LLM in Environmental Law & Policy

The Master of Laws (LLM) in Environmental Law and Policy (ELP) offers rigorous interdisciplinary training in environmental, energy and resource law and policy.  This specialized program seeks to provide foreign lawyers with the legal and policy analysis expertise needed to address issues of pollution, toxic substances, climate change, energy, freshwater, protection of living species on both land and in the oceans, land use management, and environmental assessment.  Candidates admitted to the program will pursue an individually tailored sequence of courses that are drawn primarily from the Law School’s curriculum dealing with the environment and public policy, but may also include related courses in other departments at the university.  The program is particularly appropriate for private and public lawyers seeking additional interdisciplinary training that they can use to further environmental and resource law and policy in their home nations or internationally and who wish to become part of a network of graduates working on similar challenges.  So too, it is appropriate for those who intend to apply to the JSD program at Stanford (or elsewhere) with the goal of pursuing research in these fields.

The LLM in Environmental Law & Policy is limited to students with a primary law degree earned outside the United States.  Except under unusual circumstances, candidates must have at least two years of professional legal experience before commencing the LLM program.

LLM students are required to be in residence at Stanford during the full (nine-month) academic year.  They are required to take a minimum of 35 credit units and a maximum of 45 credit units.  Up to 9 units of credit can be earned through courses taken outside the Law School.


Note to applicants: The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program awards full funding to Stanford graduate students from all disciplines, with additional opportunities for leadership training and collaboration across fields.

Applications for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars are due in early Autumn one year prior to enrollment. View dates and deadlines. You can also sign up for Knight-Hennessy Scholars email alerts to stay up to date on the availability of their online application.

Learn more about the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program


The LLM academic program in Environmental Law and Policy includes the following components.  Additional details are provided below.

  1. An introductory course in American and common law;
  2. Participation in an LLM colloquium on current topics in environmental law and policy;
  3. Appropriate courses selected from the regular Stanford Law School curriculum, as well as up to 9 units of relevant courses from other Stanford University departments and programs.

To meet these requirements, each LLM student will develop an individualized course of study to be reviewed and approved by the program director.

LLM students are required to be in residence at Stanford during the full (nine month) academic year. They are required to take a minimum of 35 credit units (and a maximum of 45 units).  The Law School’s Environmental Law Clinic currently is not open to LLM students.

Introduction to American Law

Stanford Law School offers international graduate students an intensive two week Introduction to American Law course in early September, before regular classes begin. This course is required for LLM students. The purpose of this course is to:

  • Introduce internationally-trained graduate students to basic concepts of American law and provide an overview of U.S. legal process and institutions.
  • Teach students how to read and analyze judicial opinions from U.S. courts.
  • Prepare international students to participate in regular Stanford Law School courses.
Environmental Law and Policy Colloquium

All Environmental Law and Policy LLM students will participate in a weekly colloquium directed by the program’s teaching fellow. The seminar will focus on selected issues in environmental law and policy and will feature speakers from governmental agencies, businesses, and NGOs working on environmental issues, as well academic experts. As part of the colloquium, students will prepare and present a research paper focused on the solution of an environmental or energy issue, preferably in the student’s home region. Students also are encouraged to attend other relevant seminars and colloquiums related to environmental law and policy that are held on campus (such as the Stanford Woods Institute’s environmental forum).

Environmental Courses Offered at Stanford Law School

Each year, Stanford Law School offers a variety of exciting and informative courses relevant to the solution of environmental challenges at the local, national, and global levels.  The following is an illustrative list of the relevant courses that have been offered at the Law School during the last several years. Some courses are not offered every year and additional courses may be offered in a particular year.

Visit the courses section of the Law School's website for a comprehensive list of offerings.

General Environmental

  • 280: Toxic Harms*
  • 432: Environmental & Natural Resources Law & Policy Workshop
  • 603: Environmental Law & Policy
  • 650: Advanced Negotiation: Public Policy*

Energy & Clean Technology

  • 326: IP: Patents
  • 329: IP: International
  • 388: Technology, Business, & Law
  • 401: Venture Capital II*
  • 455: Energy Law
  • 465: Venture Capital I
  • 510: Climate & Energy Seminar*
  • 515: Clean Tech: Business Fundamentals & Public Policy†*

Management & Protection of Land & Natural Resources

  • 281: Natural Resources Law
  • 338: Land Use Law
  • 437: Water Law & Policy
  • 514: California Coast: Science, Policy & Law

International Environmental Agreements

  • 285: International Trade Law
  • 479: International Law
  • 605: International Environmental Law & Policy
  • 611: International Conflict Resolution Colloquium
  • 661: Advanced Negotiation: International*

Related Law Courses of Interest

  • 212: Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship
  • 238: Administrative Law
  • 319: Legislation
  • 528: Economic Analysis of Law
  • 634: Law & Public Policy Colloquium*
  • 652: Animal Law
  • 665: Advanced Legal Writing: Legislative Drafting & Analysis*

* Limited enrollment courses or seminars for which admission may be subject to a lottery or permission of the instructor.

Interdisciplinary Course Offerings at Stanford University

As noted, LLM programs are entitled and encouraged to take up to seven units of relevant courses outside of the Law School.  The following is just a sampling of the courses that have been offered in recent years at Stanford University and could be of interest to LLM students.  The specific courses offered in the other schools & departments change frequently and cannot be guaranteed from year to year.  Some courses also have scientific or other prerequisites.  For detailed descriptions on the courses listed below, please visit the Stanford Bulletin's Explore Courses site.

  • Anthropology 262. Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Problems
  • Anthropology 263. Conservation and Evolutionary Ecology
  • Anthropology 266. Political Ecology of Tropical Land Use
  • Biology 247. Controlling Climate Change in the 21st Century
  • Civil & Environmental Engineering 172. Air Quality Management
  • Civil & Environmental Engineering 172s: Green House Gas Mitigation
  • Civil & Environmental Engineering 173A: Energy Resources
  • Civil & Environmental Engineering 177P. Sustainability in Theory and Practice
  • Civil & Environmental Engineering 217: Renewable Energy Infrastructure
  • Earth Systems 143. Climate Change in the West: A History of the Future
  • Earth Systems 224: Environmental Justice: Local, National, & International Perspectives
  • Earth Systems 232: Energy Cooperation in the Western Hemisphere
  • Earth Systems 233. California Climate Change Law and Policy
  • Earth Systems 284. Climate and Agriculture
  • Energy 101: Energy & the Environment
  • Energy 102: Renewable Energy Sources & Greener Energy Processes
  • Energy 104: Technology in the Greenhouse
  • Energy 301: Energy Seminar
  • Environmental Resources 260: Global Freshwater: Challenges and Opportunities
  • Environmental Resources 538: Environmental Science for Managers & Policy Makers
  • GSB 336: Business Models for Sustainable Energy
  • GSB 533: Sustainability as Market Strategy
  • GSB 585: Social Innovation through Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Management Science & Engineering 243. Energy and Environmental Policy Analysis
  • Management Science & Engineering 294: Climate Policy Analysis
  • Management Science & Engineering 295: Energy Policy Analysis
  • Urban Studies 163: Land Use Control