If you are fascinated by contracts and agreements, or operations of the same company in different countries, you could be interested in studying International Commercial Law with Dissertation at Aberdeen. The programme enables students to study a number of diverse areas in commercial law, including protection of intellectual property associated with brands, products and trade, commercial arbitration and international aspects of energy law.

Key Facts

1 Year / 2 Years
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September or January
Learning Mode
On Campus Learning

Interested in this Degree?

Call +44 (0)1224 274260 Email Enquire Using an online form Next Steps Find out how to apply


By studying International Commercial Law with Dissertation at Aberdeen, you will benefit from being taught by world-class teaching staff that regularly provides consultancy and policy work at international level. You will have the opportunity to study a number of diverse areas including protection of intellectual property associated with brands, products and trade, commercial arbitration and international aspects of energy law.

This programme was designed with the assistance of external experts, including authors of international agreements as well as our internal staff at the University. With this collaborative input, you will gain valuable insights into international commercial law and will advance your understanding of the subject. The programme has been carefully coordinated to align with the competencies required for today’s international job market.

The University of Aberdeen is known for attracting world-class teaching staff with international experience in their specialist subjects.

What You'll Study

The information below applies to the 1 year full time / 2 year part time on campus learning LLM programme which runs in September. You will find information about other ways to study this programme in the next section on this page.

Semester 1


The information listed below is for September start students. Information for January starts can be found under "Other Ways to Study".

All students must take two LS50xx courses and two LS55xx courses.

Compulsory Courses

All candidates must take the following course:

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 within smaller groups 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 2. Students may not select both LS5083 and LS5085 together.

Alternatively, one of your four choices could be selected from another LLM programme (excluding LS501E, and LS551K).

Energy, Innovation and Law (LS501F)

Students will explore the law and regulation which is relevant to innovation across the energy sector (taken in its widest sense). We will consider intellectual property, UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol, government initiatives, competition, human rights, and oil and gas licensing. We will focus on the impact of these fields on business, reward, sharing, sustainable growth, energy security, and the relationship between private rights, raw materials and the wider public interest. Sessions will be interactive and you need not have studied any of these fields before – although we will move quickly. Assessment is by essay, exam and group presentation.

View detailed information about this course.

Comparative and International Perspectives on Company Law (LS501G)

This course is a selective and critical examination of company laws. A theoretical approach shall be taken based upon the general theory of comparative law developed by Zweigert and Kötz and the Wilsonian theory of legal transplants. Key issues in comparative company law shall be examined using the theoretical framework of Hansmann and Kraakman with its particular focus on the agency problem. Specific topics shall include directors’ duties; the protection of minority shareholders and the limits of limited liability. The course is assessed by a three hour examination and a coursework essay.

View detailed information about this course.

Oil and Gas Law (LS5076)

The petroleum industry brings together the most powerful public and private actors in the form of states and trans-national corporations. Oil and gas law has the task of arranging the resultant relationships and of ensuring that the legitimate interests of each side are protected. Following a series of introductory lectures, students will participate in interactive seminars considering topics drawn from the state control, contracting and regulatory aspects of oil and gas law. This course is available to LLM students on programmes other than the specialist LLM Oil and Gas Law programmes.

View detailed information about this course.

International Commercial Arbitration (on Campus) (LS5083)

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.

View detailed information about this course.

International Commercial Arbitration In the Asia Pacific (on Campus) (LS5085)

The demand for international commercial arbitration has increased significantly over the last 20 years. Empirical surveys 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 in principle and in practice. Topics covered include; arbitration agreement, arbitral jurisdiction, arbitral tribunal, challenging and enforcing awards. This course is taught together with the International Commercial Arbitration course. This course allows a greater focus on the Asia Pacific region and is particularly relevant to those who foresee themselves working in that part of the world.

View detailed information about this course.

