Business Law and Sustainable Development, LLM

Business Law and Sustainable Development, LLM


Equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to become a leading lawyer, barrister or civil servant to build commercial structures and enterprises and enable sustainable development. This highly popular LLM provides an education combining Business Law with acumen in Sustainable Development, Ecological Protection, and Corporate Social Responsibility, and has been carefully designed by our first-class teaching staff to ensure that you receive high quality training that will enhance your employability.

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

As sustainable policies and their corresponding regulatory and compliance requirements are increasingly adopted at international, EU, and domestic levels of governance, the need for lawyers and policy makers capable of coordinating these two important areas of legal practice is rapidly expanding. Simultaneously, investors and shareholders are calling for enhanced levels of corporate social responsibility from their boards. This programme is designed to provide you with the knowledge required to meet these challenges, and, from a corporate perspective, to adapt to a changing world. It may also appeal to practitioners who wish to acquire or update their legal knowledge to position themselves for employment in this burgeoning field. A challenging and rewarding subject to study, you will be immersed in the grounding concepts of commercial law designed to support the development of business both locally and globally, together with the regulatory requirements to do so sustainably. Our teaching promotes the kind of contextual thinking that enables you to gain a deeper, more forward-thinking understanding about the issues at stake within these areas. The programme will provide you with advanced and specialist knowledge in key areas of Energy Law and Environmental Law, together with a detailed understanding of Commercial Law at an international level. We’ll explore the many different viewpoints and needs of energy and commerce at a global level within an environmental context. Through the preparation of a 10,000 word dissertation, you will develop the skills of critical analysis and independent research in law which are relevant to the needs of the legal profession and other areas of employment such as policy development. Upon completion, you will be equipped with the intellectual, critical and practical skills that are fundamental to practicing as a trained professional in this developing field.

Available Programmes of Study

Students will be expected to complete two courses drawn from a selection of Business Law and Commercial Law, and at least one course drawn from Environmental Law and Corporate Social Responsibility Law. Students will also need to take Critical Legal Thinking and Scholarship, completing their study with the Dissertation.

Please note: Students staring their LLM programme in January write their Dissertation project during the Summer semester.

Duration: 12 months full-time. 24 months part time.


Business Law and Sustainable Development

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

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £23,800
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year
UK £11,900
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Critical Legal Thinking and Scholarship (LS501T)

This course provides students from diverse legal and educational backgrounds with a common understanding of the core research, analytical, and writing skills which will be required for LLM-Taught courses. The course is delivered as a series of five interactive lectures with two individual assessments designed to encourage critical thinking and provide opportunities for early feedback. It also incorporates a library workshop to provide students with hands-on experience with the resources available for course and dissertation work.

Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD5006)

This course, which is prescribed for all taught postgraduate students, is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

Law and Sustainable Development (LS504E)

30 Credit Points

The course examines the complex and dynamic relationship between law and development and traces the impact of international development discourse on lower- and middle-income countries’ legal systems. The course focuses on domestic law reforms aiming to promote sustainable development and achieve the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Agenda. It focuses on the role of law in promoting SDG 16 on peace, justice, and inclusive institutions, SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth, and SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production.

Optional Courses

Candidates must select one course from the following:

International Energy and Environmental Law (LS501C)

30 Credit Points

The course deals with the regulation of international activities regarding energy and the environment. The course will consider the international legal framework regarding energy sources, and it will look at the various legal instruments at the global and regional level as well as the key actors that are involved in regulation. It will also examine environmental issues that correspond to the generation and use of energy in the international context and the responses relating to environmental protection of soil, water, air, atmosphere and species.

International Intellectual Property: Framework and Challenges (LS502L)

30 Credit Points

Students will explore the diverse elements of law which constitute international intellectual property law. We will consider the historical development of international intellectual property rights, framework of international treaties and organisation, copyright (with a particular focus on new developments in the digital age), geographical indications, patents and designs. Throughout the course, 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. Assesment is by an essay, an individual presentation and discussion board submissions. Description: The course considers key issues relating to international intellectual property law which may vary from year to year consistent with the legal and social evolution of the fields; the course will explore copyright, geographical indications, patents, designs, and their relationship with regional and international treateis and international organisation; key themes will be drawn together in a practical presentation session.

International Trade and Finance Law (LS508A)

30 Credit Points

This course considers issues relating to international trade and finance law and addresses the legal and commercial aspects of export-import transactions. It covers trade risks and risk assessment, the law and practice relating to international sale of goods, carriage of goods and insurance matters, international trade finance, digitalisation of international trade and international commercial dispute resolution.

Comparative and International Perspectives on Company Law (LS501G)

30 Credit Points

This is an optional course at postgraduate level and offers a selective and critical examination of company laws in the UK and other systems. It is an appropriate course for students with an interest in working in the corporate sector or who wish to learn more about how company law operates in different countries. Key issues in comparative company law shall be examined and a range of topics will be covered, dealing with corporate entities, their ownership, management and activities.

Low Carbon Energy Transition: Renewable Energy Law (LS501H)

30 Credit Points

A transition from reliance on fossil fuels to low-carbon renewable energy is essential for mitigating climate change and for making energy supplies more sustainable. The course considers the challenges and concerns that this fundamental change in the nature of energy supplies gives rise to, and explores laws role in addressing them. The course examines the legal regimes for promoting renewable energy at international, EU and UK levels, and considers how law can be used to address significant constraints on the growth of renewable energy including difficulties with grid access and public opposition to wind energy development.

