The University of Southampton
Southampton Law SchoolPostgraduate study

LLM Maritime Law (1 year)

With a global reputation for maritime research and world-leading specialist academics, Southampton Law School is one of the best places in the UK to study for a masters in maritime law.

Introducing your degree

Southampton’s LLM Maritime Law is taught by globally renowned experts who are at the forefront of the development of national and international law. You’ll gain the knowledge and practical skills required to advise, litigate and negotiate, based on relevant legal frameworks such as international trade, internet and environmental law and the rules of admiralty. The degree’s highly flexible structure allows you to choose modules that will help you achieve your ambitions. The wide range of options includes key modules that provide the essential know-how for a career in the maritime industry, such as Carriage of Goods by Sea, Marine Insurance, Admiralty Law and International Trade Law. It also includes a number of modules that are not offered by any other UK university, covering carriage by air, ship finance and the law of ship sale and purchase. Maritime law is a complex and fascinating specialism that opens up a broad range of career options. Whichever path you choose, our diverse student community and extensive industry connections will enable you to build a global network of contacts that will be invaluable for your future.


This challenging and prestigious degree attracts talented students from around the world. Some already have legal training, while others come from backgrounds such as shipping, business or engineering. All are looking to gain specialist expertise that will help them stand out from the competition.

View the programme specification document for this course

Programme Structure

The LLM Maritime Law can be studied full time over one year, or part time over two years. During this time you’ll take a number of taught optional modules and complete a dissertation.

You’ll begin by taking an intensive, week-long introductory course on common law, which ensures that students from different jurisdictions and countries understand the workings of this important legal system.

You will then have the freedom to tailor your course to suit your interests and career ambitions by choosing from a wide range of modules on different aspects of maritime law. These include modules you won’t find at masters level at other UK universities, such as:

  • Ship Finance, which covers the common loan and security structures employed in ship finance. It draws on foundational principles of contract and property and demonstrates how they are utilised within ship finance.
  • Carriage by Air, which provides in-depth knowledge of the main contractual mechanisms and legal principles that regulate the use of aircraft in the international carriage of goods.
  • Law of Ship Sale and Purchase, which examines the English law of shipbuilding and ship sale and purchase contracts. It also deals with the most common practical issues encountered by lawyers who handle transactional work in the maritime business.

Among the many other options are modules on marine insurance, internet law, admiralty law, international trade law, law of the sea and of the marine environment, principles of secured transactions, and international commercial arbitration.

You’ll also be able to choose a dissertation topic of interest, supported by an experienced academic who will offer guidance throughout the dissertation process.

Research-led learning 

The University of Southampton is a world-class hub for maritime research and expertise. The Law School’s Institute of Maritime Law has an international reputation, and the University is also home to the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute,  Institute and the National Oceanography Centre. In addition, the research division of Lloyd’s Register is based on campus.

Our academics are actively involved in cutting-edge studies and can therefore bring the latest research developments to your learning. In addition, their standing in the global legal community means they are invited to contribute to law reform and advise the international community on different aspects of maritime law. This means you’ll have an outstanding opportunity to learn from academics who are not only experts in the law as it is applied today, but are active in drafting the laws of the future – giving you a career advantage when you graduate.

Our world-leading academics include:

  • Professor Yvonne Baatz, a leading researcher in areas including carriage of goods by sea, commercial conflict of laws and marine insurance, and head of a sub-group of the Institute of Maritime Law that focuses on conflict and dispute resolution. She edited and contributed to Maritime Law, a text book written by 11 Southampton academics. Yvonne leads the Commercial Conflict of Laws and International Litigation module.
  • Professor James Davey, who specialises in insurance and maritime law. He is widely published in leading law journals and has contributed to several books on maritime, consumer and corporate insurance law. James teaches on the Insurance Law module.
  • Professor Hilton Staniland, who has written numerous articles and two books on shipping law, has represented South Africa at the International Maritime Organization and has drafted many maritime acts, regulations and decrees. He leads the Admiralty Law module.
  • Professor Filippo Lorenzon, whose research interests include international trade law, carriage by air and sea and comparative private law. He is currently involved in drafting the 2020 edition of the Incoterms® Rules, the international commercial sales terms published by the International Chamber of Commerce, which are widely used in global trade. He leads several modules including International Trade Law.
  • Professor Andrew Serdy, a renowned expert in international maritime law and the current Director of the Institute of Maritime Law. He has contributed to and advised on Australian and Canadian government submissions to the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf and co-authored a report on the UN fish stocks agreement for the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament. Andrew leads a number of modules including International Law of the Sea.  
  • Professor Mikis Tsimplis, who specialises in the marine environment and its use. He is the principal investigator on several projects, including a European Commission project on sea traffic management validation and a European Defence Agency project on the legal liabilities relating to the use of autonomous vessels. Mikis leads the Law of the Marine Environment module.

Industry links

Our academics’ own professional practice and their research collaborations with industry enable them to bring the latest sector insights to their teaching. They also have a network of contacts within major commercial and maritime law firms in London and around the world.

These links mean they can attract leading practitioners to talk to our students as an integral part of some modules and at special events. The Institute of Maritime Law runs weekly practitioners’ seminars and you’ll also have access to lectures and seminars organised by the Law School, related research institutes and our active student law societies. These provide an opportunity to hear from judges, ship brokers, representatives from classification societies and other legal and maritime professionals about the latest issues in their field. Our reputation enables us to attract speakers of the highest calibre, such as Lord Neuberger, president of the UK Supreme Court.

