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LLM/PgDipGlobal Environmental Law & Governance

Why this course?

Understanding the development and functioning of environmental law across different levels of environmental governance is an important issue of our time. This requires moving beyond the traditional approach to teaching international, regional, EU and national environmental law in isolation from one other.

There's also a growing need to understand the relevance for environmental governance of the legal practices of indigenous peoples and local communities, business entities, local administrations, and transnational environmental practitioners.

The programme aims to help students critically appraise and creatively contribute to environmental regulation and governance at the international, transnational, national and local levels.

Studying this course, you'll be equipped with a wide range of expertise in environmental law, in areas like:

  • biodiversity
  • land
  • food and agriculture
  • climate change and energy
  • corporate accountability
  • environmental justice
  • water and oceans
  • human rights
  • sustainable development

You'll focus on the global dynamics of environmental law. In particular, you'll look at the mutual influences and interactions among different regulatory levels.

The programme draws both on cutting-edge academic research on global environmental law, and on first-hand professional experience in environmental law and governance at different levels.


Your ability to gain international employment is at the heart of this course. It'll equip you with the skills and expertise you need to pursue a career in:

  • international organisations
  • national governments involved in international, EU and/or transnational law matters
  • non-government organisations that operate at a regional, sub-national, national or international level
  • private companies concerned with international, EU and/or transnational environmental law

The Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance has concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to establish a collaboration on innovative teaching of international environmental law, as well as to arrange for internships at UNITAR for students on the LLM in Global Environmental Law & Governance.

Distinctive features of course

  • specialisation in a range of thematic areas in environmental law
  • innovative focus on the interactions between different levels of environmental regulation & governance (international, EU, national, transnational & sub-national)
  • live for a year in Glasgow, taking part in the research events, activities & projects at the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance
  • open to law & non-law graduates
  • tailored advice on international careers

Work experience

We have a successful track record of helping LLM students obtain competitive international internships with United Nations organisations. These are optional, and their duration and conditions vary depending on the host organisation. They usually start towards the end of the course. 

Our programme directors are currently concluding formal agreements with selected international organisations to secure a number of internships for LLM students each year. 

Career advice

Our course directors will provide advice on international careers. They can give you some insider tips on how to apply for jobs with, for example, the United Nations and will be available to review job applications. 

Network with other professionals

LLM students will become part of a closed alumni group on LinkedIn. This will give you the opportunity to network with other professionals in environmental law and governance. It'll also ensure you're updated on selected job opportunities.

Global Practitioners among teaching staff

This course is taught by one of the most wide-ranging groups of environmental law experts in the UK. Our staff have expertise in: 

  • biodiversity
  • climate change
  • forests
  • oceans and fisheries
  • land
  • water
  • human rights and the environment
  • environmental justice
  • corporate accountability and more

They'll not only draw from their own cutting-edge academic research, but also their involvement in multilateral environmental negotiations, consultancies for the United Nations and regional organisations, legal advice to developing countries on reforms of natural resource laws, and collaborations with non-government organisations and indigenous and local communities’ organisations.

Some of your classes will also include input from many of our external experts and practitioners. This includes those from

  • the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)
  • the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)
  •  the European Commission

Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance

The Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance (SCELG) aims to identify and shape emerging areas of legal research in environmental governance. 

Our students are an integral part of the centre, together with academic staff, PhD students and visiting scholars. You'll have the chance to take part in the research and consultancy work carried out by the centre. You can put your new skills and knowledge into practice, strengthening your CV. 

The BENELEX project

The BeneLex project aims to investigate the conceptual and practical dimensions of benefit-sharing.

You'll be involved in ongoing research on fair and equitable benefit-sharing, in the areas of:

  • international biodiversity
  • climate
  • land
  • oceans 
  • human rights law


You'll take part in SCELG events, and will be responsible for organising the annual Festival of Environmental Law and Governance. There, you'll present your LLM dissertation project, and network with other students and a wide range of experts already working in the area.


Our library has a wide range of law reports, legislation, serials and monographs. It also has duplicate sets of key law report series and houses extensive collections in government publications and other related areas.

You'll have access to a wide range of electronic information which you can access from home. This includes all major legal databases.

Student competitions

You'll be invited to take part in a selection process to participate in the Climate & Sustainability Project (CASP). It's an annual student-run project that explores a particular area of law and policy related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The project culminates every year in an interactive workshop led by students and contributed to by a range of sustainable development experts.

Course content

Core classes

International Environmental Law 1

This class will introduce you to the foundations of international environmental law, including its subjects, sources, principles and measures of implementation. 

It will also provide you with a basic understanding of how compliance and dispute settlement operate in international environmental law, with special focus on the environmental case law of the International Court of Justice.

International Environmental Law 2

This class will further develop your understanding of international environmental law. You'll apply the theoretical legal framework you acquired in Semester 1 to a number of specialised legal regimes. You'll be given the opportunity to explore areas like:

  • biodiversity
  • chemicals
  • energy 
  • oceans
You'll critically discuss the relationship between international environmental law and other areas of international law, like human rights, trade and investment.
Global Environmental Law: Issues of Sustainability and Equity

You'll engage in the cutting-edge debate on global environmental law as an approach to understanding the interactions and mutual influences between international, EU, regional, national and sub-national law (including the customary laws of indigenous peoples and local communities and law-making by other non-state actors).

