Master of Science in Legal Administration (MSLA)

General Information

The Masters of Science in Legal Administration degree is designed for individuals interested in the management and administration of law firms, courts, corporate legal departments, public law offices, and other organizations within the legal field. The dynamic field of legal administration is growing rapidly, combining traditional business management strategies with very specific approaches unique to the management of law offices, courts, and legal organizations. The profession offers intellectual challenge, economic opportunity, and career satisfaction. Law firm and court managers play a critical role by ensuring the effective function of the legal system as it impacts society.

Enhancing Your JD

The MSLA program offers a full curriculum that educates and trains students in the practical aspects of law practice management and judicial administration.

The traditional J.D. program at most law schools does not include courses that address the necessary business skills for managing and operating a law firm or legal organization, such as marketing and business development, client service, court caseflow management, accounting, human resources management, and lawyer recruitment and advancement. DU’s law school is unique in that it offers the premiere legal administration program in the country. DU law students have easy access to some of the best instruction available in these areas.

Program Options

The Master’s program requires 36 semester credit hours, which may be earned in two resident semesters plus a summer term in which the student completes a fifteen-week full-time internship. Students can go full time and complete the program in one year or opt for the Executive option and go part time, while working, and finish in 2-4 years. All courses are available in person or online.

The MSLA program offers three concentrations to choose from:

JD/MSLA Dual Degree

The MSLA program blends nicely with the J.D. degree. In the dual degree program, the law student must take the first year of J.D. classes in its entirety, and then the required MSLA classes can be interspersed with the law classes. The dual degree program can be completed in three and a half years.

As a dual degree program within the University of Denver, the student receives a cross credit allowance on the J.D. degree of 10 credits. The dual degree student can receive a cross credit allowance of up to 10 credits toward the MSLA degree, depending on the law classes taken.

Certificate Program

The Certificate Program is designed to provide an academic credential conferred at the Sturm College of Law graduation for persons who are not candidates for the Master of Science in Legal Administration degree (MSLA).

Certificate candidates take courses in law office administration or judicial administration to strengthen their knowledge and skills in these areas. The certificate is awarded upon successful completion of core MSLA courses. Practicing administrators may apply for candidacy. A bachelor’s degree is required.

The Certificate in Law Firm Administration, Court Administration, or International Court Administration requires completion of 18 semester hours and may also be completed in person or online. The course plans for each program can be found here.

MSLA Program Details

Please consult the MSLA Department at 303.871.6308 to discuss a curriculum plan.

NRELP; LLM, MRLS, CS

Reservation of Rights

The provisions of this handbook are informational and are subject to change at any time. The College of Law expressly reserves the right to change the requirements for admission or graduation, the right to modify the offering, timing, and content of courses, and the right to change regulations affecting the student body, including but not limited to the requirements relating to grading, academic standing, and disqualification.

The College of Law does not assume responsibility for loss or damage to personal property belonging to students. Students should inspect their own insurance policies to determine whether limits are sufficient to cover their belongings.

Students are responsible for ascertaining and following all rules, policies, and procedures contained in this handbook.

About This Supplement

The Student Handbook provides information particularly relevant to JD students and many, although not all, of the Student Handbook sections are also applicable to ENRGP LL.M., MRLS, and CS students. This Supplement is intended to provide information to supplement information found in the Student Handbook. In general, where there is a discrepancy between the Handbook and this Supplement, the text appearing in the Supplement takes priority. A student who is unable to discern whether the provisions of the Handbook or the Supplement apply in a given instance should consult with his or her Director of Graduate Studies.

