Environmental Law, Science & Policy

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Environmental Law, Science & Policy

Leadership in solving the world’s most pressing problems

The need for skilled professionals in environmental law has never been greater. Our Environmental Law, Science & Policy program gives you the chance to study and work alongside faculty with international reputations in their fields, gain experience through externship placements, and take advantage of the vast environmental science resources offered at the University of Arizona.
Our goal is to prepare you to engage at many levels of environmental law and policy: to first understand the nature of environmental problems, to learn how law and policy can address the problems, to represent clients in a fast-moving field and to act effectively in a world where environmental law and policy issues are profoundly important. And when you graduate, you join a network of alumni, practicing all over the country and internationally.

Learn more about opportunities in environmental studies and activities through the UA Environment & Sustainability Portal


The JD curriculum serves students who want to specialize in environmental areas as well as those who want it to be part of their general legal background, with a JD certificate available. Master of Legal Studies and BA in Law students can specialize in environmental law, science and policy.

Environmental Law - LAW 669 
This is an introductory course in environmental law and regulatory policy. The course will focus primarily on the domestic regulation of hazardous waste and air and water pollution and laws related to the protection of natural resources. Our goal in studying these issues will be to gain a better understanding not only of particular environmental laws and policies, but also of the processes by which the government can regulate potentially harmful activities. We will look not only at traditional regulatory mechanisms, but also at the opportunities for market and non-regulatory solutions.
Credits: 3

Natural Resources Law and Economics - AREC 576 / LAW 576  
This is a selective survey course in natural resources law and economics. 
Credits: 3

Water Law - LAW 641
Water Law traditionally emphasizes state law rules that govern rights to use surface water and groundwater throughout the country. Although we will give ample attention to the prior appropriation doctrine, riparian water rights, and various systems for regulating groundwater use, this course will also emphasize how federal law may impact water rights. Increasingly, environmentalists and others claim that there are public rights to water that may take precedence over rights under the prior appropriation system. We also will consider the role of federal law, particularly federal reserved water rights claimed by Indian tribes, and the federal government's long history of attempting to irrigate the West through its Bureau of Reclamation. 
Credits: 3

International Environmental Law - LAW 696N
This course analyzes the expanding framework of and the legal process leading to international regulation of the human environment through “multilateral environmental agreements,” including regional and international regulation of air and water pollution and the protection of marine mammals and endangered species; the relationship between environmental and trade issues; protection of the "global commons"; conflicts between protecting the environment and economic development; enforcement of international environmental obligations by the United States and other nations; international legal aspects of climate change; and regional regulation of environmental matters, including the NAFTA and the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation.
Credits: 2 or 3

Administrative Law - LAW 621
Administrative law is the law relating to administrative agencies. Because much of environmental law is made by administrative agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Interior, knowledge of administrative law is vitally important for any student wishing to practice environmental law. Administrative law encompasses constitutional law (especially separation of powers and procedural due process), federal statutory law (especially the Administrative Procedure Act), and occasionally state statutory law. The validity of an agency’s actions depends on compliance with administrative law. Thus, lawyers for agencies, regulated industries, and public interest groups are vitally concerned with administrative law. Much of their practice both as litigants and advisors involves administrative law. Thirteen states, including Oregon, test Administrative Law on their bar exams. This course uses a problem orientation to stress practical application of administrative law.
Credits: 3

