SOAS University of London

School of Law

LLM Environmental Law and Sustainable Development. (2020 entry)

Select year of entry: 2021 2020

  • Q&A
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
  • Apply

Overview

The LLM in Environmental Law and Sustainable Development provides a unique specialisation in a rapidly evolving area of law that covers a range of issues at the heart of major contemporary developments and debates. This programme offers a wide range of distinctive modules that combine a focus on core subjects in the field alongside a critical inquiry into the theory and practice of environmental law, particularly as they relate to the global South.

Why SOAS?

The SOAS degree offers a distinct and unique mix of modules that covers the main areas of environmental law in their international and national dimensions, with a focus on the global South.

At SOAS, we understand environmental law as deeply connected with human and social issues. This is why our compulsory introductory course is a course on Law Environment and Social Justice. This also explains why human rights dimensions find repeated place in our courses.

Our international environmental law focused courses (International Environmental Law, Climate Change Law and Policy, and Law and Global Commons) will offer you a strong bases in some of the main challenges arising at the international and global level and provide you particular insights in the global South-global North aspects of relevant regimes that are on the whole structured around a North-South dichotomy.

We also offer courses focusing more specifically on the resource dimension of environmental law. At SOAS, we take a broad view of the subject matter and our Law and Natural Resources course addresses a broad variety of natural resources beyond the traditional focus on oil and gas and does so in particular in terms of the livelihoods and human rights consequences of natural resource use. Our water courses (Water Justice: Rights, Access and Movements and Water and Development: Commodification, Ecology and Globalisation) address the increasingly crucial and under-studied field of water and do so from an inter-disciplinary perspective in collaboration with the department of Development Studies.

The programme is anchored in the research carried out at SOAS on environmental law whose institutional home is the Law, Environment and Development Centre (LEDC). The LEDC is the focal point for environment-related research activities in the School of Law, including a vibrant PhD cohort, an annual seminar series, the publication of the Law, Environment and Development Journal (LEAD Journal), and other activities linked to ongoing research. As students on the LLM in environmental law, you will be invited to become student members of the LEDC, providing you an opportunity to become involved and engage with the SOAS research community and actors in the field, which includes many scholars in different departments and inter-disciplinary centres, such as the Centre for Development, Environment and Policy and the Centre for Water and Development.

Why you?

The programme is ideal for LLB graduates or legal professionals with an interest in the theory and practice of environmental law and related fields, particularly as they relate to the global South.

After you graduate, you will join graduates from the LLM at SOAS, many of whom are now working as environmental lawyers, in environmental NGOs and consultancies, in government, in policy work at the national or international level (UN or other) or in academia (please also see the ‘employment’ tab on this page).

Please note that the LLM is restricted to applicants who hold a LLB. If you do not hold a LLB but are interested in pursuing a master’s degree in environmental law at SOAS see details of the MA here.

 

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

Entry requirements

  • We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.

Featured events

duration:
One calendar year (full-time)
Two, three or four years (part-time, daytime only)
We recommend that part-time students have between two-and-a-half and three days a week free to pursue their course of study.

Fees 2020/21

UK/EU fees:
£15,615
Overseas fees:
£22,550

Fees for 2020/21 entrants. This is a Band 5 fee. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Postgraduate Tuition Fees page

Convenors

Q&A

Introducing Postgraduate Studies in Environmental Law and Sustainable Development
Philippe Cullet

Professor of International and Environmental Law, Philippe Cullet, outlines the features of the SOAS programme in this rapidly expanding area of both domestic and international law.

What does the course involve?

Environmental challenges abound and are increasingly shaping our lives and our future. These include the ubiquitous issue of climate change, and the ongoing sixth mass extinction of species and pollution, caused by items of everyday use such as plastics. The LLM in Environmental Law and Sustainable Development explores all the most important environmental issues of our time at the international level, with a particular focus on North-South issues, particularly looking at countries of the Global South. The study of environmental law at SOAS goes far beyond the traditional aspects of environmental law. Indeed, we focus as much on environmental conservation as on the use of environmental or natural resources. This reflects the broader notion of sustainable development that reflects the links between the environment, social equity and economic growth. The courses we offer reflect these broad categories and include overviews of international environmental law, climate change, natural resources, and water.

What kind of students will the course appeal to?

This course will appeal to anyone who wants to better understand the implications of the anthropocene (referring to the current geological age during which human activity has been the dominant influence on the planet) for the environment; students interested in the human rights dimensions of environmental protection; students interested in understanding the links between conservation and the use of natural resources; and anyone concerned by our future survival as a species, as well as our individual place on the planet.

What facilities are available?

SOAS offers strong support for environmental law in the School of Law through the Law, Environment and Development Centre (LEDC), which brings together the different law-related activities in the department, including seminars, PhD scholars and the Law, Environment and Development Journal (LEAD Journal) co-published by the LEDC. SOAS also offers a strong interdisciplinary framework for environmental studies with a number of lecturers in departments as varied as development studies, economics, and politics.

What is special about the programme at SOAS?

SOAS offers a unique programme that combines a strong focus on traditional environmental law issues, a combination of courses interrogating international and national law and policy with a distinct focus on the North-South dimension of environmental law, unparalleled expertise in jurisdictions of the Global South, and courses that are novel in their approach, such as natural resources law that address cutting-edge policy areas, such as water.

Can you recommend a good book to read on Environmental Law?

As an entry point to some of the main strands of study we undertake at SOAS, Louis Kotzé ed., Environmental Law and Governance for the Anthropocene (Hart Publishing, 2017) provides a good introduction to the broader challenges faced by the planet, and Elena Blanco and Jona Razzaque, Globalisation and Natural Resources Law: Challenges, Key Issues and Perspectives (Edward Elgar, 2011) is relevant on issues related to natural resources.

What do students do after graduating?

Students have gone on to take up a variety of exciting opportunities. Some graduates have decided to carry on with further academic studies and have undertaken a PhD in environmental law; some have gone on to practice environmental law in their own countries; some have worked for environmental consultancies, such as Milieu in Brussels or specific environmental law advisory organisations, such as ClientEarth and Climate Law and Policy; some have gone on to work on environmental issues in international organisations; and some have gone on to work more broadly on sustainable development in international NGOs and inter-governmental organisations. A postgraduate degree in environmental law and sustainable development thus opens up many doors, reflecting the broad scope of the course and the multiplicity of ways in which it can be applied in the workplace.

Structure

Students must take modules to a total value of 180, consisting of a dissertation (60 credits) and 120 credits of taught modules. Taught modules are worth either 15 or 30 credits.

Students who wish to graduate with a specialised LLM are required to take at least 60 credits associated with his or her specialised LLM, a further 30 credits within the School of Law (General Law Postgraduate Taught Module List), and a final 30 unit which can either be taken within the School of Law or from the Language Open Options or Non-Language Open Options pages with the LLM Programme Convenor’s permission. The dissertation topic will be undertaken within the LLM specialisation.

Please note: Not all modules listed will be available every year. Please see the individual module page for information.

Dissertation

Dissertation (12,000 words), on a topic related to the specialism of the degree

Module Code Credits Term
LLM Dissertation in Law 15PLAD178 60 Full Year
Taught Component
Guided Option

Choose modules from the List A below to the value of 45 credits

AND

Choose a module(s) from the List A or General Law PGT Options below to the value of 30 credits

AND

Choose a module(s) from the List of General Law PGT Options below or from Postgraduate Open Options to the value of 30 credits

 

