Undergraduate Summer Programs in Law

Vermont Law School offers an innovative summer program for undergraduate students. The New Frontiers in Environmental Law program is designed for students interested in learning about environmental advocacy. Academic credit is available.

New Frontiers in Environmental Law and Policy

Are you an undergraduate student interested in protecting the environment? Develop the tools you need to become a powerful advocate for the environment in the New Frontiers in Environmental Law summer program at Vermont Law School. The program provides undergraduate students interested in environmental issues an opportunity to learn about the intersection of law, justice, and the environment.


undergraduate students: Become agents of change at the nation's premier environmental law school.

  • Learn from expert faculty in our top-rated Environmental Law Center, which has a rich history of working to influence environmental policy on the local, national and international level.
  • Establish a legal framework that will set you on a path to becoming a leader who uses the power of the law to make a difference.
  • Take additional courses in environmental law, energy law, water law, land use law, or food and agriculture law offered as part of the VLS Summer Session program.
  • Attend "Hot Topics" lectures by leading environmental scholars and activists.
  • Have fun and explore Vermont. VLS is nestled on the banks of the White River in the village of South Royalton, We are a short hike, bike ride, or drive to scenic and recreational destinations.

CourseS and Dates

May 29 - June 15, 2018

Introduction to Law and policy (3 credits)
Online course

This online course introduces students to the foundations of U.S. law and policy as well as the concrete skills necessary to navigate a graduate law course. Students will explore the U.S. legal system, the state and federal judiciaries and the legislative and regulatory processes. Students will learn and practice how to read, analyze and critique legislation, regulations and judicial decisions. In the last week, students will be introduced to the basic structure of U.S. environmental laws to prepare them for Environmental Law.

**Introduction to Law and Policy is a prerequisite course.

June 18–28, 2018
Residential Course

The concept of ecosystem management is sweeping through federal and state resource agencies, altering their orientation toward resource use and conservation issues, but what is the law of ecosystem management? This course explores that question beginning with an introduction to the concept of ecosystem management—its history, principles, and current state of play in concrete policy settings. The course then explores laws and regulations relating to the six types of ecosystems often described in ecosystem management literature— forests, grasslands, freshwater, coastal and marine, fragile (e.g., deserts, alpine), and human dominated (e.g., agricultural, urban, recreational). Perspectives of agencies, resource users, environmental groups, and other interest groups will be explored in the discussion of problems the instructor has developed to capstone each unit.


  • Online Course: Introduction to Law and Policy (3 credits)
  • On Campus Course: Environmental Justice (2 credits)
  • Total program cost = $5,500

Total program cost includes tuition, housing for the on-campus portion, and some meals (weekday breakfast and lunch).  Limited scholarships are available.


Priority Deadline: March 15, 2018
Final Deadline: May 1, 2018

featured Professors

J.B. Ruhl

"Professor Ruhl is an expert in environmental, natural resources and property law, and also studies the legal industry and legal technology. Before he joined Vanderbilt’s law faculty, he was the Matthews & Hawkins Professor of Property at the Florida State University College of Law. His influential scholarly articles have been selected by peers as among the best law review articles in the field of environmental law nine times. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, George Washington University Law School, the University of Texas Law School, and Lewis and Clark College of Law. He began his academic career at the Southern Illinois University School of Law, where he taught from 1994 to 1999 and earned his Ph.D. in geography. Before entering the academy, he was a partner with Fulbright & Jaworski (now Norton Rose Fulbright) in Austin, Texas, where he also taught on the adjunct faculty of the University of Texas School of Law."



James Salzman

"Professor Salzman is the inaugural Donald Bren Professor of Environmental Law and Policy with joint appointments at UCLA’s law school and UCSB’s school of the environment. In more the seventy articles and seven books, his broad-ranging scholarship has addressed topics spanning trade and environment conflicts, the history of drinking water, environmental protection in the service economy, wetlands mitigation banking, and the legal and institutional issues in creating markets for ecosystem services. He has twice been voted Professor of the Year by students. He has served as a visiting professor at Yale, Stanford, and Harvard as well as at universities in Australia, Sweden, Israel, Italy, and Portugal. Prior to teaching, he worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the OECD, and as the European Environmental Manager for Johnson Wax. He received his BA degree from Yale, his JD degree from Harvard Law School, and his MS degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences."