Environmental Law LLM


Fact file

LLM Environmental Law
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Entry requirements
2.1 (or international equivalent) in law, humanities or social sciences
Other requirements
7.0 (with no less than 7.0 in writing, 6.5 in reading and 6.0 in speaking and listening)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
University Park
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.


This course offers an insight into the international legal response to environmental challenges, from global warming, to the destruction of vital habitat sites.
Read full overview

The international community faces the task of addressing an increasing number of environmental challenges. The LLM Environmental Law provides an insight into the international legal response to these challenges, which include global warming, ozone layer depletion, the over-exploitation by mankind of wildlife species and the destruction of vital habitat sites.

The modules available cover a wide range of relevant contemporary issues, and their purpose is to provide a solid grounding in international environmental law as applied in a particular context.

Modern techniques of environmental regulation are also addressed, such as the funding mechanisms for international environmental treaties (eg Biodiversity Convention, Ozone Layer Convention) and the procedural requirement for environmental impact assessment of certain activities under international law.

Key facts

  • The School of Law was ranked 41st best law school in the world, and 9th in the UK, by the QS World Rankings by Subject 2016
  • Since its introduction in 1987, our LLM programme has continued to grow in popularity and prestige and now attracts some 140 to 160 students each year, from more than 50 countries, confirming its status as one of the leading LLM programmes available
  • Research-led teaching means that you will be exposed to current issues, advanced debate, and innovative thinking and regular guest seminars and lectures, delivered by distinguished scholars and practitioners complement teaching in the school
  • Dedicated resources for students in the school, including a Legal Skills Advisor who delivers workshops and one-to-one sessions, a Law School computer room, and a Law Reading Room in the Hallward Library, contribute to a unique and positive learning experience
  • The school enjoys professional relationships with international institutions, leading UK law firms, private industry and consultancies, government departments, both foreign and domestic, and non-governmental organisations

Course details

You must complete at least 90 credits worth of modules from the qualifying specialist module options for the Environmental Law LLM. The remaining 30 credits required to complete the taught stage of the degree can be chosen from the full suite of modules offered across all of our LLM programmes.

In addition, you must choose a dissertation topic which falls within the field of environmental law. Guidance and support on deciding a dissertation topic and designing your project will be provided through bespoke workshops and one-to-one support.


The LLM programme operates small group seminar teaching wherever possible, allowing for an integrative and interactive learning experience. You are encouraged and expected to prepare for, and participate in, seminars so that you get the maximum benefit from these teaching sessions.

Modular assessments

All taught courses are assessed by examination or essay, or a combination of both. All assessments take place at the end of the spring term.

Practice assignments, workshops on issues such as exam technique and time management, as well as one-to-one sessions with the Legal Skills Advisor are offered throughout the academic year to prepare you for these assessments.



Qualifying module options

Biodiversity and International Law

This module examines the mechanisms by which international law seeks to protect and conserve biological diversity in terms of species and ecosystems, as well as genetic diversity within species.

General Themes and Principles of International Environmental Law

The module is designed to elucidate those general themes and principles that have emerged from the substantial body of detailed rules regulating the environment in international law, particularly since the 1972 Stockholm conference on the Human Environment. It will consider the extent to which these rules are evolving into a coherent legal regime.

International Investment Law

This module deals with key aspects of the international system for the regulation of foreign investment. The module focuses primarily on issues arising from investor-host state relations under Bilateral Investment Treaties or BITs and some other International Investment Agreements or IIAs but also touches upon international investment contracts, where relevant.

Special attention will be given to the means of regulating investment using such instruments, including standards of treatment and breaches thereof, the taking of foreign property and the settlement of investment disputes by means of arbitration.

International Law of the Sea

The module will consider:

  • the history and evolution of the law of the sea 
  • baselines, internal waters and the territorial sea 
  • straits, archipelagos and the contiguous zone
  • the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone 
  • the high seas
  • the international seabed area and ice-covered areas
International Law of Transboundary Pollution

The module examines the techniques and mechanisms by which international law seeks to protect the atmosphere and freshwater resources from various forms of pollution.

International Law of Treaties

This module examines the legal regime governing the adoption, implementation, interpretation, amendment and termination of international agreements within the wider context of the role and significance of treaties in the international legal order.

Law, Development and the International Community

This module examines some of the relationships between law and development. After examining both the notion of development per se and the right to development as a human right, the module moves on to cover a number of individual issues where the relationship between law, development and human rights can be explored.

Subjects covered include:

  • the concept of development and the role of international law in promoting "development"
  • the regulation of aid
  • the WTO and developing countries
  • intellectual property and access to medication
  • the protection of traditional knowledge
  • agriculture
  • food aid and food security
  • sustainable development
  • gender and development
Maritime Law

The module is designed to address the law relating to maritime casualties, their aftermath and transactions associated with shipping.

Principles of Public International Law

The module is primarily concerned with those customary and treaty rules governing relations between States. This module aims to give candidates a thorough grounding in the principles of PIL. The basic topics include: nature of international law, sources, actors in the international legal system, jurisdiction and state responsibility.

Rights, Humans and Other Animals

This module covers:

  • the changing perspectives on the status and treatment of animals
  • developments in the field of protection of the human person
  • philosophical foundations of human rights and applicability to other species
  • the current regime governing the protection of animals under international law
  • the notion of rights and implications of its extension to other species


The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



A scholarship to the sum of £4,000 is available from the School of Law's Treaty Centre to support the completion of either the LLM Environmental Law, or the MSc Law and Environmental Science. The scholarship will be awarded to the most deserving candidate.

All applications for these two degrees received by 1 July 2017 for a place in the 2017/18 academic year will automatically be considered for the scholarship. Applications received after that date will not be considered for this award.

The School of Law advertises a variety of funding opportunities each year, please see the funding opportunities webpage for further information.

There is also funding information on the Graduate School website.

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Applications for 2017 entry scholarships will open in late 2016. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.



Our postgraduate students move into an extraordinarily wide range of careers. Many graduates either go into the legal profession or return to their previous legal careers with their experience and prospects enhanced by their experiences on the course. A large number also work with NGOs, or return to their countries with the relevant skills to help add to the future development of that country.

A selection of graduates progress onto our PhD programme each year, in order to progress their academic career. These students often choose to stay at The University of Nottingham beyond their doctorate, with a number of our current academics having completed both the LLM or Masters and PhD programmes with us before becoming members of staff.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2015, 93% of postgraduates in the School of Law who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £27,031 with the highest being £40,800.*

* Known destinations of full-time home higher degree postgraduates 2014/15. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career prospects and employability

The acquisition of a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential.

Our Careers and Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.

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