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Tackle the substantive legal issues that arise from disputes under international investment agreements.

Examine the protections that these agreements offer to states and investors. Analyse international investment practice globally and find out how protection plays out in real treaty practice.

Study with a top 6 UK law school and learn from highly qualified lawyers practising in the fast-moving field of international trade.

Gain significant professional advantage as a lawyer advising clients on international investment, working in government or for multinationals. With Brexit requiring the UK to strike deals outside EU trade agreements, seize on this opportunity for skilled lawyers specialising in all aspects of international trade law.

You can use the credits you earn on this course towards several of our Masters degrees, including LLM International Trade Law.

What will I study?

Under international law, international investment agreements are the instruments that offer the legal ground for foreign investments. They:

  • enable states to set out conditions in which they expect to host an investment
  • offer substantive protections to the foreign investor.

Globalisation and recent world events have thrown a spotlight on the issues, challenges and complexities of these traditional ‘rules of the game’. For example, the obligation of parties to provide ‘fair and equitable treatment’ has been interpreted differently by countries and governments.

You’ll examine the legal issues around international investment agreements and how disputes arising from them may be resolved.

This is a highly dynamic and interactive course, divided into 12 topics. Each topic focuses on a different substantive protection offered by an international investment agreement, including:

  • fair and equitable treatment
  • expropriation
  • most-favoured nation
  • national treatment.

Case studies

You’ll review and analyse real examples of international investment practice globally. You'll gain an understanding of how each substantive protection has played out in real treaty practice.

You’ll look at examples including:

  • Argentina following the financial crisis
  • actions of the US against Mexico and Canada in the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
  • the workings of the European Energy Charter
  • important developments in Asia
  • emerging practice in Africa.

Why study Law online with the University of Aberdeen?

How will I study?

This 12-week International Investment Law course is delivered online. You can study with us anywhere in the world and manage your study hours to suit you.

Part of our CIArb-accredited Masters in Dispute Resolution, this course is taught at Masters level. You’ll learn from lawyers with extensive international experience and experts working in practice in the field of international investment law.

Your teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Also available as an app, you can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and mobile device 24/7.

Your course features a range of resources, including:

  • video lectures
  • online tutorials
  • reading list
  • projects
  • extracts from recorded interview collections
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library and the Law Library
  • online discussion boards with colleagues and tutors.

This is a highly interactive course and you’ll enjoy plenty of contact with your tutors and colleagues on the discussion boards, which will form a key part of your experience.

Course coordinator

Online learning in the School of Law

Advocates share their experiences of working while studying law online with us.

Where will this take me?

Towards a Masters

You’ll earn 15 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this course. You can use these credits towards further study, including our online:

LLM in International Trade Law (180 credits)

LLM in Oil and Gas Law (180 credits)

LLM in Dispute Resolution (180 credits)

  • Accredited by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).
  • Available to study to Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) and Postgraduate Diploma level (120 credits).

View all our postgraduate Law degrees.

Build your learning

We offer a wide range of specialist online Law short courses you can use to build your skills.

Many are part of existing Masters degrees and can be used to build up credits towards postgraduate qualifications.


This course offers a significant career advantage to you as a practising lawyer advising clients on international investment, or working in a government department or multinational company.

With Brexit requiring the UK to strike deals outside EU trade agreements, opportunities are great for skilled lawyers specialising in all aspects of international trade law.

Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Free careers advice

We’ll help you explore your career potential and connect with job opportunities around the world.

You can access our free careers service while you study.

From interview training to CV clinics, we’re here with tailored, impartial and professional advice.

Am I ready?

The minimum entry requirements for this course are an upper-second-class (2:1) Law degree (or equivalent).

Relevant practical experience in a related field is also beneficial.

For this course, you’ll apply through our Applicant Portal. It allows you to upload relevant qualifications and documents. Our admissions team will then review these and get back to you. Read How to apply via our Applicant Portal for all you need to know.

You need to apply by the course start date to ensure you are enrolled in time.

Apply for this course

Start date
18 January 2021