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LLM in Commercial Law and International Trade

LLM or PGDip

Key facts

Start dates

September 2020 / September 2021



Course length

Full time: LLM: 12 months; PGDip: 9 months

Part time: LLM: 24 months; PGDip:18 months


School of Law


On our LLM in Commercial Law and International Trade you will study how the law relates to commercial endeavours within a globalised economy. Particularly from the perspective of the private business.

The course is ideal for students from a commercial law, business, management, or economics background. And who are looking to gain advanced knowledge of the application of legal principles and mechanisms to the world of international commerce.

The course enables you to specialise in areas such as:

  • international commercial arbitration
  • cross-border transactions
  • international investment law
  • intellectual property law
  • anti-corruption
  • corporate governance
  • corporate social responsibility.

Your course tutors, fellow students and alumni come from countries around the world. This gives you the opportunity to build a truly international network of contacts.

As well as the LLM in Commercial Law and International Trade, we offer two other specialised LLM courses:

Woman in meeting

How to apply

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

You will normally be required to have (or to be expecting) a good honours degree, or an equivalent degree awarded by a university outside the United Kingdom. The degree may be in Law or in a related discipline. We welcome applications from both non-Law graduates and work experience-based candidates.

Those of you new to the academic study of law will be advised to read a number of recommended texts by way of induction before you begin the course. You are also encouraged to attend the induction sessions provided in the week prior to the beginning of the course.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

An IELTS minimum score of 6.5 (with 6.0 in reading and writing) is required.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences


English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£7,250 (Masters); £6,250 (Diploma)

Home/EU part time

International full time

Home (UK) full time
£7,700 (Masters); £6,700 (Diploma)

Home (UK) part time

International / EU full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2020 / 21
Home/EU full time
£7,250 (Masters); £6,250 (Diploma)

Home/EU part time

International full time

2021 / 22
Home (UK) full time
£7,700 (Masters); £6,700 (Diploma)

Home (UK) part time

International / EU full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year your fees will increase each year.

Financial support and scholarships

There are International Student Scholarships available for 2020 and other scholarships and funding options for postgraduate international students.

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

Learning and assessment

In Semester 1 you will take three compulsory modules and one elective modules.


In Semester 2 you will take two compulsory modules and one elective module.

You will complete your studies by completing your LLM dissertation. This is an extended and supervised piece on work on a particular aspect of international law, chosen in consultation with your course tutors. It is an opportunity for you to:

  • gain knowledge through systematic academic enquiry
  • demonstrate your ability to explore and present legal arguments.

The style of research may range from empirical investigation to textual analysis. You will develop transferable skills in research and information and project management.

Male student studying

Study modules

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

World Trade Law

This module examines the key aspects of the public international law of trade and finance. International trade, in its public sense, comprises the multilateral regulation of trade through the World Trade Organisation and free trade agreements that have been concluded outside the WTO framework. These agreements between governments limit and determine their powers to restrict the flow of goods and services between countries. The majority of the module focuses on the fundamental principles of international trade contained in GATT 1994 under the WTO Agreement. In addition, it examines international financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank that have a role in the regulation and dispensation of financial goods, including currency movements and major project funding. This module is intended to outline the key international regimes at work in the contemporary trade and financial worlds, and allow you to explore and understand the reach of these institutions in international law.

Law of International Business Transactions

This module provides an introduction to the relevant components of business transactions within a global economy. It focuses on the 'micro' perspective of the private business actor. It introduces the basic transactions for the purchase and sale of goods, an analysis of various types of contracts, and remedies available for the breach thereof. Discussion focuses on special problems arising between buyer and seller where goods are carried in a container, and the various types of contracts for the carriage of goods by sea. It looks at banker's commercial credits and examines contractual effects between the buyer and seller; buyer and banker; and the seller and banker. The module proceeds to more complicated distribution and licensing agreements, joint venture and foreign direct investment agreements, and considers dispute resolutions in international business transactions. This course prepares for 'Advanced Issues of International Business Transactions'.

Advanced Legal Research Methods

This module introduces you to legal research methods in preparation for your dissertation.