Semester 2

Optional Courses

Candidates must pick two courses from the following:

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.

International Investment Law and Energy Arbitration (LS555L)

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 strategic and social importance. This course aims to analyse if existing investment disciplines and international investment protection framework, are adapted to the specific regulatory risks that investors face in the energy landscape of the 21st Century and how best to avoid disputes and manage them.

Applied Issues in International Economic Law (LS553T)

30 Credit Points

There is limited appreciation given to the study of the state as a policymaker, legislator, and disputing party in the context of international economic law. Yet, the states have become the “investor of first-resort", while participating in an unprecedented surge of international investment disputes and international economic agreements. The course covers how international investment law interacts with the State’s regulatory powers in different economic sectors.

World Trade Organisation: Gatt (LS553V)

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.

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.

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Master of Laws Dissertation (LS5904)

60 Credit Points

Between May and mid-August students prepare a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic of their choice related to their specialist LLM programme. Students are instructed through the delivery of a preparatory lecture, two supervisory meetings and a two hour dissertation planning workshop in a small group setting. Students are expected to spend considerable time on independent research throughout the course of the dissertation module, including; preparation of dissertation plan, amendment of plan in accordance with supervisory comments, preparation for the dissertation workshop, and, of course, in the final 10,000 word dissertation itself.

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £23,800
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year
UK £11,900
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year

We will endeavour to make all course options available. However, these may be subject to change - see our Student Terms and Conditions page.

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 Tuition Fees page.

Funding Opportunities

The SFC Postgraduate tuition fee scholarship may be available for those classified as Home/EU fee status students for this programme. Visit the scholarship page for more information.

The James Carnegie maintenance scholarship for postgraduate students is available with this degree.


Self-funded international students enrolling on postgraduate taught (PGT) programmes will receive one of our Aberdeen Global Scholarships, ranging from £3,000 to £8,000, depending on your domicile country. Learn more about the Aberdeen Global Scholarships here.

To see our full range of scholarships, visit our Funding Database.

How You'll Study

The LLM Business Law and Sustainable Development has flexibility built in. The programme is structured to allow you the freedom to specialise within Business and Environmental /Corporate Social Responsibility Law, yet explore its many varied aspects. Teaching is organised on a modular basis with a dissertation to be submitted at the end of August each year.

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Courses are assessed through essays, presentations, role play, group work and project work. The variety of assessments in the programme ensures that students apply theory to practical situations in order to become expert at being able to analyse and reason issues thoroughly.

Why Study Business Law and Sustainable Development?

As the UN’s Green Fund begins to stimulate investment in sustainable commercial projects around the world there will be a need for lawyers and policy makers who understand both Business Commercial Law, as well as Sustainable Development Policy, Environmental Law, and Corporate Social Responsibility.  Traditionally, these pathways have been an “either/or” proposition, as Business Law was seen at some disjoint to Sustainability Policy or Environmental Policy. However, recent developments have highlighted the need to coordinate these two sets of policy goals for a more sustainable future.  This programme teaches both aspects to enable students to develop the skills to drive forward policy and legislation where the two can work symbiotically. The development of global sustainable development strategies is driving a need for novel legal studies options that combine business and commercial concepts with environmental and social considerations. Legal service related to corporate social responsibility is ever more important at major law firms and this LLM serves to provide this sought-after legal specialization.

The Centre for Commercial Law and the Centre for Energy Law of the Law School foster research excellence in commercial law, energy and environmental law, natural resources, investments and sustainable development,  and offer unique research activities and opportunities.

The School of Law is ranked Top 10 in the UK for Law, by the Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024.

What Our Students Say

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The University of Aberdeen has an international, multi-cultural and inclusive learning environment, which enables students (and staff members) from various backgrounds, races and cultures to learn from each other.

Entry Requirements


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

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 (or equivalent) in Law will be required to be accepted onto this programme. Relevant practical experience in a related field will also be beneficial.

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 - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 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
a reference letter from your university discussing your academic ability. If you have been out of education for a long time you may wish to use your current or most recent employer, or another professional person

Aberdeen Global Scholarship

Eligible self-funded post graduate taught (PGT) students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Explore our Global Scholarships, including eligibility details, on our dedicated page.

Aberdeen Global Scholarships


The Law School have professional links with industry, government, research centres, international organisations and leading research centres in Europe.

    Industry Links

    Our Advisory Board includes individuals from industry, government, research centres, international organisations and leading research centres in Europe. With direct input from these key players and other guest lecturers from international academic and policy-making institutions, our programme stays relevant in a rapidly changing world. Many of your courses are taught by practitioners and leading industry experts so you will benefit from practical real life insights into the relevant industries.

    Join Internationally Renowned Experts

    Internationally renowned teaching staff and academic experts in their field

    5th in the UK for Law

    Our Law School is ranked 5th in the UK of 105 providers for Overall Student Satisfaction (National Student Survey 2022).

    Top 10 UK Law School

    We are ranked Top 10 in the UK for Law by the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024.

    Our Experts

    You will be taught by and have access to a number of experts, many of whom are internationally renowned within their respective fields. These will include members of the Centre for Commercial Law.

    Programme Coordinator
    Burcu Yuksel

    Information About Staff Changes

    You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. However, these may be subject to change - see our Student Terms and Conditions page.


    Get in Touch