MSc Energy Politics and Law provides you with the skills to analyse the relationship between energy needs, politics, law and economics.

Key Facts

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

Interested in this Degree?

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As a society, we face challenges in the future concerning our energy reserves, storing energy for future generations, monitoring energy usage, providing it across nations and how governments should regulate it. Energy politics and law brings a multidisciplinary subject together to allow you to develop an advanced knowledge in energy management, regulatory agencies, stakeholder engagement, and NGO/policy advisory roles.

This programme will provide you with the skills to analyse energy, political, economic and legal issues. You will study the politics of energy and of electricity market reform; how economics and legal issues affect political and commercial decisions in energy; how the law affects the oil and gas industry; commercial domestic and international political regulation of energy markets; the politics and law of renewable energy; international energy security issues such as oil crises and the law and politics of climate change. Being based in Aberdeen, Europe's energy capital, there are greater possibilities for opportunities for direct engagement through work experience or collaboration in writing dissertation projects with the energy industry. This will enable you to more easily to find employment in an energy-related activity.

You may study this subject as a stand-alone programme to enhance your knowledge of this area at advanced level, or you may wish to provide the necessary foundations for a PhD in social sciences.

What You'll Study

The information below applies to the 1 year full time / 2 year part time on campus learning MSc programme which runs in September.

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses

Energy Politics (PI5025)

History and politics of energy since WW2. Nuclear Power politics – rise, fall and non-rise?. Renewable energy politics, rise and stagnation or triumph? EU politics of liberalisation and interventions such as the EU ETS. Environmental politics and oil; conserving nature and extracting oil Arguments about regulations on oil and gas, planning arguments, arguments about oil spills, protests (eg Brent Spar). The politics of natural gas. The case of ‘fracking’. The course will discuss how economics and politics interact. No prior technical or econometric knowledge is required for this course.

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Introduction to Energy Economics (BU5053)

This course introduces key techniques from economics and finance to allowing understanding of the basics of business decision making within the energy industries and the economic implications of key energy policies. We consider basic financial concepts such as: present value, the opportunity cost of capital and their role in business decision making in energy industries. We also consider key economic elements of markets and how the economic environment structures the way in which businesses make decisions and energy market outcomes.

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Optional Courses

Students may choose between one of the following:

Low Carbon Energy Transition: Renewable Energy Law (LS501H)

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

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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.

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Semester 2

Compulsory Courses

International Energy Security (PI5518)


Oil and Security – how oil crises have occurred since 1973, with a focus on the energy demand and supply pressures and the political factors triggering the 1973 and 1979 oil crises. OPEC and IEA. The factors underpinning the oil crisis of 2008 and its relationships to world economic crisis. The role of China in oil politics.

Natural Gas, the EU and Russia. How conceptions of (natural gas) energy security are constructed and implemented in the EU and Russia –Nuclear Power and energy security;– eg Iran .

Climate Security

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Optional Courses

Students may choose between one of the following:

Low Carbon Energy Transition: Nuclear Energy and Carbon Capture and Storage (LS551J)

Nuclear energy and carbon capture and storage are seen by some governments as key contributors alongside renewable energy to the decarbonisation of energy supplies. However, significant risks of harm to the environment and human health and challenges with securing investment and overcoming public concerns are associated with the use of both technologies. The seven seminar course examines legal responses to these risks and challenges at international, European Union and national levels, critically considering their adequacy for tackling the difficulties with employing nuclear energy and carbon capture and storage as part of a low carbon energy transition.

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Downstream Energy Law (LS5594)

The supply of electricity and natural gas – as network-related industries – presents specific regulatory challenges. These challenges are of particular importance in the context of the liberalisation of these sectors, i.e. the restructuring of these industries from monopolies to competitive markets. Will liberalised electricity and gas markets ensure security and reliability of energy supply? Will consumers be adequately protected against potential abusive behaviour of dominant market players? Is liberalisation compatible with the objectives of decarbonisation and environmental protection? The purpose of this course is to explore the law and policy framework governing energy supply in a liberalised market environment.

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Semester 3

Compulsory Courses

Energy Politics and Law Project (PI5907)

The project will take the form of a traditional dissertation in that a research question will be set, theory that is relevant to the empirical topic under consideration will be selected and utilised to answer the research question, and an appropriate methodology will be used to answer the research question. There will be a discussion of the evidence and theory discussed and a cogent conclusion reached on the basis of the argument that is developed.

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

Teaching includes a range of interactive methods and approaches to learning in order to enhance students’ critical thinking, presentation and interpersonal skills.

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Research
  • Individual Projects
  • Seminars


Courses are assessed through essays, presentations, group and project work and exams. The variety of assessment in the programme ensures that students apply theory to practice and become expert communicators and team players.

The degree of MSc shall not be awarded to a candidate who fails to achieve a CAS mark of 9 in the relevant dissertation course, irrespective of their performance in other courses.

Why Study Energy Politics and Law?

  • Msc Energy Politics and Law provides you with advanced knowledge in energy management advisory roles.
  • University of Aberdeen is situated in the oil and gas capital of Europe with a global oil and gas industry hub in the city to draw upon.
  • Our MSc Energy Politics and Law is taught by published experts with professional experience.
  • Our academics have a strong heritage of oil, gas, electricity and renewable energy policy research, consultancy and knowledge across all related disciplines to offer several subjects within oil and gas law, economy, energy politics and policy, engineering and business.
  • You are taught in Europe's energy capital. We are surrounded by FTS 100 oil and gas companies and other energy innovation companies, and our city is a global hub of energy professionals.
  • You are taught from the School of Social Science based in the College of Arts and Social Sciences, human environment relations are at the heart of much innovative research, access and environmental contestations at Aberdeen.
  • The School of Social Science has developed an international reputation as a centre of academic excellence for political research over five decades (2014) with staff publishing internationally.
  • As a School we provide you with a core curriculum with unique options that represent research including: international political economy, globalisation, democracy and democratisation, public policy and opinion, power and security, interest groups, political and social movements, institutions and more.
  • We offer expertise in the Middle East, Latin America, North and South Asia, Nordic countries, Europe and the UK.

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 2017/18 Academic Year £6,000
International Students Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year £14,300
  • 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.


View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Entry Requirements


Applicants for admission are expected to hold a relevant Honours degree with at least 2:1 standard from a recognised educational body. In exceptional circumstances applicants without this qualification may be admitted subject to having an alternative qualification, or an approved level of work experience, appropriate to the field of study.

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


  • Aberdeen Centre for Research in Energy Economics and Finance (ACREEF)

    ACREEF provides a focus for the identification and implementation of high quality research in the areas of energy economics and finance.

    Find out more
  • Centre for Global Security and Governance

    The Centre for Global Security and Governance brings together academic experts, policy makers, and students to define, analyse, and propose remedies to the most pressing security and governance challenges the world faces in the 21st century.

  • Aberdeen University Centre for Energy Law

    This research centre promotes the research activities of the many members of the School having an interest in Energy Law matters, as well as fostering an environment for collaborative work.

    Find out more


This programme will give you the skills and experience to apply in various aspects of the energy industry, planning, legal aspects of energy, involvement in organisation of projects, project evaluation, policy research and guidance, provision of energy services and administration. You can apply your knowledge to different types of energy organisation ranging from the major utilities and energy companies through to independent companies, local government and national government and pressure groups and policy foundations interested in energy issues.

Our Experts

Programme Coordinator
Dr David Toke

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.


School of Social Science
University of Aberdeen
Edward Wright Building
Dunbar Street

AB24 3QY
+44 (0)1224 272762
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