business transactions.

    In addition, you will develop skills to anticipate, analyze and address legal problems that may arise in practice. The courses are taught by both legal practitioners and academics. Many lecturers at the Law School of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam are also practicing lawyers, so they can help anticipate the challenges your will face in your future work.

    This IBL Master’s programme opens the gateway for you to begin a career path anywhere in the world at the crossroads of law and international commerce or public service. It will arm you with the skills to create legal solutions and communicate with counterparts all over the world in English with your colleagues and your competitors alike.

  • Markets and Behavior

    Summary

    Previously known as International Business Law: Finance and Behavior

    The law is not enough! Financial and corporate law in a wider moral perspective -- the road to Lawyer 2.0

    In the wake of the global financial crisis and today's economic upheaval due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increasing awareness that finance and corporate law should not only be studied in terms of its doctrine, but include a wider perspective of its social function.

    You are well aware of these new legal schools of thought. You want to become a "T-shaped lawyer" also known as Lawyer 2.0. That means someone with a deep legal knowledge (the upright in the T) combined with soft skills and broader business knowledge (the crossbar of the T).

    Clients today demand lawyers who are both fully versed in the letter of financial and corporate law, but also have a broader view on the context of that law: society itself. This demands a multidisciplinary approach. The innovative curriculum of International Business Law: Markets and Behavior at VU Amsterdam answers that call.

    This LLM Master's programme aims to train you to become an excellent lawyer who has a broader knowledge of the economic and behavioural context of financial and corporate law. You will therefore gain new insights, provided by experts with knowledge of other disciplines such as behavioural economics, psychology, sociology and political science. It has been designed for students taking their first LLM degree. This is one of the only financial and corporate master’s programmes in the Netherlands offering a multidisciplinary approach.

    The courses in English will be taught jointly by lawyers and researchers from the VU Faculties of Economics and Behavioral Sciences. In addition, professionals from sectors such as banking, insurance, pension funds and government regulators will also be involved as guest lecturers and providers of practical cases studies.

    Although this master’s programme is modern in its approach, you will still study the legal basics of Corporate Law, Contract Law, Tort Law, Insolvency Law and Financial Law. This course in international in its outlook, therefore it focusses on the principles of these various tools, and not Dutch positive law. This makes the curriculum equally interesting for Dutch and international students.

Alumni Testimonials

"This programme is unique at the moment because it offers a well-rounded and profound insight into climate change law. With the small number of students and pleasant atmosphere, everybody can participate in class. By including other fields, such as psychology, sociology, economics and climate science, the programme offers a perspective on law that can be eye-opening to law students, who often develop a tunnel vision during their time in law school. Participating in this programme made me see the law as a tool and showed me many ways in which it can be used to mitigate climate change.”

     - Martyna Bajer (Climate Change and Corporations)

 

"What intrigued me in the programme was the currently rarely observed combination of business- and climate change law. The former influences the latter, and it is primordial to look for solutions to climate change issues in business reforms. This is why I believe that this programme is essential for future legal practitioners that want to deal with the ever-increasing threat of climate change. The course has so far taught our rather small, yet very invested and motivated class a lot about the psychological and behavioural aspects of consumers' decision-making processes, but also about the scientific, political, and extensively about the legal international state of affairs concerning the climate change issue.”

     - Daisy Ivanova (Climate Change and Corporations)

 

"I was looking for a programme which could offer me a better understanding of the issues of international trade and the International Business Law programme totally met my expectations. The huge mix of nationalities within the group makes the programme even more special. You’ll meet people from all around the world, with different cultures, religions, history, political preferences... The result of this nationality mix is simply beyond all expectations! Also, assignments have to be submitted regularly and are taken into account for the final mark. This forces you to work on a regular basis, which in my opinion is a much better approach than putting all the pressure on one final exam."

     - Ann Fromont (Commercial Transactions)

 

"I have always been fascinated by commercial law. Companies are increasingly operating on a global market and this requires commercial lawyers to be equipped with the necessary skills. With VU Amsterdam offering a programme of this magnitude, I didn’t hesitate to choose this Master's programme. The group is diversified with students from different legal backgrounds, which is excellent. This has helped me immensely to gain an insight into civil law. I admire the open door policy used by lecturers. At all times they are willing to go an extra mile in teaching students. Their personalities are inviting to such an extent that I feel comfortable participating in class activities without the fear of being embarrassed when raising a point that I am not sure of. To be successful in this programme you have to take initiative and be able to think out of the box. After completion of this programme I intend  joining one of the top commercial law firms in South Africa. I very much want to make use of the skills and knowledge that I have acquired during the programme."

     - Lubabalo Ntsonkota (Commercial Transactions)

 

‘The Markets & Behavior program has proved itself a positive experience and especially the diverse character of the master program was something I highly appreciated. I can say that the program prepared me well for entering the labor market, even more so because several courses were taught by lawyers who, if one would be interested in pursuing the opportunity, could provide an opening to enter the market. I am currently working at Deloitte Risk Advisory, at the Regulatory Risk section.’

     - Redmar Poen (Markets & Behavior)

 

"Not only were the lectures interesting and interactive but they opened my eyes to the interconnectivity and overlap between such subjects as behavior economics, the law, finance and the realm of negotiations. I got to meet people from all different-cross sections of the world and to interact with professors and lecturers of the highest caliber. With my return to the workplace as an in-house legal advisor, what I have found to be most significant about the Markets & Behavior course was its emphasis on skills that are so often ‘pushed under the rug’ in favor of substantive and procedural law – from learning all about the flaws underlying the purpose of market regulations, to understanding what makes people tick, to procuring the best deal in a negotiation for your client. The course and what it had to offer far exceeded my expectations."

     - Georgina McKenzie (Markets & Behavior)

Change your future with the International Business Law programme

Change your future with the International Business Law programme

Students who successfully completed the IBL Master's programme have a wide range of career choices. They can work as professional business lawyers, in-house legal counsels for companies, government officials, corporate executives, legal professionals for an international (intergovernmental) organization, etcetera.

Our alumni have jobs at, e.g., multinational companies, international law firms, banks and international accounting companies in their home countries or in the Netherlands. Others pursue a career as a legal counsel in government institutions or international organizations. Some alumni choose to further develop their academic legal research skills by enrolling into a PhD programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam or elsewhere.

The Master's degree International Business Law, when combined with a Dutch academic Bachelor of Laws degree, fulfils the requirements of the effectus civilis.

Explore your future prospects
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