Joint Nordic Master's Programme in Environmental Law
Programme syllabus, JMI2N
Decisions and guidelines
Educational plan determined on August 17, 2022 by the Faculty of Law, Uppsala University, on June 20, 2022 by the Board of the Faculty of Law, UiT The Arctic University of Norway and on October 12, 2022 by the Head of Law School at the University of Eastern Finland.
This education plan applies to students enrolled in the Programme starting with academic year 2023-2024.
The Nordic Master's Programme in Environmental Law (NOMPEL) is an advanced full-time study programme of 120 ECTS credits, with a nominal study length of two years. The Programme is planned for up to 25 students of any nationality. The operation of NOMPEL is based on the 2023 Cooperation Agreement between the Faculty of Law at Uppsala University (Coordinating Institution), the Law School at the University of Eastern Finland and the Faculty of Law at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, to which this Education Plan is an appendix.
Students are admitted to NOMPEL at Uppsala University. The students are also registered at the University of Eastern Finland and UiT The Arctic University of Norway in order to gain study rights as a degree student and to gain access to student services. Students are required to pay specific admission and tuition fees determined by each NOMPEL university.
NOMPEL is a two-year Master's Programme, comprising of four semesters. All three universities have specialist competence in environmental law and provide courses for NOMPEL. All teaching and examinations are held in English.
A Bachelor of Law corresponding to at least three years of full-time study (180 credits). Alternatively, a university degree of at least 180 credits, comprising or in combination with at least 90 credits in legal science.
Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6. This requirement can be met either by achieving the required score on an internationally recognised test, or by previous upper secondary or university studies in some countries. Detailed instructions on how to provide evidence of your English proficiency are available at universityadmissions.se.
Objectives of the Programme
NOMPEL's goal is to provide first class learning for students who want to gain expertise in international and EU environmental law and understand their national implementation through case studies, as well as those who want to pursue a PhD in environmental law. The objective is to provide advanced knowledge in environmental law and insight in how crucial environmental issues are managed legally internationally, within EU and in the Nordic states. Students will acquire specialistic knowledge and legal expertise on the management of natural resources, the protection of biodiversity, climate change and the energy transition.
The objective of NOMPEL is to educate and examine master students with competencies in three complementary domains, as stipulated in the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), annex 2:
i. Knowledge and Understanding: Candidates can:
- identify and comprehend complex environmental legal issues concerning, inter alia, the role of law in connection with (a) design and implementation of environmental law and policy and in particular the transformation of energy systems and (b) effective management of natural resources, including preventing the loss of biodiversity;
- understand legal questions concerning sustainable development, natural resources management, biodiversity conservation, climate change and sustainable energy systems;
- identify and understand the nature and interaction of international and EU environmental law and their national implementation, including by using Nordic case studies;
- identify and understand the economic, social and policy concerns in solving the legal problems and issues arising in this field;
ii. Competence and Skills: Candidates have the ability to:
- reflect on various environmental law topics and to ask critical questions from a legal perspective;
- synthesize intricate environmental law problems;
- work independently and to carry out an integrated and comprehensive analysis of environmental and energy law;
- identify and select relevant legislative documents and cases;
- successfully undertake written assignments, deliver oral presentations and conduct small-scale research in environmental law and energy law, implementing policies and applying regulatory frameworks and instruments;
- correctly and comprehensively advise on issues of environmental law, in particular, in relation to climate change, sustainable energy, resource management and biodiversity;
- develop the competencies required to professionally advise businesses, organizations and public authorities on the adoption, implementation, supervision, development and control of sustainable energy and environmental regulation;
- identify new solutions to support the transition to a sustainable, low carbon and resource efficient economy;
iii. Judgement and Approach: Candidates can:
- demonstrate the ability to evaluate environmental law processes and mechanisms with regard to disciplinary, social and ethical aspects. Demonstrate insight into the possibilities and limitations of research, its role in society and the responsibility of the individual for how it is used; and
- demonstrate the ability to identify a need for developing their personal knowledge and take responsibility for their ongoing learning.
Layout of the programme
Content of the Master's Programme
Throughout their studies at Uppsala University, University of Eastern Finland and UiT the Arctic University of Norway, NOMPEL students acquire in-depth knowledge of the law on effective management of natural resources, including the protection of biodiversity, and climate change and the energy transition. NOMPEL builds on the expertise at the three partner institutions.
Updated course descriptions for the courses taught at the different institutions are available at the respective institution's website.
First semester: Uppsala University (UU)
The first semester of the programme, comprising 30 ECTS, is spent in Uppsala. During this semester two themes are addressed. The first is a general introduction to the role of law in the formulation and implementation of environmental policies. This comprises the functions and potentials of different environmental legal instruments and principles, as well as how legislation and legal principles can counteract implementation of environmental objectives and green growth. Students will also learn how international and EU environmental law interact with national law, using Nordic countries as examples, as well as the basic structures and challenges of environmental law making and implementation.
