Wetland landscape

Natural Resources and Environmental Law Programs

The Pacific and Inland Northwest is rich in natural resources. Legal and political issues involving natural resources have figured prominently in the region’s history. The University of Idaho’s location – combined with its nationally recognized natural resource academic and research programs – make this an ideal place to study natural resource and environmental law (NREL).

  • Natural Resources and Environmental Law Emphasis

    In 2008 College of Law introduced an emphasis in Natural Resources and Environmental Law (NREL), allowing you to earn a designation on your diploma upon completion of at least 16 hours of designated course work in the area and satisfaction of the Upper Division Writing Requirement under the advising of one of the NREL faculty. The program was developed in response to the general fact that the practice of law is becoming more specialized and specifically that the practice of natural resources and environmental law has become highly technical and complex.  The course of study is designed to give you broad expertise in Natural Resources and Environmental Law and an understanding of how to develop in-depth expertise in a specific topic while not sacrificing your broader legal education. In addition, due to the strong collaboration between the College of Law and other Colleges at the University of Idaho through the development of concurrent degrees in Water Resources and Environmental Science, you will have the opportunity to enrich your experience by taking courses outside the law school and learning to integrate science and social science with law.

  • JD/MS or JD/PhD Water Resources Concurrent Degree

    Launched in 2006, the University of Idaho Waters of the West (WoW) – the only interdisciplinary program of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and one of few such programs in the nation – draws on expertise of 56 faculty members in seven colleges to integrate aspects of law, natural resources, engineering, political science and more. The unique program focuses on developing sophisticated strategies and solutions to the world's critical water shortage. Students may obtain either an MS or a PhD in any of three tracks within the Water Resources Program concurrently with their JD. Double counting of 18 credits for the JD/MS and 21 credits for the JD/PhD allows completion of the JD/MS in four years and the JD/PhD in 6 years.

    Admission

    Students are required to apply separately to the College of Law and the College of Graduate Studies, Water Resources Program, and on acceptance to each college, must apply to the concurrent degree program. The LSAT may be substituted for the GRE on application to the College of Graduate Studies. Acceptance to both colleges does not have to occur simultaneously.

    More:

    Course of Study

    The first year will be completed entirely in the law curriculum. Students may begin taking graduate courses in their second year and should finalize selection of a graduate committee and filing of a study plan with the College of Graduate Studies by the end of their 2nd year. Law fees will be charged for the first 3 years of study and graduate fees will be charged for each subsequent year.

  • JD/MS Environmental Science Concurrent Degree

    Rising interest in the connection between sustainable economic development and environmental protection has increased the demand for professionals with both legal and technical training. To meet this demand, the University of Idaho College of Law and the University of Idaho College of Graduate Studies Environmental Science Program offer a concurrent degree program.

    The concurrent program combines the study of scientific, social, philosophical and legal aspects of environmental issues.

    The program is designed to allow students to obtain both a J.D. from the College of Law as well as a M.S. Environmental Science from the College of Graduate Studies in as few as eight semesters through double counting of 18 credits.

    Admission

    To be eligible for the concurrent Juris Doctor (J.D.)/Master of Science (M.S.) in Environmental Science program, you must apply separately and be admitted into each program and then be admitted into the concurrent degree program. The LSAT may be substituted for the GRE on application to the College of Graduate Studies. Admission into the concurrent degree program is dependent on a demonstrated ability to excel in an intense, interdisciplinary educational environment.

    More:

    Course of Study

    The first year will be completed entirely in the law curriculum. Students may begin taking graduate courses in their second year and should finalize selection of a graduate committee and filing of a study plan with the College of Graduate Studies by the end of their 2nd year. Law fees will be charged for the first 3 years of study and graduate fees will be charged for each subsequent year.

