The first of its kind, this exciting programme from our highly-rated School of Law equips the next generation of lawyers and civil servants with a unique combination of specialist legal expertise and the practical negotiation skills for a sparkling career in the fast-growing and highly competitive field of international trade.

Study Information

Study Options

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September or January
Location of Study

Economic globalisation and recent world events, including Brexit and trade wars, have thrown a spotlight on the issues, challenges and complexities of international trade and trade negotiation. We offer a specialist LLM programme in this area with career opportunities for skilled and ambitious lawyers with broad and transferable skills to continue to grow. This degree is also available full-time or part-time blended learning which combines the advantages of an online, distance learning programme with the extra opportunity to further develop your professional skills in trade negotiation at a summer course on campus.

Available Programmes of Study

International Trade Law and Treaty Negotiation with Professional Skills

Qualification Duration Learning Mode Study Mode Start Month Location  
LLM 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September View

Programme Information

Semester 1

Semester 1

The information listed below is for September start students.

Compulsory Courses

Students must take:

Critical Legal Thinking and Scholarship (LS501T)

This compulsory course provides students from diverse legal and educational backgrounds with a common understanding of the core research, analytical, and writing skills which would be required to excel in LLM-Taught courses. It commences with a few lectures and progresses to working in a workshop environment and finally to the submission of an individual assignment. It also incorporates elements such as library workshops to provide students with hands-on experience with the resources available for course and dissertation work.

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World Trade Organisation: Gatt (LS5098)

30 Credit Points

The course aims to provide a thorough and critical understanding of fundamental concepts, principles and institutions of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), with emphasis on trade in goods (GATT). The main topics covered include relevant historical and institutional developments, WTO dispute resolution, core principles such as the non-discrimination, most-favour-nation (MFN) and the prohibition of quantitative restrictions on international trade. The security, environment, human rights, labour standards, economic emergencies and free trade areas and customs unions based exceptions and their challenges are also analytically explored. These are studied in light of relevant WTO panel and Appellate Body cases and recommendations.

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Optional Courses
International Intellectual Property: Frameworks and Challenges (LS502L)

30 Credit Points

Students will explore the diverse elements of law which constitute international intellectual property law. We will consider the framework of international conventions, copyright and moral rights (with a particular focus on new developments and the digital age), patents, designs, the work of the World Health Organisation and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Throughout the challenge is to identify conflicts and synergies, and areas for future development, through regard to cases, scholarship, and the activities of policy makers and activists. Assessment is by an essay, an exam and an individual presentation.

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International Commercial Arbitration (on Campus) (LS5083)

30 Credit Points

The demand for international commercial arbitration has increased significantly over the last 20 years. Empirical surveys conducted consistently report figures that suggest around 60% of businesses prefer arbitration over other dispute resolution methods. This course provides students with a solid understanding of how arbitration works both in principle and in practice. Topics covered include; the arbitration agreement, arbitral jurisdiction, the arbitral tribunal, challenging and enforcing awards. This course is taught together with International Commercial Arbitration in the Asia Pacific.

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Comparative Contract Law for International Transactions (LS502K)

30 Credit Points

When international commercial lawyers work with contracts, those contracts often engage parties from multiple countries with differing legal perspectives on how to interpret that same singular contract. This course is designed to enable commercial lawyers to understand how various legal traditions provide their own unique perspectives on a variety of contract formation and interpretation issues. The course will explore how different aspects of contract law can lead to unexpected differences or similarities across international legal cultures,

enabling an international commercial lawyer to be able to coordinate those issues for their clients. The course will focus on a variety of European legal systems, with additional discussions drawn from commercial systems in Asia and in the Americas.

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Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses
International Trade and Finance Law (LS5588)

30 Credit Points

This course focuses on the difficulties which can arise when the buyer and seller of goods are located in different legal systems: we examine the sources of International Trade Law and the legal issues arising for buyer and seller in an international sale of goods transaction. We consider how to minimise or avoid these difficulties in the following contexts: the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the CISG; Incoterms and bills of lading; International Documentary Letters of Credit; dispute resolution by litigation and arbitration.

