LLM in Water & Environmental Law

Shaping the Future of Environmental Advocacy and Policy

LLM in Water and Environmental Law
LLM in Water and Environmental Law

LLM in Water & Environmental Law​

An online LLM in Water & Environmental Law from McGeorge School of Law provides an opportunity for seasoned attorneys, recent law school graduates, or foreign-educated legal professionals to develop depth of knowledge in a specialized area of environmental, water resources, regulatory compliance, or public agency law. McGeorge’s program provides students with the opportunity to learn from a distinguished faculty and program team as well as from panels of experts who are focused on water and environmental law and the changing policies surrounding both.

At McGeorge, we provide students with a robust learning program and acclaimed professionals in the field. We provide each student with the resources to learn from and interact with esteemed faculty, classmates, and colleagues, and to hear from experts across the field of law.

Important Dates



Priority App Deadline



Fall Semester Start Date

Program Benefits
  • Develop a depth of knowledge in a specialized area of environmental, water resources, regulatory compliance, and public agency law.
  • Expand your area of practice and expertise.
  • Build networking opportunities with faculty and experts in the area of water and environmental law, as well as with other students who practice and work in this field of study.
  • Distinguish yourself from other professionals with a unique focus.
  • Research and publish in the field: to dive deep into topics, and increase your credibility with a publishable piece of research.
Program Outcomes

At the end of this degree program, graduates should be able to:


  • Identify and understand basic concepts in U.S. substantive law, legal theory, and procedure.
  • Apply knowledge and critical thinking skills to law and policy issues relevant to area of study and, where appropriate, apply basic tools of legal research analysis, reasoning, and problem solving.
  • Demonstrate communication skills, including effective listening, critical reading, clear writing tailored to specific audience and goals, and the ability to verbally convey legal and policy concepts relevant to area of study.
  • Demonstrate judgment, ethics, and professionalism relevant to the role of non-lawyers working within a legal framework, including avoidance of the unauthorized practice of law.
Program Eligibility

A JD or first degree in law from a foreign country is required for admission to the program.

Degree Received

Master of Laws (LLM) in Water & Environment Law

Course Logistics

The Master of Laws, Water & Environmental Law concentration is earned through part-time, fully online, asynchronous courses with the following requirements:


  • A total of 24 units over approximately two years, with students typically enrolling in two 3-unit courses each semester.
  • Fall and Spring semesters are 15 weeks long. Summer courses, when offered, run on a four-week semester. One summer course will provide students the option to visit the McGeorge campus over a long weekend in Sacramento, the capital city of California.
  • Similar to the experience of in-person courses, online students interact with their professors and classmates for an average of one hour per week and read/study for an additional two hours per week, for every credit unit awarded.
  • Courses are asynchronous, meaning that students do not need to be online at any specific time. Students can schedule their coursework around other commitments. Some courses may offer optional videoconference live sessions, which students can either attend in real time or watch via a recording at a time that suits them.

Course Details

McGeorge online LLM students have the opportunity to take courses in governmental law and policy as well as courses in the water and environmental discipline if interested in understanding the intersection of these two fields.

McGeorge’s online LLM in Water & Environmental Law is an advanced law degree designed for JD graduates who seek to gain expertise in this rapidly evolving area of practice. The LLM degree program, as well as individual courses, provide students with an opportunity to develop depth of knowledge in a specialized area.

The courses for McGeorge’s online LLM in Water & Environmental Law are designed by McGeorge’s distinguished faculty and academic team to foster students who have the knowledge, professional skills, and broadened perspective required for the rapidly changing legal environment. McGeorge’s accomplished faculty will challenge students with new ideas and will push them academically within a supportive, empathetic environment where faculty and staff are invested in student success.

The Master of Laws, Water & Environmental Law is comprised of both required and elective courses.

Below is a sample course schedule:

Water & Environmental Law – LL.M.

First Semester Second Semester Third Semester Fourth Semester
The Executive Branch & Administrative State (3)
Water Resources Law (3)
Environmental Law (3)
Elective (3)
Legislatures & Lawmaking (3)
Elective (3)
Elective (3)
Elective (3)
6 Units
6 Units
6 Units
6 Units

24 Units Total

Required Courses

Environmental Law: This course is a survey of legal principles and policies relating to protection and enhancement of the physical environment. Particular attention is given to common law doctrines and public rights and remedies; federal and state control programs for the fields of air pollution, water pollution, noise, solid waste management, fish and wildlife resources; and planning for federal, state and local administrative agencies.


Water Resources Law: This course introduces the legal principles that control water allocation for human and environmental purposes, taught via online exercises such as lectures, readings, videos, discussion, and research. Legal principles covered include: categories of surface and groundwater rights, management approaches, allocation for environmental purposes, federal-state relationships, tribal and reserved rights, reasonable use, waste, and the public trust doctrine. Students gain practical understanding of water allocation and use in contemporary society, as well as critically examine the social policies that govern water management.


