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LLM in Global Environment and Climate Change Law

LLM in Global Environment and Climate Change Law

Course Overview



The LLM in Global Environment and Climate Change Law is designed to provide you with specialist knowledge of the legal issues and techniques related to environmental protection and the management of natural resources, with a focus on climate change.

During your studies you’ll evaluate the historic and on-going development of international, European and national law for environmental protection, exploring the inter-relations between these different levels of law making.

You will develop the skills required to analyse the activity of international and supranational legal and political institutions, national governments and domestic courts, NGOs and businesses in the private sector, which are working in environmental protection and natural resources management.

You may also have the opportunity to take environment-related courses from other University of Northampton schools, including the School of Social and Political Science and the School of GeoSciences, and Northampton University Business School.

Why study global environment and climate change law?

Environmental Law is a dynamic, fast-developing and globally important area of law that requires not only specialist legal knowledge but also understanding of underpinning political, economic and scientific issues.

Our LLM in Global Environment and Climate Change Law has been designed to address demand for this specialist knowledge and to serve as a gateway to employment and research opportunities in environmental law, protection and regulation.

The programme is designed for recent law graduates seeking a career in this field and law professionals or anyone working in an environmental field who would like to enhance their knowledge in this field to help further their existing career.

Many of our graduates go on to make a difference in exciting and relevant roles for organisations and businesses all over the world. Here are just a handful of examples:

  • Sustainable Development Advisor, Royal Dutch Shell, The Hague
  • Transatlantic Fellow, the Ecologic Institute, Berlin
  • Foreign Services Officer, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Intern, Secretariat of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), Bonn
  • Research Assistant on Fossil Fuel Subsidies, Overseas Development Institute, London



We offer a wide range of subjects across environmental and climate change law from an international perspective, as well as options from other disciplines. This enables you to tailor the programme to meet your specific interests.

This programme can be taken full-time over one year, or part-time over two years . It offers a wide range of subjects that deal with various aspects of private law from a comparative perspective, with the possibility of choosing additional courses so as to enable you to tailor the LLM to meet your specific interests.

The programme consists of 180 credits, comprising taught courses worth 120 credits (60 credits per semester) and a 10,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits. 


Compulsory course

You must take this course.


  • International Environmental Law (40 credits, full-year course)

    The principal aim of this course is to give you an understanding of contemporary developments in international law with regard to the protection of the environment and the sustainable utilisation of natural resources. Particular attention will be paid throughout the course to the processes of international law-making, regulation and institutional management.

Core course

You must select between 40 and 80 credits of the following courses:


  • Climate Change Litigation: Practice and Theory (20 credits)

    Climate change is a global issue, which requires international cooperation in order to be tackled. However, the actions developed at local, national and regional levels are absolutely crucial. First, their study is indispensable to assess the effectiveness of the global climate policy. Second, while international negotiations have not been successful in the last years, concrete actions have been implemented at national and regional levels. The sub-international levels of governance are therefore becoming the most dynamic and influent power centres in the fight against climate change.
    EU climate and energy law offers a fascinating example of the dynamism of sub-international levels. It also reveals the intricate relations between international, regional and national levels when it comes to climate policy.
    On one hand, the EU’s policy is influenced by its international commitments and by the international negotiations. On the other, the EU aims to become the leader of climate governance, by tailoring its internal law to achieve this objective. EU climate and energy law is meant to be ambitious and to influence third countries. Therefore, the class will be interesting for EU and non-EU students alike.


  • International Climate Change Law (20 credits)

    This course seeks to give you an in-depth and interdisciplinary insight into the major legal instruments of international climate change law, including the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol and the emerging mechanisms. You are expected to have a sound knowledge of public international law. A familiarity with basic economics and international relations theory is also helpful but not essential.


