Directed studies

During the entire 3 weeks of the courses, the Academy offers extra afternoon seminars to selected attendees with a proven advanced knowledge of the field, the so-called Directed Studies sessions. These seminars take place twice a week under the guidance of an English-speaking and of a French-speaking Director of Studies. Each Directed Studies seminar lasts 2 hours and is meant to be interactive.

Admitted participants are expected to study recommended readings indicated by the Directors in advance of each session. In the seminars, the Directors of Studies will primarily address legal aspects of the most significant international issues as well as questions of research methodology.

A limited number of participants to the Directed Studies may furthermore be selected by each Director to sit the Academy’s famous Diploma Exam during the third week of the courses.

The Diploma Exam focuses either on public or private international law. The Academy does not provide a programme of revision to prepare for the exam. Candidates are expected to prepare the exam, inter alia by reading General Courses as well as Special Courses given at the Academy, published in the Collected Courses series. During the Exam they are expected, both in writing and orally, to be able to address and elaborate on any sort of question pertaining to the selected discipline, public or private international law, in the best of manners.

In light of the extremely selective and high-level nature of this examination, the Diploma is generally issued to only one or two participants per period of courses.


The Directed Studies (in English or French) are open to:

Selected advanced attendees who have been admitted to the upcoming session of courses and who:

  • wish to deepen their knowledge but don’t intend to sit for the Diploma Exam;
  • want to sit for the Diploma Exam.


Selection of candidates for the Directed Studies:

Interested candidates can apply for the Directed Studies by filling out the online registration form for the courses (both the full-fee and the scholarship forms contain a field allowing you to apply for the Directed Studies). Since the number of places in the Directed Studies sessions is limited, candidates are admitted on the basis of their academic level and merit.

NB: Only advanced attendees, such as PhD candidates or young legal professionals with a number of years of relevant work experience can be admitted as participants!

Applications are assessed by the Secretary-General on behalf of the Curatorium of the Academy. Before the opening of the session he draws up a list of admitted candidates. All applicants will be duly notified of the results of the selection.

Admitted participants must sit a mock exam on the first day of the course period. The exam will allow the Directors of Studies to assess the level of knowledge of each individual participant. The Academy doesn’t prescribe any recommended readings to prepare for this exam, as it is meant to test the participants’ general knowledge of either public or private international law. As a general rule, each participant is expected to prepare for the Directed Studies sessions ahead of the start of the courses as he or she sees fit.


Selection of candidates for the Diploma Exam:

The list of selected candidates for the Diploma Exam is established by the Secretary-General in consultation with the Directors of Studies during the session and is announced at the beginning of the third week of the courses. The selection is based on the evaluation of the level of the candidates, and primarily on the quality of their participation in the seminars.


Organization of the Diploma Exam:

The Diploma Exam takes place during the third week of each period of the courses. A Jury composed of the Secretary-General of the Academy, who acts as President of the Jury, the professor delivering the General Course during the session and the two Directors of Studies will assess the candidates.

Admitted candidates are required to sit for a 5-hour Written Exam on the Tuesday of the last week. On the Thursday the Jury will announce the candidates who passed the written exam and who consequently may sit for the oral part of the Exam. The Oral Exam takes place immediately after the announcement of the admitted candidates and lasts approximately 1 hour per candidate.

Candidates sit the written and oral parts of the examination either in English or French (at their preference), in accordance with the conditions laid down by the Diploma Regulations. The President and the members of the Jury award the Diploma and a medal to the graduates on Friday, at the end of the last lecture of the period, in the Auditorium of the Academy Building.