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Course length

1 year full-time


Durham City

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Course details

International trading takes place across the world with increasing levels of speed and complexity. Our LLM in International Trade and Commercial Law will provide you with the skills to participate fully in this fascinating and fast-moving area of global business activity.

You will gain an in-depth knowledge of legal practice from an international perspective on the rules governing commercial and business transactions, including tax laws, banking regulations, intellectual property law, dispute resolution and insolvency as well as learn about international sales and investment.

The full-time course is taken over one year and is delivered through taught modules in the first two terms, with the final term spent completing a dissertation on a related subject of your choice. The course is structured to offer a great deal of flexibility in terms of module choice, allowing you to tailor your learning to your interests and career aspirations.

You will learn in a relaxed and supportive environment through a combination of lectures and small, student-led seminar or tutorial groups. Lectures will introduce topics and the relevant principles and debates, providing a framework by which to develop your knowledge through individual research, and followed up with further discussions in seminars.

The Law School has developed a globally recognised reputation for expertise in matters relating to all aspects of international law including international trade and commercial laws and for innovative and significant research activity. The Institute of Commercial and Corporate Law is based in the Law School and as a student you will have the opportunity to extend your knowledge of the subject through attending events and lectures hosted by the Institute.

Course Structure

Core modules

Applied Research Methods in Law provides a framework to assess possible research topics and create a detailed proposal in consultation with a prospective supervisor that meets the standards criteria required of a dissertation. You will gain specialised knowledge of a range of law-related research methods focusing on their relative strengths and weaknesses. You will also develop the skills and training to find primary and secondary sources for research, develop an understanding of producing written work, develop presentation skills and improve your understanding of the various forms legal analysis can take.

The Dissertation is based on an area of particular interest in an area of International Trade and Commercial Law and can be of one of three lengths – 10,000, 15,000 or 20,000 words. Depending on the length chosen, the dissertation is equivalent to 2, 2.5 or 3 modules.

Depending on the dissertation length and prior subject knowledge, you can choose a number of subject specific optional modules (* indicates half modules) which in previous years have included:

  • Advanced Issues in Corporate Law*
  • Advanced Issues in International Economic Law
  • Advanced Issues of International Intellectual Property Law*
  • Advanced Law of Obligations
  • China and the International Legal Order*
  • Commercial Fraud*
  • Comparative Corporate Governance 
  • Competition Law
  • Consumption Tax Law and Policy*
  • Corporate Compliance*
  • Corporations in an EU Context
  • Cross-border Commercial Litigation
  • Current Issues in Commercial Law
  • Electronic Commerce*
  • Fundamentals of Corporate Law*
  • Global Financial Law
  • International and Comparative Corporate Insolvency Law*
  • International Banking Law
  • International Commercial Dispute Resolution
  • International Investment Law*
  • International Sales Law
  • International Tax Law*
  • International Trade Law and Policy
  • Introduction to Corporate Governance*
  • Introduction to Corporate Insolvency Law* 
  • Introduction to Intellectual Property Law*
  • Law of Oil and Gas Contracts*
  • Mergers and Acquisitions*
  • Multinational Corporations and Human Rights*
  • Private International Law and China*
  • Renewable Energy Law*
  • Securities Law and Capital Markets 
  • US Business Association

Your remaining options can be chosen from a wider selection of law modules (* indicates half modules) which have previously included:

  • Advanced Issues in Human Rights*
  • Comparative and Transnational Law* 
  • Current Issues in International Law 
  • Free Speech Problems in International and Comparative Perspective*
  • Frontiers in Biolaw*
  • Fundamental Issues in International Legal Governance*
  • Fundamentals of International Law*
  • Global Environmental Law*
  • Global Institutions 
  • Horizontal Human Rights*
  • International Counter Terrorism: Theory and Practice* 
  • International Humanitarian Law 
  • International Perspectives on Law and Gender*
  • International Protection of Human Rights 
  • Introduction to EU Law*
  • Introduction to International Criminal Justice
  • Law of the Sea 
  • Medical Law and Ethics*
  • Protection of Human Rights in Europe 
  • Takeover Regulation in the EU* 
  • International Law of Peace and Security 
  • International Perspectives in Cartel Control*
  • The Law of Subsidy and State Aid Control*
  • Current Issues in International Law and Governance*
  • US Corporate Law*
  • Modules offered by another Board of Studies (subject to approval)


Learning is delivered by lectures and seminars and the completion of a major dissertation. In lectures, you will be introduced to concepts and debates associated with the modules you have chosen and use the resulting learning framework to develop your own knowledge. For the seminars, you will undertake preparatory reading beforehand and use the seminar time to  respond to questions or problems around the subject.

We aim to ensure that the learning process takes place in a relaxed and supportive environment and the total contact hours will be 15 hours or 30 hours, depending on the modules chosen.

Your dissertation will be the product of your own independent research in an area of interest and you will be supported by four one-to-one meetings with your dissertation supervisor.


Assessment is based entirely on writing tasks with the majority of the modules evaluated through essays of 3,000-6,000 words in length. A core module on applied research methods will be assessed by the quality of the research topic proposal you will produce.

You will also complete a dissertation on an area of international trade and commercial law of interest to you that has been approved by your supervisor. Depending on the route chosen your dissertation can be anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 words.

Entry requirements

A good 2:1 degree (or its equivalent) in law, or in a degree in which law is a major component.

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
Find out more
Self-Guided Tours
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
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