Advanced Issues of International Business Transactions

This module is for those who are already acquainted with the law on International Business Transactions, providing the opportunity to go into depth on selected problems. It is designed to allow intense discussions of these problems in order to raise the sensitivity for the issues at stake and to lead to a research oriented approach. The module will focus on a selection of topical contemporary issues of international business transactions, such as international e-commerce, UN Sales Convention (CISG), UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts, charter parties, multimodal transport, marine insurance, agency agreements, international franchising, FDI and corruption. It seeks to be as topical as possible, so that content may change in the light of developments.

International Economic Law

This module examines the history, theories and application of the concepts of development and globalisation under international law. In particular, it focuses on the key aspects of economic activity and environmental protection currently regulated under the auspices of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and other international and regional institutions. These systems are subjected to critical assessment and the positive and negative effects of the global project of development are questioned. The module also devotes time to contemporary topics relating to the right to development, food security, post-conflict and transitional countries, natural resource law, foreign direct investment and protests against development projects and programmes.

Optional modules

Corporate Governance

International Investment Law

This module examines the laws, policies and legal issues affecting foreign investment and foreign enterprises, with special emphasis on the developing world and emerging markets. The reasons why investors invest abroad and why host countries permit and often actively encourage foreign investment are explored. The role that law plays in the investment process at both global and local levels is critically examined, including the rules, principles and institutions of public international law that affect direct foreign investment, host country laws that reward and regulate foreign investment, and the law of investment contracts. The module also examines core legal principles concerning investment operation, such as standards of treatment, expropriation and compensation. Finally, it will examine the dispute settlement regime of international investment.

International Commercial Arbitration

This module introduces you to international commercial law and arbitration, including arbitral agreements, applicable law, the enforcement of arbitral awards and arbitrations involving state parties. It also addresses the international regulation of conducts of foreign investment and critically examines the role international commercial law and arbitration plays in the process of economic globalization.

Banking and Financial Law

This module provides a comprehensive overview and introduction to the banking business and its nexus with financial instruments and markets. It situates the modern wholesale and retail financial services sector and the business organisations supplying these services in their historical trajectory, from the earliest development of fractional reserve banking in European nation- states into the nineteenth and twentieth century; with particular attention to the US, UK, Germany and Japan. The core purposes of financial intermediation will be examined: lending (for corporate finance, project and trade financing), the relationship between banks and other forms of corporate finance, the quasi-public utility of the payments system, and the UK and EU standards governing provision of retail/consumer financial services. 

Final project

Compulsory modules


Your LLM dissertation is an extended and supervised piece of work on a particular aspect of international law, chosen in consultation with your course tutors. It is an opportunity to gain knowledge through systematic academic enquiry and for you to demonstrate your ability to explore and present legal arguments. The style of research may range from empirical investigation to textual analysis. You will develop transferable skills in research and information and project management. 

You will be encouraged to choose an international law topic of personal interest or one related to your occupation. Full-time students will normally begin preliminary work on the dissertation in Semester 1 and formalise the topic and structure of the dissertation in Semester 2. The main work on the dissertation will normally take place from June to mid-August.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

You'll experience high-quality learning through the diversity of methods used throughout the LLM courses. These include:

  • lectures
  • seminar discussions
  • individual and small group tutorials
  • case studies
  • group presentations
  • individual presentations
  • moots.

You will acquire and practise legal reasoning as well as research and IT skills. Particular emphasis is placed on skills training.


Assessment methods used on this course

Assessment methods include:

  • coursework
  • individual presentations
  • group presentations.


Our academics are at the forefront of a wide range of internationally recognised and world-leading research and projects.

Our LLM course team consists of researchers working within the following research groups:

You can attend the programme of research seminars and other events that underpin the research culture of the School of Law. You will have the opportunity to become involved in research through specialist modules in which teaching staff have expertise. Your dissertation in their specialist subjects will be supervised.

Student researching on a laptop

After you graduate

Career prospects

Graduates from the LLM succeed across an impressive range of careers from policy makers and human rights activists through to high flying diplomats and commercial lawyers. LLM staff can advise you and direct you to possible careers and employers depending on your particular needs and ambitions. 

"I have joined a corporate law team at a leading multinational law firm in Beijing, thanks to my LLM."

LLM Alumna, Lin Zheng

Our Staff

Dr Chieh Huang

Much of her work concerns the interaction between the global economic legal system and China, the development of regional/bilateral economic agreements in East Asia, and more recently the trade and investment between China and West Africa.

Read more about Chieh

Scott Morrison

Read more about Scott

Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.