Introduction

Our innovative Masters programme allows students the opportunity to develop the relevant skills and knowledge in managing natural energy resources for future generations. This programme will equip students with the knowledge, and skills, to develop sound governance regimes within areas that raise the most fundamental issues for humanity.

Study Information

Study Options

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
LLM
Duration
12 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September or January
Location of Study
Aberdeen
Subject marketing image

The University of Aberdeen has long held a reputation as a leader in teaching, and research, in the energy resources sector and this programme will give students a competitive advantage in highly relevant and rapidly developing sector. Our growing population has a major impact on the world’s natural resources. Indeed, this issue will only grow as the pressure to meet humanity’s developing demands. Hence, international and domestic law must address the legal implications of ownership, extraction distribution and management of natural resources. This unique programme focuses on the legal and regulatory issues associated with society’s use of and exploitation of the natural world.

Available Programmes of Study

Students will gain an in-depth understanding of extracting natural resources, ocean law, food law, and water law. Students must complete the Introduction to Natural Resources Law and Policy and Critical Legal Thinking and Scholarship. Students must then choose an additional 4 courses, taking 2 in semester 1 and 2 in semester 3.

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

Natural Resources Law

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

Programme Information

Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

In additional to Critical legal Thinking all students must take LS503K Introduction to Natural Resources Law (This course provides a series of lectures on the fundamental concepts relating to natural resources law and policy. The aim of the course is to ensure that all students are equipped with the necessary conceptual framework and knowledge to be able to undertake study of the various and diverse courses offered within the LLM in Natural Resources Law. It will also assure that all students commence the degree on an equal knowledge footing.

  1. What are natural resources?
  2. Law and policy relating to Renewable vs non-renewable resources
  3. Sovereignty over natural resources and Principles of Resource ownership
  4. Resource governance and transparency
  5. Role of the state in resource development
  6. Resource curse and theories of resource governance
  7. Resources, indigenous populations and local communities
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.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Students must choose 4 additional courses taking 2 in semester 1 and 2 in semester 2 completing the programme with the dissertation in semester 3.
These will include those listed below,

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.

View detailed information about this course
State Control of Hydrocarbons (LS501E)

30 Credit Points

With only limited exceptions hydrocarbons lie in the ownership or control of states, but are frequently explored for and produced by commercial actors. This course considers the means by which the state controls exploitation of its oil and gas reserves. Following a number of introductory lectures, students will participate in interactive seminars considering topics such as: energy security; licensing; upstream taxation; health, safety and environmental regulation; and international maritime boundaries and joint development. This course is available to students registering for the LLM Oil and Gas Law programmes (Dissertation or Professional Skills).

View detailed information about this course
Blue Economy: Regulation and Decisions (LS503Q)

30 Credit Points

The blue economy is the exploitation and preservation/ conservation of the marine environment. This course will explore what is meant by the Blue Economy in an international context and how it relates to the marine environment and natural resources. It will consider how the Blue Economy has been defined and what it might mean in the future. Discussions on the international, EU and national legal regimes will be supported by an ecological and a social deliberative strand. The course benefits from international guest lectures and culminates in a workshop where students will simulate blue economy decision making adopting an ecosystem approach to a real-life scenario, implementing legal requirements and policy context.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 2

Semester 2

Optional Courses

Students must choose 2 courses from those listed below.

LS553U – Principals of Environmental & Natural Resources Regulation

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.

View detailed information about this course
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.

View detailed information about this course
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.

View detailed information about this course
Oceans Law (LS553P)

30 Credit Points

The oceans are widely considered to be Earth's final frontier. Oceans are vital for maintaining life on Earth, their natural resources are increasingly important to the global economy and about 90 per cent of all international trade is carried out by sea. In the development of humanity, the oceans and seas have always played a significant role, not only as a means of communication and trade, but also as a most important source for satisfying nutritional needs. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, in view of an ever-increasing world population, a growing necessity has arisen to exploit marine natural resources, whether living (such as fisheries) or non-living (such as hydrocarbons and deep-sea minerals). Creating an effective governance and regulatory regime for the worlds’ oceans and seas continues to be - perhaps now more than even - one of the greatest challenges for states and the international community as a whole.

