If you want to study oil and gas law at the heart of the energy industry and its regulation our programme offers you insight and research since inception of the industry in Aberdeen from our excellent School of Law. Our highly-regarded Master's forms a strong base for development and acceleration of careers in oil and gas Law throughout the world and we have access to regulators in the city to help you learn.

This programme is studied on campus.

Our LLM in Oil and Gas Law with Professional Skills will help you build your practical expertise and gain valuable contacts that will help advance your legal career. Upon completing our Master’s programme, you will have the intellectual, critical and practical skills required to practice as a trained professional in this field.

You will be immersed in the grounding concepts of current oil and gas law and will gain the practical education required for the legal management of oil & gas exploration and production activity.

Our teaching promotes the kind of contextual thinking that enables you to gain a deeper, more forward-thinking understanding about the industry and how the law works around it. You will have the opportunity to study topics such as Oil and Gas Law Skills: Exploration and Production, Contracting in Hydrocarbon Operations and Downstream Energy Law.

The flagship feature of our LLM is the professional skills modules. These curricular innovations help meet the demands for more hands-on skills and will prepare you for the reality of legal practice. You will undertake additional classes based on simulated practical exercises and submit a portfolio of works, bringing general principles into direct and immediate application.

We will encourage you to think beyond the immediate interest by seeking intelligent solutions that will lead to sustainable energy supplies. You will explore the many different needs of the energy industry and various different viewpoints, including the states discovering the oil or gas and the industry experts drilling for it.

The LLM Oil and Gas Law with Professional Skills provides an intellectual and practical programme that focuses on testing your skills. We also offer an LLM Oil and Gas Law with Dissertation that offers a more theoretical and academic programme.

Key Programme Information

At a Glance

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

What You'll Study

Semester 1

Semester 1

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

Compulsory Courses

All candidates must take the following courses:

Critical Legal Thinking and Scholarship (LS501T)

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

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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).

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Optional Courses

Two optional courses must be selected. One should be selected from semester 1 and one from semester 2 .

Alternatively, one of your two choices could be selected from another LLM programme

Students on this programme may not select LS5076 Oil & Gas Law.

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.

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Oil and Mining Resources for Good (LS502Z) - 30 Credit Points

The course examines the relationship between law, energy and natural resources, ethics, governance and development at the national and international levels on the one hand and variable developmental outcomes, particularly the resource curse phenomenon, on the other hand. The course then proceeds to apply advanced academic and experiential knowledge to formulate the fundamentals for overarching legal frameworks that will enable the good exploitation and development of energy and natural resources, thereby producing enduring benefits for all key stakeholders.

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Energy, Innovation and Law (LS501F) - 30 Credit Points

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.

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Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

All candidates must take the following courses:

Contracting in Hydrocarbon Operations (LS551K) - 30 Credit Points

A good knowledge and understanding of the commercial purpose and key features of the principal contracts used in the oil and gas industry is essential for an oil and gas lawyer. This course will examine the contracts entered into between the state and the commercial actors involved in the exploration for and production of oil an gas and the contracts entered into between the oil companies themselves, and those between oil and gas companies and the contractors making up the supply chain. The course will be taught by means of a mix of lectures, seminars and interactive workshops.

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Oil and Gas Law Professional Skills: Exploration and Production (LS5906) - 60 Credit Points

This course allows students the opportunity to deploy the knowledge they have gained in the taught courses on the LLM Oil and Gas Law programme in two intensive week-long exercises designed to develop their professional skills. The first of these involves an insight into the building of a commercial case to farm-in to a petroleum licence whilst the second puts students in the position of state or commercial actors negotiating a Production Sharing Agreement. This course is available to students on the LLM Oil and Gas Law with Professional Skills programme.

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Optional Courses

Corporate Environmental Liability (LS551L) - 30 Credit Points

Corporate environmentalliability is a significant area of concern not only for those corporationsengaged in activities which exhibit environmental risk but society as whole. Anefficient, effective liability regime must be present to ensure that corporationsdo not shirk their financial liabilities. The course draws attention to theconflicting goals of corporate law (i.e. the limitation of liability) andenvironmental law (i.e. ensuring that polluters pay for damage caused) andencourages students to consider and develop solutions to this problem. Whilstthe course focuses on EU environmental law, many of the concepts covered arerelevant to other jurisdictions.

