The LLM in Water & Environmental Law will prepare you to serve the diverse needs of businesses and developers, farmers and ranchers, non-profit organizations, and public agencies at every level from local to international.

Program Highlights
  • Experience first-hand observation and participation in solving complex relevant real issues
  • Enjoy small class sizes
  • Take advantage of our mentoring and career development resources
  • Obtain special assistance with course selection and class success
  • Online option

The Water Resources Law graduate program emphasizes interdisciplinary natural resources classes; simulations and case studies; a robust field placement experience; and advanced substantive law course work. The combination of natural resources science, technology and economics, with strong legal coursework and hands-on training, makes this program unique among other natural resources law graduate degrees. There are two courses of study.

Both tracks of the 24-unit LLM in Water Resources Law involve one-year (two semesters) to two-year (three or four semesters) courses of study. You have the option to take all courses online1 or to enroll in the in-person program with some courses offered online.

This track focuses on issues affecting the United States. It is designed for students with a law degree to gain expertise in this growing field of environmental and natural resources law.

Required Courses (14 units)

Course Units
Administrative Law 3
Environmental Practice 3
Science & Policy of Water Law (course typically offered every other year) 2
Water Resources Law 3


Elective Courses 1 (10 units — Some electives may not be offered every year. Please check the current course schedule for an updated list.)

Course Units
California Environmental Cases & Places 1
California Initiative Seminar 2
Environmental Law 3
Graduate-Level Directed Research 1 to 2
International Water Resources Law Seminar 3
Land Use Planning 2
LL.M Master's Thesis 3 to 6
Local Agency Practice 2
Mediation 2 to 3
Municipal Innovation Seminar 2
Natural Resources Law 3
Natural Resources, Water or Environmental Law Externships 3 to 4
Negotiations & Settlements 2 to 3
Ocean and Coastal Law 2 or 3
Representing Local Agencies 1
Science & Policy of Water Law (Course typically offered every other year) 2

1 The director may approve other courses as electives on a case by case basis. The director may also waive some of the course requirements (and not units) if the students has taken a similar course prior to enrollment at McGeorge.

For law graduates interested in pursuing careers in government, non-governmental organizations or private law firms dealing with international water and environmental issues. This program focuses on the unique laws, policies and political dynamics as it applies to watercourses and other natural resources that are shared by two or more nations.

Required Courses

Course Units
Public International Law 3
International Environmental Law 3
International Water Resources Law Seminar 3
Legal English (For Foreign-Trained Students Only) 1
LLM Legal Research, Writing and Analysis 2


Elective Courses 1

Course Units
Environmental Law 3
Natural Resources Law
Mediation 2 or 3 
International Water Resources Law Seminar 3
EU: International Trade Ext. Rel. (Ocean and Coastal Law) 1 to 4 
Negotiation and Settlements Seminar 2 or 3
Master's Thesis 6
Directed Research, Graduate Level 1 to 2
Leadership in Organizations for Graduate Students
Water Resources Law 2 to 3
Environmental Practice 3
International Dispute Resolution 1
Transnational Litigation 3
International Negotiations 2
International and Foreign Legal Research 1 to 2
Online Dispute Resolution 1
Climate Change Law & Policy 2
Special Topics in Environmental Law 2 or 3
Special Topics — International 1 to 3
Internship 12

1 Candidates may also be permitted to enroll in other elective courses relevant to water and environmental law not listed above. See the full schedule. Note: Not all electives listed above are offered in every academic year., and some are only offered online.

This accelerated program is available to McGeorge JD students for both the U.S. Law Track and International Track of the Water & Environmental Law LLM degree.

The Fast Track JD/LLM in Water & Environmental Law affords students the opportunity to earn both degrees on an accelerated timeline. Fast Track students may apply up to 12 credits of JD coursework towards their LLM degree in Water & Environmental Law, meaning the LLM degree may be completed in just one additional semester of full-time study or a year of part-time study. Fast track students may specialize in either U.S. or international water and environmental law.

Program Requirements

The Fast Track LLM is an executive education program designed for recent McGeorge graduates. Courses are offered during evenings for the working professional. McGeorge JD students can apply for the Fast Track program and are encouraged to consider this option during academic planning. The Fast Track LLM degree requires:

  • 24 units of Water & Environmental Law study, up to 12 units of which are completed as part of the JD degree
  • A cumulative grade point average of 2.33 on a 4.33 scale

Courses Include

  • Administrative Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Environmental Practice
  • International Environmental Law
  • International Water Resources Law Seminar
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Ocean and Coastal Law
  • Water Resources Law
  • Water or Environmental Field Placement

Student Testimonials

"I could not be happier with the practical water law education I gained at McGeorge. I found a great job representing public agencies in actions to recover clean-up costs from companies that pollute groundwater with toxic chemicals right after graduation, thanks to the help of my professors."  — Bryan Barnhart, ’13, Litigation Associate at Miller, Axline & Sawyer

"I greatly enjoyed taking the Water Resources Law Practice course. I particularly benefitted from the classroom simulations of complex water resources challenges and disputes. These simulations effectively provided condensed practical experience — enough to get your feet wet — into issues that often take years to resolve. I developed insights and perspectives that will allow me to more effectively represent specific clients in actual water resources disputes."  — Hanspeter Walter, ’06, Attorney at Law at Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard

"Regardless of where I end up in the long run—whether that be in areas of water quality, water rights, tribal water law or even working on public policy issues — my experiences at McGeorge have provided a solid foundation and knowledge base that I am confident will contribute to a successful career."  — Tori Sundheim, ’13, LLM in Water Resources Law ’14, Deputy Attorney General, Nevada Attorney General’s Office – Division of Government and Natural Resources

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McGeorge LLM & JSD Programs

Sacramento Campus
Northwest Hall, Second Floor