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Get to grips with arbitration as an effective means of resolving disputes between parties in different legal jurisdictions.

Learn from experts in international law and the specialist field of arbitration as you work towards accreditation by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Gain a valuable career boost as a lawyer working in private practice, inhouse, or in a government organisation anywhere in the world – with all the advantages of distance learning wherever you are located.


Arbitration is growing in popularity as a dispute resolution method across a variety of sectors, and internationally. The law in this area is technical and complex, and a full understanding of how it operates is essential for any legal professional advising clients, or framing contracts carrying arbitration clauses. Although it is an adjudicative process leading to a binding decision, it differs significantly from litigation in a number of key respects, not least its flexibility, its use of decision-maker expertise, and its confidentiality.

You’ll gain a thorough grounding in the principles and content of international arbitration law, with the UK arbitral system as the template. You’ll also cover other systems, including some of the institutional rules, and the key concepts which apply across all arbitration regimes.

Aberdeen is the obvious provider of this course, with a proven track record in theory and practical training in many aspects of international law. You’ll be taught by lawyers with extensive international experience and experts working in practice in the field of international arbitration.

The course will give you significant professional benefit as a lawyer advising clients on international activity, or if you work in a related capacity in a government department or a multinational private company.

This credit-bearing programme is recognised by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. You may wish to proceed to the online PgDip in International Arbitration or use your credits towards a full online Masters programme in Dispute Resolution or alternative from our popular and topical portfolio across the spectrum of law.

Why Aberdeen for this course?

The combination of track record, strong international outlook, breadth and depth of expertise in teaching, research, and in influencing public policy, makes Aberdeen the obvious provider of first-class education in all areas of national and international law.

Our international School of Law is one the UK's elite training grounds for lawyers, ranked 5th of over 100 law schools in the UK (The Complete University Guide 2019,) and number one for Graduate Prospects (The Times Good University Guide 2018). We are consistently very highly rated for teaching, research and student care, with scores consistently over 90% in National Student Surveys.

Previous graduates have gone on to enjoy highly successful careers, including senior positions in legal firms, in industry, NGOs, and with government organisations across the world.

We boast one of the largest and most internationally-experienced teams of legal experts in any European law school, with huge experience and connections in all areas of international law. You will also have access to the wonderful online resources of the award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library and the Law Library, with a first-class collection of reference works in law and related subjects.

The topic of dispute resolution is a particular strength at Aberdeen, with academics highly experienced in teaching and researching this subject. We teach this at undergraduate, professional postgraduate and Masters levels This course is accredited by leading professional body, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) (contributing to Membership) as is our on-campus Masters programme in Professional Arbitration Skills.

What you'll study

The content of your course is prescribed by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and covers the principles and content of international arbitration law, with the UK arbitral system as the template. Other systems – including some of the institutional rules – are also considered, as are key concepts which apply across all arbitration regimes.

You’ll look at the rules and principles underpinning the following:

  • The arbitration agreement
  • Sources of arbitral rules: legislative and institutional
  • Jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal
  • Appointment of arbitrators
  • The arbitral process pre-hearing
  • The arbitral hearing
  • Arbitral costs
  • The award and challenge
  • Enforcement of the award

How you'll study

This online, 12-week distance-learning short course offers all the flexibility and convenience to study when, where and how you choose, and to fit your learning around your location, employment and personal commitments.

Our online courses are delivered through our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) as self-contained units of learning taught and assessed to the same quality as our degree programmes, and developed specifically for an online audience using a range of learning materials and assessment activities.

We aim to create an online classroom experience and student community which enables you to enjoy the same learning experience as students on our full degree programmes, including access to a suite of learning resources and support.

You'll be guided through your programme with video lectures, tutorials, slides and reading list. Our first-class support structure will ensure that you are not alone in your study, and you’ll enjoy plenty of interaction with your tutors and with your virtual classmates on discussion boards.

Wherever you are in the world, as you enjoy the career advantage of this course combined with the convenience of online distance study, you will still feel part of our very special Aberdeen family and learning community.


  • Online interaction - 20% of the overall grade
  • Coursework - 40% of the overall grade
  • Exam - 40% of the overall grade

The coursework will be a Directions drafting exercise following a Preliminary Meeting.

Entry Requirements

Normally, a 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in Law will be required to be accepted onto this course. Relevant practical experience in a related field will also be beneficial.

All students entering the University, including online courses, must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study our programmes effectively. Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. For details of our pre-sessional English courses see our Language Centre website.