• For Entry: January | September
  • Duration: 12 months
  • School: Social Sciences
  • Study Mode: Full Time

We are facing environmental challenges and addressing these needs effective legal and policy tools. Develop your skills to pursue a career in this exciting area.

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

The Earth today is facing major environmental challenges: climate change, loss of biodiversity and over-exploitation of natural resources. Addressing these requires effective legal and policy tools, internationally, nationally and locally. Dundee has the expertise to enable you to develop the key skills and knowledge to pursue a career in this exciting area of law and policy.

The University of Dundee has one of the largest groups of environmental and resource management lawyers on its staff in the UK. Staff have advised at the highest levels, practised, published and taught widely in a broad range of areas of law including: environmental regulation, energy, sustainable development, land use planning, nature conservation, forestry, water, arctic governance, and law of the sea.

Besides being taught by leading experts, the Dundee programme gives you a conceptual understanding of the main legal issues related to environmental protection and more widely, sustainable development. This is coupled with knowledge of the subject sufficient to enable and encourage the critical evaluation of current and future research and practice in the field. The choice of modules and dissertation topic allows you to focus on the environmental and sustainability issues that are important to you.

What our students say...

“Having spent time travelling after completing my LLB and Diploma at Dundee, I decided to apply for a Masters in Environmental Law. I had worked with both Professor Ross and Professor Reid during my undergraduate degree, and was aware of Dundee’s expertise in this field. I was also interested in learning more about a growing area of law, with a significant international element that I had not focused on during my previous studies.

While the Masters was, at times, incredibly challenging, it also allowed me the freedom to look at areas of law I became interested in. I was able to use my experiences travelling to research the legal state of the Great Barrier Reef and learnt from my Thai classmates about the practicalities of planning law and the use of renewable energy in a different country. My classmates all had different experiences and knowledge to share - whether they were from Croatia, Norway or just outside Dundee.

While writing my dissertation, I applied to and was accepted on the Civil Service Fast Stream. The skills I learnt during the Masters have been relevant through my placements in different government departments, helping me to learn quickly about new subjects and summarise large amounts of information quickly.“

Katie Hood, 2013, now Civil Service Fast Stream, London


Top in Scotland

Law is ranked number 1 in Scotland and number 3 in the UK by the Guardian University Guide (2019). We’re also in the UK Top 10 in The Times and Sunday Times Complete University Guides, 2019.

Dundee Law School

Dundee Law School is widely recognised as an excellent place to study.  We have been ranked as the top Law School in Scotland (Guardian University Guide 2019) and in the top 10 in the UK (Times and Sunday Times Complete University Guides, 2019).  This builds on particularly strong results in the National Student Survey, which has repeatedly ranked Dundee as first in Scotland. Over the last two national reviews of research, Dundee is the only institution in the UK to have had all of its submissions rated as “internationally excellent” or “world-leading”. 

Our commitment is to provide high-quality instruction, with a focus on practical relevance, to prepare you for a successful career, at home or abroad. We offer an induction programme at the start of each semester, to ensure that you have the necessary understanding of the UK and European legal systems and of what is required of you in a study environment seeking to develop independent learning

We seek to integrate you into the life of the School, with invitations to guest lectures and seminars. We also have an annual reading party in a beautiful country house, where you are joined by staff to work on academic skills and relax with fellow students.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework

How you will be taught

In your six taught modules you will learn through preparation for and participation in a weekly two-hour seminar. All are taught by way of small group seminar discussion. You will be given reading to prepare in advance of seminars and will engage in discussions with lecturers and fellow students during the seminars. This mode of teaching will help you gain confidence in your ability to read, understand and analyse materials and in presenting your ideas in front of your peers.

How you will be assessed

Substantive modules: continuous assessment plus end of semester examinations in December and March/April. Compulsory dissertation: 15,000 words.

What you will study

You can choose from a range of modules designed to develop their knowledge and understanding of issues connected with the environment and the law.


Semester One (Students must take three)

  • Environmental Regulation (compulsory)

This module provides an overview of the main concepts and mechanisms used in regulating human impact on the environment. The topics covered include: liability licensing regimes; enforcement strategies and tools; economic instruments; and integrating environmental concerns into wider decision making processes.

  • Principles of Sustainability

This is an interdisciplinary module which explores the origins, interpretations and popularity of the concept of sustainable development and the principles underlying it. It is taught by experts from all parts of the School of Social Sciences including law.

