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Environmental Law - master


Duration:2 År
Credits (ECTS):120

The successful completion of the Programme leads to the awarding of a joint degree (120 credits), named:

- Master of Legal Science (Uppsala University)

- Master of International and Comparative Law (University of Eastern Finland)

- Master of Laws in Environmental Law (UiT The Arctic University of Norway)

In order to achieve the joint degree, students must complete all NOMPEL courses.

The awarding of the joint degree is documented in one Joint Diploma. ln addition, following requirements arising from national legislation, University of Eastern Finland will issue a separate degree certificate to all students graduating from the Programme.

The Joint Diploma with the Diploma Supplement will be sent to the graduate, subject to application by the graduate. Uppsala University is responsible for administering the Diplomas to the student.

Admission requirements:Bachelor of Law corresponding to at least three years of full-time study (180 ECTS credits) or a university degree of at least 180 ECTS credits, comprising or in combination with at least 90 ECTS credits in legal studies + motivational letter
Application deadline:16. januar
Application code:

Programme description

General description:

Throughout their studies at Uppsala University, University of Eastern Finland and UiT the Arctic University of Norway, NOMPEL students acquire in-depth knowledge of the law on effective management of natural resources, including the protection of biodiversity, and climate change and the energy transition. NOMPEL builds on the expertise at the three partner institutions.

Updated course descriptions for the courses taught at the different institutions are available at the respective institution’s website.

First semester: Uppsala University (UU)

The first semester of the programme, comprising 30 ECTS, is spent in Uppsala. During this semester two themes are addressed. The first is a general introduction to the role of law in the formulation and implementation of environmental policies. This comprises the functions and potentials of different environmental legal instruments and principles, as well as how legislation and legal principles can counteract implementation of environmental objectives and green growth. Students will also learn how international and EU environmental law interact with national law, using Nordic countries as examples, as well as the basic structures and challenges of environmental law making and implementation.

The second theme of the first semester is more substantive and relates to the effective management of natural resources, including the protection of biodiversity. The objective is to analyse the relation between the management of natural resources (forest, water, wind etc.) and the interest of conserving biodiversity, as stipulated in international law, EU law and also the law of the Nordic states. This part of the first semester also constitutes the introduction to natural resource management and biodiversity protection, various subfields of which are subject to in depth discussions during subsequent semesters.

Second semester: University of Eastern Finland (UEF)

The second semester of the programme is spent at the School of Law of the University of Eastern Finland (UEF), Joensuu. The university is home to the Centre for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law (CCEEL), which brings together around 80 senior and junior scholars specialised in climate change, energy, natural resources and environmental law. At UEF, NOMPEL students take courses, for a total of 30 ECTS, comprising the following themes: climate change law and policy; international environmental law; green transitions; international forest law; international water law; environmental and social impact assessment. All NOMPEL courses at UEF are taught by international experts, providing unique insights into developments in international, European, and national environmental law. At UEF, NOMPEL students also have access to a host of extracurricular activities organised for all CCEEL Masters students.

Third semester: UiT the Arctic University of Norway (UiT)

The third semester is spent at UiT the Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø. At UiT you find one of the worlds’ largest research centres for the law of the Sea (Norwegian Centre for the Law of the Sea, NCLOS), devoted to teaching and research on the law of the sea and marine environmental law.

The studies at UiT add to and broadens the student’s in-depth knowledge on marine resource management and biodiversity protection and energy and climate change Law. The courses in Tromsø are taught subsequently and gives a total of 30 ECTS.

The first course focuses on marine environmental law and sustainable use of living marine resources and includes studies on the protection of biodiversity in marine harvesting, in areas within and beyond national jurisdiction, and offers case studies on regional implementation. 

The second course provides students with advanced knowledge of the interdependence between climate and energy, including the implications of climate change law for the energy sector, renewable energy, emissions trading and carbon capture and storage. The course will also offer case studies from the Arctic. 

Fourth semester: The master's thesis

The fourth semester is administered by UiT, where the students must register, though students are not required to stay in Tromsø throughout the entire semester. Students will produce an individual master’s thesis on a topic related to the subjects taught in the programme. The topic must be approved by UiT, which will also appoint an academic supervisor.

All students are required to attend a mandatory course training students in legal methodology, thesis structuring and writing skills. Each thesis is evaluated and graded by two examiners appointed by UiT.

Programme structure

10 ects 10 ects 10 ects
1. sem. (autumn) JUR-3920 Master´s thesis in Joint Nordic Master Programme in Environmental Law (NOMPEL) - 30 stp. JUR-3619 Energy and Climate Change Law - 15 stp. JUR-3623 Protection of Marine Environment with focus on Marine Living Resources Law - 15 stp.

Learning outcomes

The objective of NOMPEL is to educate and examine master students with competencies in three complementary domains, as stipulated in the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), annex 2:

Knowledge and Understanding: Candidates can:

Competence and Skills: Candidates have the ability to:

Judgement and Approach: Candidates can:

Teaching and assessment

Problem solving and active student participation are the essential components of NOMPEL. Teaching methods include, inter alia, analyses of court cases and constructed hypothetical cases, and discussions related to student presentations.

NOMPEL teaching staff encourages critical thinking and independent study. Students are offered a wide range of teaching and learning activities as appropriate to the aims of the individual courses. These include (a) lectures followed by plenary discussion - sessions supported by written texts and presentations; (b) seminars organised as participative lectures or with student presentations; and (c) workshops and smaller seminar groups exploring the themes of the preceding presentations or addressing pre-given tasks, texts and questions. The writing of individual assignments represents an integrated part of the learning approach. Students are encouraged to use study groups as a resource for learning and debate. The use of learning approaches varies within individual modules and university traditions, but all participants are encouraged to develop a common course identity. Students are responsible for creating study groups, to consolidate shared interests and to pursue a more in-depth study of an issue.

Continuity and progression are assured by means of the design of the curriculum. The first semester lays the foundations and provides the basis for understanding approaches, perspectives and tools in international and EU environmental law and the law on energy transition. The second and third semester provide in-depth studies of (i) natural resources management and biodiversity law and (ii) climate change and energy law. The fourth semester enables students to consolidate and expand their understanding of the subjects covered in the Programme, by pursuing an independent research project linked to the subjects taught in the programme.

The institution responsible for each course determines the rules and processes concerning the assessment and grading of that course.

The student must have obtained 75 ECTS in NOMPEL courses in order to progress to the fourth semester.

Language of instruction


Job prospectives

It is clear, that environmental law is extensive and growing internationally, within the EU and nationally. Therefore, expertise in this complex legal field is requested, not least in connection with a sustainable management of natural resources and the protection of biodiversity and in the field of climate and energy law. Environmental law experts are needed at ministries, at state and municipal authorities, in courts, within the EU Commission, and the UN Environmental Program, as well as in companies, law firms, environmental organisations, etc. A degree from the NOMPEL program should then be very competitive.

This degree is very valuable if you apply for PhD studies in environmental law. Environmental law research is very active, not least in the Nordic countries. Universities require competent researchers and professors in the discipline. Having a degree in environmental law is also an important merit if you apply for another Master programme with environmental focus.