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An online short course providing a global perspective on access to petroleum resources, and how state and industry interact.

You’ll gain a solid grounding in fundamental legal principles and how these are applied comparatively in different petroleum provinces around the world.

As an ambitious industry or legal professional you’ll combine career opportunities worldwide with the convenience of distance learning from a university with a strong reputation in energy and international law.


This online short course is a great opportunity for ambitious oil and gas industry professionals aiming for senior management. You’ll gain the career passport of a solid grounding in fundamental legal principles of managing oil and gas resources, and build on this through studying how these are applied comparatively in different petroleum provinces around the world.

You’ll gain a detailed overview of key issues in providing access to petroleum resources and managing the relationship between the state and the private sector, including licensing regimes and production-sharing agreements. You’ll look beyond the North Sea to other petroleum regions including the less mature, and examine real case studies to compare differing legal regimes.

The course is designed with your career in mind, whether you are working in the industry and nurturing ambitions to be fast-tracked to a senior role with a leading player, or are a practising lawyer with interests in oil and gas law and its international perspective.

The career benefits are combined with the convenience and flexibility of being able to study online at any location in the world, and to fit your learning around your employment and personal commitments.

The University has long been at the forefront of researching many novel developments in policy and regulation as the industry evolves both in the UK and globally.   Listed  as a provider of one of  the Top 10 Energy Masters globally by LLM Guide, you’ll gain from this depth of expertise, decades of experience and influence in Europe’s energy hub, and strong ongoing links with the industry and its regulators.

Why Aberdeen for this course?

The combination of track record, location, breadth of expertise, long experience, teaching and research strength, plus industry input, makes Aberdeen the obvious provider of first-class education in all areas of oil and gas.

An education in energy from Aberdeen is recognised as among the best in Europe. As well as being a long-established seat of learning we are also a modern, progressive, internationally-focused university, strongly focused on developing talent and careers in the 21st century.

Our international School of Law is one the UK's elite training grounds for lawyers, ranked 5th in the UK for Law (The Complete University Guide and The Time Good University Guide 2019), joint 1st for Graduate Prospects (The Complete University Guide 2019) and highly rated for teaching, research and student care with 94% student satisfaction rating (NSS 2018).

We boast one of the largest, most internationally-experienced teams of oil and gas experts in any European law school, a team of leading practitioners in teaching and research across all legal fields pertaining to energy, including oil and gas, renewables and environmental law. 

Previous graduates have gone on to enjoy highly successful careers. These range from senior positions with oil and gas companies, with international law firms servicing the industry, and also with government organisations across the world.

This flexible, credit-bearing, short online course can serve as a taster for continuing your professional education through a PGCert or PGDip or to go on to study the full online programme for our highly-acclaimed LLM in Oil and Gas Law to boost your career in an area of fast-growing need and global opportunity. In an exit survey in 2016, 98% of students graduating from the LLM Masters programme felt that it had added value to their career prospects, and 97% would recommend this degree to others.

Our online and campus students benefit from the added focus and profile provided by the University’s Aberdeen Institute of Energy, its Centre for Energy Law, and a rich programme of energy-themed events throughout the year. 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.

As a member of the Aberdeen community you will gain all the benefits of over 500 years of rich academic heritage combined with 21st century innovation and dynamism which today creates and delivers sought-after, flexible, industry-focused, world class programmes.

What you'll study

You’ll gain a detailed overview of fundamental legal principles and key issues in the provision of access to petroleum resources, licensing, production sharing agreements, and managing the relationship between the state and the private sector.

You’ll examine the role and objectives of the state, the roles and interaction of international commercial oil companies and the national oil company, licensing regimes (from a theoretical and comparative perspective), contractual access regimes such as PSA and service contract.

You will examine how the legal fundamentals are applied in other petroleum regions including less mature provinces such as west Africa. You’ll examine study real case studies and contracts to compare differing legal regimes, building a strong comparative perspective with obvious career advantages.

You’ll learn from highly-skilled lawyers at a UK top-ten School of Law, with much experience in both international law and the energy industry, as you grow your own knowledge, expertise and career prospects while enjoying the convenience of online distance learning.

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 through a combination of with online lectures, materials, case studies, videos, and access to the wonderful online resources of our award-winning libraries, and plenty of interactive discussion and support.

Our first-class support structure will ensure that you are not alone in your study. Contact with your course lecturers may be by email, Skype or Facetime, and you can use social media and discussion boards to find and talk to your fellow students wherever they are.

Wherever you are in the world, as you enjoy the convenience of online distance study, you will still feel part of our very special Aberdeen learning community.


Our online courses are delivered through an online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and have been developed specifically for an online audience using a range of learning materials and assessment activities.

You will have a range of different types of assessment during your course, including online tests, case studies, and briefs to clients.

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.