Attending the Courses

Coming to the Academy to study public or private international law, or both, has become an almost obligatory rite of passage for all those who wish to have a solid knowledge of international law. One can register as many times as one wants to attend a session of Summer or Winter Courses, and it is common for our attendees to repeat the experience several times.

Some participants register a first time to test their interest or passion for international law and to meet young people from all over the world. Others may also attend or come back again to deepen their knowledge of international law, or to broaden their experience by attempting to sit for the Diploma Exam. During the courses each attendee is free to decide how deeply he or she wishes to engage in the study of international law, starting with the compulsory morning classes. 

Hall 3@4x

Life at the Academy is in fact primarily organized around the morning classes, which are given in the Auditorium. The participation of the attendees in these courses is mandatory and is a precondition for being issued the famous Certificate of Attendance at the end of the session.

In the breaks between each morning course,  participants can meet in the main hall and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, and of course get to know each other, while, for example, discussing about the lectures. This moment of socialization allows attendees from very different countries to meet each other and become friends, often for life.

After lunch, which attendees can enjoy either in the main hall, in the Palace’s Refectorium, or outside, they are free to attend afternoon lectures given by judges, ambassadors and other personalities, and seminars given by the professors of the morning courses, which are specifically designed to allow direct exchanges between the attendees and the speakers.


Selected attendees can also participate in the Directed Studies sessions for two extra hours twice a week. The most promising participants in these sessions may want to try and sit for the Diploma Examination. Furthermore, the Academy offers PhD students to attend networking meetings, allowing them to share their experiences not only as young researchers but also as young teachers. Regular meetings are organized to allow doctoral students to fully benefit from their stay.

Additionally, the Academy organizes visits to embassies and a social activities programme for its attendees in the afternoons, which includes visits to international organisations and tribunals, but also informal drinks and group outings. Moreover, during the Winter Courses, attendees can participate in the “Hours of Crisis” simulation exercise.

Finally, during their stay all participants enjoy full access to the Peace Palace Library. The library specially extends its opening hours to allow attendees to enjoy its resources as much as possible. They may visit it during their lunch breaks, in the afternoons, and even on Saturdays, to the delight of the most motivated.

Clearly, there are many different options open to attendees wishing to deepen their knowledge of international law during a three-week session in The Hague, and they therefore have to make choices. It’s hard to choose because one would like to do everything! But we wouldn’t want it any other way! That’s precisely why some attendees decide to register for a six-week session in the summer, to take full advantage of all activities offered, and others attend different sessions over the years. One simply can’t exhaust all the richness that the Academy has to offer in just one session!