Private International Law: Jurisdiction in Business Transactions (LS5089)

We examine the question of jurisdiction in relation to commercial matters involving private international law. We examine the general and special jurisdictional aspects of the Brussels I Regulation and the Recast Brussels I Regulation; choice of court agreements; and, international commercial arbitration.

View detailed information about this course.

International Intellectual Property Law (LS5092)

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.

View detailed information about this course.

Competition Law (LS5094)

This course addresses the problems of establishing an effective legal regulation of competitive conditions in the EU. We examine: the economic theory of competition and the difficulties of translating this into effective legal regulation; the operation of Art 101 TFEU in multi-level and other complex markets; the operation of the vertical block exemption; developments within Art 102 TFEU; the Merger Regulation; public and private enforcement of EU Competition law.

View detailed information about this course.

Comparative and International Insolvency Law (LS5095)

This course explores, through seminar discussion including some group work, the theory and general principles of insolvency law, the domestic insolvency law of selected jurisdictions (currently Scotland, the US and Germany), the theory and general principles of international insolvency law and selected topics in international insolvency law (currently the EU Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings, domestic law provisions regulating international insolvency in selected jurisdictions and the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency). Topics and selected jurisdictions may vary according to topicality.

View detailed information about this course.

World Trade Organisation: Gatt (LS5098)

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.

View detailed information about this course.

Semester 2

Optional Courses

Cultural Property Issues: Law, Art, and Museums (LS55UU)

Taught by museum and law academics, this course will examine cultural property issues such as treasure trove, looting and repatriation, forgery, sacred and street art, and the derogatory treatment of art. Objects from the University Museum and collections worldwide will be drawn on to illustrate aspects of the course. Museum practice and operational experience will also inform certain aspects. Students will be encouraged to explore and develop their own ideas. Facilitating this, the course will include a programme of case studies and/or issue papers to be presented by students for class discussion.

View detailed information about this course.

Choice of Law for Business (LS551B)

This LLM course as a whole addresses choice of law for business, and focuses on three areas, namely contractual obligations, non-contractual obligations and corporate law. Students are expected to develop a clear understanding of relevant legislation and judgments, as well as to consider whether the law strikes an appropriate balance between party autonomy and the interests of states in prescribing relevant outcomes. The course is taught by means of seminars and guided independent reading.

View detailed information about this course.

Corporate Environmental Liability (LS551L)

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.

European Economic Law (LS5543)

Historically, markets of the EEC/EU were integrated mainly on the basis of the case law of ECJ/CJEU using fundamental freedoms as a tool. Today, these freedoms are still an important pillar of the economic constitution, but free trade and competition between Member States’ undertakings have to be supported by other policies and the creation of competition in markets that suffer from market failure. This course looks at the integrating function of fundamental freedoms and develops further insights into the essential influence that the European Legal Order has on State domestic legal systems - and also, especially, on the economic systems.

View detailed information about this course.

Trade Marks and Brand Development (LS5584)

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.

View detailed information about this course.

International Investment Arbitration In the Energy Sector (LS5585)

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.

International Trade and Finance Law (LS5588)

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.

View detailed information about this course.

Carriage of Goods By Sea (LS5592)

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 charterparties; 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.

View detailed information about this course.

Commercialising Innovation and Law (LS5595)

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 and (focussing on natural resources), communications 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 and exam.

View detailed information about this course.

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Master of Law Dissertation (LS5904)

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.

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

The LLM International Commercial Law with Dissertation has flexibility built in. The programme is structured to allow you the freedom to specialise within international commercial law, yet explore its many aspects. Teaching is organised on a modular basis with a dissertation to be submitted at the end of August each year.

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Individual Projects
  • Seminars


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 International Commercial Law with Dissertation?

Ever since the University’s opening in 1495, the Law School has played a pivotal role in Aberdeen’s history - and there’s no substitute for experience.

