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MPhil in International Maritime Law & Ocean Policy

PhD (ISCED 2011 level 8)


Duration 4 semesters
Cost €37,000

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.



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 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.


Structural components
Industry partners
International component
Practical/Field work
Research Project

ISCED Categories

Ocean Literacy
Maritime economy
Policy and governance
Logistics and shipping management
Marine and maritime law
Environmental protection technology
Maritime security