LLM, PgDip, PGCert Law of the Sea, Sustainable Development and International Law


Program Description

The world's oceans and seas are crucial to sustaining life on Earth. They can reduce poverty, ensure food security, and address equity issues. This means we must understand the relationship between the International Law of the Sea and other elements of international law concerning sustainable development.

The International Law of the Sea is always developing. At the moment, negotiations are ongoing in New York, for instance, towards the development of a new legally-binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

This course focuses on the interface between the International Law of the Sea and other areas of international law. These areas include international biodiversity; human rights; trade; and investment law. It'll give you the knowledge and skills you need to understand ocean governance and all it contains. You'll receive advanced, specialized and comprehensive knowledge of the science, policy and international law of ocean governance. You'll also learn about other areas of international law related to sustainable development. You'll build upon your analytical skills to understand and contribute to the ongoing development and implementation of the International Law of the Sea. Upon graduating from this course, you'll be able to take part in international negotiations of the Law of the Sea and other related processes.

World-leading experts

You'll be taught by world-leading experts and practitioners. They'll draw upon cutting-edge academic research and their direct involvement in ocean law and governance processes.

Flexible learning

We offer a flexible blended-learning programme. It's a great option if you're an early or mid-career professional who may not be able to take a whole year off to study. You'll study remotely aside from two one-week intensive residential sessions in Scotland. These sessions give you the opportunity to strengthen your expertise and skills and build your professional network.


To study this course, you should have relevant work experience in ocean governance or a background in ocean science and/or policy. You don't need a previous law degree.

What you'll study

We cover a wide range of area of expertise in ocean governance essential from a sustainable development perspective:

the protection of the marine environment the management of marine and coastal biodiversity the relationship between climate change and oceans food security and fisheries sustainability the opportunities and challenges of blue growth (tourism, hydrocarbon and mineral resources exploitation and exploration, shipping and commerce, marine renewables) Employability

Your international employability is at the heart of this course. The taught elements of the course will equip you with the skills and knowledge to pursue or advance careers in international organizations and national governments involved in international, regional, EU and/or transnational oceans law matters. You'll also be qualified to work within think tanks, consultancy firms, private companies and non-governmental organizations that operate at international, regional, national and sub-national level. The course directors will provide tailored advice on international careers.


Our library has a wide range of law reports, legislation, serials and monographs. It also has key law report series and houses extensive collections in government publications and other related areas. You'll have access to a wide range of electronic information, which you can access from home. This includes all major legal databases and course materials.

Guest lectures

Some of your classes will also include input from external experts and practitioners with whom SCELG has ongoing partnerships. This includes those from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) Marine Scotland Global Oceans Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI).

Network with other professionals globally

Guest speakers from international organizations will not only be invited to share their experiences and in-depth knowledge, but also to build your professional network. LLM students will become part of a closed alumni group on LinkedIn, with a view to networking with other professionals in environmental law and governance and be updated on selected job and partnership opportunities.

Global Practitioners among teaching staff

You'll be taught by one of the most wide-ranging groups of environmental law experts in the UK. Our staff have expertise including, but not limited to biodiversity, climate change, human rights and the environment, environmental justice and corporate accountability. They'll not only draw from their own cutting-edge academic research, but also their involvement in multilateral environmental negotiations, consultancies for the United Nations and regional organizations, legal advice to developing countries on reforms of natural resource laws, and collaborations with intergovernmental and non-government organizations and indigenous and local communities’ organizations.

The Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance

The Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance (SCELG) aims to identify and shape emerging areas of legal research in environmental governance. Our students are an integral part of the center, together with academic staff, PhD students and visiting scholars. You'll have the chance to take part in the research and consultancy work carried out by the center. You can put your new skills and knowledge into practice, strengthening your CV.

Last updated Feb 2018

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About the School

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences enjoys an excellent reputation across a wide spectrum of disciplines. We aspire to generate new ideas, knowledge and skills to increase our understandin ... Read More

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences enjoys an excellent reputation across a wide spectrum of disciplines. We aspire to generate new ideas, knowledge and skills to increase our understanding of the world and strive to make a significant contribution to the economy, society and culture of Scotland and beyond. With one of Scotland’s top law schools, and as the country’s largest provider to teacher education, we also have significant expertise in developing the professional practice needed to equip modern societies at all levels. Read less