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College of Law

Florida State University

 

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.

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.

  • International Business Transactions

    (3-4 credits)
    Prerequisites: None
     
    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

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    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

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    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

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    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 and Activities:

The remainder of the required 21 credit hours must be fulfilled by additional core courses and/or selection from the following elective program courses and activities:

Courses
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

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    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.

  • Asylum and Refugee Law

    (2-3 credits)

    This course is a survey of international refugee and domestic asylum law. It considers both the law in theory and as practiced. Grounds for asylum under U.S. law are examined in the class, with a particular emphasis upon gender-based claims. The course has no prerequisites, and no prior immigration law study is presumed.

  • Chinese Law

    Prerequisites: None

    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

    (3 credits)

    This course will provide an overview of the legal, economic, psychological and other interdisciplinary aspects of global climate change. This course will include a significant review of the scientific basis for climate change, and for controlling emissions and adapting to impending climate change. The course will cover international, domestic, and subnational efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. Various legal and policy tools to address climate change are examined and evaluated, such as cap-and-trade schemes; carbon taxation; traditional regulation; litigation; adaptation; and voluntary action. Various technologies and strategies are also explored: renewable energy technologies, nuclear power, forestry and agriculture. Active class participation is expected. The course is an exam-based lecture course.

  • Comparative Constitutional Law

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisite: Constitutional Law II

    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 Law

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    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. 

  • Conflict of Laws

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    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)
  • European Court of Human Rights
    Course information coming soon!
  • European Human Rights (Oxford)
    Course information coming soon!
  • 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.

  • Foreign Relations Law

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    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

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    Global sales of pharmaceuticals total more than $600 billion annually, with the United States constituting the world’s largest pharmaceutical market. This course addresses legal regulation of the pharmaceutical sector, from research and development to manufacturing and distribution. The principal focus is on U.S. law, including the FDA regulatory system. In addition, the course examines foreign regulation, such as the European pharmaceutical regulatory system, and the role of multilateral agencies, including the World Health Organization. 

  • Human Trafficking

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None. 

    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 Law

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    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
  • International Aspects of Intellectual Property

    (2-3 credits)

    Advanced study of law and policy for the protection of intellectual property rights (IRPs) on an international basis, including framework created by various treaties and conventions.

  • International Criminal Law

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course will examine the criminal law applied across national borders. This includes two broad legal regimes: transnational law, which consists of the part of any nation’s domestic criminal law which regulates actions that transcend national borders; and international crimes, that is, the wrongs criminalized under international law.  We will also study procedural issues, both domestic and international, such as extradition and immunities. In particular, we will examine the case law of the international criminal courts such as the Nuremberg court, the ICC, and the various courts adjudicating criminal law issues arising from particular conflicts (former Yugoslavia and Rwanda among them). 

  • International Criminal Tribunals
    Course information coming soon!
  • International Environmental Law

    (3 credits)
    Recommended, but not required: Public International Law

    This is a problem-oriented course focusing on issues including marine pollution, transboundary movement of hazardous waste, climate change, biodiversity, the relation of population and the environment, and other global and transboundary environmental problems. 

  • International Litigation and Arbitration

    (3 credits) 
    Prerequisites: None.

    This course focuses on the process of transnational litigation in United States federal courts, and international arbitration as an alternative to litigation. This is not a class primarily on international arbitration, although it does cover some issues related to the topic. Topics covered will include: jurisdiction over foreign companies, forum selection clauses and choice of law, forum non-conveniens, the Alien Tort Statute and human rights litigation in US courts, the immunity of foreign sovereigns and the act of state doctrine, service of process and discovery over international parties, recognition of foreign judgments, and the process of international arbitration and the enforcement of arbitral awards. 

  • International Taxation

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: Taxation I

    A study of the federal income tax laws and international tax treaty provisions that apply to transactions that cross international boundaries. 

  • International Trade Transactions

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    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. 

  • War

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    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.

Activities
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.

 

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 combined Student Registration and Student Progress Tracking Form to pursue the International Law Certificate Program. You will initially use the form for registration, and to document any requirements you have already completed at the time of registration. You will then need to fill in the form each year to record your progress toward completion of the program requirements.

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 a 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 74 or above for all program courses. Candidates achieving an average grade of 84 to 88.99 for all program courses will be awarded the Certificate with Honors; 89 to 92.99 will be awarded High Honors; and 93 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).