The current legal framework for the oceans is largely codified in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 (UNCLOS) as an inseparable part of public international law. This Convention has often been called the ‘Constitution for the Oceans' and is based on the fundamental premise that all the problems of the oceans are inextricably intertwined and need to be considered as a whole. UNCLOS divides the oceans into several jurisdictional zones, namely internal waters, territorial sea, archipelagic waters, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the continental shelf, the high seas and the Area. In all these zones, the legal regime seeks to maintain a careful balance in reconciling the interests between individual states on one hand, and the protection of community interests on the other. Structured around this dual balancing objective, this course is designed to present students with the core elements of modern ocean law with a particular focus on the exploitation of marine natural resources, both living and non-living, marine environmental protection and international dispute settlement in the law of the sea.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Students must undertake the dissertation involving research in a specific area of natural resources law of their choice.

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.

View detailed information about this course

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £19,400
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
Home / RUK £10,200
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
LLM 12 months On Campus Learning Full Time January Aberdeen View

Programme Information

Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

In additional to Critical legal Thinking all students must take LS553K Introduction to Natural Resources Law . This course provides a series of lectures on the fundamental concepts relating to natural resources law and policy. The aim of the course is to ensure that all students are equipped with the necessary conceptual framework and knowledge to be able to undertake study of the various and diverse courses offered within the LLM in Natural Resources Law. It will also assure that all students commence the degree on an equal knowledge footing.

  1. What are natural resources?
  2. Law and policy relating to Renewable vs non-renewable resources
  3. Sovereignty over natural resources and Principles of Resource ownership
  4. Resource governance and transparency
  5. Role of the state in resource development
  6. Resource curse and theories of resource governance
  7. Resources, indigenous populations and local communities
Critical Legal Thinking and Scholarship (LS551T)

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.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Four optional courses must be selected. Two should be selected from semester 1 and two from semester 3 .

LS553U – Principals of Environmental & Natural Resources Regulation

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.

View detailed information about this course
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.

View detailed information about this course
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.

View detailed information about this course
Oceans Law (LS553P)

30 Credit Points

The oceans are widely considered to be Earth's final frontier. Oceans are vital for maintaining life on Earth, their natural resources are increasingly important to the global economy and about 90 per cent of all international trade is carried out by sea. In the development of humanity, the oceans and seas have always played a significant role, not only as a means of communication and trade, but also as a most important source for satisfying nutritional needs. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, in view of an ever-increasing world population, a growing necessity has arisen to exploit marine natural resources, whether living (such as fisheries) or non-living (such as hydrocarbons and deep-sea minerals). Creating an effective governance and regulatory regime for the worlds’ oceans and seas continues to be - perhaps now more than even - one of the greatest challenges for states and the international community as a whole.

The current legal framework for the oceans is largely codified in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 (UNCLOS) as an inseparable part of public international law. This Convention has often been called the ‘Constitution for the Oceans' and is based on the fundamental premise that all the problems of the oceans are inextricably intertwined and need to be considered as a whole. UNCLOS divides the oceans into several jurisdictional zones, namely internal waters, territorial sea, archipelagic waters, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the continental shelf, the high seas and the Area. In all these zones, the legal regime seeks to maintain a careful balance in reconciling the interests between individual states on one hand, and the protection of community interests on the other. Structured around this dual balancing objective, this course is designed to present students with the core elements of modern ocean law with a particular focus on the exploitation of marine natural resources, both living and non-living, marine environmental protection and international dispute settlement in the law of the sea.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

Students must undertake the dissertation involving research in a specific area of natural resources law of their choice.