All students take the below core module

Module Code Credits Term
Law, Environment and Social Justice 15PLAH067 15 Term 1
List A
Module Code Credits Term
Climate Change Law and Policy 15PLAC154 15 Term 2
Law and Natural Resources 15PLAC126 30 Full Year
Water Justice: Rights, Access and Movements (Law) 15PLAH044 15 Term 1
International Environmental Law I 15PLAH073 15 Term 1
Law and Global Commons 15PLAH070 15 Term 2
Water and Development: Commodification, Ecology and Globalisation (Law) 15PLAH076 15 Term 2
General Law Options
Module Code Credits Term Availability
Gender, Law and Society in The Middle East and North Africa 15PLAH056 15 Term 2
Gender, Sexuality and Law: Selected Topics 15PLAH061 15 Term 2
Gender, Sexuality and Law: Theories and Methodologies 15PLAH062 15 Term 1
Human Rights and Islamic Law 15PLAC150 30 Full Year
International Commercial Arbitration 15PLAC153 30 Full Year
International Investment Law 15PLAH063 15 Term 1
Islamic Law (MA/LLM) 15PLAC121 30 Full Year
Law and Development in Africa 15PLAC160 30 Full Year
Law and Society in Southeast Asia 15PLAH049 15 Term 2
Law and Society in the Middle East and North Africa 15PLAC130 30
Law, Rights & Social Change 15PLAH064 15 Term 1
Preliminary Law, Legal Reasoning and Legal Methods 15PLAC162 0 Term 1
International Migration Law 15PLAH068 15 Term 2
International Refugee Law 15PLAH069 15 Term 1
Law and Society in South Asia 15PLAC129 30 Full Year
Law, Environment and Social Justice 15PLAH067 15 Term 1
Climate Change Law and Policy 15PLAC154 15 Term 2
Colonialism, Empire and International Law 15PLAH025 15 Term 2
Comparative Constitutional Law 15PLAH046 15 Term 2
Foundations of International Law 15PLAH021 15 Term 1
Human Rights of Women 15PLAC112 30 Full Year
International Criminal Law 15PLAH055 15 Term 1
International Protection of Human Rights 15PLAC119 15 Term 1
Justice, Reconciliation and Reconstruction in Post Conflict Societies 15PLAC123 30 Full Year
Law and Natural Resources 15PLAC126 30 Full Year
Law and Postcolonial Theory 15PLAH050 15 Term 2
Islamic Law in Global Financial Markets 15PLAC159 30 Full Year
Israel, Palestine, and International Law (30Cr) 15PLAC133 30 Full Year
The Law of Armed Conflict 15PLAH022 15 Term 2
Water Justice: Rights, Access and Movements (Law) 15PLAH044 15 Term 1
Intellectual Property Law (PG) 15PLAC182 30 Full Year
Law and Global Commons 15PLAH070 15 Term 2
International Environmental Law I 15PLAH073 15 Term 1
Water and Development: Commodification, Ecology and Globalisation (Law) 15PLAH076 15 Term 2
Multinational Enterprises and the Law I 15PLAH077 15 Term 1
Multinational Enterprises and the Law II 15PLAH078 15 Term 2
Business and Human Rights in the Global Economy 15PLAH079 15 Term 1
Comparative Company Law 15PLAH080 15 Term 2
Israel, Palestine and International Law 15PLAH081 15
Palestine, Resistance, and the Law 15PLAH082 15
Alternative Dispute Resolution I 15PLAH083 15 Term 1
Alternative Dispute Resolution II 15PLAH084 15 Term 2
International laws on the use of force 15PLAH020 15 Term 1
Gender, Armed Conflict and International Law 15PGNH005 15 Term 1
Non-Law Options

Other non-law options might also be available, for example:

Module Code Credits Term
Global Energy & Climate Policy 15PFFC017 30 Full Year
Open Options Note

Open options will need approval of deputy PG programme convenor (LLM or MA)

 

Programme Specification

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Contact Hours

All Masters programmes consist of 180 credits, made up of taught modules of 30 or 15 credits, taught over 10 or 20 weeks, and a dissertation of 60 credits. The programme structure shows which modules are compulsory and which optional.