This class also lends itself to explore the relevance of the comparative legal method for a variety of international and transnational environmental legal scholars and practitioners, by discussing the relevance, methods and challenges of comparative environmental law in a global perspective.

Legal Research

This class is offered by distance learning across both semesters. It'll help you enhance your research abilities and skills with a view to improving your performance.

Elective classes

The opportunity to select from our range of elective classes gives you the chance to pursue your personal interests and tailor your degree to your intended career path. Options include:

EU Environmental Law 1

In this course, students will explore the unique features and complexities of the making, implementation and enforcement of the environmental law of the European Union.

International Climate Change Law

This course will explore the evolving nature and distinctive components of the international legal framework on climate change.

Oceans Governance & the Law of the Sea

This course will explore the main legal regimes related the oceans and seas, with an in-depth focus on recent developments in marine governance in the context of sustainable development.

Other elective classes

Options include:

  • Global Water Policy
  • Energy Resources and Policy
  • Sustainable Energy Governance
  • Fundamentals of Environmental Forensics 

You could also consider taking one of the following if it's related to your proposed dissertation topic:

  • The World Trading System: Law & Policy
  • International Human Rights Law
  • Business & Human Rights
  • European Human Rights Law
  • Human Rights in Comparative Perspective
  • Global Health Rights and Development
  • International Investment Law
  • International Migration Law

Learning & teaching

The course will be taught primarily through face-to-face sessions in the form of weekly interactive seminars. Seminars give you the chance to make sure you've fully understood the subject matter, but also to develop and discuss ideas with your peers, and to develop specific research interests.

You'll be expected to draw on the knowledge and skills you've developed in your undergraduate studies, as well as on other professional or academic experience you've acquired since then, and share them with fellow course participants.

In addition to taught seminars, you'll benefit from a wide-range of activities organised by the Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law & Governance to allow you to broaden your knowledge of and skills in environmental law and policy. 


Assessment is based on your performance in coursework and/or written exam papers. Students seeking award of the Master’s Degree (LLM) will need to complete a dissertation. Some of the assessments will be based on real-life assignments that the teaching staff have engaged with in the context of their practical experience in international consultancies, with a view to developing your skills of immediate relevance to global employers.

Entry requirements

Normally a first class or second-class honours degree, or equivalent, in law or environment-related discipline (some law content recommended). Entry may be possible with other qualifications, upon approval by the course director, if the applicant has accrued substantial professional experience in the area of environmental law, policy and/or management.

Please note: a Law degree is not a prerequisite for entry to this course

English language requirements

You're required to have a suitable minimum level of competency in the English language if your first language is not English or if you have not been educated wholly or mainly in the medium of English.

For postgraduate studies, the University of Strathclyde requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 (no individual test score below 6.0) or equivalent. Tests are valid for two years.

Pre-sessional courses in English are available.

If you’re a national of an English speaking country recognised by UK Visa and Immigrations (please check most up-to-date list on the Home Office website) or you have successfully completed an academic qualification (at least equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree) in any of these countries, then you do not need to present any additional evidence.

If you are from a country not recognised as an English speaking country by the United Kingdom Vis and Immigration (UKVI), please check our English requirements before making your application.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

Upon successful completion, you will be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

Fees & funding


All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.


  • £8,100 - full-time

Rest of UK

  • £8,100 - full-time


  • £15,700

How can I fund my course?

There are several scholarship opportunities available for students applying for this course. Opportunities include:

To recognise academic achievement, the Dean's International Excellence Award offers international students a merit-based scholarship of up to £4,000 towards the first year of tuition fees of a full-time Masters programme in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Check our Scholarship Search for more help with fees and funding.

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students

Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.?

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

International students

We have a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Strathclyde Alumni

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Alumni Discount

10% tuition fee discount is offered to all Strathclyde alumni completing a full-time postgraduate taught course in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


This course has been designed to equip you with the knowledge, understanding and analytical skills necessary for pursuing a career with a strong international focus. You may go on to work as:

  • legal advisors and legislative drafters for national and local governments
  • legal advisors to local, national and international think tanks and non-profit organisations
  • legal and policy officers for international organisations (United Nations, European Commission)
  • legal and policy advisors to private companies
  • associates in international and transnational environmental law firms
  • PhD researchers and university lecturers

Our course directors have a track record of successfully supporting students in obtaining highly competitive international internships and jobs with reputable research institutes, international organisations and non-government organisations. Supporting activities include:

  • review of applications
  • provision of targeted career advice
  • integration of new students in a vibrant, cross-programme alumni community, so as to foster networking activities
  • collaborations on matters pertaining to environmental law after the completion of the LLM

Top tips!




Global Environmental Law and Governance

Qualification: LLM, Start date: Sep 2019, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

Global Environmental Law and Governance

Qualification: LLM, Start date: Sep 2019, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

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