BA in International & European Law


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Vesalius College’s Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs equips students with the broad-ranging tools and skills to understand, analyze and assess the most pressing issues in national and global politics.

The interdisciplinary curriculum is built on the disciplines of politics, economics, law, and history and enables students to understand the complex dynamics, core debates, processes, institutions and major challenges of European and International Affairs. Students not only acquire the knowledge needed for a career in International Affairs but also develop strong analytical and critical thinking skills as well as the ability to apply theories and concepts learned to real-life problems. In addition to being taught by dedicated professors, students benefit from the first-hand experience of senior European and international policymakers, diplomats and practitioners. By drawing on world-class academics and highly-experienced policymakers, students gain fundamental insight into both the theoretical and practical, hands-on dimensions of politics, economics, and law. Prestigious internships at the offices of major Brussels-based institutions, NGOs and global think tanks complement and deepen the practical aspects of their studies.

Career perspectives

Our International Affairs graduates are prepared to succeed in various settings and organizations, including international organizations (such as the United Nations, EU, and NATO), ministries of foreign affairs, lobby organizations, NGOs and think tanks. Careers of our recent graduates include diplomacy, politics, research, European administration, political advising, and journalism.

Vesalius graduates can continue their postgraduate studies in a wide range of fields, including in international relations, European studies, public policy, environmental law, international studies, migration studies, business administration, communications, leadership, and management. Our graduates who majored in International Affairs have successfully completed graduate studies in a number of prestigious universities including Oxford University, Columbia University, Brown University, the London School of Economics, the London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Georgetown University, the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, the University of Edinburgh, Boston University, and many more.

Degree Structure

To complete the bachelor’s degree in International & European Law at Vesalius College, a minimum of 180 ECTS (credits or study points) is required. Most students complete the intense and rigorous study program within 3 years of admission to the college. Students are also encouraged to complete a Study Abroad semester at one of our partner universities overseas and to take an internship as part of our prestigious internship program.

The 180-ECTS degree program is divided into several different requirements. In general, students start with the core curriculum, a set of courses that develop the relevant skills, knowledge, and abilities essential to the College’s distinctive undergraduate program.

In addition to the core curriculum, students take major requirement courses. These courses are divided into law, politics, business and economics courses.

To give students the opportunity to develop areas of personal and professional interest, Vesalius College requires the completion of major electives and free electives. International & European Law students at Vesalius College may also choose any minor, regardless of their major. In order to obtain the ‘Minor’ classification, students must follow all four courses within that Minor.


Core Courses (30 ECTS)

  • Introduction to Academic Writing & Critical Thinking
  • Global Ethics
  • Intermediate Qualitative Research Methods
  • Global Ethics, Leadership, and Personal Development I
  • Global Ethics, Leadership and Personal Development II

Major Requirements (102 ECTS)

  • Human Communication
  • Introduction to Economics
  • Introduction to International and European Law
  • Introduction to Legal principles and Theories
  • Business Law
  • Global Politics
  • Rhetoric
  • Legal Aspects of Migration
  • Criminal Law
  • Advanced Business Law
  • EU Constitutional Law
  • Legal Analysis, Research & Writing
  • Human Rights
  • Law of the EU Internal Market
  • Capstone in International and European Law
  • BA Thesis in International and European Law – Seminar I (Advanced Research Methods)
  • BA Thesis in International and European Law – Seminar II (Senior Seminar)

Major Electives (24 ECTS)

International and European Law students choose four Major Elective courses out of the list below.

  • Environmental Law
  • International Banking Law and Financial Regulation
  • Competition Law
  • Humanitarian Law
  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • European Organisations
  • International Commercial Arbitration
  • Corporate Governance
  • Social Cause Marketing
  • Lobbying in the EU
  • Global Advocacy
  • The EU’s Approach to Democratisation and Human Rights
  • EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy
  • International Organisations and Global Governance
  • Internship (optional from Year 2)

Free Electives (24 ECTS)

Students also choose four free electives from any of the Bachelor-level courses offered by Vesalius College or one of its partner institutions previously mentioned. For example, students may choose courses within their major, another major, or outside the curriculum of all majors (e.g. language courses).

Learning Objectives

The Learning Outcomes for the Bachelor of Arts in International & European Law are:

  • Acquire knowledge and understanding:
    • acquire knowledge of terminology and concepts of international and European Law.
    • gain an understanding of the international system and the European integration process.
    • develop a working knowledge of international law-making by means of treaties, state practice, and decisions of international organizations and conferences.
    • become familiar with the European institutions and the decision-making processes.
  • Apply knowledge and understanding:
    • develop the ability for independent analysis of the interplay between international and European Law.
    • develop the ability to transpose the analysis of rules and events into a scientifically sound and feasible research project.
    • enhance the student’s ability to use the appropriate research methods and tools in the framework of independent research projects.
    • provide students with the knowledge of and practice with electronic information sources on international and European law.
    • develop the ability to communicate in an effective way the acquired knowledge and the outcome of research projects, both in written and oral form.
    • develop the ability for group work is incorporated into the structure of in-class presentations and case studies.
    • further develop skills in intercultural communication.
    • develop English language skills, both written and oral.
  • Attitudes:
    • stimulate critical attitudes, which are necessary for “life-long learning” and sensitivity to the importance of legal and ethical considerations and the ability to confront dominant, popular opinions with constructive criticism
    • stimulate an awareness of the normative dimension of international and European legal policies and of related ethical, social and operational problems and dilemmas.


*Students unable to meet the above-mentioned application deadlines should contact the Admissions Office.

Last updated Feb 2020

About the School

Vesalius College is one of the few higher education institutions in Brussels that offers European-focused Bachelor’s degrees solely taught in the English language. Founded in 1987 by the Vrije Univers ... Read More

Vesalius College is one of the few higher education institutions in Brussels that offers European-focused Bachelor’s degrees solely taught in the English language. Founded in 1987 by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Boston University, Vesalius College offers American-style education that includes small classes, low student-teacher ratios and participatory classroom experiences. Vesalius College takes full advantage of its location in the Capital of Europe with guest lectures from European policymakers, diplomats, business leaders, journalists and other experts. With a diverse student body drawn from all corners of the globe (50 + nationalities), Vesalius College provides an enriching academic and cultural experience. Read less