  • International Law of the Marine Environment (20 credits)

    This course will focus on the environmental provisions of the 1982 Convention on Law of the Sea and related agreements, including the UN Fish Stocks Agreement and IMO treaties, as well as biodiversity-related agreements. Selected topics will address protection of the marine environment, conservation of marine ecosystems and biodiversity, sustainable fishing, preservation of marine mammals, regulation of pollution from ships and land-based sources, freedom of marine scientific research, liability for damage to the marine environment, and the role of the UN, IMO, FAO and CBD in ocean governance.


  • International Law of the Sea (20 credits)

    The aim of the course is to introduce you to the contemporary challenges in the regulation of the world’s seas and oceans. The focus of the course is on the legal framework contained in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and related instruments. You will be introduced to the various zones of maritime jurisdiction created under the 1982 Convention, including the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone, the high seas, the continental shelf, and the International Seabed Area, as well as to questions of maritime delimitation. You will also study the role of international institutions in the development of the law of the sea and how states have tackled new issues that have arisen since the conclusion of the 1982 Convention. Finally, the course will cover the settlement of maritime disputes through the compulsory dispute settlement provisions of the 1982 Convention.


  • Risk and Regulation: Theories and Practices (20 credits)

    This course provides a detailed exploration of risk and its regulation, examining how regulatory frameworks are shaped and/or respond to new and emerging human activities, many of which rely on or prompt new modes of action, new technologies, new relationships, and, importantly, new risks.
    Focusing on biomedical case studies in the second half of the course, it explores different regulatory theories, instruments and institutions – legal and non-legal, domestic, regional and international – that govern and shape individual and organisational conduct. Specifically, following detailed investigation of the concept of risk and regulatory theories and practices, the course explores regulatory frameworks in biomedicine (health research and medicinal products and devices), and how they interact with other regulatory frameworks (e.g. EU governance, public health, data protection), concluding with a session on alternative (non-risk-based) approaches to regulation. You will then have an opportunity to present a topic in risk and regulation in the last three sessions of the course.

External course

You may be able to select between 0 and 40 credits from courses outside of the Law School depending on availability and with the express permission of the Programme Director.


  • Participation in Policy and Planning (20 credits)
  • Forests and Environment (20 credits)
  • Principles of Environmental Sustainability (20 credits)
  • Values and the Environment (20 credits) 
  • Human dimensions of environmental change and sustainability (20 credits)
  • Understanding Environment and Development (20 credits)
  • Sustainable Marine Development (20 credits)
  • Marine Ecosystems and Policies (20 credits)
  • Global Environment: Key Issues (20 credits)
  • Climate Change, Justice and Responsibility (20 credits)
Optional course (Everyone 20 credits)
Company Law
Fundamental Issues in International Law
International Environmental Law
Criminal Justice and Penal Process
Theoretical Criminology
Contract Law in Europe
Mental Health and Crime
Law and the Enlightenment
Intellectual Property Law 1: Copyright and Related Rights
Intellectual Property Law 2: Industrial Property
International Investment Law
International Law of the Sea
Law of E-Commerce
The legal challenges of information technologies
International Intellectual Property System
Data Protection and Information Privacy
International Private Law: Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments
Corporate Social Responsibility and the Law
International Commercial Arbitration (one semester)
The Anatomy of Public Law
EU Competition Law
International Criminal Law (one semester)
Inter-state Conflict and Humanitarian Law
The Law of International Trade
International Law of the Marine Environment
Delict and Tort
Comparative and International Trust law
International Climate Change Law
Sexual Offending and the Law
Comparative Corporate Governance
Corporation Law and Economics
Regulation of international Finance: the Law, the Economics, the Politics
Global Crime and Insecurity
Responding to Global Crime and Insecurity
European Labour Law
Insolvency Law
Communications, networks, and the law
Human Rights and Conflict Resolution
Practice of Corporate Finance and the Law
Practice of International Banking and the Law
International Human Rights Law
Human Rights Law in Europe
Fundamental Issues in Medical Jurisprudence
Contemporary Issues in Medical Jurisprudence
Reasoning with Precedent
Medical Negligence
International and European Media Law
Principles of Corporate Finance Law
Family Law in Comparative Perspectives
The Law of Secured Finance
Criminological Research Methods
Advanced Issues in International Economic Law
General Principles of Criminal Law
Current Issues in Criminal Law
Intellectual Property Law, Innovation and Creativity
Biotechnology, Bioethics and Society
Natural Law: An Historical Introduction
Robotics, AI and the Law
European Law Moot Court
Brexit: Withdrawal from the European Union
Fundamentals of Comparative Private Law
Governance of Innovative Medicine
Contemporary Issues in Exploiting Intellectual Property
Advanced Comparative Constitutional Law
Advanced Issues in Human Rights
Fundamentals in Bioethics
Public Health Ethics and Law
Risk and Regulation: Theories and Practices
International Investment Arbitration: Theory and Practice
WTO Law 1
WTO Law 2
Trusts across the Common Law World
Human Rights Clinic
Theories of the International Legal Order
Prisons and Places of Confinement
Genocide and the Law
The Integrity of the EU’s Internal Market
Child Law in Comparative Perspectives
The EU’s Changing Constitution

