Course Offerings


Learn more about the diverse array of course offerings available by reading the descriptions below or view the full list of international law courses by clicking here.

Seminar on International Law and Foreign Relations Lawyering


This course, which has been offered annually since 2009, offers students an opportunity to study, research, and participate in current legal debates over international law, national security law, and foreign relations law. Students work on research topics selected by Professor Hathaway and the class from among those presented by U.S. congressional staff, executive branch lawyers, or nonprofit groups working on issues relating to international law, national security law, or foreign relations law. In past years, the seminar has researched topics including the law of cyber-attack, the power of the U.S. government to detain terrorism suspects, the scope of the Treaty Power, the relationship between human rights law and the law of armed conflict, extraterritorial application of human rights obligations, the law governing the U.S. targeted killing program, and the legal requirements of various human rights treaties. The seminar has also submitted amicus briefs to the D.C. Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court. Students work both individually and in small groups to write reports on selected topics and, as appropriate, produce recommendations for reform. Students also have an opportunity to meet with attorneys and policymakers who are directly involved in the legal debates on which the class is working.

Wartime National Security Lawyering


This course, taught for the first time in 2015-16, examines current legal issues surrounding covert action and the overt use of military force by the United States since September 11, 2001. The course is taught by Professor Oona Hathaway with Stephen Preston who for the past six years has served as General Counsel of the Department of Defense and, before that, CIA General Counsel. The course examines national security law from the perspective of a government lawyer who has to make tough decisions regarding how to advise clients as they seek to counter real threats to U.S. national security. The class reviews the substance of legal issues that are currently under debate, as well as consider the practical challenges that face a lawyer practicing in the context of ongoing armed conflict. Among the topics covered are the law governing covert action, the bin Laden raid, the President's constitutional powers as Commander in Chief versus Congressional authorization to use military force, the emergence of the threat posed by Daesh (also known as ISIL, ISIS and IS), defining the enemy and associated forces, the American citizen who takes up arms against his country, limitations on U.S. counterterrorism operations under international law, use of remotely piloted aircraft, responsibility for the conduct of partner forces, determining the end of the conflict, and secrecy versus transparency

ASIL/YLS GLC Current Legal Challenges Workshop


The YLS GLC is funding an innovative initiative, partnering with the American Society of International Law, to bring lawyers from across the U.S. government working on national security law issues together with relevant outside experts to periodically discuss the most difficult and pressing legal issues facing the U.S. government.

Syria and the Crisis of Global Order Reading Group


Sponsored by the Center for Global Legal Challenges, this reading group will explore the Syrian Civil War in order to give participants an in-depth understanding of the regional and global implications of the crisis.  The weekly sessions are broken into thematic topics, beginning with the history of Syria and expanding out to cover regional dynamics, international governance, and U.S. strategic issues. The reading group will consist of readings, group discussions, guest speakers, and voluntary student debates, under the supervision of Professor Oona Hathaway.

Cyber Conflict Project


This cross-disciplinary project is a collaboration between Yale Law School and Yale University’s Department of Computer Science focused on legal and technical aspects of cyber conflict. Read student and faculty papers and learn more about this project, supported by a William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Grant here