Academic Requirements

  • Graduation Requirements
    • LL.M. in Natural Resources and Environmental Law and Policy
      Detailed requirements are set out in the appropriate appendix. Generally, in order to obtain the Master of Laws in Natural Resources Law and Policy, a student must:
      • Complete 24 semester hours in approved courses with passing credits.
      • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0.
      • Earn all credit within the provisions of the one year/three year rule. (This rule states that a full-time student must meet all the requirements for the LL.M. degree by the end of the first academic year following initial registration, and a part-time student must meet those requirements by the end of the third academic year following initial registration.) Note: in exceptional cases such as illness and death in the immediate family, the ENRGP Director of Graduate Studies may approve an extension of one year.
      • Pay all financial obligations including outstanding tuition, service fees, and fines.
    • Master of Resources Law Studies
      Detailed requirements are set out in the appropriate appendix. Generally, in order to obtain the Master of Resources Law Studies degree, a student must:
      • Complete 24 semester hours in approved courses with passing credits.
      • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0.
      • Earn all credit within the provisions of the one year/three year rule. (This rule states that a full-time student must meet all the requirements for the Master of Resources Law Studies degree by the end of the first academic year following initial registration, and a part-time student must meet those requirements by the end of the third academic year following initial registration.) Note: in exceptional cases such as illness and death in the immediate family, the ENRGP Director of Graduate Studies may approve an extension of one year.
      • Pay all financial obligations including outstanding tuition, service fees, and fines.
    • Certificate of Studies in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy (Certificate of Studies)
      Detailed requirements are set out in the appropriate appendix. Generally, in order to obtain the Certificate of Studies in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy, a student must:
      • Complete 16 semester hours in approved courses with passing credits.
      • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0.
      • Earn all credit within the provisions of the one year/three year rule. (This rule states that a full-time student must meet all the requirements for the Certificate of Studies by the end of the first academic year following initial registration, and a part-time student must meet those requirements by the end of the third academic year following initial registration.) Note: in exceptional cases such as illness and death in the immediate family, the ENRGP Director of Graduate Studies may approve an extension of one year.
      • Pay all financial obligations including outstanding tuition, service fees, and fines.
  • Specialization Requirements
    The ENRGP LL.M., ENRGP MRLS, and ENRGP CS may be awarded without specialization or may upon fulfillment of core requirements indicate a candidate’s specialization within the program of study in one or more of the following subjects:
    • Environmental Law and Policy
    • Land Use Law and Policy
    • Mineral Law and Policy
    • Energy Law and Policy
    • Water Law and Policy
    • International Resources Transactions Law and Policy
    • Oil and Gas Law and Policy
    • Sustainable Development and Renewable Energy

A Certificate of Studies student may not qualify for more than one specialization. A Master of Resources Law Studies or Master of Laws (LL.M.) student may not qualify for more than two specializations. Core ENRGP course requirements for each specialization are found in the appropriate appendix. Courses required to earn specializations may not all be available in evenings; thus, students attending on an evening-only basis may be unable to earn a specialization.

  • Required Courses
    • The Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program
      The Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program (ENRGP) coordinates four programs of advanced study:
      • Master of Laws in Natural Resources and Environmental Law and Policy (LL.M.),
      • Master of Resources Law Studies (MRLS),
      • Certificate of Studies in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy (CS), and
      • Individual certificate courses.

The list of options and courses for each program of study and the requirements for graduation are detailed in the Regulations (reproduced in the appendices to this supplement). It is the responsibility of the student to familiarize himself/herself with the respective relevant regulations. Students are encouraged to meet with the ENRGP Assistant Director of Graduate Studies if they have questions about the degree/certificate requirements.

In general, a student seeking an ENRGP advanced degree/certificate can, after consultation with and approval by the ENRGP Assistant Director of Graduate Studies, select any combination of courses from the list of approved courses and options (i.e., no required courses).

  • Course of Study
    • Section Assignments
      Students entering an Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program course of study (LL.M. Master of Laws in Resources Law and Policy, MRLS Master of Resources Law Studies, CS Certificate of Studies in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy) will be assigned by the College of Law as belonging to the ENRGP section. Students must register for and attend only those classes approved for their program.
    • Academic Overload
      Students need the written approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in order to register for more than 18 semester hours. Full-time students normally carry an average load of 12 semester hours. Students in the ENRGP program interested in taking an academic overload (in excess of 18 hours) must consult with their program’s respective Director of Graduate Studies who will act as the liaison with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
    • Evening and Day Divisions Distinction Does Not Apply
      The distinction between Evening and Day Division students does not apply to ENRGP LL.M., ENRLP MRLS, and ENRLP CS students. ENRGP LL.M., ENRGP MRLS, and ENRGP CS students may register for both day and evening courses.
    • Withdrawing/Taking a Leave of Absence
      A student in good standing, i.e., grade-point of 2.0 or greater, may request a leave of absence for up to 12 months (note: special restrictions may apply to some international students). A student who plans to take a leave of absence or withdraw from the College of Law must submit a request form to their Director of Graduate Studies prior to withdrawing from classes or leaving school. No withdrawal or leave of absence is complete without prior approval. Students who are granted a leave of absence can extend the College of Law’s maximum degree/certificate time limits. The regulations state that, in most instances, the maximum allowable time allowed for completion, absent an approved leave of absence, is as follows:
      • 3 yrs – ENRGP LL.M.
      • 3 yrs – ENRGP MRLS
      • 2 yrs – ENRGP CS

Note: International students should note that visa restrictions may effectively reduce the maximum time limit.

