Unlike many other programmes on dispute resolution, this programme does not seek to combine a substantive subject with dispute processes; it focusses only on those methods best placed to resolve disputes. It is dedicated to dispute resolution methodology. The non-court dispute resolution industry is vibrant and growing as organisations and individuals seek to resolve their disputes outside the often adversarial, public, slow and expensive litigation process.

This programme is studied fully online.

This is a flexible part-time online programme for professionals who wish to enhance their alternative dispute resolution skills across a range of sectors, including: commercial, employment, consumer, family. The courses collectively provide a comprehensive grounding in essential techniques and theories to ensure that the best result can be secured.

The negotiation course will help anyone who has to negotiate disputes with colleagues or on behalf of a client, for themselves or for an employer.

The mediation courses will equip those who wish to become mediators, or who plan to refer clients to mediation services, with the skills and techniques to do so. These skills and techniques build on those employed by good negotiators, but from a different perspective. Employers or line managers will find that mediation techniques will enable them to better handle disagreements among staff, as well as difficult discussions.

Arbitration, whether in domestic or international disputes, is a very important option, especially (although not exclusively) in commercial cases. Although it is an adjudicative process, leading to a binding decision, it differs significantly from litigation in a number of key respects, not least its flexibility, its use of decision-maker expertise and its confidentiality. This programme highlights those differences, and students will learn how to prepare for arbitration hearings, how to present cases in an arbitral tribunal and how to arbitrate a case through to a decision.

The programme is structured to allow you to 'major' in either arbitration or mediation depending on your learning needs. Alternatively you can study more broadly across the disciplines and complete the programme with a dissertation focusing on an aspect of disupte resolution of your choice. Should you have less time to commit to study or are returning to study our PGCert programmes provide a strong grounding in either arbitration or mediation.

Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
Online Learning
Degree Qualification
LLM or PgCert
12 months or 28 months
Study Mode
Part Time
Start Month
September or January

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

There will, in general, be three main methods of assessment on this programme:

  • Online interaction (grade based on work on online activities throughout the course)
  • Coursework (may be written, oral or role-play based)
  • Examination (usually closed book, can be taken in a venue near to the student)

Where there is more than one method of assessment, the percentage weighting of each will be indicated in the online Course Catalogue entry for the course.

Why Study Dispute Resolution?

This programme enhances dispute negotiation skills essential to all dispute -related jobs.  Mediation is becoming increasingly popular too across the commercial, family, employment, consumer, education, public sector and civil court arenas as well as in many complaints procedures. Its efficiency and potential to reduce costs, particularly those associated with litigation and formal processes, mean it is now widely seen as a cost effective and successful process.  Those representing clients who may use mediation will benefit from understanding the type of techniques a mediator will use.  Anyone in a management position would benefit from understanding  the principles, theories and practical techniques used in successful mediation.

Those representing clients in an arbitral process need to fully understand how it differs from litigation, and this programme allows legal professionals to diversify their practice into this lucrative , growing area, especially internationally.  Transactional lawyers and professionals need to know what is involved in arbitration too, since many commercial contracts contain a dispute resolution clause; if it is poorly drafted, this can cause considerable problems later.

Why the University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen’s School of Law is ranked 10th in the UK by the Complete University Guide. It is therefore highly rated for teaching, research and student care. Its graduates have a very high graduate employment rate.

The University’s Law School has a track record in dispute resolution tuition. This subject is already taught here at undergraduate, professional postgraduate and Masters levels. The on-campus Masters level course (Professional Arbitration Skills) is accredited by a leading professional arbitral body: the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).

Further, the Law School here offers a range of specialist Masters programmes, including in Oil and Gas Law, Energy Law, Environmental Law, Public and Private International Law, Arbitration, Human Rights, Intellectual Property Law and Criminal Justice. This demonstrates a breadth and depth of expertise at Masters level. The LLB(Hons) and the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice are also taught here.

Entry Requirements


Normally, a 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in Law will be required to be accepted onto this programme.

Alternatively, a 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) in another discipline may be accepted; this is especially so for those applicants not pursuing a route which focusses on Arbitration.

Significant experience in a professional pursuit may, exceptionally, be accepted as a substitute for a Bachelor’s degree.

The exception to the above is that entry to the PgCert International Arbitration requires the applicant to have a 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in Law from a common law jurisdiction. The reason for this additional requirement is that students on this route do not require to take the Legal Principles course.

The Programme Director retains sole discretion for any admission decisions.

Applications may be made up until the end of August each year. However, since places are limited, early application is encouraged.

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.

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.

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

Fees and Funding

There is an additional fee for those taking the Arbitral Award Writing course LS552C. This course is optional and students may wish to include this in their studies to gain CIArb accreditation. The fee for this course for 2017-18 is:

  • For those enrolled on our PgCert/PgDip/LLM Dispute Resolution: £350
  • For those not so enrolled: £700

Click a row below to view detailed fee information for each study option.

LLM Dispute Resolution 2 Years, 4 Months Online Learning Part Time September

Fee Information

Fee information
Fee category Cost
All Students £9,600
Tuition Fee for 2017/18 Academic Year The programme is charged per stage as follows: PgCert: £3500 PgDip: £7000 LLM: £9600
PgCert Dispute Resolution 1 Year Online Learning Part Time September, January

Please contact us for further details.

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.


This programme can enhance dispute negotiation skills, essential to all dispute-related jobs.

Becoming a mediator requires, for credibility, a robust, quality postgraduate qualification which imparts the skills necessary to help parties to reach a negotiated solution. Those representing clients who may use mediation would also benefit from understanding their advice on the techniques a mediator will use. Anyone in a management position would benefit from an understanding of the principles, theories and practical techniques an education in mediation imparts. Although some mediators are lawyers, many are not, and this programme caters for those from all disciplines who may wish to become a mediator.

Those representing clients in an arbitral process need to fully understand how it differs from litigation and this programme would allow a legal professional to diversify his/her practice into this lucrative, growing area, especially internationally. Transactional lawyers and professionals need to know what is involved in arbitration too, since many commercial contracts contain a dispute resolution clause; if it is poorly drafted, this can cause considerable problems later. Arbitrators are drawn from a range of professional groupings, including lawyers, engineers, surveyors, construction professionals, the financial and accounting professions and many others. This programme is designed to allow any professional wishing to become involved in the world of arbitration (or to build on their involvement) to enhance career prospects.

This LLM programme also enhances the practical skills of graduates to tackle difficult situations or disagreements, whether they are among colleagues, business associates or clients. It exposes students to a range of other professionals. It will enhance problem solving skills as well as writing, critical thinking and interpersonal skills.


The University of Aberdeen is a Recognised Course Provider for CIArb membership. Students who complete the courses to a certain standard will be exempt from the examinations of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators

Membership accreditation:

  • PgCert International Arbitration: Membership International Arbitration CIARB modules 1&2, requires LLB
  • PG Cert Mediation, with additional CIARb assessment: Membership Exemption Mediation CIArb module 1
  • LLM Dispute Resolution: as above if relevant courses chosen

The CIARB are currently reviewing their modules and examintaions for Fellowship accrediation, please click here for further details: CIArb Course Providers

This degree holds accreditation from

Get in Touch

Contact Details

School of Law
University of Aberdeen
Taylor Building
AB24 3UB