As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study, including reading and research, preparing coursework, revising for examinations and so on. It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others. At SOAS, most postgraduate modules have a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week, but this does vary.

More information is on the page for each module.

Knowledge & Understanding

  • Students will acquire specialist knowledge of environmental law in an international and comparative perspective.
  • This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, knowledge and understanding of the following:
  1. the theoretical and practical underpinnings of environmental law internationally;
  2. the context in which law is made, interpreted, adjudicated, and amended;
  3. the role played by law, particularly environmental law in different situations internationally, particularly its role in promoting sustainable development in the global South;
  4. the role and function of legal institutions in managing the environment and natural resources;
  5. the weight and significance of different sources and methodologies.
  • Students will develop knowledge of how to locate relevant materials and assess their relevance and/or importance

Intellectual (thinking) Skills

  • Students should develop rigor in analysis and assessment of legal arguments.
  • Students should develop the ability to understand, summarise and critically assess differing perspectives on theoretical debates.
  • Students should develop independence of thought and the confidence to challenge the accepted wisdom.
  • Students should learn to identify issues and formulate questions for further research through independent work.
  • Students will be encouraged to bring to bear their own previous experience and knowledge in addressing legal issues in an interdisciplinary manner.

Subject-based Practical Skills

The programme will help students develop the ability to:

  • Write clear research essays and dissertations.
  • Research in a variety of specialized research libraries and institutes and online, and retrieve, sift and select information from a variety of sources.
  • Present seminar papers and defend the arguments therein.
  • Discuss ideas introduced during seminars.
  • Develop essay and dissertation research questions.
  • Read legal source materials rapidly and critically.
  • Present legal arguments in moots and debates.

Transferable Skills

The programme will enable students to:

  • Communicate effectively in writing.
  • Structure and communicate ideas and arguments effectively both orally and in writing.
  • Read and comprehend significant quantities of reading rapidly and effectively and develop critical faculties.
  • Find and use a variety of written and digital materials, especially legal materials, in libraries and research institutes.
  • Present (non – assessed) material orally.
  • Develop teamwork skills.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.

This is a Band 5 tuition fee.

Fees for 2020/21 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Fees go up each year, therefore, your tuition fee in your second & subsequent years of study will be higher. Our continuing students, on the same degree programme, are protected from annual increases higher than 5%.

Full-time  Part-time 2 Years Part-time 3 Years LLM only 4 Years                     
UK/EU Students Overseas Students UK/EU Students Overseas Students UK/EU Students Overseas Students UK/EU Students Overseas Students
£15,615 £22,550 £7,810 £11,275 £5,205 £7,515 £3,905 £5,640

Scholarships

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section

Employment

Students have gone on to take up a variety of exciting opportunities. Some graduates have decided to carry on with further academic studies and have undertaken a PhD in environmental law; some have gone on to practice environmental law in their own countries; some have worked for environmental consultancies, such as Milieu in Brussels or specific environmental law advisory organisations, such as ClientEarth and Climate Law and Policy; some have gone on to work on environmental issues in international organisations; and some have gone on to work more broadly on sustainable development in international NGOs and inter-governmental organisations. A postgraduate degree in environmental law and sustainable development thus opens up many doors, reflecting the broad scope of the course and the multiplicity of ways in which it can be applied in the workplace.

A Student's Perspective

My time flew by in London. I made a lot of wonderful friends at SOAS, and we often attended the various events put on by the Student Union and student societies, which ranged from musical performances to debates to movie screenings.

Kate Van Akin, Harvard University, Law School

Apply

Find out more

  • Contact us
    By phone:
    +44 (0)20 7898 4700
    By email:
    study@soas.ac.uk
  • Got a question?

    If you still have questions about this programme or studying at SOAS get in touch.

    Ask a question

  • Apply

    Postgraduate programme applications should be made through our online application system.

    Start your application