Degree Requirements

The Energy LLM is a 30 credit program with four required courses:

Energy Law and Policy in a Carbon-Constrained World surveys the basic elements of U.S. energy demand, examines the challenges posed by energy production for environmental sustainability, and explores regulatory strategies for controlling energy demand and meeting energy needs.

Energy Regulation, Markets and the Environment builds on Energy Law and Policy in a Carbon-Constrained World by exposing students to the legal, economic, and structural issues involved in energy regulation and energy markets, focusing on electricity.

Administrative Law provides students with a working knowledge of the general principles of administrative law; implementation of legislative policy through administrative rules and regulations; the roles of administrative agencies in the governmental process; and judicial review of agency actions.

The LLM Graduate Seminar explores diverse advanced topics in environmental law and policy through discussion and lectures by environmental scholars who make presentations to the seminar participants.

All Energy LLMs must complete an independent research, writing, or externship requirement on an energy topic. To fulfill this requirement, students can take the Advanced Energy Writing Seminar, complete a thesis or research project on an energy topic, engage in an Externship in energy law, and/or serve as a Research Associate in the Institute for Energy for the Environment. The IEE is a public policy consulting institute-committed to delivering vital services for clients around the world.

In addition to these requirements, Energy LLM students choose from Vermont Law School's more than 50 environmental and energy electives. Some are taught during the regular school year and some are offered during the law school's Summer Session. Electives may include advanced courses on the electric grid, energy project financing, nuclear power, oil and gas development, and renewable energy.

One-on-one academic advising is available to help students choose courses, identify valuable experiential opportunities, and otherwise take advantage of the extensive energy program at VLS.

An important feature of the LLM in Energy Law program is the opportunity to spend the Summer Session at Vermont Law School studying energy law and policy and participating in a community of fellow students and scholars exploring the cutting edge in the energy field. The summer faculty, including regular VLS faculty, scholars from other law schools and other nations, public interest advocates, experienced government attorneys and lawyers from private practice, teach approximately 35 courses in five two- or three-week terms between early June and early August. Each term normally includes at least one specialized course in energy law and policy.

Students typically spend three hours in the classroom four days a week, leaving ample time to enjoy the considerable outdoor recreational opportunities in the Green Mountain State, such as tubing down the White River, hiking the Long Trail, or enjoying a leisurely meal in South Royalton or any of the many other picturesque villages surrounding the law school.

The law school also hosts a Distinguished Summer Scholar in Energy Law and Policy, along with Distinguished Scholars in Environmental Law, Agriculture and Food, and International Law. All of these scholars are available to meet with students during their two week residencies. In addition, the summer faculty, the Distinguished Summer Scholars, VLS Media Fellows, and other visitors offer several lunchtime "Hot Topics" lectures each week over the course of the summer term.

Download the LLM in Energy Law Guidelines (.pdf)

Experiential Learning

LLM students may obtain valuable, hands-on energy law and policy experience through externships. LLMs may pursue an externship for academic credit, either on a part-time basis with one of Vermont's firms or government agencies working on energy issues while continuing to take classes on campus, or full time for a semester after completing their coursework at VLS. Visit the Master's Externships page for more information.

LLM students also may participate in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic to develop skills in environmental litigation, administrative procedures, and client counseling, or the Land Use Clinic, in which students work on land use issues with attorneys in Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources.