International Law Certificate

Florida State students planning a career in international law can receive additional training in the College of Law's certificate program in International Law. The program, which recognizes its graduates for their concentration in the area, carries additional requirements beyond those for the J.D. degree, and signals to potential employers that a graduate has advanced training.

Program Requirements

Credit hours and courses: The candidate must successfully complete a total of 91 credit hours for graduation with a Certificate in International Law (Certificate); 21 credit hours must be courses and activities designated within the program (Program Course and/or Activities) by the International Programs Committee (Committee). No more than 4 credits obtained at the Oxford Summer Program may be used to fulfill the requirements of the Certificate.

Forms: You will be required to fill out the International Law Certificate Program Application Form to pursue the International Law Certificate. Applications must be submitted prior to the completion of the second course that you plan to use to satisfy the certificate requirements. Application approval is required to pursue the International Law Certificate track. Students may use the International Law Certificate Program Checklist to independently check their status on completing the certificate requirements. Students who have questions are welcome to contact Dean David Landau at or the law school's registrar, Anna Ilk Shum, at

All students completing the certificate program must submit a copy of the completed form to the Academic Programs & Registrar's Office (A120) or to in their final semester.

Transfer Credit: For Florida State University College of Law students, 14 of the required 21 credits, including the two required courses, must be Florida State Law courses. All Oxford courses are Florida State Law courses. If a student transfers to Florida State Law, 14 of the required 21 credits, including two of the three required courses, must be Florida State Law courses.

Grade Requirement: All program courses must be taken for graded credit if so offered. Program activities, however, may be taken on an S/U basis, provided that the candidate otherwise fulfills relevant J.D. requirements. The certificate will be awarded only to candidates with an average grade of B or above for all program courses. Candidates achieving an average grade of 3.300 to 3.699 for all program courses will be awarded the certificate with Honors; 3.700 to 3.899 will be awarded High Honors; and 3.900 and above will be awarded Highest Honors.

Paper Requirement: The candidate must successfully complete a two- or three-credit seminar or course or Directed Individual Study (DIS) that includes a substantial research paper on an international or comparative law topic. If the paper is submitted for a course other than a program course, the topic must be approved in advance by the committee. A "substantial research paper" is a paper of a scope that would meet the upper-level writing requirement.

Skills Requirement: Students must fulfill a skills training requirement, which can be obtained in any one of four ways: (i) by completing at least 40 hours of pro bono work in the areas of international and comparative law, (ii) by completing a moot court competition (such as the Jessup competition) in an area relevant to international and comparative law, (iii) by completing an internship or externship in a relevant area, or (iv) by completing a qualifying skills training class (such as International Trade Simulation) or a class in international legal research (such as International Legal Research or Human Rights Legal Research).

Required Courses

The candidate must successfully complete two of the following four core courses, each of which must be taken at Florida State University for graded credit.

Comparative Law

An introduction to the characteristic features and functioning of non-common law legal systems, with emphasis on the civil law tradition. This course seeks to provide American lawyers with a basic framework for understanding foreign legal systems.

International Business Transactions

This course provides an introduction to the work performed by lawyers in international business transactions and to the specific skills and knowledge needed to negotiate multinational transactions. International and several domestic regulatory frameworks for foreign trade and investment will be analyzed. We will focus on single, commodity trades; distributorships; technology transfer; and joint venture vehicles for direct foreign investment. Negotiating strategies and cultural considerations in multinational transactions will be discussed. There will be specific coverage of the business and legal contexts of Europe, China and Japan.

International Human Rights Law

This problem-oriented course is designed for students seeking a general understanding of the subject as well as for students wishing to acquire specific skills for personal involvement in the promotion of International Human Rights, whether in government service or private practice. The course includes consideration of substantive international human rights norms, especially civil and political rights; the role of such norms in international and domestic law; fora-international, regional, and domestic-available for adjudicating or promoting the observance of human rights standards; the procedural rules that govern such fora; the methods by which decisions are made and increasingly enforced; and problems of including human rights concern as an integral part of the country's foreign policy.

Students will take part in one or two role playing exercises - for example, a U.N. debate, an appellate court argument, a congressional hearing, an ABA debate, or a Department of State decision-making meeting. This participation, as well as class discussion based upon regular attendance and a thorough reading of the assigned materials, forms a significant part of the course and will be taken into account in determining the student's grade.

International Trade Law and Policy

An examination of the international trading system, its economic underpinnings, and its regulatory structures. Primary emphasis is placed on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, both as a fundamental constitutive document and as a set of rules governing such matters as subsidies, dumping, and escape clause actions. The course also reviews issues of U.S. constitutional law relevant to the conduct of international economic relations. 

Public International Law

An introduction to a wide range of legal and policy issues centered around the relationships among nations and the role of law in world order. Problems studied include the nature and sources of international law, the existence and activities of states, the status of individuals and associations within the international legal system, and issues of war, development, and environmental protection. 


Elective program courses include the following courses currently listed in the Florida State Law curriculum. The committee may from time to time approve other program courses.

Admiralty Law

A study of the law of the sea, including admiralty jurisdiction, maritime liens, limitation of liability, collision, towage, charter parties, and the rights of injured maritime workers and passengers.

Chinese Law

This course provides an introduction to Chinese law, although it meets once a week in a seminar format in order to probe the themes of the course in as much depth as possible. Although the focus is on Chinese law, its tradition and evolution in the 20th century, the discussions and research assignment are aimed at a broader exposure, that is, to a legal system distinctive from that in the United States, and to the skills needed to research and analyze foreign law more generally. Topics include "How to Study Chinese Law," "The Historical Context," "Legislation," "Dispute Resolution," "The Judiciary and the Courts," "The Legal Profession," "Administrative Law" and "The Role of Law in Economic Development." The requirements of the course are regular attendance, participation in class discussion, and completion of a research paper of approximately 25 pages in length. If you seek to satisfy the Upper Level Writing Requirement with this paper, you must turn in at least one preliminary draft before spring break and respond to Professor Lee’s comments written on it. Where appropriate to the topic under discussion in class, you will be asked briefly to report on your research and how it relates to issues raised by that topic. 

Climate Change Law Policy & Science

This class explores the interdisciplinary issues surrounding the problem of climate change, perhaps the most vexing and dangerous of environmental or social problems ever to confront humankind. The objective is to prepare students for areas of law – most of which are in early developmental stages – that affect climate change or adapt to climate change. In so doing, this seminar will require students to delve into not only the developing legal issues of climate change, but also the scientific, economic, technological, and psychological aspects of climate change.

Comparative Constitutional Law

This seminar will explore selected topics in comparative constitutional law through readings of both scholarly articles and major foreign cases (in translation). The focus of the readings will be on non-U.S. systems, but throughout the course we will use the U.S. as a primary point of comparison. Topics will include: comparative federalism and separation of powers, appropriateness and methodologies for enforcing socio-economic rights in different contexts, and the links between domestic and international legal systems.

Comparative Family Law

This course provides an introduction to family law in foreign jurisdictions and compares that approach to the law in the United States. The course is likely to be useful to those with an interest in family law and, like other courses in comparative law, to those who seek to learn more in general about how foreign legal jurisdictions approach basic legal questions.

Conflict of Laws

This course examines the legal problems that arise when an occurrence or a case cuts across state or national boundaries: jurisdiction of courts, enforceability of foreign judgments, and choice of applicable law. The focus is on the policies, the rules of law, and the constitutional requirements in private interstate law.

English Legal History (Oxford)

Discusses the initial courts; the emergence of the dominant royal courts, King's Bench and Common Pleas; the writ system and development of the pleading forms and the methods of proof used in trials. Considers tenures, the principal Real Actions for the recovery of land at Common Law and selected writs. Culminates in a consideration of the doctrine of estates. Briefly surveys future interests, perpetuities and the rise of uses and trusts.

European Union Law (Oxford)

An examination of the basic institutional and constitutional framework of the European Union and the fundamental legal principles that structure the internal market and the Union's external relations. The Union is studied comparatively as a legal system, as a fundamental modern legal development, and as the leading example of regional economic integration.

Farmworker & Immigration Rights Clinic (FIRC)

(6 credits in fall/spring; 3 credits in summer)
S/U only; fulfills Skills Training requirement

In this clinic, students gain experience in client representation, community outreach, and law reform advocacy. First, students represent clients in the filing of immigrant petitions such as Asylum, U Visa, T Visa, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ). Students represent clients in removal proceedings including appearances in Immigration Court. Students may also represent farmworkers in labor disputes. Second, students engage in community outreach in the rural counties of the Second Judicial Circuit focusing on educating immigrants and farmworkers about their rights. Finally, students advocate for the implementation of laws and rules favorable to the immigrant/farmworker community by engaging in various law reform activities such as administrative rule changes; researching, drafting and promoting supportive legislation; monitoring changes in the law; preparing and filing amicus briefs; litigating impact cases that affect large groups of people; attending legislative events, committees or meetings; meeting with lawmakers; or otherwise engaging in the legislative and policy-making process on a local, state, or national level. Please fill out an application. Contact Professor Ashley Hamill with any questions.

Foreign Relations Law

Students in this course will study American constitutional law pertaining to the conduct of foreign relations. Topics include: the war powers of Congress and the president, the constitutional status of treaties and customary international law, the effect of international judgments in domestic law, federal pre-emption of state law in international affairs, international human rights litigation in American courts, the law of foreign immunity and the act of state doctrine. These topics will be examined not only from a doctrinal perspective, but in their historical, political and philosophical contexts.

Global Health & Pharmaceutical Law

This seminar introduces students to the global system addressing public health matters, including the international institutional framework (e.g., the World Health Organization). It examines how national legal systems integrate within this global framework. A major part of the course addresses innovation and access to pharmaceutical products, including vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. Intellectual property and regulatory frameworks relevant to the pharmaceutical sector are considered. It is anticipated that the next several years in global public health will pay close attention to preparing for and responding to pandemics and other “pathogen events”. The evolution of negotiations in this area will be studied. Students will have the opportunity to prepare papers on a wide range of topics that may be of interest to them.

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking represents a troubling side effect of globalization, encompassing forced labor, sex trafficking and the illicit trade in people within and across borders. This course will review and critically assess a diverse literature on the traffic of migrant labor into the United States and the exploitation of U.S. and foreign-born individuals within U.S. borders, with an emphasis on the sociological and legal issues raised by human trafficking. We will consider the blurred lines between immigrant labor exploitation and trafficking, as well as the issues raised involving prostitution and sex trafficking, with due regard for the role of advocacy and the essential lawyering skills of anti-trafficking attorneys. We will draw from a variety of sources, including academic scholarship (articles, books, etc.), domestic and international laws, governmental and non-governmental reports, transcripts from recent federal and state cases, media articles and videos. 

Immigration Enforcement and Procedure

In this skills training course we will examine the procedural aspects of Immigration Law and the criminal and enforcement aspects of its application. The course focuses on the application of substantive Immigration Law as it is applied in everyday practice. The purpose of this course is to provide the student with a practical perspective on the different elements of Immigration Law. Strong emphasis will be given on the procedural aspects, organizations, agencies, and key players that interact on a continuous basis to effectuate the enforcement of immigration laws. Students will gain an understanding of how lawyers interact with the system such as, representing clients in proceedings and dealing with the separate entities.

Immigration Law

A course addressing the legal and policy implications of U.S. immigration law including removal proceedings, family reunification and employment-based, which also incorporates a survey of international refugee and domestic asylum law issues. There are no prerequisites, and no prior immigration law study is presumed.