The following courses are offered in the College of Law or cross-listed in the College of Law. Course offerings vary by semester.
Natural Resource Law and Economics AREC 576 / LAW 576
Energy, the Environment and Business Strategy ECON 578 / LAW 578
Environmental Policy: PA 581 / LAW 581
Arizona Water Policy:  HWRS 596B / LAW 596B
Comparative and International Water Policy:  GEOG 596I / LAW 596I
Law, Geography and Property:  GEOG 596L / LAW 596L 
Sustainability and Environmental Policy:  LAW 603J 
Global Climate Change and the Law:  LAW 603M / SWES 603M
Property, Social Justice, and the Environment:  LAW 603N 
American Legal History (The Colorado River):  LAW 625
Oil and Gas Law:  LAW 627
Animal Law:  LAW 630
Mining and Public Land Law:  LAW 640
Native American Natural Resources:  LAW 643D
Environmental Moot Court:  LAW 653C
Land Use Law:  PLG 660 / LAW 662B
Problems in Water Law and Policy (Substantial Paper Seminar): LAW 696N
Economics, Law, Environment and Governance Workshop: LAW 697S / AREC 697S

Core Faculty

Study under nationally known faculty whose work shapes U.S. policy and advances knowledge in the field.

Professor Engel co-directs the Program on Environmental Law, Science and Policy. She is a leading expert in environmental law and policy with experience that spans academia and public sector practice. In recent years Professor Engel has devoted her work to issues surrounding global climate change. She has held visiting professorships at Harvard Law School and Vanderbilt School of Law. Professor Engel served as senior counsel for the Public Protection Bureau and acting chief of the Environmental Protection Division of the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General. Before entering legal academia and after clerking for the Hon. Myron H. Bright on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, she worked as a staff attorney for the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund and at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Professor Engel teaches Environmental Law, Administrative Law, Global Climate Change and the Law, and the Regulatory State. 

A recipient of two National Science Foundation grants, Robert Glennon serves as Water Policy Advisor to Pima County, Arizona; as a member of American Rivers Science and Technical Advisory Committee; and as a commentator and analyst for various television and radio programs.  He is also a Huffington Post blogger. His book, “Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It,” was published in April 2009. Professor Glennon’s best-known publication is “Water Follies:  Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America’s Fresh Waters “(Island Press, 2002), which received accolades from Scientific American, The Washington Post, and The New York Review of Books. Professor Glennon received a J.D. from Boston College Law School and an M.A. and Ph.D. in American History from Brandeis University. He is also a member of the bars of Arizona and Massachusetts.

Marc L. Miller taught at Emory Law School from 1988 to 2005, where he served as Associate Dean for Faculty and Scholarship (2003–05). A graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and Pomona College, Miller writes and teaches about public lands and natural resources, and serves as the series co-editor for The Edge — books focused on the intersection of environmental science, law and policy. He is the author of more than 50 articles and essays on a wide range of environmental, criminal justice, and legal theory topics. He is editor of several criminal procedure casebooks, and the founding editor of the leading journal on sentencing law and policy. Before teaching, he served as law clerk to Chief Judge John Godbold of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, as Attorney-Advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice, and as Special Counsel at the Vera Institute of Justice in New York. Miller is a member of the American Law Institute (ALI), and an advisor to various criminal justice and environmental publications and organizations.

Professor Stephanie M. Stern researches and teaches in the areas of climate adaption policy, water law, and housing and property law. Her current research focuses on legal frameworks for residential and agricultural climate retreat (relocation) in response to climate-induced sea-level rise and drought. Her work integrates water law, property law and theory, and law and psychology to address human dislocation and environmental impacts from climate change and, in some cases, from climate adaptation policies. Professor Stern’s scholarship has been published in the Duke Law JournalMichigan Law ReviewColumbia Law ReviewCornell Law ReviewVirginia Law Review, and leading peer-reviewed journals. She has been a visiting professor at Yale Law School and Hebrew University. At the University of Arizona College of Law, Professor Stern teaches water law and climate adaptation, participates in the Arizona Institute for Resilient Environments and Societies, and serves on the Climate Health U.S.-France working group. Prior to academia, Professor Stern practiced property law at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, served as a fellow of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, and clerked for the Honorable Kermit Lipez on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Professor Stern is a graduate of the Yale Law School. 

Key Contact

Kirsten H. Engel
Charles E. Ares Professor of Law

Phone: 520-621-5444
Email Kirsten Engel