LLM in Information Technology Law
The LLM in Information Technology Law by online learning focuses on the regulatory framework that governs information technology within international, European and domestic settings.
The programme is highly topical, exploring different strategies for regulating information technologies, considering how current strategies have emerged and changed since the early days of the Internet. New developments in technology are a key focus, as these force us to constantly review the very concept of ‘information technology’, how it shapes society and what appropriate regulatory responses look like.
Information technology regulation operates across jurisdictions, and a cross-fertilisation of regulatory responses occurs at the interface between domestic, regional and international law. Our aim is to enable you to understand this cross-fertilisation, to be able to contextualise it and place yourself within it. Given the fast-paced nature of IT law, we aim to give you the skills so that you are able to understand current and historic regulatory approaches, to better engage with emerging and future issues too.
In a constantly evolving programme dynamic, you will encounter a range of topics which will change over time but could include:
- regulatory approaches to information technology
- cloud computing
- information rights
- online privacy
- media law
- communications law.
By the end of your studies you should emerge with an understanding of information technology law not just in its legal but also its social, ethical, cultural and commercial contexts.
The University of Edinburgh's academic staff are not only globally recognised experts in their own fields, but equally empathic mentors.
This is an exciting time to study the law and regulation of information technology. Recent years have seen an enormous expansion in e-commerce, and the development of new and increasingly participatory services on the internet, such as social media platforms.
The pace and scale of technological development in recent years has been incredible. Robots, artificial intelligence, virtual realities and neurotechnology are no longer science fiction and, in many parts of the world, technology is completely embedded into everyday life.
The programme is relevant to anyone who has an interest in studying the law of information technology.
Students join us from all round the world bringing invaluable perspectives to the online learning community – not least their professional experience, and knowledge of technologies and business methods. We welcome applications from a variety of professionals including:
- lawyers who want to specialise in IT
- information professionals
- computer scientists
- IT professionals
- professionals working in technology and telecommunications companies
- researchers considering a PhD in this area.
You will benefit from the unique opportunity to engage in an active online learning community, guided by academic lawyers from Edinburgh Law School.
Learning and teaching on the programme is highly interactive, informed by academics’ current research interests. Staff regularly work on different (often multidisciplinary) research projects, publications and speak at international conferences and events. This research culture helps them to keep pace with important changes in IT law, which in turn feeds into the teaching you receive.
As you would expect, the programme will enable you to develop the essential legal skills of analysing texts and statutes, drawing conclusions from current developments, reading cases and being able to consider. Furthermore, as IT lawyers, in addition to legal concerns, we increasingly need to consider the societal, technical and ethical dimensions of computing. Thus, we also need to understand how technology works, the risks it poses to society and how technology itself could even be made differently to address these problems. Accordingly, the programme draws on a range of perspectives and areas of expertise from staff to provide you with the tools needed to understand legal and wider aspects of living in the digital society.
If you have any questions about the LLM in Information Technology Law by online learning please don't hesitate to contact us.
The LLM in Information Technology Law offers an extensive collection of information technology law courses for you to choose from and the option to engage with a range of different subject areas, including commercial law and medical law.
The programme consists of 180 credits, comprising taught courses worth 120 credits (60 credits per semester) and a 10,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits. Full programme details for the 2022-23 academic year are available on the University Degree Programme Tables website.
Courses shown below are for the 2022-23 academic year and are shown for illustrative purposes. Courses for the 2023-24 academic year will be confirmed in May 2023.
You must select between 80 and 120 credits from the following courses:
- EU Data Protection Law (20 credits)
This course will examine the EU data protection regime as set out in the General Data Protection Regulation ((EU) 2016/679) on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and the free movement of such data (GDPR). It will provide you with an overview of the terminology and underlying principles of data protection and address specific areas and requirements for data controllers and processors that are subject to the new EU regime.
- Forensic Computing and Electronic Evidence (20 credits)
The purpose of the "Forensic Computing and Electronic Evidence" course is to provide an introduction to the practical aspects of forensic computing investigations, and to offer a legal overview of legislation and the main legal issues related to cyber-crime and computer forensics.
