M.Phil. in International Maritime Law and Ocean Policy

The ocean is under threat from human activities, arising in part from the lack of proper governance of the waters within and beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. There is an urgent need to examine and reconsider the current regime to seek a secure, stable, safe and sustainable ocean governance for the 21st century.

The innovative new MPhil programme has been designed in partnership by IMO’s two sister institutions, WMU and the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) in Malta, to play a part in ensuring the future sustainability of the world’s oceans in accordance with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The two-year programme is designed to train expert maritime lawyers, immersed in the UN system structure and goals, who can advocate for the policies and legislation to transform the world’s oceans and support their sustainable development. The programme had its first intake in 2017.

Programme Details

Students spend the first academic year in Malmö. The Foundation term provides the basics of maritime knowledge, and is followed by the Specialization Term in Ocean Sustainability, Governance and Management. Students then have a non-teaching period from August to October to gather dissertation material.

From October to May, the students move to Malta to follow IMLI’s well-established LLM programme in International Maritime Law. The full programme details can be found on IMLI’s website (www.imli.org) and are organized under the following headings:

  • Introductory Courses
  • International Law of the Sea
  • International Marine Environmental Law
  • International Maritime Security Law
  • Shipping Law
  • Maritime Legislation
  • Dissertation (supervised jointly by IMLI and WMU) reflecting the needs of students’ home countries or regions for adequate ocean governance

The programme is taught entirely in English. The standard programme consists of 140 EC, 68 EC at WMU and 55 EC at IMLI, plus a further 17 EC for the dissertation. Students who already hold a relevant postgraduate qualification may apply to be exempted from the first term at WMU to allow them to join the accelerated programme, which carries 116 EC.

Field Studies and Seminars

As part of the programme, students will take part in field study visits that link theoretical knowledge to practical experience. Typical destinations include Sweden, Denmark, the UK, IMO (London) and the Netherlands. Students also receive complimentary attendance at the international conferences organized annually at WMU.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must hold a first degree in law, and an internationally recognised test of English language proficiency. They are also expected to have professional experience.
English & Study Skills Programme

Students whose English language skills need to be improved to join the MPhil programme may be able to upgrade their language skills by joining WMU’s pre-sessional English and Study Skills Programme (ESSP). The ESSP runs for 12 weeks each year, from June to September. The requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS:      Band 5.0 and 5.5
  • TOEFL:    61 to 79
  • Cambridge Examinations:    First Certificate (or equivalent)

Students who meet the required standard at the end of the ESSP will be permitted to progress to the main degree programme.

Fees and Costs

The fee for the MPhil programme is Euro 37,000 in total; this covers tuition, field studies, and the required health insurance. The fee for the ESSP is an additional USD 5,600. Students also need to have funds for their living expenses. These will be around USD 1,500 per month.
Application Process

The application form for the programme can be found on the IMLI website. It must be submitted as a hard copy, along with evidence of payment of the €150 application processing fee to:

The Director
IMO International Maritime Law Institute
Msida Heights, Tal-Qroqq
P.O. Box 31
Msida MSD 1000