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.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 3

Semester 3

As in semester 1 students must choose 2 courses from those listed below


Optional Courses

Students will also be able to choose from the additional following courses:

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.

View detailed information about this course
State Control of Hydrocarbons (LS501E)

30 Credit Points

With only limited exceptions hydrocarbons lie in the ownership or control of states, but are frequently explored for and produced by commercial actors. This course considers the means by which the state controls exploitation of its oil and gas reserves. Following a number of introductory lectures, students will participate in interactive seminars considering topics such as: energy security; licensing; upstream taxation; health, safety and environmental regulation; and international maritime boundaries and joint development. This course is available to students registering for the LLM Oil and Gas Law programmes (Dissertation or Professional Skills).

View detailed information about this course
Blue Economy: Regulation and Decisions (LS503Q)

30 Credit Points

The blue economy is the exploitation and preservation/ conservation of the marine environment. This course will explore what is meant by the Blue Economy in an international context and how it relates to the marine environment and natural resources. It will consider how the Blue Economy has been defined and what it might mean in the future. Discussions on the international, EU and national legal regimes will be supported by an ecological and a social deliberative strand. The course benefits from international guest lectures and culminates in a workshop where students will simulate blue economy decision making adopting an ecosystem approach to a real-life scenario, implementing legal requirements and policy context.

View detailed information about this course

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £19,400
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
Home / RUK £10,200
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year

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

Teaching is organised on a modular basis. There are two eleven-week semesters. Examinations are held at the end of each semester in December and May. The dissertation is submitted in August. 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. Moreover, students will gain transferrable skills including: enhanced ability to undertake advanced research in the field; an opportunity to undertake group work activities; ability to synthesise ideas and present work in oral and written assignments, plus students will undertake critical analysis.

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Peer Learning
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Assessment is a combination of coursework during the semester and an examination at the end of the relevant semester. In addition, students must complete research skills course and a dissertation on a topic within the specialism. All full time students who begin in January commence work on the dissertation in May with a final submission date in the beginning of August.

Why Study Natural Resources Law?

  • Our School of Law has occupied a central role since the University’s inception in 1495 and is considered to be one of the UK’s elite training ground for lawyers.
  • 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.
  • You will achieve an internationally recognised and respected postgraduate degree in one of the fastest growing and most dynamic areas of law.
  • Learn from top academics, responsible for shaping energy policy and providing thought leadership to governments on key pervasive and emerging issues.
  • Gain transferable skills in research, presentations, group work and conflict resolution - all of which are highly sought after in today's competitive job market

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

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 - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; 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
Reference
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

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.

Scholarships

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.

Aberdeen Global Scholarship (EU)

The Aberdeen Global Scholarship is open to European Union (EU) students.

This is a £2,000 tuition fee discount available to eligible self-funded Postgraduate Masters students who are classed as International fee status and are domiciled in the EU, plus another £3,000 discount for eligible Postgraduate Masters students who would have previously been eligible for Home fees (Scottish/EU) fee status.

View Aberdeen Global Scholarship

Careers

As the Law has an impact on many parts of public life and, thus, is beneficial should you wish to enter politics, business, international finance or banking. More and more non-legal employers are valuing the eminently transferable skills law graduates can bring to industry and other international business organisations. These skills include but are not limited to:

  • Research
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Effective communication
  • Diplomacy

This programme would equip graduates interested in a career in the following industries and sectors: policy, planning, NGOs, civil service, energy and extraction.

Accreditation

This degree holds accreditation from

1st In Scotland for Law*

The School of Law is Scotland's highest ranked university in the Times Good University Guide 2019, the School is ranked 5th in the UK for Law.

Our Experts

Programme Coordinator Professor Tina Soliman Hunter, course academics Dr Titilayo Adebola Professor Zeray Yihedgo Dr Constantinos Yiallourides

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

Address
School of Law
University of Aberdeen
Taylor Building
Aberdeen
AB24 3UB