- International and European Law of the Media (20 credits)
This course will examine the impact of International and European law on, firstly, the structure of media markets and, secondly, the content of media services. The course will start with a discussion of the nature of the media, the media 'value chain', and the relationship between media freedom, freedom of expression and other human rights. It will examine the various international organisations competent in the media field and the regulatory strategies that are being adopted to deal with media convergence and globalisation. In relation to structural matters, consideration will be given to consolidation of media ownership and state funding of the media, in particular public service broadcasting. In relation to content controls, the course will examine attempts to create a more equitable flow of media content and concerns over 'media imperialism', the regulatory problems posed by pornography and hate speech and the balance to be struck between freedom of the media and privacy.
Students will attain a good understanding of the interplay between domestic and international law in this field, as well as the role of soft law and self or private regulation. They will be encouraged to think about the future role of law and regulation in a rapidly changing media environment.
- Regulation of autonomous systems: the law of robotics (20 credits)
The course introduces students to the legal and wider regulatory issues raised by the increasing use of automated and autonomous devices in all fields of life. As we increasingly allow machines to make decisions for us, this raises significant problems for our legal concepts of liability, responsibility and legal personhood. Since robots rely on sensors to perform their tasks, they also raise issues of data protection and privacy.
The course discusses amongst other applications the regulatory issues of care/companion robots in a medical setting, self-driving cars and the automated city; and military applications such as drones. The course covers both embodied artificial intelligent systems ("robots") and non-embodied devices ("autonomous agents"). Legal ramifications of these technologies are studied also with a view on their political, economic and ethical implications. To address the legal issues raised by robot mobility, special attention will be given to efforts to create an international legal regime or at least to harmonise existing national approaches. In this context, students will be particularly encouraged to contribute their experience with their home jurisdiction to the debate.
In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of the specific legal issues that are created by a number of particularly important applications of robotics and autonomous agent technology, students will also acquire a generic understanding of the types of problems that are raised by autonomous technologies for the theory of regulation. They will gain an understanding of the limits of regulation by law and the ability to evaluate comparatively other modes of regulation for a given problem.
- Information: Control and Power (20 credits)
This course will investigate, through a range of legal disciplines and perspectives, the growing focus placed on, and value attached to, information by society, governments, businesses and individuals; concerns as to its control and misuse; and the impact of this on all stakeholder, particularly in the light of the opportunities and challenges of evolving - and converging - technologies.A wide-ranging international approach will be adopted, with contributions sought from students in respect of their own jurisdictions.
The course will consider legal regimes relating to:
- privacy, freedom of information and data protection;
- the extent to which present regulatory, co-regulatory and self-regulatory systems conform to expectations in respect of information privacy and access to information;
- the extent to which basic data, information and content is or should be protected by intellectual property or other information rights, particularly in the light of new means of creating, obtaining, recording, sharing and exploiting that information;
- human rights law and policy, with particular reference to (online) privacy;
- electronic surveillance, access to information and the conflict between freedom of expression and reputation and image rights.
You can choose to study between 0 and 40 credits from the following courses:
- European Competition and Innovation (20 credits)
- Governance of Innovative Medicine (20 credits)
- Fundamentals in Bioethics (20 credits)
- EU Law (20 credits)
- Shaping Modern Healthcare (10 credits)
- Regulating Health and Social Care Professionals (10 credits)
- Communications Law (20 credits)
- Electronic Commerce Law (20 credits)
- Information Technology Law (20 credits)
- Principles of International Taxation (20 credits)
- Withdrawal from the EU and the Law (Brexit) (20 credits)
- European Health Law and Policy (20 credits)
- Law of Climate Change (20 credits)
Please note that Shaping Modern Healthcare and Regulating Health and Social Care Professionals are co-requisite and must both be taken in the semester that they run.
