Vermont Law School offers students the opportunity to earn both a Juris Doctor degree and a Master of Energy Regulation and Law (MERL) degree in three years, the period of time ordinarily required to earn the JD degree alone. To earn both degrees on this accelerated schedule, JD/MERL students are permitted to count up to nine credits of energy and environmental course work toward both degrees. In addition, MERL students take classes in the VLS Summer Session and/or pursue an externship during the summers after their first and second years.
The JD/MERL degree program responds to the rapid growth of the alternative energy sector as well as the environmental problems associated with traditional energy production. The emergence of a smart electric grid and the prospects for electrifying the transportation sector are revolutionizing the energy field. The JD/MERL program provides students with practical training in public advocacy and writing for a legal policy audience, opportunities for independent research with support from faculty, and externships at organizations around the country and the world.
Graduating with two degrees from Vermont Law School is an attractive path for students who are passionate about energy issues. The joint degree program offers a deeper and richer educational experience. It also opens up additional employment options by equipping students with a greater understanding of energy law and credentials demonstrating a strong commitment to the field.