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News Release

Vermont School for the Environment Furthers Impact-Based Public Policy Education

Thursday, September 15, 2022


New Vermont Law and Graduate School Degrees Focus on Climate Change and Social Justice

In its next step as an evolving institution, Vermont Law and Graduate School has announced the Vermont School for the Environment.

This specialized public policy professional school will concentrate on cutting-edge solutions to today’s urgent environmental challenges, building on VLGS’ long-running expertise in domestic and international environmental, clean energy, food and agriculture, and animal protection law and public policy.

The entirety of the Vermont School for the Environment’s interdisciplinary graduate curriculum puts climate change and racial and economic justice at the center of the learning experience — a lens critical to understanding the issues and developing the solutions to address the world’s most pressing problems.

“Vermont School for the Environment is the runway for tomorrow’s environmental leaders to launch their careers,” Jennifer Rushlow, dean of the Vermont School for the Environment, said. “We equip our students with a full toolbox of knowledge and skills for making change. In this time of climate crisis and its disproportionate impacts on people of color and low-income communities around the world, training leaders in environmental protection and community resilience is critical to our future.”

Courses prepare students to succeed in the job market — public, private or non-profit sectors — through practical skills, rigorous training and exceptional experiential learning opportunities.

Programs offered include:

  • Master of Climate and Environmental Policy (MCEP)
    • Offered residentially and online
    • Can be combined for a joint JD/MCEP degree
    • Students will develop tools to make change — especially finding and implementing solutions to the greatest challenges of our day: Climate change and environmental justice
    • Participants choose between research track (thesis) or practice track (externship or on-campus clinic)
    • Optional concentrations offered: Climate change, Environmental justice, or Environmental, social and governance (ESG)
  • Master of Animal Protection Policy (MAPP)
    • Provides real-world training in advocacy, regulation, legislation, lobbying and media strategy in order to guide effective change-makers for animals
    • This rapidly growing field is increasing the need for understanding around the interconnection between human, environmental, and animal well-being
    • Students will receive training in policy and advocacy at an institution with a legacy of pioneering work in animal law with:
      • Distinguished animal law and policy faculty
      • A strong network of alumni in the field
      • Opportunities in top-ranked collaborative programs

“At no time in history has the need for well-trained professionals equipped with the intellectual and practical skills to study, design, and advocate wise public policies and practices on matters relating to climate change and environmental protection mattered more to the world,” VLGS President Rod Smolla said. “The faculty and students who will power the Vermont School for the Environment will be catalysts for progress in what may be the single most important policy arena facing humankind.”



About Vermont Law and Graduate School: Vermont Law and Graduate School, a private, independent institution, is home to the nation’s premier environmental law program. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, South Royalton Legal Clinic, Environmental Advocacy Clinic, Energy Clinic, Food and Agriculture Clinic, Environmental Justice Clinic, and Center for Justice Reform. For more information, visit and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.