  • Faculty Advisors
    After enrollment, students in the ENRGP program should schedule a meeting with their program’s Assistant Director of Graduate Studies who shall be the student’s course advisor. It is the responsibility of the student to contact the Assistant Director of Graduate studies when he/she feels the need for assistance. Students are encouraged to also seek advice from other members of the faculty about matters within their area of interest.

Registering for Courses

  • Registration Procedures
    Newly admitted students can be registered for classes during the week of orientation but are encouraged to register as soon as the registration period opens up; information in this regard will be sent to them via e-mail as soon as it becomes available. All continuing students are expected to register for classes in preceding semesters. Course information and registration procedures are provided each semester by the Assistant Director of Graduate Studies.

All students in the ENRGP program should obtain from the Assistant Director of Graduate Studies an approved and signed “Advising and Course Request Form” before registering for any course. Information regarding registration for foreign students and students with special needs will be available from the Graduate Program Office at the time of acceptance.

  • Free Credit Policy
    ENRGP advanced degree/certificate students are expected to pay the normal tuition rate for all courses they take, i.e., no free credits including credits taken in excess of degree/certificate requirements.
  • Crossing Division Lines
    ENRGP advanced degree and certificate program students may register for courses in the day and evening; i.e., they are not registered as either Day or Evening Division students.
  • Dropping and Adding Courses
    A student must first consult with and obtain the permission of the Assistant Director of Graduate Studies before dropping or adding a course. For additional details, refer to the Student Handbook.

Alternative Credits

  • Simultaneous Degree Program
    Students earning an ENRGP LLM may simultaneously apply for and work toward a JD. See appendix for details.
  • Colorado School of Mines Inter-University Arrangement (ENRGP Students Only)
    There is an inter-university arrangement with the Colorado School of Mines in which students may take up to six credits at the Colorado School of Mines for academic credit toward the ENRGP LL.M. and the ENRGP MRLS graduation requirements. Students interested in taking a course at the Colorado School of Mines should pick up the procedural description from the Registrar and schedule a meeting with the ENRGP Assistant Director of Graduate Studies.
  • Credits Earned Outside the College of Law
    Recognizing that some advanced degrees should allow a student to gain expertise in specialized topics which may not be currently offered by the College of Law, provision has been made to allow students to earn a limited number of credits toward graduation requirements.

ENRGP LL.M. and ENRGP MRLS students may earn up to 6 credits by taking courses in specialized topics relating to their program of studies at other universities and other departments of the University of Denver. Such courses require the approval of the ENRGP Assistant Director of Graduate Studies. Students should review the regulations for their degree and consult with the ENRGP Assistant Director of Graduate Studies.

  • Directed Research
    Directed Research provides an opportunity for students to study and write in a specialized topic approved by their Director of Graduate Studies and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and under the supervision of a faculty member. Before applying for the Directed Research option, consult with your Director of Graduate Studies. Approval for Directed Research must be obtained in the semester preceding the one in which the course is to be taken. Students interested in this option should possess good research and writing skills and be capable of independent work. Normally, two to three credits are awarded for each successfully completed directed research course of study. In exceptional circumstances, your respective Director of Graduate Studies may allow a student to complete a one-hour directed research course of study. For further information, see Directed Research in the course description portion of the most Registrar’s page.
  • Internship/Externship Program
    • ENRGP
      This option is designed to allow flexibility for ENRGP LL.M. and ENRGP MRLS students to work in a natural resources or environmental related firm or institution. Some limitations may apply to International Students depending on their visa status. See the ENRGP Director of Graduate Studies for details.
  • Admission with Advanced Standing/Transfer Credits
    A student interested in any of the transfer options described in this section should meet with their Director of Graduate Studies to discuss the transfer process.
    • A student who has completed some of the requirements for the award of the ENRGP LL.M. or the ENRGP MRLS may be permitted to transfer to the ENRGP CS program with advanced standing.
    • A student who has completed all or some of the requirements for the award of the ENRGP CS, meets the ENRGP MRLS admission requirements, and has a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.0 but who has not yet been awarded the ENRGP CS may be permitted to transfer to the ENRGP MRLS degree program with advanced standing.
    • A student in the JD program at the College of Law may pursue the LLM degree as a dual degree student. A student enrolled in both programs will earn 80 hours for the JD and 24 for the LLM. Both degrees must be completed at the same time.
    • A student who has completed all or some of the requirements for the award of the ENRGP CS, meets the ENRGP LL.M. admission requirements, and has a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.0 but who has not yet been awarded the ENRGP CS may be permitted to transfer to the ENRGP LL.M. degree program with advanced standing.
    • A student who, prior to registration for the ENRGP LL.M. or ENRGP MRLS programs, has completed postgraduate courses in the Natural Resources Law Degree Programs as a student under an inter-university cooperation program approved by the University may receive advanced standing up to a maximum of six credits.
Examinations and Grading
  • Examination Procedures
    • Course Grading and Assessment Methods
      The method used to assess a student’s grade in each course is determined by the course instructor. Standard examination procedures are followed in the case where the grade is to be based solely on a final examination.
    • International Students
      At the discretion of the Registrar and in accordance with faculty policy, international students whose first language is not English may be allowed an additional time increment for in-class exams and/or finals. No additional time increment is allowed for take-home exams or research papers. For further information, contact the Registrar.
  • Grading System
    • Repetition of Classes Effect of an F on Grade Point Average
      A student must repeat any required course in which his or her grade was “F” (Note: at the present time, there are no required courses for ENRGP LL.M., ENRGP MRLS, and the ENRGP CS). Students may elect to repeat any course in which they receive a grade of “F,” but both grades are recorded on the transcript and will be used to compute a student’s grade point average.
    • Academic Probation and Dismissal Policy
      ENRGP LL.M., ENRLP MRLS, and ENRGP CS students are required to maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 to be considered in good standing. Students not in good standing are subject to the College of Law’s academic probation and dismissal policy (for details, see Student Handbook).

