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Specialisation: Environmental Law

Award(s) to which this specialisation belongs:

Environmental Law


Macquarie Law School
Faculty of Arts

Admission Requirements:
Admission to Master of Laws or Juris Doctor
Study Mode:
Full-time, Part-time
Attendance Mode:
Internal, External
North Ryde — Session 1 (February)
North Ryde — Session 2 (July)
External — Session 1 (February)
External — Session 2 (July)

This specialisation must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Specialisation:

Completion of a minimum of 16 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

800 level

Environmental Law and Sustainable Development (4)
Local Government and Planning Law (4)
International Environmental Law (4)
8cp from
Climate Change Law (4)
Trade and Environment Law (4)
Heritage Law and Policy (4)
International Environmental Law (4)
Local Government and Planning Law (4)
Law of the Sea (4)


Overview and Aims of the Program This specialisation will enable students to acquire and advanced and integrated understanding of domestic and international environmental law. They will also gain specialised knowledge and skills for research and professional practice in environmental law and sustainable development, international environmental law, local government and planning law, climate change law, the relationship between trade and environment law, environmental litigation and mediation, and biodiversity and biotechnology law.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes In addition to achieving PLOs of either the LLM or JD, by the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. demonstrate an advanced understanding of principles and their application to the specialised area of environmental law (K)
2. appreciate the special ethical, policy and professional challenges raised by practice in the area of environmental law (E)
3. apply advanced research and problem solving skills to address contemporary challenges in the area of environmental law (T,P).
Learning and Teaching Methods The Masters of Law with a specialization in Environmental Law is characterized by a commitment to interdisciplinary study. There is a strong focus on providing legal doctrine as well as vocational and practical legal skills that allow the application of current law to relevant and topical scenarios enabling students to enhance and refine professional roles across environmental law and policy. Learning and teaching in the program is specifically designed to enhance the specialized nature of knowledge, independent learning and integrated understanding of environmental law and policy that is expected of post-graduate qualifications.

Learning and teaching methods include lectures, tutorials, seminars, web based forums, field trips, mooting and intensive on campus sessions for external students. Lectures are primarily content driven with the overarching goal of building knowledge. The objective of lectures is therefore to provide an overview of relevant topics together with critical reflection upon the challenges presented by environmental change presently and in the future. Lectures are delivered and recorded live and may feature guest lecturers who are experts in the field and can provide professional perspectives on relevant content. In some units lectures are delivered in an open forum that utilizes online material and encourages interaction with students. Materials are included throughout the program to augment the lectures. The prescribed materials are purposefully selected to enhance critical knowledge and understanding particularly topical and cutting edge environmental issues. Engagement with the materials facilitates independent learning and encourages students to exercise autonomy in gaining critical perspectives.

Tutorials complement the content covered in the lectures by providing closer critical analysis of key issues through active learning. Each unit embraces collaborative learning and students are expected to discuss the prescribed readings with reference to set questions in both small groups and subsequently debate their findings with the class more broadly. In some courses tutorial groups consist exclusively of post-graduate students. This may allow for deeper critical reflection of key concepts and an advanced exchange of ideas. Students are actively encouraged across the program to share knowledge and experience of the application of law and policy to their professional roles where applicable. External students are also afforded this opportunity during the On Campus Session.

Field trips form an important part of learning and teaching in some units. Students may participate in mooting at the Land and Environment Court (LEC). Students are allocated roles and work in groups to prepare joint submissions for a panel of lawyers or a judge in the LEC. Students will attend the Land and Environment Court once a week liaising with professionals as part of the Access to Justice and Placement Program and possibly acting as a court officer.
Assessment The Master of Laws with a specialization in Environmental Law utilizes a variety of different assessment tasks. This ensures that all learning outcomes are satisfied and all graduate capabilities are achieved across individual units and the program more broadly. The assessment tasks therefore test students in terms of critical knowledge specific to the particular unit and generic skills that are relevant to enhancing professional roles in both law and policy including written and oral communication, collaborative group work, research skills and community engagement.

The scaffolding of assessment tasks is used throughout the program to ensure that relevant knowledge and skills are expanded and refined in a coherent and cumulative way. Essays and other related research tasks are tailored to enhancing specialized knowledge relevant to career aspirations and development. In most courses students will be afforded the opportunity to formulate and draft their own research questions exhibiting autonomous, independent and advanced research skills in consultation with their respective tutor.

The majority of assessment consists of individual written submissions. Marking rubrics and assessment guidelines are used throughout the program and each Unit Guide explicitly links assessment tasks to relevant learning outcomes and graduate capabilities. Extensive summative feedback is provided throughout the program. This includes use of marking rubrics and commentary designed to assist students with developing their skills in future assessment work.

Oral participation in the context of tutorials and smaller collaborative group work also forms an important part of the overall assessment program. Participation is assessed across the program and formative feedback regarding performance is utilized in some units. The ability to communicate key legal and policy ideas to both specialists and non-specialists is seen as crucial.

Specific assessment tasks across include the following activities:
• short essays
• long essays
• law reform proposals
• stakeholder analyses
• opinion pieces
• literature reviews
• annotated bibliographies
• policy briefs
• white papers (policy background papers)
• class tests
• formal exams
• online quizzes
• small group work
• debates
• general class and online participation
• mooting
• field research.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit. 

Domestic Students
For undergraduate RPL information visit
For domestic postgraduate RPL information visit

International Students
For RPL information visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability Graduate of this specialisation will be able to apply their expertise to a range of fields in environmental law and management, including local government and planning, government policy development, NGOs and inter-governmental organisations, public interest advocacy and private practice.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or program necessary for a student to successfully achieve the core learning outcomes of a course or program. Students must meet the inherent requirements to complete their Macquarie University course or program.

Inherent requirements for Macquarie University programs fall under the following categories:

Physical: The physical inherent requirement is to have the physical capabilities to safely and effectively perform the activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Cognition: The inherent requirement for cognition is possessing the intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative capabilities to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Communication: The inherent requirement for communication is the capacity to communicate information, thoughts and ideas through a variety of mediums and with a range of audiences.

Behavioural: The behavioural inherent requirement is the capacity to sustain appropriate behaviour over the duration of units of study to engage in activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

For more information see

2018 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148