International Commercial Law with Dissertation, LLM

International Commercial Law with Dissertation, LLM


Study a diverse range of areas surrounding the discipline of International Commercial Law with our highly popular postgraduate degree. Gain an in-depth understanding of the subject and enhance your career prospects by delving into topics such as contract law, company law, corporate finance and governance, tax law, international sales and international commercial dispute resolution, and develop academic and research skills by writing a dissertation on a topic of your choice in international commercial law

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

Studying International Commercial Law at the University of Aberdeen will give you the opportunity to study a diverse number of exciting topics under the guidance of our world-class teaching staff. Our law school ranks 5th in the UK for Overall Student Satisfaction (National Student Survey 2022) with courses taught by world-class experts who regularly provide consultancy and policy work at international level.

This particular 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. In contrast to the LLM International Commercial Law with Professional Skills, the LLM International Commercial Law with Dissertation offers students the opportunity to develop academic and research skills by writing a dissertation on a topic of their choice in international commercial law

Available Programmes of Study

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

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


International Commercial Law with Dissertation

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

Semester 1

Information for part-time students: This route will run over three academic years. Candidates can take up to 60 credit points in Year 1, 120 credit points in Year 2, and 60 credit points in Year 3. LS551T and PD5506 must be taken in Year 1, and LS5904 must be taken in Year 2. Candidates must take a remaining 120 credit points. At least 90 credit points must be obtained from the courses listed in the optional course sections of semesters 1 and 3. The remaining credit points may be obtained from the list below or any LLM 30 credit on-campus course.

Compulsory Courses

Critical Legal Thinking and Scholarship (LS551T)

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 (PD5506)

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’.

Optional Courses

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

Comparative Contract Law (LS555K)

30 Credit Points

International commercial lawyers frequently work on contracts involving parties from different countries. Here, each one of these jurisdictions may offer a different interpretation of the same contractual provisions. This course is aimed to help commercial lawyers understand how different legal traditions offer different viewpoints on key contractual challenges. At the end of the course, students will be able to understand many of the discrepancies and similarities between legal systems, thus honing a fundamental skill for an international commercial lawyer. The course will cover a wide range of European legal systems, as well as transnational contract law mechanisms including the Principles of European Contract Law and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods.

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.

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.

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 2

The compulsory dissertation provides the opportunity to research and explore in more detail a specific legal area of your choice.

Please note that all January Start Students must produce their Dissertation Project during the Summer Semester, preparation for which begins in January.

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.

Semester 3

Optional Courses

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.

International Commercial Litigation (LS503M)

30 Credit Points

This course introduces international commercial litigation, the major means of commercial dispute resolution for many sectors of industry and the default means of dispute resolution against which international arbitration is positioned. The course demonstrates the relevance of a venue’s Private International Law (PIL) to its attractiveness for dispute resolution and provides advanced instruction in the relevant post-Brexit aspects of PIL to parties engaged in litigating international commercial disputes.

International Tax Law and Policy (LS504C)

30 Credit Points

The course will examine the law and principles of cross-border taxation. It will cover core subjects on international tax law, including the concepts of source and residence taxation, double tax conventions, allocation of taxing rights, transfer pricing and thin capitalisation rules, and international tax avoidance (schemes and prevention).

Attention will be paid to topical issues around international taxation and the efforts being made to modernise the international tax system. This includes an examination of the tax challenges of the digital economy and the solutions being introduced by the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting.

The course content fulfills the core requirements of Module 1 of the ADIT (Advanced Diploma in International Tax) qualification offered by the Chartered Institute of Taxation. The course is also essential for those aiming to practise tax in an international context, either as academics, government officials, or general tax advisors.

The course will be taught from a legal and policy perspective. No prior knowledge of tax is required, but students should be willing to engage with the tax literature and tax affairs.

International Commercial Arbitration (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.

Seminar topics have been chosen to give students a good knowledge of international commercial arbitration law. The topics covered will be: (1) Arbitration Agreement and Arbitral Jurisdiction (2) The Role of the Seat (3) Applicable Substantive Law (4) The Arbitral Tribunal (5) Arbitral Procedure and Evidence (6) The Arbitral Award.

The course also provides a lecture on the introduction to international commercial arbitration.

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.

Global Competition Law (LS504D)

30 Credit Points

This course introduces students to one of the most highly discussed areas of law in modern societies. Competition law and policy offer a solution to the abuses of power that firms may perpetrate against consumers and the market. Yet, competition law enforcement is limited in many respects.

This course explores the spread of competition law around the world analysing its core provisions from a comparative perspective. The course thus focuses on the core aspects of competition law: anticompetitive agreements, abuse of dominance, and merger regulation. It then offers insights on the analysis of competition law in digital markets and on the international enforcement of its core provisions.

Corporate Finance Law (LS504H)

30 Credit Points

This course will explore issues within the law of corporate finance, with reference to different legal systems. It will provide students with a wider and deeper understanding of various debt and equity finance issues that are crucial to the law of corporate finance.

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £23,800
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year
Home / RUK £11,900
Tuition Fees for 2024/25 Academic Year
LLM 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September More

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.

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

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.


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.

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

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Seminars

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 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.

  • 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.

The Centre for Commercial of the Law School fosters research excellence in commercial law and offers unique research activities by serving as a dynamic hub for law academics, legal practitioners, those working in related professions, industry representatives, activists and policymakers, providing opportunities for synergy and rich engagement.

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.

What Our Students Say

Ahmad Ali Shariati Afghanistan

Ahmad Ali Shariati <small><i>Afghanistan</i></small>

Ahmad Ali Shariati Afghanistan

The Law School focuses on your academic legal skills such as research, writing, advocacy and critical legal thinking. The courses offered in this area prepares students to thrive in their studies and later for the career trajectory they select.

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. Relevant practical experience in the field of commercial law 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


Studying International Commercial Law at Aberdeen will prepare you for a range of career options, such as commercial lawyer, commercial legal advisor, commercial litigator or arbitrator, or academic.

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. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.


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.

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