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Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP)

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The Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP) focuses on advocacy, regulations, legislation, and markets, giving students the tools needed to create a more sustainable world. VLS master’s degrees are one-year programs designed for those who do not seek a professional law degree. Students can complete the 30-credit program in as little as 12 months but can take up to five years to obtain their degree.

Program Description

Administered by Vermont Law School’s highly respected Environmental Law Center, the MELP program is focused on the political, scientific, and communications aspects of environmental law, with an added emphasis on economics and advocacy. The innovative curriculum is comprised of traditional law offerings and MELP-specific courses in writing and advocacy designed to benefit graduates in the public and private sectors. Experiential learning opportunities with state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and advocacy groups ensure you’re ready to move ahead in your career or take on a new position. Online learning opportunities are available for students who wish to pursue a MELP.

At A Glance

Program Center: Environmental Law Center
Location: Online, on-campus or a hybrid of both
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Careers and Alumni

Vermont Law School master's graduates are the leaders, policymakers, and professionals our communities and our world most desperately need. Master’s alumni careers include:

  • Planning and Environmental Coordinator, Bureau of Land Management
  • Communications Coordinator, Connecticut Land Conservation Council Rockfall Foundation
  • Urban Planning and Environmental Policy Analyst, National Parks Conservation Association
  • Senior Program Officer, Verified Carbon Standard
  • Ocean Policy & Communications Specialist, Kerns & West
  • Water Resources Planner, GKY & Associates.
  • Grants and Membership Manager, Grand Canyon Trust
  • Director of Philanthropy, Donor Operations, Rainforest Trust
  • Environmental Analyst, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
  • Environmental Compliance Specialist, CCR Logistics Systems
  • Water Quality Program Manager, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
  • And more


Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP)

Katie Thomas MELP'13

Policy Advisor for Energy and the Environment, Office of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
As policy advisor for energy and the environment in the office of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Katie Thomas works on significant cultural issues. From addressing crises in Puerto Rico to supporting Native American communities, Katie has received the opportunity to create laws to help push conversations and influence policy.


Michelle Bender MELP'13

Earth Policy Fellow, Earth Law Center, Redwood City, CA
With California’s drought worsening water problems, Michelle Bender was involved with the recent Bay Area Rights of Nature Tribunal, which addressed community, human and nature’s rights violations related to reduced flows in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The Tribunal played a significant role in the developing the field of nature’s rights.