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 Academic Programmes

 Postgraduate Programmes

The Faculty of Law offers coursework LLM and MPhil degrees in several areas of specialisation: Constitutional Litigation; Environmental Law; International and Human Rights Law; International Trade; Investment & Business Law; Labour Law; Law, State and Multilevel Government (currently known as Provincial and Local Government); International Trade Law; Mercantile Law and Transnational Criminal Justice and Crime Prevention. Many of these programmes are presented from an International and African perspective.

Students may also enrol for any combination of modules (i.e. General – for Modes I and II), or for an LLM/MPhil degree by full thesis only (Mode III).

Three of the modules of the Labour Law programme are now being offered in multi-modal format. This means using internet to make the programme accessible to students outside Cape Town and off campus.

International Trade, Business and Investment Law:

The stated purpose of this LLM programme in International Trade, Business and Investment Law is capacity building within Africa in the areas of international trade, business and investment law. 

In order to achieve this, we do not only provide the students with theoretical knowledge, but as far as is possible, we use lecturers who are working in the relevant fields (WTO, World Bank etc) and who can thus share practical skills and experience as well. As the programme is run on a full-time basis, we make use of simulation exercises and other presentations to hone the students’ practical skills.   

Dr Edward Kwaka (Former Legal Council, WIPO), a regular lecturer in the programme, described the LLM  as follows:

“The strength of this Program, which is the only one of its kind on the African continent, lies in particular in: 1. The strength and diversity of its Faculty, which includes Africans from academia, international organizations and private practice, and all of whom are practicing or teaching in areas of direct concern to the Program; 2. Its ability to attract some of the sharpest African students – who are the leaders, judges and teachers of tomorrow – from different countries; and 3. The success of its alumni, most of whom are now established in various international organizations, government offices and academic institutions all over the world, having had their capacity, skills and competence in international trade and investment issues sharpened by the Program. It is indeed a most remarkable and effective Program that I recommend without any degree of hesitation.”

The success of the programme is evident from the number of alumni who have proceeded to complete their doctoral degrees at various universities, including UWC and from the number of alumni serving at international institutions and universities accross Africa - these include two Deans of law faculties. A number of alumni have also returned as lecturers during the last few intakes of the LLM Programme. 

In addition to the full-time LLM programme, various part-time LLM modules are offered in the areas of international trade, regional integration, investment, business transactions and dispute resolution. 

The success of the various LLM programmes have led to an increase in the number of doctoral students and graduates in the areas of International Trade and Investment. We are proud to say that several of these graduates are now colleagues in the Faculty of Law or has returned as guest lecturers in the LLM Programmes. 

How to apply for the 2021 intake: University of Pretoria 

Please note: The LLM (International Trade and Investment Law in Africa) programme will be taking place at the University of Pretoria in 2021.

Prospective students must apply at the University of Pretoria for the 2021 intake and applications for the 2022 intake at the University of Western Cape will open in 2021.

Application deadline

The deadline for applications is 31 July 2020

Course duration and schedule

  • 2020 intake: January - December 2020
    University of the Western Cape, South Africa

  • 2021 intake: January - December 2021
    University of Pretoria, South Africa

  • 2022 intake: January - December 2020
    University of the Western Cape, South Africa

​​For more information:​

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The Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights offers a master’s programme in Law, State and Multilevel Government. This is an interdisciplinary and comparative programme on multi-level governance as a vehicle for peace-making, state-building and development in Africa. The programme offers a world class introduction into the scholarship and practice of multilevel government in the context of state building. The programme comprises modules on Multilevel Governance; Local Government; Rule of Law and Good Governance; Constitutional Design in Divided Societies. In addition, students write a research paper. The Programme is offered by the Centre’s Multilevel Government Initiative (MLGI) in collaboration with the South African Research Chair (SARChI) in Multilevel Government Law and Policy. Admission is highly competitive and merit based.

The LLM programme in Transnational Criminal Justice and Crime Prevention – an International and African Perspective is housed in the South African – German Centre for Transnational Criminal Justice.  It aims at educating African and German students for leading positions at both the national and international levels.   During the mid-year vacation in June/July, the students will travel to Germany for a three week Summer School at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. 


Comparative Constitutional Law, Constitutional Design in Divided Societies, Constitutional Law, Politics and Theory, Constitutional Rights Interpretation​​


International Environmental Law; Advanced Environmental Law 


International Humanitarian Law, International Protection of Human Rights, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Children’s Rights, Gender Equality and Women’s Rights


International Business and Regional Trade Law; International Economic and Investment Law; International Trade


Labour Law in the New Global Market; Law of Unfair Dismissal; Extension of Social Protection; Dispute Resolution


Multilevel Governance; Local Government; Rule of Law and Good Governance; Constitutional Design in Divided Societies:


Corporate Finance and Corporate Governance, Dispute Settlement in International Transactions, Comparative Regional Integration & Development, International Trade


Anti-Corruption Law, Anti-Money Laundering Law, Constitutional Rights and Criminal Justice​



International Anti-Corruption Law; International Criminal Law; International Anti-Money Laundering Law; Transitional Justice



Mode I

• This mode consists of 4 modules and a research paper.

• The 4 modules must be chosen from the list of modules offered in the coursework specialisations.

• The research paper must consist of approximately 18 000 words and should demonstrate the candidate’s ability to conduct independent research as well as be presented in a format suitable for publication.

Mode II

• This mode consists of 2 modules and a mini-thesis.

• The 2 modules must be chosen from the list of modules offered in the coursework specialisations.

• The mini-thesis must consist of approximately 30 000 words which must be a satisfactory contribution to the knowledge of the subject.

Mode III

This mode requires a candidate to undertake supervised research of not less than one year’s duration and a thesis must be submitted which will usually not exceed 50 000 words in length for examination.

Many of these programmes are presented from an International and African perspective

DURATION: One year full-time and two to three years part-time.


 • LLM:  An LLB degree from any South African university OR another degree or qualification which in the opinion of Senate is of an equivalent standard.

• MPhil:  Candidates who do not have an LLB or equivalent qualification, but have obtained a degree or diploma from any South African institution, which latter degree or diploma, in the opinion of the Faculty of Law and Senate, is of a comparable standard, can be considered for admission to MPhil studies. Relevant work experience will also be taken into account.

LLD / PhD Degrees

The Faculty of Law has a growing number of graduates pursuing doctoral studies - in 2013 more than 50 doctoral students registered, and 9 LLD students will graduate.  Students who register at the University of the Western Cape’s Faculty of Law stand to benefit from a dedicated doctoral support programme that is unique in the country.  It is offered by the Law Faculty in collaboration with the Community Law Centre, both of which boast a rich history of excellence in legal research. The Doctoral Colloquium programme was designed in order to meaningfully support doctoral researchers.  We welcome high calibre researchers who wish to pursue LLD studies, and actively pursue bursaries and scholarships when possible.

Postgraduate  Diploma in Labour Law

 The University of the Western Cape, in partnership with the CCMA and the labour relations practice industry, offers a Post-Graduate Diploma aimed at working professionals in the labour law field DURATION: One year full-time and two years part-time. Lectures take place on weekends. Contact: The Social Law project - +27 21 959 3562 /​


To be admitted to study towards the above Diploma, a candidate shall have obtained

• An LLB degree from a South African university; OR have obtained another qualification which in the opinion of Senate is of an equivalent standard.

Master’s and Doctoral degree in Deconstruction and/in Law​​




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