Graduation Procedures

Prospective Graduates

Candidates for graduation are responsible for submitting the following two graduation forms:

FORM 1: Sturm College of Law Graduation Intent Form (for the law registrar’s office)

FORM 2: University of Denver Graduation Intent Form (for the University Registrar’s Office)

  • Please log on to PioneerWeb
  • Navigate to the Student tab
  • Select “Click here to expand the myWeb menu” in the Banner Self Service area on the upper left side of the screen
  • Select “Student”
  • Select “Student Records”
  • Select “Apply to Graduate” (toward the bottom of the list)
  • Follow the prompts to complete the form

Students must not submit these forms prior to the beginning of their last semester of law school. Students are responsible for knowing about all JD requirements at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and for successfully completing those requirements prior to the date of graduation.

Commencement Ceremonies

The College of Law holds commencement ceremonies in May; attendance is optional. Students who have met graduation requirements in December or are graduating in August are welcome to participate in the following May ceremonies. Under special circumstances, with the approval of the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, a JD candidate within 5 credit hours of completing the degree may walk in a commencement ceremony. Students who participate in commencement exercises are required to rent and wear the appropriate regalia available from the vendor.

Personal Responsibilities

  • Student Employment
    Students taking 12 or more credit hours are strongly encouraged to not work in excess of 20 hours per week or 300 hours per semester. Scholastic difficulties, resulting from employment, will not be given special consideration in any subsequent dismissal and readmission proceedings. Students who find that significant employment is necessary to finance their legal education or other living needs are encouraged to meet with their Assistant Director of Graduate Studies to discuss balancing work and study needs. Students are required to disclose to the Graduate Program office, each semester, information related to place of employment and number of hours worked per week. International students’ ability to work may be further limited as a result of visa restrictions; students should consult with the International Student Advisor of the University of Denver with regards to any such restrictions.

Registrar Transactions

  • Class Ranking
    The College of Law does not rank students seeking the ENRGP LL.M., ENRGP MRLS, or ENRGP CS.

Financial Aid

  • International Students
    The University of Denver generally does not have loans or grants available for international (foreign) students. Students who have been admitted to the ENRGP program may apply for a number of scholarships.

Student Bar Association (SBA)

  • SBA Fees and General Information
    At the present time, LL.M., ENRLP LL.M., ENRLP MRLS, and ENRLP CP students are not members of the SBA.
    Office of Career Development & Opportunities
  • Special Events
    The Office of Career Development & Opportunities services described in the Student Handbook are available to all LL.M., ENRGP LL.M., ENRGP MRLS, and ENRGP CP students. Check with your respective Director of Graduate Studies to learn more about other special events that may be planned from time to time by the Office of Career Development & Opportunities staff.