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Optional Courses
Corporate Environmental Liability (LS551L)

30 Credit Points

Corporate environmental liability is a significant area of concern not only for those corporations engaged in activities which exhibit environmental risk but society as whole. An efficient, effective liability regime must be present to ensure that corporations do not shirk their financial liabilities. The course draws attention to the conflicting goals of corporate law (i.e. the limitation of liability) and environmental law (i.e. ensuring that polluters pay for damage caused) and encourages students to consider and develop solutions to this problem. Whilst the course focuses on EU environmental law, many of the concepts covered are relevant to other jurisdictions.

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Trade Marks and Brand Development (LS5584)

30 Credit Points

This course tracks the ongoing interactions between trade mark and related laws on the one hand and the social and commercial practices of branding on the other. Through the use of cases and contemporary examples throughout, the course views trade mark and related laws within their historical, current, and developing social and commercial contexts. It offers a critical view of certain developments in the laws, their roles in and responses to the evolving practices of branding. It provides students with both an analytical and a practical view on the protection of trade mark and related rights.

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Commercialising Innovation and Law (LS5595)

30 Credit Points

Students will explore the diversity of laws and practices relevant to commercialising innovation. We will consider patents, trade secrets, copyright and database rights, new business models, competition, natural resources and activities in developing areas. Visiting speakers from practice and industry are regularly invited. In the first session, students develop an innovative idea, as a base for discussion in each session. Seminars involve individual and group work, and the preparation of posters. Assessment is by essay, exam and individual oral presentation.

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Corporate Governance (LS5582)

30 Credit Points

This course will discuss the trajectory of the development of corporate governance over the past three decades, especially in the UK and the US, with a view to understanding the extent to which underlying theoretical assumptions and policy decisions impact legislative, regulatory and self-regulatory arrangements as well as reform options. Students will gain an understanding of why the company as a legal entity has the shape and form that it does; why certain actors are regarded as internal to corporate governance arrangements and others external; and why ongoing (and sometimes apparently futile) reform efforts take the form that they do.

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Commercial Tax Law and Policy (LS552N)

30 Credit Points

Tax law is an integral aspect of all international commercial activities; it is crucial for commercial lawyers to have an understanding of tax law even if they are not tax lawyers. This course is a tax law course for general commercial lawyers, providing a gentle introduction to the varieties of tax laws and policies. The course enables a general commercial lawyer to understand tax law and policy discussions, both as public policy concerns and as issues related to clients' commercial matters. The course covers the basics of tax models and introduces a variety of tax law systems, such as income tax, property tax, sales tax and VAT taxes. The course also explains how tax policy can affect corporate and commercial interests, such as the role of tax law in environmental protection, in energy resource stewardship, or in corporate social responsibility. In conclusion, the course is designed for general commercial lawyers to increase their professional skills and legal knowledge related to commercial tax law and policy.

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Carriage of Goods By Sea (LS5592)

30 Credit Points

We look AT the issues arising FROM the USE of a ship TO transport goods FROM buyer TO seller WHEN EACH IS based IN a separate legal system. We examine the contract of affreightment; the relevance of charter parties; the possibilities offered BY Bills of Lading AND analogous ‘documents’ (whether electronic OR NOT). We consider the law concerning a cargo claim AS it may involve the Hague Rules, the Hague-Visby Rules, the Hamburg Rules. We also evaluate the Rotterdam Rules. We consider international commercial dispute resolution of cargo claims BY arbitration AND litigation.

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International Arbitration: Energy & Natural Resources (LS552Z)

30 Credit Points

The complex interaction between investment protection and the sovereign right of states to regulate has been most acute in the energy sector. On the one hand, investors require strong guarantees that states will respect the “rules of the game” that constitute the basis of their investments. On the other, states can be tempted to interfere with foreign energy investments because of their particular strategic and social importance. This course aims to analyse if existing investment disciplines are adapted to the specific regulatory risks that investors face in the energy landscape of the 21st Century.

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Food Law (LS553J)

30 Credit Points

This course explores the diversity of laws and policies that shape our food system. It considers crucial legal issues applicable to the access, production, processing, packaging, marketing, consumption and disposal of food such as food sovereignty, food security, right to food, intellectual property rights relating to food, food safety, food waste as well as the food -water -energy- land nexus. The course, delivered through seminars, encourages debates, critical thinking and formulation of opinions on the complex and often controversial issues covered. Seasoned guest speakers are invited to enrich the student’s knowledge and experience. Whilst the course focuses on the international and UK systems, relevant examples from other jurisdictions are employed.

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Semester 3

Semester 3

Students will need to take the Professional Skills module during the summer.

Compulsory Courses
Professional Skills: International Trade Negotiation (LS5909)

60 Credit Points

This course is the professional skills element of the LLM in International Trade Law and Treaty Negotiation Programme and is taught over two weeks in summer. It is a highly practical and interactive course that aims to equip students with the practical skills necessary to successfully negotiate international trade agreements. The knowledge and skills acquired on this course are suitable for positions in government, finance, international organisations, business and industry associations operating in or affected by international trade and NGOs concerned with international trade.

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Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £11,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year
International Students £21,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year
LLM 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time January Aberdeen View

Programme Information

Please contact for more information about this programme.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Group Projects
  • Seminars
  • Workshops

Assessment Methods

Within the ‘traditional’ element of the programme, i.e. the 4 modules which the students undertake, a range of forms of assessment are found: written examination, individual and group oral presentation and essays . The professional skills course involves the preparation of two in-depth reports by individuals, and a group presentation and report. This reflects the course's aim of building practical experience with applying academic knowledge both individually and as part of a team.

Why Study International Trade Law and Treaty Negotiation with Professional Skills?

  • The School of Law is ranked 5th in the UK for Law (The Times Good University Guide 2019), and based on the Times ranking is the highest ranked Scottish Law School.
  • The School of Law is ranked 9th in the UK for Law (The Complete University Guide 2020)
  • In an LLM exit survey, we carried out in 2016, 98% of students felt that their LLM had added value to their career prospects and 97% would recommend their course to others.

  • Over 500 years of rich academic heritage with 21st century innovation and dynamism to create and deliver world class programmes.
  • Highly-respected legal research centres including the Centres for Energy Law, Civil Law and Private International Law.
  • The breadth of curriculum and depth of expertise, with specialist Masters programmes across Commercial Law, International Law, Oil and Gas Law, Human Rights and Criminal Justice, Intellectual Property Law and Energy and Environmental Law
  • The calibre, experience, and enthusiasm of the strong academic team, challenging you with complex, realistic scenarios as you get to grips with this fascinating and fast-growing area.
  • Taught by our teaching team that includes legal practitioners with extensive real-world experience.
  • The online resources of the award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library and Law Library, with a first-class collection of reference works in law and related subjects.
  • Successful Professional skills courses in the fields of commercial law.

Entry Requirements


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Normally a 2(1) honours degree in Law (or another related discipline) or equivalent

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 6.0; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0


OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 21; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 54; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 169; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme. If you have not yet completed your current programme of study, then you can still apply and you can provide your Degree Certificate at a later date.

Degree Transcript
a full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
Personal Statement
a detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme

Fee Information

Additional Fee Information

  • Fees for individual programmes can be viewed in the Programmes section above.
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities

Funded places are available for Scottish/Non-UK EU students. Find out more here


Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.


There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers and Employability Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Our Experts

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

School of Law
University of Aberdeen
Taylor Building
AB24 3UB