  • International Petroleum Law and Policy
  • International Law of Natural Resources and Energy

These modules are taught by energy law experts in CEPMLP. The impact of energy law and policy on environmental matters and more widely sustainable development is significant especially in resource dependent countries

  • Frameworks for Water Resource Management

This module is taught by expert water law staff in the UNESCO Centre for Water Law and Policy. Water supply, services, quality and equitable distribution are key features of both environmental law and sustainable development

Semester Two (Students must take three)

  • Transformation for Sustainability

This is an interdisciplinary module which examines the approaches, tools used for the effective implementation and delivery of sustainable development. Once again, it is taught by experts from the wider social sciences including law.

  • Global Human Rights

This module is taught by experts in the Law School. Human rights impact on environmental health and sustainable development.

  • National and Comparative Oil and Gas Law
  • Environmental Law and Policy for Natural Resources and Energy
  • International Relations and Energy and Natural Resources

These three modules are taught by energy law experts in CEPMLP. The impact of our use of natural resources on environmental matters and more widely sustainable development is significant especially in resource dependent countries.

  • International Law of Water Resources
  • Governance and Regulation of Water Services
  • Politics of Environment and Climate Change

These modules are taught by expert water law staff in the UNESCO Centre for Water Law and Policy. Water supply, services, quality and equitable distribution are key issues in international environmental law.

Several other relevant modules are available within the Law School and the wider School of Social Sciences (see for examples modules offered by Politics and Town and Regional Planning). If students wish to choose a different option from those listed above please speak to Professor Ross.

Graduates of the environmental law programme have gone on to work in environmental law practices, central Government, environmental agencies, non-governmental organisations and several have moved on to doctoral research and academic careers.

What our students say...

“My reason for undertaking the LLM programme in Environmental Law was to deepen my knowledge of both domestic and international environmental law, which I had initially encountered during my time as an undergraduate at the University of Dundee. As a University of Dundee graduate, I knew that the academic staff would ensure that I would experience, analyse and debate a wide range of environmental issues at Masters level. The Land Use Planning and Environmental Regulation modules provided an in-depth look at the policy considerations and practicalities of legislating for environmental matters at a domestic level, while the Sustainable Development and Ecosystems and International Law modules introduced me to legal theories and ideas which now feature in my doctoral research.

After completing the LLM at Dundee, I secured funding from the Irish Research Council to undertake a PhD at University College Cork, Ireland under the supervision of Dr A?ine Ryall. The PhD examines how the right to access environmental information is guaranteed and the application of legal transplant theory. The overall goal is to identify strategies to improve how this right is guaranteed in domestic legal regimes. As part of the doctoral programme, I have recently returned from a research visit at Vermont Law School and I have been invited to present my research at international conferences and workshops in Europe and the United States. This success was possible thanks to the support and assistance I received from the Faculty at Dundee during the LLM programme. While challenging, the knowledge and skills I obtained and developed have proven vital for my doctoral studies and my career development more generally.“

Sean Whittaker, 2013, now PhD candidate, University College Cork

Applicants must have, or expect to receive in the anticipated year of entry, a good honours degree in law. Exceptionally, non-law graduates with relevant legal experience may be considered. If you are concerned that your qualifications do not meet our normal expectation then please contact us.

 EU and International qualifications

English Language Requirement

IELTS Overall 6.5
Listening 6.0
Reading 6.0
Writing 6.0
Speaking 6.0

 Equivalent grades from other test providers


English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fee statusFees for students starting academic year 2019-20
Scottish and EU students £7,300 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
Rest of UK students £7,300 per year of study
See our scholarships for UK/EU applicants
Overseas students (non-EU) £16,450 per year of study
See our scholarships for International applicants

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your education at the University over and above tuition fees in an academic year.

Examples of additional costs:

One off costOngoing costIncidental cost
Graduation feeStudio feeField trips

*these are examples only and are not exhaustive.

Additional costs:

  • may be mandatory or optional expenses
  • may be one off, ongoing or incidental charges and certain costs may be payable annually for each year of your programme of study
  • vary depending on your programme of study
  • are payable by you and are non-refundable and non-transferable

Unfortunately, failure to pay additional costs may result in limitations on your student experience.

For additional costs specific to your course please speak to our Enquiry Team.

You apply for this course through our Direct Application System, which is free of charge. You can find out more information about making your application when you click Apply Now below

  Degree Course code
Apply nowEnvironmental Law LLMP035703

Course Contact

Professor Peter McEleavy
Dundee Law School
+44 (0)1382 384452