List of Appendices

  • Environmental and Natural Resources Law Advanced Degree and Certificate Program – Appendices
    • Appendix ENRGP 1 – Regulations for LL.M. in Natural Resources and Environmental Law and Policy
      • Candidacy
        • 1.1 – A candidate for the LL.M. in Natural Resources and Environmental Law and Policy (hereafter LL.M.) must have earned a Juris Doctor or equivalent degree from a law school that is a member of the Association of American Law Schools or is approved by the American Bar Association or, in the case of a foreign candidate, the candidate must have completed a law degree with high academic standards from a recognized foreign university.
        • 1.2 – A candidate who has completed all or some of the requirements for the award of the Certificate of Studies in Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy, who is in good standing with a GPA of 2.0 or better, and who meets the requirements of 1.1 may be permitted to transfer to the LL.M. degree program with advanced standing and to undertake an additional period of study to complete the requirements for the degree.
      • Duration of Study
        • 2.1 – A candidate must undertake a program of study for a minimum of two semesters or its equivalent. The program of study may be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis.
        • 2.2 – A candidate must complete the requirements for the award of the LL.M. within one year of first registration in the case of a full-time candidate and within three years in the case of a part-time candidate; the Director of Graduate Studies may approve an extension of one year.
        • 2.3 – A candidate shall be required to register in each year of study.
      • Curriculum
        • 3.1 – A candidate for the LL.M. shall undertake a program of study approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.
        • 3.2 – The program of work shall consist of:
          • Courses and other credit earning work in the University of Denver, or in other institutions, specified in the College of Law Syllabus of Approved Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program Courses and Other Credit Earning Work or other courses approved in a petition to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs;
          • Optionally, courses approved by the Director of Graduate Studies taken at a university other than the University of Denver under an inter-university cooperation arrangement approved by the Dean of the College of Law (such courses to be given such credit hour weighting as the Registrar shall deem appropriate taking into consideration the number of hours of instruction but not to exceed 6 credits in all);
          • Optionally, courses approved by the Director of Graduate Studies taken at the University of Denver offered by the Daniels College of Business or the Graduate School of International Business (such courses to be given such credit hour weighting as the Registrar shall deem appropriate taking into consideration the number of hours of instruction but not to exceed 6 credits in all);
          • Optionally, for candidates with strong and demonstrable research and writing skills, a research thesis of no more than 15,000 words on a topic approved by the Director of Graduate Studies (6 credits).
        • 3.3 – The maximum number of hours that a candidate can be credited under 3.2 (either combined or separately) shall not exceed 6 credit hours.
        • 3.4 – A candidate for the LL.M. who has, within five years prior to admission to the LL.M. degree program, completed University of Denver College of Law courses listed in the Syllabus of Approved Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program Courses and Other Credit Earning Work as a non-University of Denver graduate degree student under an interuniversity cooperation program approved by the Dean of the College of Law may be credited for courses for the LL.M. up to a maximum of 6 credits.
      • Optional Specialization
        • 4.1 – A candidate for the LLM may elect to specialize in up to two specializations. They will receive information on which courses count towards their desired specialization(s) during the week of orientation.
        • 4.2 – The LL.M. may, subject to 4.1 and the candidate’s completion of required core courses as set out in the specialization guidelines, be endorsed to indicate a candidate’s specialization within the program of study in up to two of the subjects noted in the schedule to these Regulations.
      • Credit Requirement
        • 5.1 – In order to qualify for the award of the LL.M. degree, the candidate will be required to have obtained a minimum of 24 credits and a 2.0 minimum grade point average.
        • 5.2 – It is recommended, but not required, that a minimum of 9 credits shall be assessed by written research work (course research papers, thesis, etc.).
      • Assessment
        • 6.1 – The courses of study referred to in Regulation 3.2 shall be assessed by written examinations, course work, continuous assessment of student performance, research paper, or a combination thereof, as specified by the course instructor.
      • Schedule of ENRLP LL.M. Optional Specializations
        The Master of Laws in Natural Resources Law and Policy (LLM) may be awarded without specialization or may, upon fulfillment of core requirements, indicate a candidate’s specialization in two or fewer of the following subjects:
        • Environmental Law and Policy
        • Land Use Law and Policy
        • Mineral Law and Policy
        • Energy Law and Policy
        • Water Law and Policy
        • International Resources Transactions Law and Policy
        • Sustainable Development and Renewable Energy
        • Oil and Gas Law and Policy

Core requirements for each specialization shall be set out by the Director of Graduate Studies in guidelines.