  • JD/MS or JD/certificate Bioregional Planning and Community Design Concurrent Degree

    In 2006, the University of Idaho created the Building Sustainable Communities initiative and Bioregional Planning and Community Design academic program, an interdisciplinary effort spanning nine participating departments in eight different colleges. The program’s mission is to prepare future public leaders, create and disseminate new knowledge, and assist communities and organizations in planning for sustainable development, sustainable and efficient conservation planning and management, and sustainable human quality of life, within and across bioregions.

    Beginning in 2012, Bioregional Planning and Community Design partnered with the College of Law to offer a concurrent JD/MSBioP degree. This concurrent program allows students to develop an expertise in various aspects of bioregional planning – e.g., land use, transportation, economic, conservation planning – while also gaining knowledge and experience in the legal tools and rules that regulate the implementation of those plans. Students are able to earn both a J.D. from the College of Law as well as a M.S. Bioregional Planning from the College of Graduate Studies in as few as eight semesters.

    Admissions

    Students are required to apply separately to the College of Law and the College of Graduate Studies, Bioregional Planning and Community Design Program. On acceptance to each college, students must also apply to the concurrent degree program. Acceptance to both colleges does not have to occur simultaneously, and many students apply to the Bioregional Planning and Community Design Program during the first year of law school.

    Other Information

  • JD/PMS Professional Science Masters Concurrent Degree

    To meet the needs of students planning to practice law but seeking greater knowledge of the role of science in application, the College of Law has partnered with the University of Idaho’s interdisciplinary Professional Science Masters program. Unlike other concurrent degree options, this program combines two professional degrees. The PSM offers opportunities in six tracks:

    1. environmental contamination;
    2. sustainability science;
    3. climate change;
    4. water resources management;
    5. management of regulated river systems; and
    6. ecohydrological science and management.

    Additional information can be found on the Professional Science Masters Program website.

Faculty Research Interests

You will select a faculty advisor in your first year of law school for the purposes of developing your course of study and your writing topic.  You should select an advisor with research interests in an area you are interested in.

Barbara Cosens

Professor Cosens’ research interests include the integration of law and science in water resource management and dispute resolution, resilience and adaptive governance of water resources with particular application to the Columbia River, and the recognition and settlement of Native American water rights. She is a member of the Universities Consortium on Columbia River Governance.

Angelique EagleWoman

Professor EagleWoman brought a diverse background that includes tribal economic development, legal code development, litigation, criminal law and scholarly interest in international indigenous law to the University of Idaho College of Law when she joined the faculty in 2008.  She has developed and directed the Native American Law Emphasis at the University of Idaho College of Law.

Dale Goble

Professor Goble’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of natural resource law and policy, constitutional law, and history. In addition to the usual numerous articles and essays -- now numbering more than 50 -- he is the co-author of four books: Wildlife Law: A Primer (Island Press 2008), Wildlife Law: Cases and Materials (Foundation Press, 1st ed. 2002, 2d ed. 2009), and Federal Wildlife Statutes: Texts and Contexts (Foundation Press, 2002).

Jerrold Long

Dr. Long’s research is in land use law and subjects relating to the interdisciplinary “Water of the West” program at the University of Idaho. Professor Long is also an Affiliate Professor in the University’s Water Resources and Bioregional Planning programs. His dissertation – New West or Same West?: Evolving land-use institutions in the American West – explored how local land-use regimes respond to social and cultural change.

Stephen R. Miller

Professor Miller’s research interests include land use, climate change, real estate development, and the ways in which administrative law at the federal, state, and local levels structure our relationship with the environment. His research currently focuses on rapidly growing urban places, including many cities of the Mountain West, and how they relate to the environment.

Richard Seamon

Professor Seamon has written two books on administrative law and many law review articles on issues of constitutional law and other public law subjects.  He also served in the U.S. Department of Justice as an assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States.

Anastasia Telesetsky

Professor Telesetsky interests are focused on public international law and environmental law. As a Fulbright Fellow and a Berkeley Human Rights Center fellow, she has collaborated with communities in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea on developing culturally appropriate legal solutions to environmental protection problems. Currently she is examining what role international environmental obligations and domestic environmental law plays in shaping China’s evolving economic development policies.