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LLM/PgDip/PgCertInternational Law & Sustainable Development

Why this course?

In a world facing unique economic, environmental and social challenges of a scale not seen before, promoting sustainable development has become a pressing priority.

The course will give you a solid grounding in the structures, rules and principles of aspects of public international law that impact on sustainable development.

This programme is designed specifically for graduates who want to work in the international development sector in management, planning or policy-related areas.

The course has a flexible structure. You’ll have the opportunity to pursue your own interests and tailor your degree to your chosen career path. You can select elective classes from other Masters Programmes in Law as well as related programmes across the University.

It is not necessary that you hold a law degree before embarking on this course of study however law content in your previous course may be useful.

You’ll study

This programme is available full-time and part-time with three potential exit points. You can choose to study for a:

  • Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip)
  • Master’s degree (LLM)

Core classes

  • Research Methods (compulsory for LLM)
  • The World Trading System: Law & Policy
  • International Environmental Law

Elective classes

Choices may include:

  • Comparative Law of Obligations
  • Business & Human Rights
  • Comparative Company Law & Regulation
  • Competition Law & Policy in the EU
  • Legal Process & the Law of Contract & Other Obligations (for non-lawyers)
  • UK & EU Environmental Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Global Water Policy
  • International Trade Theory, Policy and Institutions
  • Fundamentals of Environmental Forensics
  • Energy Resources and Policy

Please note that the classes offered may change from year to year.

A limited number of students will be given the opportunity to choose elective classes from the optional modules offered in the LLM in Climate Change Law and Policy.  This allows those students to combines sustainable development law and policy with climate change. The programme is delivered off campus on an intensive three-day basis in January.  For further information, please contact the Law School.

Field dissertation

A unique aspect of this programme is the opportunity for you to undertake a field dissertation within a governmental or non-governmental organisation with an international focus. It can be either in the UK, or more likely, overseas.

This opportunity is offered on a competitive basis. It lasts for up to 12 weeks between July and September. Work completed for the placement will focus on a specific area of law and will form the subject of your dissertation.

Previous students have undertaken placements in countries including Sri Lanka, Tanzania, South Africa, India and Kenya. Examples of projects which our students have undertaken include:

  • assessing the extent to which Indian environmental and energy laws promote the development of micro-renewables
  • an analysis of whether Tanzanian land law discriminates against women and what reforms would be needed to address the discrimination
  • an exploration of the low take-up of Clean Development Mechanism [CDM] in Sub-Saharan Africa and how the situation could be improved
  • an assessment of environmental justice in Nigeria and South Africa

The project/field work is organised and supported by Challenges Worldwide. Challenges Worldwide is an innovative, award-winning, social enterprise working in international development.

The University of Strathclyde provides comprehensive travel and health insurance for all participants in the Field Dissertation. We also pay for the costs of your placement. Students are responsible for the costs of flights, visas, and accommodation and living expenses while overseas. Such costs have tended to be in the region of £1,500 to £2,500 per student.


Our library has a wide range of law reports, legislation, serials and monographs. It also has duplicate sets of key law report series, houses extensive collections in government publications and other related areas.

You will have access to a wide range of electronic information sources which can be accessed from home, including all the major legal databases.

The Law School is home to Scotland’s first Law Clinic. It provides a ‘real life’ learning experience for students and an invaluable service to members of the public who do not qualify for legal aid, and cannot otherwise afford legal advice.

Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance

You're encouraged to engage with the activities of the centre.  These include guest lectures and international conferences.  The Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance is a centre of excellence in environmental law and governance and boasts a vibrant research community.

You'll also have the opportunity to participate in the organisation of the annual postgraduate Colloquium on Environmental Law and Governance.  This has a session devoted to the presentations of highly qualified LLM students.

Course content

In addition to the core classes, you'll have the opportunity to pursue elective classes from other Masters programmes in Law as well as related programmes across the University.

Compulsory classes

Legal Research

This is offered by distance learning across both semesters.

The aim of the module is to help you enhance your research abilities and skills with a view to improving your performance in course. 

World Trading Systems: Law & Policy
This class will provide you with advanced instruction in the law of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
You'll explore the core rules of non-discrimination and most-favoured nation treatment which underpin many of the legal agreements comprising the WTO.
The analysis will then move on to more specialised WTO agreements.
International Environmental Law

Climate change, biodiversity, deforestation are just some of the daunting global environmental challenges that the world is currently facing.

