Master of Environmental Law (MEL) & Graduate Diploma in Environmental Law (GradDipEnvLaw)

Climate and Environmental Law

The program

The Environmental Law program prepares graduates for professional work in various fields of environmental practice, governance, consulting and management by equipping them with skills and knowledge to negotiate the legal and policy issues affecting environmental regulation and protection. The core curriculum covers legal issues arising from the protection of natural resources, the prevention of pollution and the planning of urban development and infrastructure. The elective curriculum explores the fields of climate change, energy, water, international environmental law, biodiversity and heritage protection, marine and coastal law, the regulation of new technologies, human rights and comparative environmental law. The MEL has been designed to meet the needs of both Australian environmental legal and other specialists as well as international students.

The Program combines the experience of full-time and adjunct lecturers at Sydney Law School, as well as an International School which brings experts from various jurisdiction to teach in specialist units of study. The program is open to lawyers and those with degrees in other disciplines. It provides candidates with opportunities to meet and learn from others involved in environment-related disciplines, including law. The program is characterised by a wide range of options and flexible learning arrangements, such as intensive units taught over a period of four to five days and the opportunity to take units from other related disciplines. The program has a strong international and comparative focus, with a specialist focus on climate change.

Program structure

The Master of Environmental Law (MEL) requires the completion of 48 credit points, equivalent to eights units of study. The Graduate Diploma requires 24 credit points for completion, equivalent to four units of study. Most of the units on offer carry a value of six credit points each.

Attendance pattern

Each unit of study entails 26 contact hours. Units are offered on a semester length basis or intensive basis. Semester length units are taught once a week over 13 weeks on either a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evening between 6pm and 8pm. Intensive units of study condense the 26 hours over a period of four to five days. The units are then taught between 9am and 5pm over a block period. For example, an intensive unit may be taught two consecutive days one week and then two consecutive days in a fortnight's time. All classes are held in the Law School or another Sydney CBD location.


(from first enrolment)
Master's Coursework FULL-TIME 18-24 CP 6 YEARS*
Graduate diploma FULL-TIME 18-24 CP 3 YEARS*
*Periods of suspension, exclusion or lapsed candidature will be added to the maximum completion times except that no completion time will exceed 10 years from first enrolment. Credit will not be granted for previous studies older than 10 years at the time of first enrolment. If a student is admitted with credit, the School will determine a reduced time limit for completion of the award course.

Units of study

Please note: some units of study may have pre-requisite requirements or prohibition guidelines and may not be available to those without a law degree. Please check with the Sydney Law School directly if in doubt.

Students commencing studies in Semester 2, 2017 may defer completion of the compulsory unit LAWS6044 Environmental Law and Policy until Semester 1, 2018 when it will be next offered.

Please select from the dropdown box for the units of study list:

Core Units of Study (2017)

Candidates must either have completed or be concurrently enrolled in the core unit(s) of study prior to undertaking the elective units of study

Environmental Law and Policy
Legal Reasoning and the Common Law System *

*Candidates without a law degree from a common law jurisdiction must undertake this unit prior to enrolling in other law units.

Independent Research Project

Candidates for the Master of Environmental Law (MEL) may complete a Independent Research Project (12 credit points), over one or two semesters. The research project requires submission of a substantial research paper of 15,000 to 20,000 words.

 Independent Research Project Closing Dates  Semester 1  Semester 2
Application to undertake Independent Research Project  (doc)
  30 September
30 April

Enrolment enquiries

Applications are still open. However, some units may have restricted class size and compulsory units may run early in the semester. It is strongly recommended that applicants submit their application on time to avoid disappointment. Please contact the Postgraduate Team for further details.

Current students

Future Students

Please refer to the Admission to candidature - School Handbook

Please read through How to apply and ensure all relevant application documents are available to upload before applying online:

Master of Environmental Law (MEL)

Graduate Diploma in Environmental Law (GradDipEnvLaw)

Please note: There is no mid-year intake of International students for the Graduate Diploma in Environmental Law.

Program Co-ordinators

Professor Rosemary Lyster


For further information on individual staff, their research interests and publications, please refer to the Our People section of the website.