The second theme of the first semester is more substantive and relates to the effective management of natural resources, including the protection of biodiversity. The objective is to analyse the relation between the management of natural resources (forest, water, wind etc.) and the interest of conserving biodiversity, as stipulated in international law, EU law and also the law of the Nordic states. This part of the first semester also constitutes the introduction to natural resource management and biodiversity protection, various subfields of which are subject to in depth discussions during subsequent semesters.
Second semester: University of Eastern Finland (UEF)
The second semester of the programme is spent at the School of Law of the University of Eastern Finland (UEF), Joensuu. The university is home to the Centre for Climate Change, Energy and Environmental Law (CCEEL), which brings together around 80 senior and junior scholars specialised in climate change, energy, natural resources and environmental law. At UEF, NOMPEL students take courses, for a total of 30 ECTS, comprising the following themes: climate change law and policy; international environmental law; green transitions; international forest law; international water law; environmental and social impact assessment. All NOMPEL courses at UEF are taught by international experts, providing unique insights into developments in international, European, and national environmental law. At UEF, NOMPEL students also have access to a host of extracurricular activities organised for all CCEEL Master students.
Third semester: UiT the Arctic University of Norway (UiT)
The third semester is spent at UiT the Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø. At UiT you find one of the worlds' largest research centres for the law of the Sea (Norwegian Centre for the Law of the Sea, NCLOS), devoted to teaching and research on the law of the sea and marine environmental law.
The studies at UiT add to and broadens the student's in-depth knowledge on marine resource management and biodiversity protection and energy and climate change law. The courses in Tromsø are taught subsequently and gives a total of 30 ECTS.
The first course focuses on marine environmental law and sustainable use of living marine resources and includes studies on the protection of biodiversity in marine harvesting, in areas within and beyond national jurisdiction, and offers case studies on regional implementation.
The second course provides students with advanced knowledge of the interdependence between climate and energy, including the implications of climate change law for the energy sector, renewable energy, emissions trading and carbon capture and storage. The course will also offer case studies from the Arctic.
Fourth semester: The master's thesis
The fourth semester is administered by UiT, where the students must register, though students are not required to stay in Tromsø throughout the entire semester. Students will produce an individual master's thesis on a topic related to the subjects taught in the programme. The topic must be approved by UiT, which will also appoint an academic supervisor.
All students are required to attend a mandatory course training students in legal methodology, thesis structuring and writing skills. Each thesis is evaluated and graded by two examiners appointed by UiT.
Teaching and Examination
Problem solving and active student participation are the essential components of NOMPEL. Teaching methods include, inter alia, analyses of court cases and constructed hypothetical cases, and discussions related to student presentations.
NOMPEL teaching staff encourages critical thinking and independent study. Students are offered a wide range of teaching and learning activities as appropriate to the aims of the individual courses. These include (a) lectures followed by plenary discussion - sessions supported by written texts and presentations; (b) seminars organised as participative lectures or with student presentations; and (c) workshops and smaller seminar groups exploring the themes of the preceding presentations or addressing pre-given tasks, texts and questions. The writing of individual assignments represents an integrated part of the learning approach. Students are encouraged to use study groups as a resource for learning and debate. The use of learning approaches varies within individual modules and university traditions, but all participants are encouraged to develop a common course identity. Students are responsible for creating study groups, to consolidate shared interests and to pursue a more in-depth study of an issue.
Continuity and progression are assured by means of the design of the curriculum. The first semester lays the foundations and provides the basis for understanding approaches, perspectives and tools in international and EU environmental law and the law on energy transition. The second and third semester provide in-depth studies of (i) natural resources management and biodiversity law and (ii) climate change and energy law. The fourth semester enables students to consolidate and expand their understanding of the subjects covered in the Programme, by pursuing an independent research project linked to the subjects taught in the programme.
The institution responsible for each course determines the rules and processes concerning the assessment and grading of that course.
The student must have obtained 75 ECTS in NOMPEL courses in order to progress to the fourth semester.
Successful completion of the Programme leads to a joint degree (120 credits), named:
Master of Legal Science (Uppsala University)
Master of International and Comparative Law (University of Eastern Finland)
Master of Laws (UiT The Arctic University of Norway)
In order to achieve the joint degree, students must complete all NOMPEL courses.
The Coordinating Institution is responsible for educational evaluations, at least once every six years, according to the Guidelines in Uppsala University's Model for Review of Study Programmes (UFV 2015/475). The first review will take place in the year 2024. The Coordinating Institution shall involve the other institutions in all quality assurance.
The Steering Committee is responsible for the annual systematic follow-ups of the programme components.
Each institution is responsible for evaluation and the quality assurance of the teaching and administration of its courses in accordance with national qualification requirements.
All quality assurance shall include student evaluation and participation.