International Environmental Law
Develop the legal skills and knowledge needed to address key issues around major global challenges such as environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, climate change and pollution.
1 year full-time
Our LLM in International Environmental Law equips you with the skills and knowledge to make your own contribution to how governments and organisations are seeking to address the profound environment and climate challenges that are having a massive impact on the lives of people around the world.
You will learn about legal techniques and instruments such as treaty-making, governance and legal orders that provide the framework on which internationally agreed environmental goals are based and which support action taken to tackle issues such as environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change, ozone depletion and plastic pollution.
You will also learn about renewable energy and the role of carbon markets and trading regimes and, as well as climate litigation, you will study the crucial human rights dimension in the protection of the environment and the role of the judiciary in governing action taken and changes made.
The course is delivered against a backdrop of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals and will look at international treaties on environmental protection and at the science driving legal developments, providing you with in-depth learning on the principles of international environmental law and on the relationship between legal systems and science in developing such law.
In particular, you will study the Paris Agreement, which represents a significant milestone in the area of international climate change and will look at the objectives and concepts of the agreement in the context of societal change, equity, and the role of science.
The course is designed to address how international environmental law is constantly evolving, how it has shaped legal principles, and how it works together with other areas of law.
International Law on Climate Change introduces the topic of climate change, seen as a common concern of humankind and a complex global challenge that involves law, policy and science. You will learn to understand the wider socio-legal context in which climate law and policy is embedded, including aspects of energy law, an ecological perspective on climate impacts and an awareness of the wide-ranging consequences of climate change. You will also study the impact of science on law and policy making on climate change and will learn about contemporary political and legal responses to the issue.
Global Environmental Law will familiarise you with the institutions, structures, norms, rules and principles across the globe which seek to govern the relationship between human beings and the environment and the module will enable you to understand their legal nature and functions and the barriers to further achievement. You will also analyse the achievements and challenges of the legal attempts to govern the global environment.
Applied Research Methods in Law provides specialised knowledge on the latest research methods and skills used 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.
The Dissertation is based on your particular research interest in an area of international environmental law and can be of one of three lengths – 10,000, 15,000 or 20,000 words. It is equivalent to 2, 2.5 or 3 modules, depending on word count.
Depending on the dissertation length and prior subject knowledge, you can choose a number of subject specific optional modules (* indicates half modules) which in previous years have included:
Any remaining options can be chosen from a wider selection of law modules which have previously included:
Learning on the course will be through a mixture of lecture-style teaching and through seminars, and there is also a dissertation to complete.
Lectures will introduce key subjects and will highlight the existing debates and discussions around them. Seminars will be smaller-sized classes which will develop the subjects introduced in the lectures and enable you to build your knowledge through discussion in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere. You will be expected to carry out your own independent study in preparation for the seminars which will also aim to enhance your communications skills as you will present your findings.
In addition to taught modules, you must produce a dissertation which is the product of your own independent research. Depending on the route chosen your dissertation can be anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 words.
We are home to the Sustainable Development Research Centre and as a student on the LLM in International Environmental Law you will also be invited to join with activities in the research centre.
Assessment on the LLM is thorough and carried out through writing tasks with the majority of the modules assessed through essays of 3,000-6,000 words in length. The core module on applied research methods will be assessed on a proposal you will present for a research topic. You will present a dissertation on an area of international environmental law of interest to you of up to 20,000 words.
A good 2:1 degree (or its equivalent) in law, or in a degree in which law is a major component.
|Home students||£12,750 per year|
|EU students||£26,900 per year|
|Island students||£12,750 per year|
|International students||£26,900 per year|
The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities.Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries
Our graduates enjoy highly successful careers across a diverse range of sectors as solicitors, barristers, consultants and more. Current graduates are on the Supreme Court, and in government, the Court of Appeal and Parliament.
We are a leading centre of legal research in the UK with an equally strong commitment to excellence in teaching and learning. We have modern, purpose-built, state-of-the-art facilities. Featuring a moot court, the Harvard-style Hogan Lovells lecture theatre, spacious dedicated work suites with superb views of Durham Cathedral, attractive social areas, and modern wireless and audiovideo-enabled research spaces, this is one of the most striking and best-equipped law buildings in the UK.
For more information visit our department pages.
By choosing to read Law at Durham you will be studying in one of the most beautiful cities in the UK. Certainly, there are few places that can match its dramatic setting on a rocky horseshoe bend in the River Wear. The Law School is located in Durham University’s flagship Palatine Centre, part of a £48.4m sustainable building development and winner of the 2013 Local Authority Building Control Building Excellence Northern Award for best education building. Facilities include a Moot Court, dedicated workroom, academic offices, and a Pro Bono Room, as well as a Harvard Style lecture theatre and many seminar and tutorial rooms.
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