You may study 0 and 20 credits from the following courses:
- Contract Law in Europe (20 credits)
- Law and Ethics at the Start and End of Life (20 credits)
- Corporate Compliance: Case Studies in Law & Ethics (20 credits)
- Comparative & International Corporate Governance (20 credits)
- International Law, Human Rights & Corporate Accountability (20 credits)
- Dispute Resolution Methods (20 credits)
- The Fundamentals of Law and Medical Ethics (20 credits)
- Global Health: Law and Policy (20 credits)
- International Commercial Arbitration (20 credits)
- Banking and Financial Law: Case Studies (20 credits)
- Public Health Ethics (20 credits)
- International Oil & Gas Law (20 credits)
- Biotechnology, Bioethics and Society (20 credits)
- Intellectual Property and Human Rights (20 credits)
Please note that a course from this group can only be taken with the approval of your Programme Director.
Having successfully completed 120 credit points of courses within the LLM, you will be ready to move onto a single piece of independent and in-depth research. The 10,000 word dissertation allows you to focus on a preferred topic from within the options available in the programme.
Your dissertation title will be agreed with your supervisor during your final semester of taught study. Dissertation topics must fall within the scope of your programme and will relate to specific courses that you have taken at Edinburgh. Supervision continues throughout the research and writing of the dissertation.
Your dissertation must demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of the relevant literature and an ability to engage in critical analysis. More credit will be given for originality and evidence of independent thinking, whether in terms of the material used or the manner in which it is presented.
The dissertation is written in the summer months (April to August) after the taught courses are successfully completed.
Courses are offered once in an academic year. Each semester you will choose the course(s) you wish to study in that particular semester. Courses are then allocated. Details of the courses available will be provided in advance. Courses are then allocated.
The allocation process is intended to support student choices as much as possible, while taking account of optimum class sizes for specific courses.
Class sizes have typically ranged from 15 to 25 students in the past. If more students request a course than can be allocated, students who need to take the course in order to fulfil core programme requirements will have priority and others may be asked to defer that course choice to a later year of study.
Terms and conditions
Please note the University reserves the right to make variations to the contents of programmes, including the range of courses offered, and the available choice of courses in any given year may change.
Please note that due to unforeseen circumstances or lack of demand for particular courses, we may not be able to run all courses as advertised come the start of the academic year.
If you have any questions about the LLM in Information Technology Law by online learning please don't hesitate to contact us.
Staff teaching on the core courses for the LLM in Information Technology Law for 2022-23 are experts in their field and are actively involved in cutting-edge research in various legal fields including media law, regulation of new technologies and IT law.
Nicolas Jondet - Programme Director 2022-23
Nicolas Jondet is a teaching fellow in Information Technology law. He holds law degrees from the University of Edinburgh (LLM) and the Paris-Saclay University (Honors) as well as a degree in legal translation from ISIT Paris (Honors). Nicolas is a legal academic with a keen interest in the legal regulation of technology and innovation, including various aspects of IP law and IT law. His main research is focussed on digital copyright, drawing upon international, European and comparative legal materials. Current research projects include the applicability of blockchain technology to copyright protected works and the interaction between data mining and copyright. Nicolas teaches across a range of IT and IP law subjects, including, at present, courses relating to data protection, privacy and surveillance.
Burkhard is Professor of Computational Legal Theory and Director of the SCRIPT Centre for IT and IP law. His main field of interest is the interaction between law, science and computer technology, especially computer linguistics. How can law, understood as a system, communicate with systems external to it, be it the law of other countries (comparative law and its methodology) or science (evidence, proof and trial process). He is currently working mainly on issues such as privacy compliant software architecture and more generally the scope and limits of representing legal concepts directly in the internet infrastructure.
Burkhard will be on sabbatical in semester 2 of the 2022-23 academic year.
Rachael Craufurd Smith is a Reader in EC Law specialising in media, the regulation of culture and European Union law. In 2003/4 she was a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence. She is a qualified solicitor and has worked both in the International and Policy and Planning Departments of the BBC, focusing on the impact of European Community Law on the public broadcasting sector. Rachael also worked as a trainee in the Internal Market DG of the European Commission and was a Fellow for a number of years at Trinity, Corpus Christi and St. John's Colleges and a University Lecturer at the University of Oxford.
