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About the course

Ideally suited to students working in the shipping industry who want to develop their understanding of how legal claims may arise within the context of international trade practice, this innovative law course delivers a first-class education in international trade, shipping and maritime law, focusing on the interrelationship between theory and commercial expertise.

Specifically designed to meet the demands of the shipping industry, the course delivers essential knowledge of the legal frameworks at the heart of shipping claims, disputes and commercial relationships.

Exploring how marine disputes and liabilities are investigated and managed, you will develop detailed understanding of this complex, specialised branch of the law. You will be equipped to advise on the merits of claims, and to communicate effectively with legal practitioners. You will also develop the professional grounding to apply that knowledge in the practical industry, and the analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills to respond with legal analysis of the challenges arising in the international trade industry.

Led by prominent industry speaker and maritime law academic Susan Hawker, the course team of experienced academics and legal practitioners deliver a blend of legal knowledge and commercial expertise – guiding your development of practical real-world knowledge and skills to enhance your current or future career.

With an innovative programme of studies reflecting current and future industry practice, the course is designed to ensure you will emerge with the perfect blend of skills and knowledge base demanded in the shipping industry.

You can apply direct to Solent University for this course.
Apply direct
You can study this course anywhere in the world. The course will be delivered through online study.
Distance learning

The course team offer students a unique blend of legal knowledge and commercial expertise, including maritime law specialists and experienced seafarers.

What does this course lead to?

As a graduate of this course your knowledge and skills will give you a career advantage in the shipping industry, demonstrating your practical understanding of the legal framework underlying recognition and management of shipping-based claims, as well as being able to advise on how contracts may be drafted to avoid claims arising.

Directly aimed at professionals in the international trade and maritime industry, the course provides professional development for a range of management and claims-handling careers, helping you understand how shipping law practitioners deal with claims and marine investigations.

Who is this course for?

This course is ideally suited to students working in the shipping industry who want to develop their understanding of how legal claims may arise within the context of international trade practice, and how marine disputes and liabilities are investigated and managed.

Essential for those working in commercial or legal shipping practice, the course focuses on legal knowledge and its interrelationship with commercial practice, which lies at the heart of shipping claims, disputes and organisation of commercial relationships.

Facts and figures

Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2020/21 academic year are:
UK, EU and Channel Island fees: £7,995
International fees: £7,995

For further information, please visit our tuition fees page.

Other costs

While most course costs are covered by your tuition fees, some essential resources and optional extras may need to be paid for separately. These additional costs are listed below. For advice on budgeting and managing your money, please contact

The 2020/21 other costs are not yet available. For guidance, previous other costs have been:

Compulsory costs

Course fees and fees for booking approved examination centre for the end of year examination.

Optional costs

Optional seminars at the University’s main campus in Southampton will incur transport and hotel costs. While all essential course materials (for example legal cases and relevant articles) are available on the University’s online library resources), several textbooks are highly recommended, with an approximate total cost of about £200-£250.

Bursaries and scholarships

Solent University offers a range of bursaries and scholarships that provide financial assistance or waive fees for tuition or accommodation. Each bursary or scholarship has specific eligibility criteria. Check out our  bursaries and  scholarships pages to find out more.

Graduation costs

For graduates in 2020, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £45 per graduate, depending on your award). You may also wish to purchase official photography packages, which range in price from £15 to £200+. Graduation is not compulsory, so if you prefer to have your award sent to you, there is no cost. Extra guest tickets will go on sale after results publication and will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis. The cost per ticket was £15 in 2019, but this fee is subject to change for future years. Please note, we do not guarantee there will be any extra tickets available to purchase.
Key entry requirements icon

Key entry requirements

Applicants must hold one of the following:

  • Honours degree in a relevant maritime subject, such as maritime studies, shipping, maritime business or law, or other appropriate subject and relevant professional qualification and experience.
  • Certificate of Competency as Master or Chief Engineer, Class 1 Master Mariner, Class 1 Engineer, STCW Management Level Qualifications, or equivalent, and work experience in the maritime industry to a reasonable level of management responsibility, such as Master, Chief Officer, Chief Engineer, First Engineer or equivalent.
  • Higher National Diploma or Foundation Degree in a maritime/law discipline plus extensive experience and relevant professional qualifications (as above).

For further information about UK, EU and international qualifications, please refer to our course entry requirement statement.

English language requirements

Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to demonstrate an approved level of proficiency in the use of the English language. The agreed minimum requirements for this course are:

  • IELTS minimum 6.0 with no component score below 5.5
  • TOEFL IBT minimum 80 with a minimum of 19 in each individual component
  • or equivalent.

Qualifications are checked before enrolment, and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies when coming to study at the University.


Solent alumni save up to 50% on their tuition fees

Got a question about this course?

Contact our Ask Solent team: 023 8201 5066

How to apply

Applications for postgraduate courses can be made at any time prior to the start of the course. However, we strongly recommend you apply at your earliest convenience.

Please ensure you upload the following mandatory documents with your application.

  • Two academic references
  • Certified transcripts of qualifications, including English language proficiency if non-UK student
  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of current visa (if applicable)
  • A personal statement
  • Employer sponsor form where appropriate

Distance learning:

Starts on 21 September 2020

Alumni discount

Solent alumni could be eligible for up to a 50% reduction of tuition fees if returning to study a postgraduate course. The discount applied will be dependent on your undergraduate degree classification as follows:

Solent Alumni with a:

  • First (1.1) will be offered a 50% discount to study at PG level
  • 2.1 or 2.2 will be offered a 20% discount to study at PG level

The discount applied will be based on the most recently completed course.

If you are currently a student at Solent University and are continuing on without a break in your studies, your discount will be automatically applied on your return.

If are not following directly on from a course at Solent University, but have studied with us in previous years, you will need to register for the alumni discount.

Click here to register or to find out more

How to apply

What you'll study

Year one

Core modules
  • Introduction to English Law 
  • International Sale of Goods 
  • Carriage of Goods by Sea
  • Admiralty and Marine Insurance
  • Marine Dispute Management 


Web-based learning

Solent's virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.

The Student Hub

The Student Hub is a central space where you can access all of the information and support you need during your time at University.

Professional and experienced staff can help resolve any query, and if they cannot answer the question themselves they will find the person who can.

Career support

Key figures


Written exams


Assessment by coursework

Meet the course team

Susan Hawker academic profile Susan Hawker Course Leader View profile

The university cannot guarantee any particular members of staff will teach specific aspects of the course in the future, but will endeavour to ensure the teaching team maintains their balance of experience and qualifications.


As a distance learning course, you will use our Solent Online Learning portal – giving you access to extensive online library resources, course materials, essential readings and other background information, and study support tools.

Dedicated focus on examining the practical applications of law and legal theory. Distance learning delivery allows for flexible study around work and other commitments.

Your future

Solent’s international trade and maritime law programme of studies will enable those working in the shipping industry to develop their current careers. It will also help those seeking career changes within or wishing to enter the shipping industry. The course prepares students to:

  • Handle and manage claims within the P&I Club world.
  • Assist lawyers.
  • Work in a legal capacity on maritime disputes and marine casualties.
  • Work within the general average surveying environment.

Industry links

The course team is directly engaged in the international trade and shipping industry, and this is reflected in the coursework and exam assessments – which focus on real-life industry claims and marine incidents. The course takes an applied approach, ensuring students develop the ability to apply their knowledge to the challenges faced on a daily basis in international trade.

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