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Downstream Energy Law (LS5594) - 30 Credit Points

The transport and supply of hydrocarbons (oil and gas) and electricity is essential for modern civilisation. If energy cannot get to the consumer, then energy security is threatened and economic development may be restricted.

These challenges are important in the context of the liberalisation of these sectors, especially the restructuring of these industries from monopolies to competitive markets. This course explores the law and policy framework governing the movement and distribution of energy, particularly within a liberalised market, in an era of climate change. Topics covered include market liberalisation, energy security, gas sales and transport, and market regulation.

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International Arbitration: Energy & Natural Resources (LS552Z) - 30 Credit Points

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

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Course Availability

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

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

  • Assessment is based on a combination of continuous assessment and written examination at the end of the relevant semester.
  • The variety of assessment in the programme - through essays, presentations, group and project work ensures that students apply theory to practise and become expert communicators and team players.

Why Study Oil and Gas Law with Professional Skills?

  • The oil and gas industry is one of the biggest, most important industries in the world and remains an essential energy industry. City of Aberdeen is the European capital of that industry.
  • An education in energy from Aberdeen is recognised as among the best in Europe - and the world due to our connections to it. As well as being a rare and ancient seat of learning, we are also a modern, progressive university.
  • Our Law School is ranked 5th in the UK, out of more than 90 law schools (The Times Good University Guide 2019).
  • There are over 40 nationalities within the School of Law postgraduate community, therefore you will benefit from a programme with a truly international outlook.

  • Repeatedly ranked as one of the UK’s top Law Schools, we pride ourselves on delivering high quality, engaging and academically challenging programmes.

  • At Aberdeen, you will develop a well-rounded skillset, gaining the tools you will need to succeed in your career as well as the communication and professional skills that employers expect.
  • There is a growing demand for Energy Lawyers globally.
  • You learn how to think more critically, communicate more effectively and understand energy industry relations more thoroughly, instilling the cross-cultural skills that can help you succeed in the legal practice
  • You learn strategies and techniques that will assist you in commercial decision-making
  • Benefit from learning from one of the largest and most able teams of oil and gas experts and faculty in any European Law School
  • Benefit from a range of interactive methods and approaches to learning that will enhance your critical thinking, presentation and interpersonal skills
  • At Aberdeen you are taught by real lawyers as opposed to only traditional lecturers. Our academic team includes barristers and solicitors with extensive real-world experience, adding relevance, along with exceptional standards.

What Our Students Say

Caroline Gesami

Caroline Gesami

Caroline Gesami

I could think of no better place to study Oil and Gas Law LLM than in the Oil Capital and in one of the most prestigious Universities in the UK which has a tradition of excellence.

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 (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 - 51; Reading - 54; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

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

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Document Requirements

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

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

Fees and Funding

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

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU / RUK Students £11,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year
International Students £21,000
Tuition Fees for 2020/21 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • 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.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


Over the years, graduates of the LLM Oil and Gas Law have successfully gone on to enjoy careers in this dynamic and fascinating area of law.

These range from positions with the oil and gas companies, with international law firms servicing the industry and also with government ministries.

Equally, some of our students choose to use the programme as a step towards their PhD, and beyond that, to work in the academic world.

Career Opportunities

  • Energy Barrister
  • Environmental Lawyer
  • Lawyer

Professional Links

This course includes a negotiation module that is run by industry experts.

Image for useful fact about this Degree

Study at an internationally popular law school

The School of  Law is one of the 10 most popular UK destinations for postgraduate law study among international students (HESA 2015/16).  

Career Boosting LLMs

In a recent LLM exit survey (2018), 97% of students interviewed said they felt better prepared for their future career as a result of completing their LLM

Taught by leading industry experts

Our academics are published authors of significant works used within the industry, and are active members of boards such as Oil and Gas UK and the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators. 

Oil & Gas capital of Europe

Specialise in Oil & Gas Law in the heart of the industry.

What our Alumni Say

Carlo Mcleod

Carlo Mcleod

Carlo Mcleod

Job Details
Graduated 2018

As I am already employed by the Namibian Government, the skills I have learned will place me in a position where I can meaningfully articulate the Government's position during negotiations with oil companies.

Our Experts

Other Experts
Mr Greg Gordon
Professor John Paterson
Dr Tina Hunter

Information About Staff Changes

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

Get in Touch

Contact Details

School of Law
University of Aberdeen
Taylor Building
AB24 3UB