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VT Law School Launches First Online Degree in Environmental Law

May 5, 2011

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT -- Vermont Law School, the nation's premier environmental law and policy school, will launch two online degree programs on May 16, including America's first online master's degree program in environmental law for non-lawyers.

The all-online format is designed to deliver a robust educational experience that is flexible and accessible for professionals who need to continue working while completing their degree. Students enrolled in the inaugural online Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP) and the online LLM in Environmental Law, for post-JD attorneys, will develop the expertise to address the world's increasingly complex environmental issues.

Professor Marc Mihaly

Professor Marc Mihaly

After several years of research that included online pilot courses, VLS decided to embrace distance learning to serve the fastest-growing population of graduate students in the United States. Professor Marc Mihaly, director of the VLS Environmental Law Center (ELC), said distance learning provides the best avenue for the nation's top-ranked environmental law school to reach individuals who want expertise and resources in environmental law and policy but who can't venture to South Royalton to take classes or participate in degree programs. More than 100 students are expected to enroll in the first year and 230 students in the second year.

"By providing a platform for students to explore environmental law and policy with our world-class faculty at their own pace and within their own constraints, we will extend Vermont Law School's unique brand of excellent environmental legal training and commitment to public well-being to a vast array of communities and to the world," Mihaly said.

Vermont Law School, which has been at the forefront of environmental law and policy since 1978, has been ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report 14 times since their specialty rankings began in 1991.

VLS's bold venture will lead nonprofit, mission-driven law schools in the development of the appropriate standards for distance education, according to Associate Professor Rebecca Purdom, director of distance learning.

Associate Professor Rebecca Purdom

Associate Professor Rebecca Purdom

"Other institutions are watching us, looking to our example as the way to offer responsible, effective and valued legal education in the 21st century," she said. "VLS will set the standard for a new kind of distance education."

Learn more about the online master's programs.

Professor Purdom can be reached at 802.282.3070 (cell), 802.831.1217 (office) or

Professor Mihaly is available at 802.831.1214 or

MEDIA CONTACT: John Cramer, Associate Director of Media Relations

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