The Executive Branch & The Administrative State: This online course explores regulatory institutions and processes at the state and federal levels, with a focus on the relationship between the executive branch, the legislature, and the courts. The course provides opportunities for development of practical skills such as drafting regulations and participating in the regulatory process, including commenting on agency action and responding to comments. Focus is given to understanding the role of policy and methods for marshalling and assessing technical information.


Legislatures & Lawmaking: This online asynchronous course explores legislative institutions and lawmaking processes in state and federal government as well as basic principles of judicial review of legislative action. The course provides opportunities for development of practical skills such as drafting statutory language, preparing and assessing bill analyses, commenting on legislation, and participating in the legislative process.

Elective Courses

International Water Resources Law: This seminar focuses on the theoretical bases and practical application of the law governing international fresh water resources. Students study the principal cases and controversies in the field and analyze the most significant global and regional instruments.

Water & Environmental Justice: This course will explore challenges and opportunities in meeting the goal of providing a healthy environment and safe, affordable, accessible, and reliable water supplies to all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, economic status, national origin, and education level. Specific topics may include, among others, the human right to water, disparate impacts from facility siting, toxic exposure, climate justice, food security, access to nature, participation in environmental governance, and capacity building in disadvantaged communities. 

Government Law & Policymaking: This online asynchronous course introduces students to the lawyer’s role in developing, modifying, implementing, advocating, and influencing public policy, including: legislation, regulations, executive orders, court orders, and other policy edicts at the national, state, and local levels. Students learn how to do policy analysis; learn the essential organization and procedures of the various policymaking venues; are able to consider and weigh strategic implications associated with the various venues and processes; conduct research using a variety of sources unique to policymaking in other federal and state settings; learn and develop skills for advocacy, negotiation and compromise in a policymaking setting; and practice applying course knowledge and skills to important public policy matters of the day. Students complete a project on an actual and current public policy problem.

Election Law: This online asynchronous course will cover the main doctrinal concepts that are necessary to the practice of election law, as well as offer practical assignments common in the day to day practice of political law attorneys. Coverage includes constitutional law and principles, campaign finance law, election administration, and the Voting Rights Act, among other topics.

Lobbying & Politics: This course explores how power and influence operate in state legislatures. The first part of the course examines the processes and pressures a legislator typically encounters prior to casting a vote in the Legislature, including campaigns for local and state office,; fundraising, the influence of political parties and partisan leadership, grassroots supporters, and local-based interests. The second part of the course develops theories of legislative persuasion, including a blend of traditional advocacy skills and political strategy.

Leadership in Organizations: This online asynchronous course explores skills necessary for professional competency and excellence in twenty-first century organizations. Working in and with public agencies is emphasized. Topics covered may include teams in organizations, cross-cultural dynamics, professional work product and communications, and professional ethics. Focus will be given to case studies and practical exercises.

Negotiations: This course examines the theoretical, ethical, and practical skills essential to being an effective advocate in negotiations involving legal disputes. Students learn negotiation skills through lecture, discussion, video simulations, and extensive interactive exercises and role-plays. Students are introduced to negotiation tools and techniques that enhance negotiation success. This course helps students identify strengths and weaknesses in personal negotiating style. This course is primarily asynchronous; students negotiate synchronously online several times during the semester, details in syllabus.

Persuasive Public Speaking: This online course  introduces students to the many aspects of persuasive public speaking including content, word choice, and delivery. Students study the theory of persuasion through reference to historical and social science sources. Students develop public speaking confidence by practicing their skills and receiving constructive feedback.

Directed Research in Water and Environmental Law: This course provides the opportunity for students to engage in a comprehensive individual research project under the supervision of a full-time faculty member. The work product may take the form of a scholarly paper, empirical study, analysis of topical readings, or other creative format that demonstrates in-depth legal research and original analysis.

Master’s Thesis in Water and Environmental Law: This course provides an opportunity for students to write a thesis under the guidance of a full-time faculty member acting as supervisor. The thesis should present an original idea or ideas, demonstrate mastery of research skills appropriate to the field, and be analytical and/or critical, as opposed to merely descriptive. The final product should exemplify high quality academic writing consistent with the professional goals of the student, taking into account the supervisor’s and the student’s vision of the desired target audience for the product. This course is substantially asynchronous; students meet synchronously online for 12.5 hours over five days, specific dates/times in syllabus.

Engaging and Effective

Our tradition of excellence encompasses the design of our online courses. We make it easy for you to focus on what you need to learn.

Scroll to Top