Certificate Program Requirements
Please note that only students admitted with the Class of 2016 or earlier classes may pursue this Certificate. For students entering with the Class of 2017 or later classes, please consider enrolling in the Energy & Environmental Law Area of Concentration.
The minimum total credits required in order to earn the certificate is 19.
|Required courses (3 classes)||9|
|Electives (at least 2 classes)||4-6|
(at least 4 credits)
|Three year summary:||Credits|
|First year courses||33|
- Environmental Law and Practice (4 credits, Fall)
- Administrative Law (3 credits, Fall)
- Environmental Policy and Politics (2 credits, Spring)*
*one course taken outside the Law School amounting to no less than 2 credits may count toward the satisfaction of this requirement if approved in advance by the Director of the Environmental Law, Science and Policy Certificate Program where:
- The course deals with an area of science, engineering, or policy centrally relevant to the practice of environmental law or environmental policy-making; and
- The course does not duplicate courses previously taken by the student for credit for other educational degrees.
(Courses in environmental management, environmental economics, risk assessment, environmental ethics, conservation biology, and ecology are examples of the types of courses that can be approved for this aspect of the program.)
Upper Level Writing Requirement (2 credits)
All students at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law must satisfy the Faculty Supervised Writing Requirement. Students in the Environmental Law, Science and Policy Certificate Program must satisfy it by writing on an environmental law topic, using any course, seminar or independent study, as long as a full-time faculty member supervises the paper and the issue is approved by the Director of the Environmental Law, Science and Policy Certificate Program. If the paper is written for an adjunct professor, the student must seek approval from a full-time faculty member to additionally supervise the paper. The paper must comply with applicable requirements of the Faculty Handbook and the Student Handbook. Students may not fulfill the Certificate Program's Upper Level Writing Requirement through the Environmental Policy & Politics course. The paper written for the seminar portion of the Semester in DC will satisfy the upper-level writing requirement for the Environmental Law, Science and Policy Certificate Program if written on a topic in environmental law and approved by the ELSP Certificate Program Director.
Interested in having your paper published? See a list of Environmental Law Journals to contact (note: not purported to be a comprehensive list).
Students must take at least two courses from a list of current courses or other environmental law courses.
- The National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition counts as a 1 credit elective.
- The Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law counts as a 1 credit elective (Fall/Spring). Although students obtain 1 credit each semester they participate, we will allow this to satisfy only 1 elective credit, so if they do it 3 or 4 semesters, it still only counts as one elective. If they do it only 1 semester, it counts as 1/2 course for the purpose of satisfying elective requirements.
- The Semester in DC Program can fulfill one courses worth of elective or required elective credit. (see below)
The following list may not be current, so please check the course descriptions from the Registrar before selecting a course.
Courses in the past have included:
- Climate Change & The Law
- Environmental Litigation
- Insurance Law
- Land Use Planning
- Non-Profit Tax Exempt Organizations
- Toxic Torts
- Oil and Gas Law
Please click here to view some suggested non-law courses. These courses are not offered on a regular basis and the list does not purport to be comprehensive but suggestive only.
Environmental Practice (at least 4 credits)
- The Environmental Law Clinic (4 credits per semester, Fall and Spring)
- Externships with environmental agencies of government, public interest groups, or other organizations. A complete list of externships is available in Associate Dean Kevin Deasy’s office or via the extranet.
- The Semester in DC Program (see below)
Please note that this program may require that you complete an internship, externship, or other field work at a facility or facilities external to the University and that such facility or facilities may require a criminal background check, an Act 33/34 clearance (if applicable), and perhaps a drug screen to determine whether you are qualified to participate.
Candidates for the Environmental Law, Science and Policy (ELSP) certificate may participate in Pitt Law's Semester in DC Program if the externship placement is in environmental law. With the permission of the ELSP Certificate Program Director, the externship will satisfy the ELSP Certificate Program's environmental practice requirement, and it will satisfy one course's worth of required elective or elective credit, depending on the nature of the experience. The paper written for the seminar portion of the Semester in DC will satisfy the upper-level writing requirement for the Environmental Law, Science and Policy Certificate Program if written on a topic in environmental law and approved by the ELSP Certificate Program Director.