Law and Environmental Science MSc

The University of Nottingham - Faculty of Social Sciences

Program Description

Law and Environmental Science MSc

The University of Nottingham - Faculty of Social Sciences

Law and Environmental Science MSc

This interdisciplinary programme is designed to provide an opportunity to explore the interplay between scientific knowledge and law. You may take courses that address the international legal response to the growing number of pressures on the global environment, and complement these by studying a variety of courses designed to give an introduction to physical and/or biological sciences.

Climate change, acid rain, biodiversity conservation, species extinction, contaminated land - these are but a few of the environmental issues that constitute headline news today. Modules offered by the School of Law are designed to give a wider understanding of EC and international law perspectives on environmental problems that frequently can only be addressed through regional or international regulation. How has international environmental law evolved historically? Who are the main actors in the field? What key principles underpin regulation? What do we mean by the pursuit of “sustainable development”? How is the law in this area enforced?

Treaty regimes explored include those relating to acid deposition, climate change, ozone layer depletion, nuclear contamination and freshwater pollution. In addition, an insight will be given to the various treaty regimes that seek to address the continuing pressures on the world’s biodiversity. For example, how is commercial whaling now regulated? What system is in place to regulate trade in endangered species? What of the protection of wetlands, Antarctica, world heritage and of migratory species?

The scientific element of the programme is designed to provide a background in biological and/or physical sciences, and also an understanding of relevant mathematical and computer science to facilitate a quantitative understanding of environmental issues.

Addressing these issues to ensure a clean and healthy environment for the enjoyment of future generations is one of the greatest challenges for environmental science and law.

Key facts

  • The School of Law is rated as ‘internationally outstanding’ (Grade 5A on a scale of 1-5) for its research and as ‘Excellent’ for its teaching quality.
  • The School enjoys important professional relationships with international institutions; leading firms in the City of London and the provinces; private industry and consultancies; and non-governmental organisations.
  • The School of Biosciences is one of the largest and strongest Schools of its kind in the UK.
  • It has consistently achieved high ratings in independent UK assessments of both research and teaching quality, receiving an RAE grade of 5A and 23/24 in the latest Teaching Quality Assessment.
  • The Sutton Bonington Campus is a self-contained, 16-hectare site in the beautiful countryside of South Nottinghamshire and it offers a number of dedicated facilities applicable to this course.

Course details

This programme enables you to take courses that address the international legal response to the growing number of pressures on the global environment, and complement these by studying a variety of courses designed to give an introduction to physical and/or biological sciences.

Introductory modules in science or law are compulsory for students without a science or law background to maximise access to the range of courses on offer. In addition, the joint syndicate exercise and individual research project are compulsory for all students.

Beyond these modules, you will be free to choose additional modules from the range of compatible law and science modules available, subject only to the requirement that a minimum number of law and science modules are selected.

The MSc in Law and Environmental Science can be taken on a full-time basis over 1 year or part-time over 2 years.

The taught component of the course (worth 120 credits) will be taken over two semesters; you will then undertake a 60-credit supervised dissertation over the summer period towards the end of the course.

Your work in science will be undertaken alongside those engaged in other postgraduate programmes offered by the School of Biosciences, notably the MSc in Environmental Science, while on the law side you will attend classes in the company of students enrolled in the Law School’s LLM in Environmental Law.

Classes involve a variety of forms of learning experience, including lectures, seminar discussions, student presentations, practical sessions and field trips, depending upon the precise range of options selected.

An individual research project is compulsory for all students, while optional courses are assessed by a mixture of coursework essays, laboratory reports and traditional examinations.


  • Arctic Ecology Field Course
  • Biodiversity and International Law
  • Contaminant Fate and Impact in the Environment
  • Ecosystem Services and Human Wellbeing
  • Environmental Law Coursework
  • Environmental Management in Practice
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Foundations of Environmental Management
  • General Themes and Principles of International Environmental Law
  • Global Climate Change
  • International Law of The Sea
  • International Law of Transboundary Pollution
  • International Law of Treaties
  • Law, Development and the International Community
  • Plants and the Light Environment
  • Plants and the Soil Environment
  • Project Management and Environmental Legislation
  • Rights, Humans and Other Animals
  • Soil and Water Pollution and Reclamation

Please note that all module details are subject to change.


MSc graduates have gone on to pursue a variety of careers, whether in environmental consultancy, private legal practice, government agencies or voluntary sector.

Opportunities also exist to develop expertise acquired from the course still further through registration for a postgraduate research degree, either at Nottingham or elsewhere, or by obtaining work experience in an international organisation through participation in one of the growing number of formal internship programmes.

Entry requirements:2.1(Upper 2nd class hons degree or international equivalent)

Including:Degree in physical, enviromental or biological science.

Other requirements

:Mature applicants without standard entry requirements but with substantial and relevant experience may be considered.

IELTS:7.0 (with no less than 7.0 in writing, 6.5 in reading and 6.0 in speaking and listening)

Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic:67 (no less than 67 in writing, 62 inreading, and 55 in listening and speaking)

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated August 14, 2015
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2016
1 - 2 years
Part time
Full time
Start date Aug. 2016
United Kingdom Nottingham, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 1 - 2 years
Price Request Info