Taught course

Intellectual Property Law

Durham University · Department of Law

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.

Months of entry


Course content

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.

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

Information for international students

If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take a pre-Masters pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

See the course listing for more information.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • LLM
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Recruitment and Admissions