Judith Rauhofer is a Lecturer in IT Law and an Associate Director of the Centre for Studies of Intellectual Property and Technology Law (SCRIPT). Her research interests include the commercial and fundamental rights aspects of online privacy and electronic surveillance, data protection, information security and all areas of e-commerce and internet law and policy. Judith is particularly interested in exploring the tensions between privacy as an individual right and as a common good.
Paolo Cavaliere joined the Law School from September 2014 as a lecturer in Digital Media and IT Law. Prior to joining the School, Paolo has been a researcher at the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policies of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies of the University of Oxford where he has also helped to coordinate the Monroe Price Media Law Moot Court Competition. His main interests in research include the discipline of pluralism and diversity in the media, e-democracy and the relationship between new media and politics, regulation of audiovisual industries and digital media. He has written about different aspects of Media law, including “mediacracy” and the democratic deficit of the EU; media pluralism in the European sphere; digital technologies and the political debate in the public sphere.
Lachlan is a Lecturer in Technology Law at the University of Edinburgh. He is also a visiting researcher at the Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute, where he was a Research Fellow in Information Technology Law from 2016-2018.
Lachlan's primarily works at the boundaries of computer science (human-computer interaction), information technology law (mainly privacy and information security), and computer ethics. He focusses extensively on the technical, socio-legal, sociological, and ethical implications of living with interactive computing (e.g. Ubicomp/Internet of Things, robotics, smart homes & cities, social media etc.).
The staff teaching on this programme are subject to change for 2023-24. Staff listed as on sabbatical will not be available to teach for the duration of their sabbatical.
If you have any questions about the LLM in Information Technology Law by online learning please don't hesitate to contact us.
Find out what it's like to study for an LLM in Information Technology Law by online learning from our current and former students.
Tina studied for an LLM in Information Technology by online learning at Edinburgh Law School, graduating in 2019. She also won the best dissertation by an online learning student. In this video she talks about her experience of studying for an LLM online at Edinburgh Law School.
Eni, an IT professional, studied for an LLM in Information Technology Law online at Edinburgh Law School, graduating in 2019. In this video Eni talks about her experience of studying the LLM online at Edinburgh Law School.
Meltini studied for an LLM in Information Technology Law at Edinburgh Law School, graduating in 2017. Here she talks about studying online while living in Greece and enhancing her experience for her career in information technology law.
David Foster talks about his experience of studying for an LLM in Information Technology Law by online distance learning at Edinburgh Law School, the University of Edinburgh.
The LLM in Information Technology Law by online learning has start dates in September and January of each academic year. We recommend that you apply as early as possible; this is particularly important for applicants who may need to allow sufficient time to take an English language test.
We require a minimum UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent. Your degree does not have to be in the subject of law, but it must be from a recognised higher education institution. We will also consider your other qualifications and professional experience as part of your application.
Entry to this programme is competitive. Meeting minimum requirements for consideration does not guarantee an offer of study.
You can check whether your degree qualification is equivalent to the minimum standard before applying.
Students from China
This degree is Band C.
Postgraduate study in the field of law requires a thorough, complex and demanding knowledge of English, so we ask that the communication skills of all students are at the same minimum standard.
You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.
English language tests
We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:
- IELTS Academic: total 7.0 (at least 7.0 in the writing component and 6.5 in each other module)
- TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 25 in writing and 23 in each other module)
- CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 185 in writing and 176 in each other module)
- Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components
- PTE Academic: 70 overall with at least 70 in the writing component and 62 in each other component.
Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
Degrees taught and assessed in English
We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The UK Government's website provides a list of majority English speaking countries.
We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, or equivalent, that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.
If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.
Your application may not be successful if you do not currently satisfy any of these requirements; alternatively, you may be offered a place conditional on your reaching the satisfactory standard by the time you start the degree.
English language support
The University runs a series of programmes for English Language Education, including a pre-sessional English Language Programme intended to strengthen your English Language skills before you start your programme of study.
