Study energy and environmental law to an advanced level at Aberdeen, the leading institution in energy law among the UK's top Law Schools.
This LLM degree programme seeks to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to consult in energy and environmental matters. Staff have expertise and specialisms in environmental and climate change law and in energy law relating both to the fossil fuels sector and to low carbon energy including renewables, nuclear and carbon capture and storage.
Law has a central role to play in enabling the shift to low carbon energy whilst maintaining energy security and the transition to environmentally sustainable economic development. The law in these areas undergoes frequent and extensive change as experience grows with responding to the difficulties being confronted.
Studying with legal experts in this areas, you will be immersed in the grounding concepts of energy and environmental law. With a unique choice of topical energy and environment relevant courses from ‘Corporate Environmental Liability’ to ‘Oil and Minerals for Good’, you will benefit from an advanced understanding and sharpened critical analysis across many key areas. It covers matters of core interest for policy-makers (not only energy and environmental but in all fields as these areas provide the foundation for socio-economic functionality) and for corporate policy as the world seeks to meet challenges of maintaining energy supplies whilst replacing fossil fuels with sustainable alternatives and of stemming the tide of environmental degradation.
The programme should therefore be of interest to those who wish to equip themselves with the knowledge required to meet these challenges, and, from a corporate perspective, to adapt to a changing world. It may also appeal to practitioners who wish to acquire or update their legal knowledge in these fast moving areas.
Key Programme Information
At a Glance
- Learning Mode
- On Campus Learning
- Degree Qualification
- 1 Year / 2 Years
- Study Mode
- Full Time or Part Time
- Start Month
- September or January
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 and January. 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.
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.
Four optional courses must be selected. Two should be selected from semester 1 and two from semester 2.
Alternatively, one of your three choices could be selected from another LLM programme (excluding LS501E, and LS551K).
- International Energy and Environmental Law (LS501C) - Credits: 30
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.
- Oil and Minerals for Good (LS501D) - Credits: 30
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.
- Energy, Innovation and Law (LS501F) - Credits: 30
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.
- Low Carbon Energy Transition: Renewable Energy Law (LS501H) - Credits: 30
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.
- Semester 2
- Principles of Environmental Regulation (LS551A) - Credits: 30
The purpose of this course is to introduce the main principles of environmental law. The course analyses the challenges of environmental protection from the perspective of international, European and national law. Besides the conceptual analysis of the main principles of environmental law and methods of regulation, the course focuses on the delicate interaction between the principles of economic law (e.g. the right to property, the protection of investments, free trade) and environmental protection. Is there a conflict between economic law and environmental law or are these fields of law mutually reinforcing?
- Low Carbon Energy Transition: Nuclear Energy and Carbon Capture and Storage (LS551J) - Credits: 30
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.
- Corporate Environmental Liability (LS551L) - Credits: 30
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.
- Legal and Environmental Issues for Unconventional Hydrocarbon (LS551U) - Credits: 30
This course undertakes a study of unconventional sources of petroleum. utilising the seminar method of learning, where practical, real-life examples are used, this course will enable students to explore the key legal and environmental issues related to the development and transport of unconventional hydrocarbons.
- Downstream Energy Law (LS5594) - Credits: 30
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.
- Semester 3
- Master of Law Dissertation (LS5904) - Credits: 60
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.
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
- Individual Projects
By course work, by written examination, or by a combination of these, as prescribed for each course. The degree of LLM shall not be awarded to a candidate who fails to achieve a CGS grade of D3 or above in the specified dissertation course, irrespective of their performance in other courses: such candidates may, at the discretion of the Examiners, be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.
Why Study Energy and Environmental Law with Dissertation?
- This highly regarded Master’s programme deals with two of the most serious challenges which confront the world today: maintaining the availability of secure and affordable energy whilst addressing the global environmental deterioration that threatens humanity’s well-being. Law has a central role to play in addressing both challenges.
- Designed by experts in their field, the programme provides the ideal opportunity for professional development in a specialist area of law.
- Add a clear and attractive specialisation to your qualifications.
- Acquire detailed and cutting edge knowledge about the current position with energy and environmental law, and an understanding of how this is likely to change.
- Explore and gain greater knowledge of the interconnections between energy and environmental law at international, European and national level.
- Researchers at Aberdeen are at the forefront of environmental innovations which have changed environmental protection in other industries globally.
- The main difference with the LLM Energy and Environmental Law with Professional Skills is the replacement of two intensive professional skills exercises with a dissertation.
Normally a 2(1) honours degree in Law (or another related discipline) or equivalent.
Relevant practical experience will also be beneficial.
Document requirements applicationt:
- All subjects you studied and marks you achieved in your degree(s).
- A detailed personal statement explaining your reasons for choosing this programme.
- CV/Resume optional.
- Reference letter from your university discussing your academic ability.
Foreign-language students need a minimum of IELTS at 6.5 with 6.0
English 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.
You will be required to supply the following documentation with your application as proof you meet the entry requirements of this degree programme.
- 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
Fees and Funding
You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.
|Home / EU / RUK Students||£6,000|
|Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year|
|Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year|
International non-EU Applicants
- 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.
Our Funding Database
View all funding options in our Funding Database.
There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.
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.
School of Law
University of Aberdeen