Most of these problems cannot be solved by one country alone.

Against this background, students in this module will discuss the international legal frameworks applicable to transboundary and international environmental problems. 

Elective classes

Elective Classes

Choices may include:

  • Comparative Law of Obligations
  • Business and Human Rights
  • Comparative Company Law and Regulation
  • Competition Law and Policy in the EU
  • Global Environmental Law: Issues of Sustainability & Equity
  • International Climate Change Law
  • Legal Process and the Law of Contract and Other Obligations (For non-lawyers)
  • UK and EU Environmental Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Global Water Policy
  • International Trade Theory, Policy and Institutions
  • Fundamentals of Environmental Forensics
  • Energy Resources and Policy

Please note that the classes offered may change from year to year.

Learning & teaching

As a general rule, classes taught within the Law School will normally be taught over a ten-week teaching period with one two-hour seminar per week. 

However in some cases, classes will be offered intensively over a shorter time period because of the availability of staff teaching them. 


A variety of assessment methods and weightings are used on Law School Masters programmes. The classes developed specifically for this programme generally follow this format:

  • two 4,000-word essays or one final examination together with a 4,000-word essay

Each component of assessment is generally worth 50% of the final mark of a module. To pass each module, you need an average overall score of 50% across all assessments as well as a minimum score of 40% in each individual component of assessment.

Entry requirements

Normally a first class or second-class honours degree, or equivalent, in a related discipline (some law content recommended). Entry may be possible with other qualifications, especially where your work experience is relevant to the course.

English language requirements

For postgraduate studies, the University of Strathclyde requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 (no individual test score below 6.0) or equivalent. Tests are valid for two years.

Pre-sessional courses in English are available.

If you’re a national of an English speaking country recognised by UK Visa and Immigrations (please check most up-to-date list on the Home Office website) or you have successfully completed an academic qualification (at least equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree) in any of these countries, then you do not need to present any additional evidence.

If you are from a country not recognised as an English speaking country by the United Kingdom Visa and Immigration (UKVI), please check our English requirements before making your application.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

To find out more about the courses and opportunities on offer visit or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future. You can also complete the online application form. To ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.


  • LLM/PgDip (full-time) - £6,500
  • LLM/PgDip/PgCert (part-time) - £3,250
  • PgCert (full-time) - £3,250

Rest of UK

  • LLM/PgDip (full-time) - £6,500
  • LLM/PgDip/PgCert (part-time) - £3,250
  • PgCert (full-time) - £3,250


  • LLM/PgDip (full-time) - £13,500
  • LLM/PgDip/PgCert (part-time) - £6,750
  • PgCert (full-time) - £6,750

How can I fund my course?

There are several scholarship opportunities available for students applying for this course. Opportunities include:

To recognise academic achievement, the Dean's International Excellence Award offers international students a merit-based scholarship of up to £3,000 for entry onto a full-time Masters programme in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Check our Scholarship Search for more help with fees and funding.

Scottish students

Students living in Scotland can find out more about funding from the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

English students

Students ordinarily resident in England may be eligible to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover their tuition fees and living costs.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


Increasingly, lawyers and other related professionals are operating in environments that demand an understanding of sustainable development, and its relationship with other rights and norms.

Studying on this programme will equip you with the knowledge, understanding and analytical skills relevant to working or planning a career with an international focus.

Students on this and other related programmes have gone on to take up varied positions including:

  • Analyst in the Private Wealth division of a multinational bank
  • Policy Officer with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency
  • Logistical Coordinator with Oxfam America
  • Legal counsel for an energy utility company based in Switzerland
  • Responsible Investment Analyst for a leading global provider of research into corporate environmental, social and governance performance
  • Project Associate for an international non-profit organization working to advance global public health
  • Senior manager at Ofgem
  • Lecturer at a technical college in Bahrain
  • Internship Swiss Department of the Environment
  • Internship Center for International Environmental Law
  • Consultant for an international company specialising in professional infrastructure and environmental services
  • Water Resources Specialist

Contact us


International Law and Sustainable Development

Qualification: PG Diploma, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

International Law and Sustainable Development

Qualification: PG Diploma, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

International Law and Sustainable Development

Qualification: PG Certificate, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

International Law and Sustainable Development

Qualification: LLM, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

International Law and Sustainable Development

Qualification: LLM, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

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