We aim to review applications and make selection decisions throughout the cycle and we monitor application numbers carefully to ensure we are able to accommodate all those who receive offers. It may therefore be necessary to close a programme earlier than the published deadline and if this is the case we will place a four-week warning notice on the relevant programme page.
2023-24 application deadlines
September 2023 entry
The deadline for applications for entry in September 2023 is 30 June 2023.
Please note that if you receive a conditional offer of a place on one of our programmes for September 2023, the deadline for meeting the conditions of your offer is 31 July 2023.
January 2024 entry
The deadline for applications for entry in January 2024 is 03 November 2023.
Please note that if you receive a conditional offer of a place on one of our programmes for January 2024, the deadline for meeting the conditions of your offer is 27 November 2023.
Applications are made online via the University Application Service, EUCLID.
Please follow the instructions carefully and make sure that you have included the following documentation with your application:
- Degree certificates showing award of degree.
- Previous academic transcripts for all past degree programmes (please upload the full transcript showing results from all years of study). Where academic paperwork is not in English, certified translations must be provided (these must have been produced by a certified translator);
Find out more about certified translations
- Details of professional qualifications and any appropriate professional registrations.
- A reference in support or your application. The reference should be academic and dated no earlier than one year from the start of study on the LLM programme. We may accept a non-academic reference from applicants who have been out of higher education for five years or more.
- Evidence of English language proficiency, if required.
- Personal statement - you will be asked to complete a personal statement (maximum 3500 characters - approximately 500 words) as part of your application.
- Relevant knowledge / skills - this may include details of any skills or voluntary work that you have undertaken that you feel are pertinent to the programme (maximum 3500 characters - approximately 500 words).
Your personal statement should show that you have thought carefully about why you are interested in this programme of study; what you can bring to the programme and what impact you feel it will have on your future career. Therefore, please ensure that you address the following questions in your statement:
- What are your motivations for wanting to study this programme?
- What skills, qualities and experiences have prepared you to undertake this programme?
- What value do you think you can add to the learning community as part of an internationally diverse group?
- What impact do you hope to make in your future career, and how will this programme contribute to your aspirations?
If you are currently studying for your degree or you are not in a possession of an English test result you may still apply to the programme. Please note that it is your responsibility to submit the necessary documents.
Students at this University must not undertake any other concurrent credit bearing studies in this (or in any other) institution, unless the College has granted permission. The College must be satisfied that any additional credit-bearing studies will not restrict the student’s ability to complete their existing programme of study. Students will not be permitted to undertake concurrent degree programmes in any circumstances.
If you are studying at this or another institution just prior to the start of your postgraduate studies you must have finished these studies before the start of the programme to which you have an offer.
After your application has been submitted you will be able to track its progress through the University's applicant hub.
Application processing times will vary however the admissions team will endeavour to process your application within four to six weeks of submission. Please note that missing documentation will delay the application process.
You will be informed as soon as possible of the decision taken. Three outcomes are possible:
- You may be offered a place unconditionally
- You may be offered a conditional place, which means that you must fulfil certain conditions that will be specified in the offer letter. Where a conditional offer is made, it is your responsibility to inform the College Postgraduate Office when you have fulfilled the requirements set out.
- Your application may be unsuccessful. If your application has not been successful, you can request feedback from us or refer to our guidance for unsuccessful applicants, which explains some of the common reasons we why we reach this decision.
View the University's guidance for unsuccessful applicants
You can find full and detailed application guidance on the University's website.
Applicants receiving an unconditional offer of admission to the LLM in Information Technology Law will be asked to pay a deposit of £1000 to secure their place on the programme
The deposit fee will be deducted from the first tuition fee instalment you have to pay and so enables you to spread the financial cost of the LLM.
September 2023 applicants
The deposit must be paid within 28 days of the date that the unconditional offer was made or by 07 August 2023, whichever is sooner.
January 2024 applicants
The deposit must be paid within 28 days of the date that the unconditional offer was made or by 01 December 2023, whichever is sooner.
The University’s terms and conditions form part of your contract with the University, and you should read them, and our data protection policy, carefully before applying.
If you have any questions about applying to the LLM in Information Technology Law please don't hesitate to contact us.