Masters in Environmental Law: What, Where and How
Updated on Oct 29, 2018 - 5:21 p.m. IST by Shraya Singh
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Masters in Environmental Law - Over the past decade, the professional scope for environmental lawyers has increased tremendously around the world with the increase in awareness regarding the environmental and sustainability to be implemented in the generations to come. Earlier, where the practice of law in the domain of environment and energy was considered a flimsy career option, now a number of new and innovative masters in environmental law and policy are cropping up at some of the best universities around the world. 


Environmental law degrees offer prospective environmental lawyers with an in-depth knowledge and understanding the legal aspects concerned with various forms of environment protection and energy security. An MS in environmental law or a masters in environmental law generally focuses on study areas like infrastructure development, energy and sustainability challenges, climate change mitigation, energy investment and trade, project finance, and clean energy development. A masters in environmental law is therefore a professional qualification which attests to the individuals significant understanding in the above mentioned subdomains of environmental law and policy. The top law schools ensure that their graduates are adept in their practice and the jobs undertaken by modern-day environmental lawyers are highly reputable and offer some of the best designations in the law domain.

Masters in Environmental Law: Eligibility

In order for students to be eligible for a masters or MS in environmental law, there are a few requirements that the student must fulfil prior to application to the concerned program. These requirements are generally the same in all of the top 50 environmental law schools. The requirements for eligibility to various environmental law degree programs are:

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  • The candidate must have bachelor’s qualification in the domain of law. This includes an LLB or a JD qualification leading to practice in the domain. Many of the top 50 environmental law schools also require that the candidate have at least a GPA equivalent to 3.0 on the 4.0 scale.

  • Some universities which offer masters in environmental law and policy also accept two years of related professional experience in place of an undergraduate qualification. Experience, of course, is always an asset, regardless of which environmental law degree that the candidate may be applying to.

  • Many of the top 50 environmental law schools are located in the United States. Most of these institutions, for example, New York University, only accept applications through an LSAC or Law School Admission Council account via their LLM Credential Assembly Service. Therefore, for prospective environmental lawyers who want to practice in the USA (and a few other specific locations), an LSAC account is also a prerequisite for eligibility.

Masters in Environmental Law: Admission Requirements

For admission to a program for masters in environmental law and policy, applicants must fulfil certain admission requirements. These requirements may vary with the program, country and university of application but generally involves the submission of the following documents:

  • A statement of purpose or SOP listing the candidate’s motivation and expectations from the masters in environmental law.

  • Two to three letters of recommendation or LORs from referees both of the academic and professional nature.

  • Official transcripts from past academic institutions.

  • Some universities offering an MS in environmental law also require standardized test scores (such as LSAT), though it is often optional. 

  • resume highlighting the candidate’s achievements in academics as well as professional milestones.

  • English language proficiency scores are integral for admission to an environmental law degree program. This includes scores from any of the following tests:

    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic

    • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic

    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

    • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)


The minimum required scores for some of the top universities which offer masters in environmental law and policy are given below.

English Language Proficiency Test Scores for Masters in Environmental Law

University

English Language Proficiency Test

IELTS 

TOEFL iBT

PTE A

CAE

University of Cambridge

7.5

110

-

-

Yale University

7.0

100

-

-

The Australian National University

7.0

100

70

185

University of California, Berkeley

7.0

90

-

-

London School of Economics

7.0

100

65

185

The University of Melbourne

7.0

94

65

185

New York University

7.5

100

70

191

The University of British Columbia

6.5

90

59

-

The University of Auckland

6.5

90

58

176

Georgetown University

7.0

100

-

-

Masters in Environmental Law: Top Universities

A majority of the top 50 environmental law schools are located in the United States. Other quality institutions are spread out across the globe in countries like UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc. The programs offered by these institutions are often LLM programs with a specialization in environmental law. Other programs include MS in environmental law, masters in environmental law and policy as well as energy. The program duration for a masters in environmental law is usually 1 year. Some of the best programs at the top universities in the world for an environmental law degree are given below.

Best Environmental Law Degree Programs

University

Program

QS World Rank

Country

University of Cambridge

LLM - International Environmental Law

6

United Kingdom

Yale University

Master of Environmental Management 

15

United States

New York University

LLM - Environmental and Energy Law

43

United States

University of California, Berkeley

Environmental Law Program

27

United States

The University of Melbourne

Master of Environmental Law

39

Australia

London School of Economics

MSc Environmental Policy and Regulation

38

United Kingdom

The Australian National University

Master of Laws in Environmental Law

24

Australia

The University of Auckland

LLM - Environmental Law

85

New Zealand

Georgetown University

LLM - Environmental and Energy Law

226

United States

The University of British Columbia

LLM - Environmental Law

47

Canada

Masters in Environmental Law: Fees and Funding

The tuition for a masters in environmental law program are comparable to any other LLM or postgraduate qualification in law. Although, the tuition may be significantly higher than the tuition for the same qualification in India, the staggering amount of scholarships available for prospective international students makes up for the high tuition. 

Where, for most programs, only university-wide and government scholarships valid across the nation are open for application. For postgraduate programs in law, a number of domain-specific scholarships and fellowships are also available. These are highly opportunistic funding sources as the applicants are limited to the particular domain and therefore there is reduced competition and in turn, a greater chance to avail of funding. Notable scholarships for prospective environmental law students as well as the tuition for a few of the top 50 environmental law schools in the world are listed below for students to understand the tuition variation with the country of application.

Fees and Funding for Top Environmental Law Degree Programs

Country

University

Annual Tuition Fee

Notable Scholarships

United States

New York University

$31,901.00

Furman Academic Scholars Program

United States

University of California, Berkeley

$49,325.00

Professor Joseph Sax Fellowship

Ellis J. Harmon Prize in Environmental Law & Policy

United States

Yale University

$62,630

F&ES Scholarships

United Kingdom

University of Cambridge

£ 27,720 


Prathiba M Singh Cambridge Scholarship

Wright Rogers Law Scholarships

Australia

The University of Melbourne

AUD $42,688

Alex Chernov Scholarship

Canada

The University of British Columbia

CAD $8,604.66

International Tuition Award

New Zealand

The University of Auckland

NZ$31,510

University of Auckland Law School Postgraduate Awards

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