Through our business links we can also offer prizes for high-performing LLM students in the form of monetary awards or placements, which are a great opportunity to gain professional experience and build networks. Past students have undertaken placements with law firms such as Campbell Johnston Clark, CMS Cameron MacKenna and Clyde & Co.

Key Facts

The University of Southampton is a major international hub for maritime research, encompassing the Law School’s Institute of Maritime Law, the National Oceanography Centre Southampton, the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute and the research division of Lloyd’s Register.

Taught by world-leading specialists who are at the cutting edge of developments in the law.

Options include key modules on maritime law and a number of niche modules that are unique in the UK on ship finance, ship sale and purchase and carriage by air.

An intensive introductory course on common law provides the essential foundation for your studies.

You’ll develop a global network of contacts that will be invaluable during your career.

Facilities include a dedicated maritime law library.

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework rated 100 per cent of our research as world leading or internationally excellent for the research environment we provide to staff and students.

Recent graduates have gone on to work for organisations such as Attorney General’s Office, Clyde and Co, Ince & Co,  Skuld, Hogan Lovells, PSP Law, Linklaters LLP and the Marshall Island Register.

Thumbnail photo of Andrea Christian

“The highlights of my time in Southampton included the warm, generous people my six year old son and I met and are still in contact with today.”

Andrea Christian - LLM Maritime Law

Did you know?

The Southampton pre-Masters can be taken if you have qualifications or grades that do not meet University of Southampton direct entry criteria but meet the minimum entry criteria for the pre-Masters. You will be guaranteed a place on your chosen masters degree programme subject to successfully completing the pre-Masters. Visit our pre-Masters Programme to find out more about these degree programmes.

At Southampton Law School we are proud of our worldwide reputation for research excellence in many fields. Research is of key importance within the School and is embedded in everything that we do, including our teaching. Please click here for more information about our Centres of Research

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

An Upper Second Class Bachelors Degree in Law (or a degree with a substantial legal component) is normally required, but account may also be taken of practical work experience or professional qualifications within the relevant field of study. We welcome applications from international students. Mature applicants without formal qualifications but relevant work experience are also encouraged to apply. Access to the internet, Word Processor (MS Word compatible) and an email address are also required; webcams desirable.

Progression to this MSc programme

You are able to progress to this MSC programme via the University's Pre-Masters programme.

If you have professional experience, or credit through prior learning at another institution, you may be eligible to use this experience against some of the programme requirements for period of study. You will need to present evidence that you have met the learning outcomes of the programme. Full details can be found in the University’s Policy on the Recognition of Prior Learning.

English language requirements

In accordance with University regulations, applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of competency in English by offering one of the recognised tests in English. Alternatively, you should supply evidence that you have undertaken formal study in English at an institution that teaches award-bearing programmes in English.

The following test scores are accepted for direct entry:

IELTS 7.0 with 6.0 in each component 

For a full list of English language tests accepted please see here

A score of IELTS 6.5 with 6.0 in each component together with satisfactory completion of the six week LLM Pre-sessional programme on English legal language and skills will be accepted.  

Please see here for more information about the LLM Pre-sessional.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

Students are required to complete 180 CATS. 60 CATS is awarded for the LLM dissertation. Students are therefore free to choose modules in total completing 120 CATS. For instance, a student who selects 4 modules of 30 CATS will complete the required taught modules.

Year 1

Semester One
LAWS6082Credit: 60
LAWS6062Credit: 30
LAWS6064Credit: 30
LAWS6065Credit: 30
LAWS6075Credit: 30
LAWS6076Credit: 30
LAWS6088Credit: 30
LAWS6099Credit: 30
Semester Two
LAWS6082Credit: 60
LAWS6140Credit: 15
LAWS6062Credit: 30
LAWS6064Credit: 30
LAWS6065Credit: 30
LAWS6075Credit: 30
LAWS6076Credit: 30
LAWS6088Credit: 30
LAWS6099Credit: 30

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
Printing and copyingIn most cases, written coursework such as essays, projects and dissertations is submitted online and by hard copy. The costs of printing a hard copy for submission of such coursework will be the responsibility of the student. The cost of photocopying will also be the responsibility of the student.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Career Opportunities

You’ll be able to take advantage of a range of careers events and workshops organised by the Law School’s dedicated careers coordinator and by the student-run law societies. These include:

  • the annual Law Careers Fair, which attracts more than 50 law firms and other companies, including maritime organisations who come specifically to meet LLM Maritime Law students
  • industry seminars presented by major law firms such as Mishcon de Reya and Clifford Chance
  • bespoke CV writing and job application workshops

The flexible nature of the LLM Maritime Law means you can tailor the course to suit your career goals. If you decide not to go into the legal field, you’ll graduate with transferable skills that will equip you for a career in any sector that excites you. Career options include private practice, working for commodity houses, shipping companies, P&I (protection and indemnity) clubs, or going into the international commercial sector or the public sector.

Our graduates have gone on to work for organisations including:

  • Ince and Co
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Campbell Johnston Clark Ltd
  • Holman Fenwick & Willan
  • PSP Law
  • Linklaters LLP
  • Interport Maritime Ltd  

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

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