​Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP)

A program designed for JD students from other law schools, available only during Summer Session. 

Vermont Law School offers law students the opportunity to earn a JD degree from their home law school and a MELP degree from Vermont in three academic years, the period of time ordinarily required to earn the JD degree alone. Students spend the summer after their first year taking classes in Vermont, and the summer after their second year engaged in a Master’s Externship. They may transfer up to 6 JD credits, and finish their MELP credits with an online course. This program is designed for students who wish to pursue a career in environmental law, take full advantage of Vermont’s diverse environmental curriculum, and supplement their study of environmental law with interdisciplinary training in policy, science, ethics, and public advocacy.

How Does the Program Work?

First JD Year First MELP Summer Second JD Year Second MELP Summer Third JD Year
JD classes at your home law schoolChoose 5 MELP summer classes

Consider classes that will satisfy MELP core requirements: ethics, dispute resolution, etc.
JD classes at your home law school

Consider classes to transfer that will satisfy MELP requirements: Env’l Law, Natural Resources Law, and dispute resolution.
MELP Externship: 10 credits

Communications, Advocacy and Leadership (online): 3 credits
JD classes at your home law school

Consider classes to transfer that will satisfy MELP requirements.
 MELP credits: 11transfer credits: 3MELP credits: 13transfer credits: 3

The Curriculum

The MELP curriculum includes two required courses: Communications, Advocacy and Leadership (taken online) and Environmental Law. MELP students also take three of five core courses in different disciplines, and choose from a wide array of environmental law electives. During the Summer Session, students take classes and participate in a community of students and scholars exploring the cutting edge of environmental law and policy. The faculty include scholars from other law schools, public interest advocates, government attorneys, and lawyers from private practice. The program offers approximately 35 two- and three-week courses between late May and early August.

Required Courses Core Courses
Choose 3 out of 5
A sampling of typical summer course offerings
Science for Env’l Law

Env’l Economics and Markets

Natural Resources Law

An env’l ethics course

A dispute resolution course
  • America’s Energy Crisis
  • Global Energy Justice
  • Earth Law
  • Env’l Dispute Resolution
  • Environmental Justice
  • Food System Justice
  • Global Food Security
  • Land Conservation Law
  • Ocean and Coastal Law
  • Oil and Gas Production
  • Renewable Energy
  • US-China Env’l Law

  • Experiential Learning

    Most MELPs spend the summer after their second year engaged in full time externships in the U.S. or abroad. Students earn credit toward their MELP while gaining experience that advances their education and helps prepare them for employment. Students pursue a wide variety of externships, including with the U.S. Department of Justice, state attorneys general, federal and state environmental agencies, nonprofit advocacy groups, or in private practice.

    Academic Planning

    Students work with an academic planning advisor at Vermont Law School to design a program suited to their needs and interests. For more details about the degree, download the Summers-Only MELP Guidelines (.pdf), or contact the MELP Academic Planning Advisor, Anne Linehan, at alinehan@vermontlaw.edu or 802-831-1338.

    Apply Now

    Please contact the Admissions Office if you have questions about admissions.

    Toll free: (888) 277-5985
    Phone: (802) 831-1239
    Email: admiss@vermontlaw.edu