Entry requirements


We require a minimum USA 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in law. We will also consider candidates with a USA 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a social science subject.

Applicants with a degree from a USA country other than the USA

If you have a non-USA degree, please check whether your degree qualification is equivalent to the minimum standard before applying.


English language requirements

Postgraduate study in the field of law requires a thorough, complex and demanding knowledge of English, so we ask that the communication skills of all students are at the same minimum standard.

Students whose first language is not English must therefore show evidence of one of the following qualifications below:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module).
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module).
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 61 in each of the Communicative Skills sections).
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module).
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III (with a pass in all four components).

Your English language certificate must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

We also accept an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by USA Visas and Immigration . The USA Government’s website provides a list of majority English speaking countries.

View the USAVI list of majority English speaking countries

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, or equivalent, that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about the University’s English language requirements

Your application may not be successful if you do not currently satisfy any of these requirements; alternatively, you may be offered a place conditional on your reaching the satisfactory standard by the time you start the degree.

How to apply


We recommend that you apply as early as possible; this is particularly important for students holding conditional offers (for example, you may need to allow sufficient time to take an English language test) and for overseas students who may need time to satisfy necessary visa requirements (for further, country-specific information, please consult the website of the Northampton University) and/or to apply for University accommodation.


Documentation required

Applications are made online via the University Application Service, EUCLID.

Please follow the instructions carefully and make sure that you have included the following documentation with your application:

  • Degree certificates showing award of degree.
  • Previous academic transcripts for all past degree programmes.
  • A reference in support or your application. The reference should be academic and dated no earlier than one year from the start of study on the LLM programme.
  • Evidence of English language proficiency, if required.

If you are currently studying for your degree or you are not in a possession of an English test result you may still apply to the programme. Please note that it is your responsibility to submit the necessary documents.

After you apply

After your application has been submitted you will be able to track its progress through the University’s applicant hub.

Application processing times will vary however the admissions team will endeavour to process your application within four to six weeks of submission. Please note that missing documentation will delay the application process.

You will be informed as soon as possible of the decision taken. Three outcomes are possible:

  • You may be offered a place unconditionally
  • You may be offered a conditional place, which means that you must fulfil certain conditions that will be specified in the offer letter. Where a conditional offer is made, it is your responsibility to inform the College Postgraduate Office when you have fulfilled the requirements set out.
  • Your application may be unsuccessful. If your application has not been successful, you can request feedback from us or refer to our guidance for unsuccessful applicants, which explains some of the common reasons we why we reach this decision.
    View the University’s guidance for unsuccessful applicants
Terms and conditions of admissions
  • The University’s terms and conditions form part of your contract with the University, and you should read them, and our data protection policy, carefully before applying.

    Northampton University admissions terms and conditions