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LLM in Commercial Law and International Trade

LLM or PGDip

Key facts

Start dates

September 2023



Course length

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

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


School of Law


This programme has been suspended for 2022/23 entry and we will not be accepting offers at this time.

We’ve taken this decision so that we can develop an exciting new programme for September 2023. 

If you would like to speak to a member of our teaching team, please email


Woman in meeting

How to apply

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

September 2022 entry is now closed to this course.

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 (UK) full time
£7,850 (Masters); £6,850 (Diploma)

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Home (UK) full time
Masters £8,200; Diploma £7,200

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2022 / 23
Home (UK) full time
£7,850 (Masters); £6,850 (Diploma)

Home (UK) part time

International full time

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time
Masters £8,200; Diploma £7,200

Home (UK) part time

International 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 2022 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.

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements

Learning and assessment

On this course, you’ll gain a unique grounding in both private law - the law pertaining to businesses and private entities, and public law - the law pertaining to governments. 

You’ll have a rare opportunity to explore law from multiple perspectives and standpoints. You’ll learn how private and public laws interface - and the impact this has on corporations in a competitive market. You’ll fully understand the challenges businesses face - from commercial transactions, to their dealings with governments. And you’ll build knowledge that crosses industry silos, giving you unique and holistic perspectives on commerce and trade.

You’ll study three compulsory modules and one elective module in semester 1. And in semester 2 you’ll take two compulsory modules and one elective module.



Male student studying

Study modules

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

World Trade Law

International trade is regulated by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and also through many free trade agreements that have been negotiated outside the WTO framework. These agreements between governments set out their powers to restrict the flow of goods and services between countries. 

In this module, you’ll examine key aspects of the public international law of trade and finance. You’ll focus on the fundamental principles of international trade contained in GATT 1994 under the WTO Agreement.


Law of International Business Transactions

This module introduces you to law regulating business transactions in a global economy. You’ll learn about the basic transactions for the purchase and sale of goods, analyse various types of contracts, and look at the remedies available when contracts are breached. You’ll also encounter issues such as:

  • special problems arising between buyer and seller where goods are carried in a container
  • various types of contracts for the carriage of goods by sea
  • banker's commercial credits
  • contractual effects between buyer and seller, buyer and banker, and the seller and banker

You’ll go on to examine more complicated distribution and licensing agreements, joint venture and foreign direct investment agreements – preparing you for the module Advanced Issues of International Business Transactions.


Advanced Legal Research Methods

You’ll hone the research and writing skills needed to carry out legal research at an advanced level. These include research design, searching for relevant sources and materials, legal referencing and citation skills. You’ll think about the process of writing, as well as the end product, including presenting findings to different audiences. You’ll consider the distinctive features of legal research and approaches and research methodologies you might use. The work you do in this module gives you excellent preparation for your dissertation.

Advanced Issues of International Business Transactions

This module is suitable if you’re already familiar with international business transactions law, allowing you to go into depth on selected problems. You’ll take part in intense discussions of these problems, gaining a sense of the sensitivity of the issues. You’ll also be encouraged to take a research-oriented approach.

We aim to keep the module as topical as possible, so content may change in the light of developments. You’ll explore contemporary issues in international business transactions, such as: 

  • international e-commerce
  • UN Sales Convention (CISG)
  • UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts
  • charter parties
  • multimodal transport
  • marine insurance
  • international franchising
  • foreign direct investment.

International Economic Law

You’ll examine the concepts of development and globalisation under international law – their history, how they’re theorised and how they’re applied in practice. You’ll focus on aspects of economic activity and environmental protection that are currently regulated by international institutions, such as the UN, the World Trade Organisation and the World Bank.

You’ll critically assess these systems and question the positive and negative effects of development. There will be time to explore contemporary topics relating to:

  • the right to development
  • food security
  • post-conflict and transitional countries
  • natural resource law
  • aid and foreign direct investment
  • protests against development projects and programmes.

Optional modules

Corporate Governance

Corporate governance means the way in which companies are governed – who has power and accountability, and who makes decisions. But what does good governance look like? And what legal mechanisms support it?

Through this module you’ll gain a stronger understanding of how corporate governance works and the financial, economic and environmental forces that may shape corporate behaviour and operations. You’ll look at the role of corporations operating in the globalised world. You’ll also examine the importance of corporate governance in facilitating business transactions and banking.

International Investment Law

Why do investors invest abroad, and why do host countries actively encourage foreign investment? You’ll explore these questions while examining the laws, policies and legal issues affecting foreign investment and foreign enterprises. You’ll think in particular about the developing world and emerging markets. 

You’ll investigate the role of law in the investment process. This will include:

  • the rules, principles and institutions of public international law that affect direct foreign investment
  • host country laws that reward and regulate foreign investment
  • the law of investment contracts
  • the dispute settlement regime.

International Intellectual Property Law

In this module you’ll gain a grounding in the theory and basic concepts of intellectual property law, including patents, copyright, and trademarks. You’ll explore the international law that regulates them, particularly the TRIPS Agreement. You’ll go on to look at areas of current controversy. These could include: 

  • the relationship between patents and traditional knowledge
  • the challenge of biotechnology
  • the emerging protection of personality rights (an individual’s right to control the use of their identity)
  • the problem of patenting pharmaceuticals and protecting the needs of developing countries.

International Commercial Arbitration

You’ll be introduced to international commercial law and arbitration, including:

  • arbitral agreements
  • applicable law
  • the enforcement of arbitral awards
  • arbitrations involving state parties.

You’ll investigate investor-state arbitration. You’ll also critically examine what international commercial law and arbitration do in the process of economic globalisation.



Banking and Financial Law

Through this module you gain a really comprehensive introduction to the banking business. You’ll learn about the rise of the financial services sector from its earliest development in European nation-states into the 19th and 20th centuries. You’ll pay particular attention to the US, UK, Germany and Japan. 

You’ll examine:

  • 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
  • UK and EU standards governing retail/consumer financial services.

Independent Study

This is your chance to carry out independent research on a law topic of your choice, in consultation with your module leader. You’ll strengthen your skills in carrying out legal research and presenting your findings and arguments.

Final project

Compulsory modules


Your LLM dissertation is an extended, supervised piece of work on a particular aspect of international law, which you’ll choose in consultation with your tutors. It’s your opportunity to gain knowledge and insight through sustained research, and to demonstrate your ability to explore and present legal arguments. You’ll develop transferable skills in research and information and project management.

We’ll encourage you to choose a topic of personal interest or professional interest. Full-time students normally begin preliminary work on the dissertation in Semester 1 and formalise the topic and structure in Semester 2. The main work on the dissertation normally takes place from June to mid-August.


Work Experience

Optional modules

Work Experience

As an LLM Law student you’ll have the opportunity to participate in the CLOCK scheme (Community Legal Outreach Collaboration Keele). Taking part in the scheme, you'll gain firsthand experience of the legal world. You’ll be interviewing and advising clients, in legal cases and courtroom settings. You'll join a commitment to provide wider access to justice in the local area and gain useful legal expertise for your CV.

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

Your assessments will build skills directly relevant to commercial law and international trade. You might write a policy memo, put together a case brief or present cases in an arbitral tribunal.



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

You’ll graduate with rare and comprehensive knowledge of the legal landscape businesses face. You’ll understand the legal and regulatory frameworks impacting modern corporations. And you’ll know how to work effectively within them to drive competitive advantage.

You’ll be equipped to progress your legal career in commercial law, or to strengthen your potential in closely related and competitive fields - like economics and business.


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

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.

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