Advanced Certificate in Environmental Law

Professor Nolon lectures his class on Land Use Law

JD candidates at Pace Law may structure their courses of study to attain the Advanced Certificate in Environmental Law as part of their law degrees. Authorized by the New York State Department of Education and offered to both practicing attorneys and current students, this certificate signifies proficiency in the fundamentals of environmental law and provides a basic grounding for practice in the field.

With more than 40 elective courses, our Environmental Law Program offers students one of the widest selections of environmental courses of any law school. Our program has repeatedly achieved national acclaim for its environmental clinic, externships, and centers, in which our students may participate for credit towards the Advanced Certificate in Environmental Law. Students pursuing the Certificate may engage in these environmental law clinical and externship programs. They also benefit from the campus presence of candidates – many from other countries – for the Master of Laws (LLM) degree in Environmental Law and the Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) degree in Environmental Law, who enrich the classroom with their experience and diverse perspectives.

Enrollment in the Advanced Certificate in Environmental Law is available for non-matriculated students who already have a JD. Please contact Achinthi Vithanage, Associate Director of Environmental Law Programs, for additional information.

Requirements of the Advanced Certificate

All candidates must complete at least 16 environmental course credits with an average GPA of 3.00 (B) or better, and no grade below a C in those courses.

These credits must include:

  • Administrative Law
  • Environmental Law Skills & Practice
  • Environmental Survey

Candidates must also take at least one of the following:

  • Agriculture Law
  • Energy Law
  • Food Systems & the Environment Law
  • Land Use Law
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Water Rights and Resources
  • International Environmental Law
  • Climate Change Law
  • Environmental Justice

The remaining environmental law courses may be selected from the numerous environmental law electives and for-credit experiential learning opportunities offered. Note that only 3 credits from each clinic/externship may be applied towards the Certificate requirements.

Additional Requirements

Candidates must complete at least one of the following for-credit environmental experiential learning opportunities:

  • Environmental Litigation Clinic
  • Food and Farm Business Law Clinic
  • NY Environmental Externship
  • UN Environmental Diplomacy Practicum
  • Washington D.C. Summer Environmental Externship
  • Externship at Land Use Law Center
  • Externship at Pace Energy and Climate Center
  • 2-Credit Guided Externship with the Land Use Law Center / Pace Energy and Climate Center (contingent on work completed)
  • Legal Services Externship (contingent on environmental placement)
  • Corporate Externship (contingent on ESG/Sustainable Business Law work being completed)
  • Social Justice Advocacy Externship (contingent on environmental placement)
  • Semester in Practice (contingent on environmental placement)

Candidates must complete one significant research paper on an environmental law topic, broadly defined

  • It must be in the form of a research paper, scholarly article, legal memorandum, or law review note. The written product must be at least 15 double-spaced pages, demonstrate an appropriate level of legal research and analysis, be well-organized and well-written, and contain ample citation to legal authority. Other products may be accepted with prior approval by the Executive Director or Associate Director of the Environmental Law Programs. A student may use their ULWR to satisfy this requirement if it is written on an environmental topic.

Attend the Mandatory Environmental Law Certificate meetings each semester.

Maintain an overall GPA of 2.8 or better.