  • Appendix ENRGP 2 – Regulations for Master of Resources Law Study (MRLS)
    • Candidacy
      • 1.1 – A candidate for the Master of Resources Law Studies (MRLS) must have earned a bachelor’s degree at an accredited institution or, in the case of a foreign candidate, obtained the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree from an acknowledged institution of higher learning.
      • 1.2 – A candidate who has completed all or some of the requirements for the award of the Certificate of Studies in Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy, who is in good standing, and who meets the requirements of 1.1 may be permitted to transfer to the MRLS degree program with advanced standing and to undertake an additional period of study to complete the requirements for the degree.
    • Duration of Study
      • 2.1 – A candidate must undertake a course of study for a minimum of two semesters or its equivalent. The course of study may be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis.
      • 2.2 – A candidate must complete the requirements for the award of the MRLS degree within one year of first registration in the case of a full-time candidate and within three years in the case of a part-time candidate; the Director of Graduate Studies may approve an extension of one year.
      • 2.3 – All candidates shall be required to register in each year of study.
    • Curriculum
      • 3.1 – A candidate for the MRLS shall undertake a program of study approved by the Assistant Director of Graduate Studies.
      • 3.2 – The program of study shall consist of:
        • Courses and other credit earning work in the University of Denver or, in other institutions, specified in the College of Law Syllabus of Approved Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program Courses and Other Credit Earning Work or other courses approved by a petition to the Assistant Director of Graduate Studies;
        • Optionally, courses approved by the Assistant Director of Graduate Studies taken at a university other than the University of Denver under an inter-university cooperation arrangement approved by the Dean of the College of Law (such courses to be given such credit hour weighting as the Registrar shall deem appropriate taking into consideration the number of hours of instruction but not to exceed 6 credits in all);
        • Optionally, courses approved by the Director of Graduate Studies taken at the University of Denver offered by the Daniels College of Business or the Graduate School of International Business (such courses to be given such credit hour weighting as the Registrar shall deem appropriate, taking into consideration the number of hours of instruction but not to exceed 6 credits in all).
      • 3.3 – The maximum number of hours that a candidate can be credited under 3.2 (either combined or separately) shall not exceed 6 credit hours.
      • 3.4 – A candidate for the MRLS who has within five years prior to admission to the MRLS degree program completed University of Denver College of Law courses listed in the Syllabus of Approved Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program Courses which can be obtained from the Assistant Director of Graduate Studies and Other Credit Earning Work as a non-University of Denver graduate degree student under an inter-university cooperation program approved by the Dean of the College of Law may be credited for courses for the LL.M. up to a maximum of 6 credits.
    • Optional Specialization
      • 4.1 – A candidate for the MRLS may elect to specialize in up to two specializations. They will receive information on which courses count towards their desired specialization(s) during the week of orientation.
    • Credit Requirement
      • 5.1 – In order to qualify for the award of the MRLS degree, a candidate will be required to have obtained a minimum of 24 credits and a 2.0 minimum grade point average.
    • Assessment
      • 6.1 – The courses referred to in Regulation 3.2 shall be assessed by written examination, course work, continuous assessment of student performance, research paper, or a combination thereof, as specified by the course instructor.
    • Schedule of ENRLP MRLS Optional Specializations
      The Master of Resources Law Studies may be awarded without specialization or may, upon fulfillment of core requirements, indicate a candidate’s specialization in two or fewer of the following subjects:
      • Environmental Law and Policy
      • Land Use Law and Policy
      • Mineral Law and Policy
      • Energy Law and Policy
      • Water Law and Policy
      • International Resources Transactions Law and Policy
      • Sustainable Development and Renewable Energy
      • Oil and Gas Law and Policy

Core requirements for each specialization shall be set out by the Director of Graduate Studies in guidelines.

  • Appendix ENRGP 3 – Regulations for Certificate of Studies in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy
    • Candidacy
      • 1.1 – A candidate for the Certificate of Studies in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy (CS) must have earned a bachelor’s or advanced degree at an accredited institution or, in the case of a foreign candidate, obtained the equivalent of a bachelor’s or advanced degree from an acknowledged institution of higher learning.
      • 1.2 – A candidate who has completed all or some of the requirements for the award of the Master of Laws in Natural Resources and Environmental Law & Policy (LL.M.) or the Masters of Resources Law Studies, who is in good standing, and who meets the requirements of 1.1 may be permitted to transfer to the CS program with advanced standing and to undertake an additional period of study to complete the requirements for the certificate.
    • Duration of Study
      • 2.1 – The course of study may be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis.
      • 2.2 – A candidate must complete the requirements for the award of the Certificate of Studies within one year of first registration in the case of a full-time candidate and within two years in the case of a part-time candidate; the Director of Graduate Studies may approve an extension of one year.
      • 2.3 – All candidates for the Certificate of Studies shall be required to register in each year of study.
    • Curriculum
      • 3.1 – A candidate for the CS shall undertake a program of study approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.
      • 3.2 – The program of study shall consist of courses and other credit-earning work in the University of Denver or in other institutions, specified in the College of Law Syllabus of Approved Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program Courses and Other Credit Earning Work or other courses approved by a petition to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
    • Optional Specialization
      • 4.1 – A candidate for the CS may elect to specialize in one specialization. They will receive information on which courses count towards their desired specialization during the week of orientation.
    • Credit Requirement
      • 5.1 – In order to qualify for the award of the CS, a candidate will be required to have obtained a minimum of 16 credits and a 2.0 minimum grade point average.
    • Assessment
      • 6.1 – The courses referred to in Regulation 3.2 shall be assessed by written examination, course work, continuous assessment or research paper, or a combination thereof, as specified by the course instructor.
    • Schedule of ENRLP CS Optional Specializations
      The Certificate of Studies in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy may be awarded without specialization or may, upon fulfillment of core requirements, indicate a candidate’s specialization in one of the following subjects:
      • Environmental Law and Policy
      • Land Use Law and Policy
      • Mineral Law and Policy
      • Energy Law and Policy
      • Water Law and Policy
      • International Resources Transactions Law and Policy
      • Sustainable Development and Renewable Energy
      • Oil and Gas Law and Policy

Core requirements for each specialization shall be set out by the Director of Graduate Studies in guidelines.

  • Appendix ENRGP 4 – ENRGP Specialization Options and Requirements
    Student candidates for the ENRGP LL.M., MRLS, or CS can be awarded their respective degree or certificate without a specialization or may choose to work toward one of several areas of specialization.

The respective regulations state:

  • 4.1 – A candidate for the [LL.M, MRLS, CS ] may elect to specialize any time prior to the completion of the certificate requirements by notifying the Graduate Program; a candidate who does not notify the Graduate Program shall be deemed to have elected a non-specialized course of study.
  • 4.2 – The [LL.M., MRLS, CS] transcript may, subject to 4.1 and the candidate’s completion of required core courses as set out in the specialization guidelines, be endorsed to indicate a candidate’s specialization within the program of study in [LL.M. & MRLS up to two] [CS – one] of the subjects noted in the schedule to these Regulations.

Eight specializations are allowed under the respective regulation schedules:

  • Environmental Law and Policy
  • Land Use Law and Policy
  • Mineral Law and Policy
  • Energy Law and Policy
  • Water Law and Policy
  • International Resources Transactions Law and Policy
  • Sustainable Development and Renewable Energy
  • Oil and Gas Law and Policy

A list of the courses required to earn a specialization designation can be obtained from the Assistant Director of Graduate Studies. Each specialization requires the completion of 4 “core” classes. In exceptional cases, the Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program may grant a waiver of a core course or substitute another course for a core course.

A Certificate of Studies student may not qualify for more than one specialization. A Master of Laws (LL.M.) or Master of Resources Law Studies student may not qualify for more than two specializations.

  • Appendix ENRGP 5 – Individual Natural Resources and Environmental Law Certificates: Regulations and Guidelines
    • General
      • A candidate for a natural resources law program course certificate shall be required to register for that course and pay any required fees.
      • The Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program shall issue course certificates to qualified candidates with the concurrence of the Natural Resources Graduate Degree Committee.
    • Admission
      • A candidate for a natural resources law program course certificate must have completed a bachelor’s degree at an accredited institution or, in the case of a foreign candidate, obtained the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree, or such other professional qualification as may be approved by the Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program, from an acknowledged institution of higher learning.
    • Qualifying Certificate Questions
      • All courses listed in the syllabus of approved natural resources law program courses which can be obtained for the Assistant Director of Graduate Studies and are taught in the University of Denver College of Law qualify as certificate courses.
    • Assessment
      • The courses of study referred to in Regulation 3 shall be assessed by written examinations, course work, continuous assessment of student performance, research paper, or a combination thereof, as specified by the course instructor.
      • No course certificate shall be issued to any candidate who has not obtained a course mark of 2.0 or higher.

Appendix ENRGP 7 – LL.M. Thesis Option

A candidate for the LL.M. in Natural Resources and Environmental Law and Policy may elect, with the permission of the ENRLP Director of Graduate Studies, to complete a thesis on a topic approved by the Director. Students seeking to undertake a thesis option should have strong and demonstrable research and writing skills. Students undertaking the thesis option must register for the thesis and pay the requisite hourly fee (6 credit hours). Any student registered for a thesis must complete and submit the thesis for marking no later than 3 months prior to the maximum time allowed for the completion of his/her LL.M program.

