Students in UCLA Law's environmental law J.D. specialization create a demonstrated record of study and experience and prepare for careers with public-interest organizations, government agencies, and private law firms. In addition to doctrinal environmental law courses, students in the specialization represent clients through our environmental law clinics and serve as externs with nonprofits and government agencies. Students in the specialization benefit from robust faculty advising, with each student developing an individualized curriculum package. For details on UCLA Law’s Environmental Law Specialization, scroll down to the FAQs on this page.
Pursuing the Environmental Law Specialization
We encourage any student with an interest in environmental, energy, natural resources, or land use law to consider the specialization. Prior to admission to the specialization, J.D. students are required to meet with one of the faculty advisors to discuss their areas of interest.
Declaring the Specialization
J.D. students are encouraged to declare their intention to pursue the specialization during the spring semester of their 1L year, and ordinarily are required to do so before the end of the fall semester of 2L. With the permission of the faculty advisors, a student may elect to join the specialization later. Transfer students are also eligible to apply for the specialization.
The Environmental Law Specialization does not provide a separate admissions track into the law school. Students interested in UCLA School of Law and the Environmental Law Specialization should apply to the law school through the regular admission channels.
- How do I learn more?
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the Environmental Law Specialization have a separate admissions track for admission to UCLA School of Law?
No. The Environmental Law Specialization does not have a separate admission track into the law school. Students interested in UCLA School of Law and the Environmental Law Specialization should apply to the law school through the regular admission channels.
I haven’t yet enrolled in law school yet. Are there resources for learning more about UCLA Law’s environmental law opportunities?
The faculty advisors are always happy to talk to prospective students and admitted students about our course offerings and other aspects of life as a UCLA Law student interested in environmental law. They may also be able to put you in touch with current students or alumni with similar interests.
- I’ve completed my 2L year and just realized I’m interested in environmental law. May I still elect the specialization?
I’m a transfer student recently admitted to UCLA School of Law. What should I do if I might be interested?
Email the faculty advisors and they will help you.
I’d like to enroll in a course that isn’t on your Requirement B course list and have it count towards the specialization.
The Specialization Committee will consider adding and removing courses each year from the course list based on our knowledge of the curriculum. We will also consider case-by-case requests by individual students, with a justification of the course’s relevance to a particular student’s environmental law education and training. Please contact the faculty advisors for more information.
If I have elected to pursue the specialization, do I need to follow through with it if I change my mind?
No. A final decision to elect the specialization need not be made until spring of the 3L year. If a student does not complete all requirements, there is no consequence to the student except not receiving the diploma notation, and even a student who completes all requirements may decide not to elect the diploma notation.
How should I designate the specialization on my resume or C.V.?
While still a student, you may note that you are pursuing in the environmental law specialization. Once you graduate and the school confirms that you have fulfilled the specialization requirements, you may note that you were awarded the specialization. This award will also be noted on your transcript and diploma.
Example of resume language: J.D., UCLA School of Law, environmental law specialization awarded (or expected)
I am an LLM student. May I enroll in the environmental law specialization?
Please consult the LL.M. specialization page for more information.
J.D. students are required to complete five courses with a grade of B- or better in each course to complete the program, fulfilling both Requirements A and B of the specialization. Students must also complete a supervised research paper relevant to environmental law that meets the Substantial Analytical Writing (SAW) Requirement, as described further below. Each student in the environmental specialization develops an individualized curriculum plan to fulfill these requirements in consultation with a faculty advisor. Students may petition the Environmental Law Specialization Committee to have other relevant courses or independent studies counted toward the specialization. Externships relating to environmental law may count as satisfying one course towards fulfilling Requirement B. A student wishing to use an externship as a qualifying course must receive the prior consent of the designated faculty advisor. Consent will require a demonstration that the externship will provide exposure to relevant substantive areas of law. Regardless of the number of externships or externship units a student completes, a student may use externships to count, at most, as one course towards Requirement B. Please note that not all courses will be offered every year. Please note that students pursing the Environmental Law Specialization do not receive priority enrollment for any course in Group A or Group B. There is no effective enrollment cap in any of the required courses in Group A. Students are encouraged to enroll for Group B courses they are interested in as early as possible in the enrollment period to avoid disappointment. Please contact the specialization directors, Cara Horowitz and Sean Hecht, with any questions about curriculum or enrollment.
- Requirement A Course List
Requirement B Course List
Requirement B is that a student take at least three other courses from a list of all courses with content in environmental, natural resources, land use, and energy law, and international or comparative environmental law. The list of courses (including seminars and clinics) that currently satisfy Requirement B is below. One-unit courses count as only half a course for this purpose.LAW 216
Administrative LawLAW 286
Land UseLAW 293
Public Natural Resources Law and PolicyLAW 321
Legislation and RegulationLAW 350
Energy Law and RegulationLAW 438
International Environmental Law and PolicyLAW 443
Comparative Environmental LawLAW 490
Renewable Energy Project FinanceLAW 513
Topics in California Environmental LawLAW 527
Natural Resources LawLAW 560
Regulation of the Business Firm: Theory and PracticeLAW 591
Climate Change Law and PolicyLAW 611A/B
Climate Change and Energy LawLAW 615
Ocean and Coastal Law and PolicyLAW 619
Environmental Justice LawLAW 689
Future Law: Legal & Governance Responses to Transformative Societal TrendsLAW 692
Water LawLAW 719
Frank G. Wells Environmental Law ClinicLAW 738
California Environmental Legislation and Policy ClinicLAW 741
Environmental Aspects of Business TransactionsLAW 742
Students must complete a supervised research paper relevant to environmental law that meets the Substantial Analytical Writing (SAW) Requirement. All students electing the specialization will consult with and obtain approval of the designated faculty advisor in advance of completing this requirement. This paper may be completed for a seminar course (including a course being used to fulfill Requirement B), or may be a standalone independent study paper. Coursework need not be complete before the student meets the environmental law writing requirement.