International and Foreign Legal Research

This course will introduce students to basic concepts, sources, and specialized tools used in foreign and international legal research. Students will learn how to efficiently locate needed information for particular legal systems including cases, statutes, and codes. Students will also learn how to access the primary sources of public and private international law. The topics include, subjects such as secondary sources, treaties, custom and general principles, international jurisprudence, and human rights law.

International Aspects of Intellectual Property

This course introduces the global system for the regulation of intellectual property rights (IPRs). It discusses the institutions and treaties regulating the grant and enforcement of IPRs and the policies underlying the international IP system. The course considers each major form of IP from an international perspective, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, geographical indications, design rights and trade secret/data protection. Various important issues regarding the interface between IPRs, industrial policy, economic and social interests, are considered. These include the role of IPRs and transfer of technology in addressing climate change and other environmental matters, the interplay between IPRs and public health, and the set of issues affecting the digital environment.

International Human Rights Advocacy Clinic (IHRAC)

(6 credits in fall/spring; 3 credits in summer)
S/U only; fulfills Skills Training requirement

The International Human Rights Advocacy Clinic (IHRAC) offers students hands-on experience representing individual human rights survivors and international non-governmental organizations engaged in human rights advocacy. Participating students gain experience in areas including fact-finding, evidence collection, research, reports, advisory memos, viability assessments, litigation, amicus briefs, UN standard setting, and norm development. They also develop a variety of skills including interviewing, persuasive writing, media, collaboration, leadership, professional identity, trauma-informed advocacy, and methods to cope with vicarious trauma. In addition, students discuss current events in human rights and the role lawyers play in the human rights movement (values, obligations, opportunities, and constraints).

International Organizations

This course provides an introduction to the field of international organization. We will study rule-making, trusteeship, human rights, dispute settlement, and enforcement, as well as the privileges and immunities of international organizations and relations between the United States and the United Nations.

International Sales & Arbitration

This course is a primer on international commercial sales and the international arbitration mechanism utilized to resolve most all international sales disputes. It introduces international sales; in particular, the Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), the contract law covering merchant to merchant international sales of goods. And it introduces international arbitration; particularly, international commercial arbitration tribunals, the private, consensual bodies that resolve most international sales disputes. This primer applies the CISG and arbitration principles to issues and problems facing the sales and arbitration world today.

International Trade Transactions

This is the first Internet course for American and Chinese students of international trade. In it, American and Chinese students simultaneously participate in simulated trade transactions with one another. Using an Internet-based program and a workbook designed just for this course, students will play the role of simulated corporations in their respective countries who are seeking to trade goods between China and the United States. To do this, students at both the Florida State College of Law and the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade (SIFT) log on regularly to receive news about trading opportunities. Using guidance provided in introductory lectures and in the workbook, and under the guise of simulated corporations provided in the Internet environment of the course, students will contact one another across the Pacific Ocean and carry out the actual steps of an international trade transaction. Students will also regularly maintain online records of their company's transactions, in order to track the results of their deals. In addition, Florida State students will meet once a week for a two-hour session in which the week's transactions are discussed and any problems that cropped up can be analyzed and solved. Florida State and SIFT students will also log onto the program during one designated hour per week, at which time they will converse about their respective legal and business cultures and have an opportunity to collaboratively solve problems that typically crop up in Sino-American business transactions. At the end of the semester, a banquet will be held at which time stock will be taken of the financial health of each of the simulated corporations.


In this course we will study the legal, ethical and political aspects of war. The course is in three parts. The first part will cover the theoretical frameworks used to explain war: just war theory, realism and pacifism. The second part will explore the law of the use of force, with special emphasis on the UN Charter and past and current cases. Finally, we will conduct an introductory survey of the laws of war as established in the Geneva Conventions. Students must read the assigned materials, participate in class, and write a final examination.


When taken for credit, up to three credit hours for the following program activities may be applied toward the required credit hours for the certificate. The committee may from time to time approve other program activities.