  • Our Law School is ranked 11th in the UK, out of more than 90 law schools (The Guardian, The Times Good University Guide 2015).
  • Aberdeen is ranked in the Top 10 for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2014 and has a 95% student satisfaction rating.
  • The University is one of the top 5 for graduate career prospects (National Student Survey 2014) with 96% of our students entering directly into employment, research or further study within six months of graduation.
  • In an LLM exit survey that we carried out in 2015, 95% of our students felt the programme met their expectations and 94% would recommend the University to others.
  • There are over 40 nationalities within the School of Law postgraduate community, so you will benefit from the experiences of international students from all over the world.

Students choose to study Law at Aberdeen because of our reputation for academic excellence and unrivalled student experience. At Aberdeen, you will:

  • Gain an advanced understanding of commercial law within an international context, enabling you to apply for jobs around the world as an adviser and consultant.
  • Benefit from being taught by an internationally renowned teaching staff and authors of major international agreements.
  • Have the opportunity to study the full spectrum of international commercial law across wide ranging markets. We are located in Aberdeen, Europe's energy capital, a world cosmopolitan dynamic city with worldwide links in energy, luxury brands, healthcare and international tourism.

Lecturers regularly provide consultancy, policy work at international level and publish in The International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition, Journal of the Copyright Society of the USA, Law International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Modern Law Review and many other publications.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Status Amount
Home / EU / RUK Students Tuition Fee for 2016/17 Academic Year £5,600
International Students Tuition Fee for 2016/17 Academic Year £15,400
Home / EU / RUK Students Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year £6,000
International Students Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year £16,100
  • 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.


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

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Join Internationally Renowned Experts

Internationally renowned teaching staff and academic experts in their field

Entry Requirements

Prospective students interested in studying on this programme should submit their completed application by the end of May each year. All applications will then be reviewed by the programme admissions panel. Decisions will be notified by the end of July. Unsuccessful applicants may, at the discretion of the admissions panel, be offered a place on the LLM International Commercial Law with Professional Skills instead.

Prospective students requiring a visa to study in the UK are advised to apply as early as possible to secure a place. Applications received after 29 July (September intake) or 2 November (January intake) from students who need to apply for a visa will not be processed in time for entry, but will be considered for entry into the next intake as appropriate.

Submitting a CV with the application is optional.


Normally a 2(1) honours degree in Law (or another related discipline) or equivalent. Relevant practical experience in the field of commercial law will also be beneficial.

Language Requirements

All students entering the University must provide evidence that they can use English well enough to study effectively at the University of Aberdeen.

Details of our English language entry requirements can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages. This programme requires that you meet the College of Arts and Social Sciences Postgraduate Standard level of English proficiency.

If you have not achieved the required scores, the University of Aberdeen offers pre-sessional English courses. Further details are available on our Language Centre website.

Nationals of some English-speaking countries or those who hold degrees from some English-speaking countries may be exempted from this requirement. Details of countries recognised as English-speaking can be found on our English Language Requirements webpages.

Document Requirements

  • Degree Transcripta full transcript showing all the subjects you studied and the marks you have achieved in your degree(s) (original & official English translation)
  • Personal Statementa detailed personal statement explaining your motivation for this particular programme
  • Referencea reference letter from your university discussing your academic ability


Taylor Library

The School of Law has its own dedicated law library, Taylor Library, which is located within the Law School building, offering access to the Law collection, Official Publications and the European Documentation Centre.


Having the solid foundation of a modern LLM from an ancient and respected university like Aberdeen could open up many career opportunities. Your career options could include being an in-house counsel for a multinational corporation, a legal advisor to governments or NGOs, or even becoming a partner in an international law firm. The programme will also provide a good grounding for an academic career and help you prepare for a PhD.

Our Experts

Other Experts
Dr Tina Hunter
Dr Patrick Masiyakurima

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.

Commercial Law from Merchant Aberdeen 1495

Law has been taught at the University of Aberdeen since 1495.


School of Law
University of Aberdeen
Taylor Building


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+44 (0)1224 274260
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