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Course length

1 year full-time


Durham City

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Course details

The LLM in Intellectual Property Law offers you the opportunity to develop an in-depth knowledge of this contemporary subject, in keeping with its rapidly growing importance in enabling the legal and proper function of a global economy.

In essence, intellectual property law serves to regulate the creation and application of mental or creative labour, providing protection for information and ideas by means of a range of legal mechanisms that include copyright, patents and trademarks. The right to intellectual property is essential to success in a vast number of business and creative sectors, encompassing such disparate areas as science, art, advertising, music, product design, trade reputations, medicines and knowledge.

The course takes a national and international view of this fascinating legal world, enabling you to develop a solid grounding in copyright, patents and trademarks from a UK and European perspective through the completion of a compulsory foundation course.

You will then begin a more advanced stage of learning that will focus on current and emerging topics in intellectual property law, such as artificial intelligence, access to medicines and patents in the life sciences.  You will also produce a dissertation on an intellectual property law topic of your choice. 

The law department has a global reputation for its academic standards and the quality of its teaching which takes place in a supportive learning environment, offering a range of extracurricular activities. 

You will be encouraged to attend the various events organised through the school’s research centres, including the Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences, the Institute of Commercial and Corporate Law and the Durham European Law Institute.

Course Structure

Core modules

Applied Research Methods in Law provides specialised knowledge on the range of research methods and skills available in legal studies as well as an advanced understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and of their relevance for different forms of legal research. The module also creates a framework within which you will be able to critically assess potential research topics and, importantly, where you will be able to design, discuss and develop a detailed research proposal of the appropriate standard for your dissertation.

Introduction to International Intellectual Property Law examines the fundamental aspects of the ownership and exercise of intellectual property rights and teaches you about the granting criteria and exercise of intellectual property rights at the national, European and international level. The module also introduces you to the legal, moral, social and political debates which inform the subject matter and the scope of the various rights at home and abroad. You will be given an introduction to the three main areas of intellectual property, patents, copyright and trademarks and learn about the current policy and practice of the leading institutional bodies charged with responsibility for administering intellectual property rights.

Advanced Issues of International Intellectual Property Law 

The Dissertation is based on an area of intellectual property law and can be of one of three lengths – 10,000, 15,000 or 20,000 words. The dissertation is equivalent to 2, 2.5 or 3 modules, depending on word count.

The remainder of the course is chosen from an extensive range of optional modules. Indicative optional modules include the following: 

  • Advanced Issues in Human Rights
  • Advanced Issues in International Economic Law
  • Contemporary Issues of International Intellectual Property Law
  • China and the International Legal Order
  • Current Problems in International Law
  • Free Speech Problems in International and Comparative Perspective
  • Global Environmental Law
  • Horizontal Human Rights
  • International Counter Terrorism: Theory and Practice
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • International Investment Law
  • International Perspectives on Law and Gender
  • International Protection of Human Rights
  • International Tax Law
  • International Trade Law and Policy
  • Introduction to EU Law
  • Introduction to International Criminal Justice
  • Law of the Sea
  • Multinational Corporations and Human Rights
  • Advanced Issues in Corporate Law
  • Advanced Law of Obligations
  • Competition Law
  • Corporate Compliance
  • Cross-Border Commercial Litigation
  • Current Issues in Commercial Law
  • Frontiers in Biolaw
  • Fundamentals of Corporate Law
  • International Commercial Dispute Resolution
  • International Sales Law
  • Introduction to Corporate Governance
  • Law of Oil and Gas Contracts
  • Medical Law and Ethics
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Takeover Regulation in the EU


The course involves both taught modules and a substantial dissertation component. Taught modules are delivered by a mixture of lectures and seminars amounting to 15-30 contact hours per module.

Lectures are used primarily to introduce chosen topics, identify relevant concepts, and introduce you to the main debates and ideas relevant to the chosen topic. Seminars are smaller-sized, student-led classes for which you will be expected to carry out reading prior to classes.

Through class discussion, or the presentation of papers, you are given the opportunity to test and refine your knowledge and understanding, in a relaxed and supportive environment.

In addition to taught modules, you must produce a dissertation which is the product of your own independent research. Depending on the route chosen your dissertation can be anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 words.


The assessment regime is rigorous and carried out through writing tasks with the majority of the modules assessed through essays of 3,000-6,000 words in length. The core module on applied research methods will be assessed on a proposal you will present for a research topic.  Finally, you will present a dissertation on an area of intellectual property law that is of particular interest to you.

Entry requirements

The course will demand a good degree in law or in a related discipline.

In the United Kingdom, a 2.1 or equivalent will be the minimum requirement.

Students with overseas qualifications will conform to the minimum requirements for admission.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £12,750 per year
EU students £26,900 per year
Island students £12,750 per year
International students £26,900 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

Law School

Our global reputation for legal research and teaching of the highest quality is reflected in the career trajectory of our alumni.

Graduates serve across the full range of legal professions including solicitors, barristers, judges, members of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and as consultants and in government. Others have secured stimulating and rewarding positions in national and international law firms.

We are fully aware of the degree of competition that exists in securing a role in the legal profession and the School provides a range of resources to help alumni stand out as ideal candidates during the recruitment process. This includes detailed information about the steps involved in becoming a solicitor or barrister, visits from law firms and guidance on preparing for interviews and assessment days.

Department information

Law School

Durham Law School is a global leader in the development and framing of law. Led by academics who are experts in their field, we carry out cutting-edge legal research that feeds into our Masters and research qualifications, building knowledge and nurturing the skills needed to help shape law in the future.

The reputation of the School means our legal know-how is respected by parliamentarians and policy makers around the world. Our academics have been called to give evidence in Parliament and have had their research work quoted by courts and international bodies.

International law and questions of global policy and governance are an area of special interest at Durham, but our expertise extends to other areas including criminal law and criminal justice, ethics, human rights, European law, gender and law, Chinese law, Commercial and Corporate law and Global Justice.

The research-led learning environment in the School is one of commitment, innovation and passion for the subject. Our highly respected research groups organise lectures and seminars offer opportunities to hear from eminent scholars and practitioners. Speakers have included judges from the UK Supreme Court, from the European Court of Justice and leading officials from national and international institutions.

For more information visit our department pages.


  • World Top 50 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2023
  • 6th in The Complete University Guide 2024
  • Top 10 in The Guardian University Guide 2024
  • Top 10 in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024


For a current list of staff, please see the Law School pages.

Research Excellence Framework

  • 5th in the UK for research environment
  • 100% of our research impact and environment was rated world-leading or internationally excellent


Situated close to a number of academic departments and University services with views of the magnificent Durham Cathedral as well as offering easy access to the historic city, we believe that we have one of the most striking and best-equipped law buildings in the UK.

The Law School is located in the University’s award-winning flagship Palatine Centre, part of a £48.4m sustainable building development.

The School’s facilities are purpose-built and state-of-the-art, featuring a moot court, pro bono room, Harvard-style Hogan Lovells lecture theatre, spacious dedicated work suites and modern wireless and audio-video-enabled research spaces and attractive social areas.


Find out more:

Apply for a postgraduate course (including PGCE International) via our online portal.  

Visit Us

The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!

Join a Postgraduate Open Day
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
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Self-Guided Tours
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
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