Three bound copies of the thesis should be submitted to the thesis supervisor.

The following limit is suggested for a thesis:

Degree Recommended # of Words Maximum # of Words Recommended # of Pages
LL.M. Thesis 10,000 15,000 40-50

In general, the layout of the thesis should be “professional” and conform to the following guidelines:

  • Order of content
    • Title page
    • Executive summary
    • Table of contents
    • List of tables, list of figures and illustrations (if any)
    • Acknowledgments (if any)
    • Chapters of text
    • Reference/bibliography
  • Consistent system of footnotes and references
  • Consistent system of chapter, section, subsection numbering
  • 1 to 1 1/2 inch margins
  • 3 bound copies
  • Approximately 250 words per page (about 28 lines per page)
  • Clearly legible font
  • Printing quality (clearly readable, 300dpi or better)

Appendix ENRGP 8 – Thesis Research Supervision and Marking Guidelines

  • Policy Statement
    An LL.M. candidate may seek the permission of the ENRLP Director of Graduate Studies to undertake thesis research on a topic approved by the Director. Students seeking to undertake a thesis option should have strong and demonstrable research and writing skills and the Director may require proof of such skills. The decision of the Director shall be final.

Each student undertaking a thesis as part of their program of studies will be assigned a research supervisor. Supervision should include at least one staff member of the College of Law, either a full-time faculty member or the ENRLP Director of Graduate Studies, who will act as the senior supervisor. Other co-supervisors may be approved by the Director from other Environmental and Natural Resources Law teaching staff (i.e., adjuncts), other Departments of the University, or experts outside the University, provided that at all times a resident senior supervisor is operative. The senior supervisor is responsible for monitoring the student’s work. Graduate students are responsible adults. Ultimately, they are responsible for their work. They are expected to take initiative and raise important issues with their supervisor(s). They should show discipline and commitment to work.

The supervisor will assist the student in developing a research program timetable and plan of action, provide periodic guidance and monitoring, and alert the Director in case problems arise. While supervision supports students in their research endeavors, it is not the supervisors’ task to direct or do the work the students should do themselves (apart from review, suggestions, and guidance). This involves research finding literature, critical analysis, interviewing, outlining, writing, and editing. The supervisor should be an adviser who asks questions, discusses problems, monitors progress, and reviews and gives comments and advice. The ultimate responsibility for quality, content, success, and failure is solely the student’s. The aim of research is for the student to develop and demonstrate the ability to reach, using acceptable methods of research, academically substantive results.

  • Thesis Supervision
    The supervisor will meet with the student three times:
    • Initially to review and comment on the thesis proposal (a one page description prepared by the student covering the following headings: The Problem Addressed by the Thesis; The Main Issues; Research and Analytical Methodology; Availability of Source Material) and a proposed outline (maximum 2 pages) listing all chapter and major section draft headings.
    • Midterm review to discuss with the student the work in progress, to offer suggestions and comments, and to identify whether the direction of research is “on track.”
    • After completion of the draft but before formal submittal, to discuss with the student his draft thesis and to make recommendations for possible revisions. When designing their research timetable, students should allow time for one rewrite of the draft thesis after this meeting to achieve a higher level of quality.
  • Special Principles
    The Program strongly encourages research both within and outside of its own facilities. It is recognized that no one University’s library will contain all needed literature. Other facilities may need to be consulted in order to produce high-quality research. Also, research at other facilities opens up both contacts and access to materials. This will enrich the learning experience.
  • Thesis Committee and Marking
    A standardized marking system has been adopted to assess each thesis on a pass/fail basis. The mark shall be determined by a thesis committee agreed by the Director of Graduate Studies. The Thesis Committee shall consist of three members:
    • One full-time ENRLP faculty member or the ENRLP Director of Graduate Studies;
    • One full-time faculty member from the College of Law who is not a member of the environmental and natural resources law program; and
    • One other person who may come, but not necessarily, from outside the College of Law full-time faculty (i.e., adjuncts, faculty from other Departments of the University, or experts outside the University).

Should a dispute arise concerning the mark to be awarded, a majority of two committee members shall suffice to determine whether the thesis is passed or failed. In the case of a marginal fail, the Committee may, at its sole discretion, take one of the three following options:

  1. Award a fail;
  2. Hold an oral examination to determine whether the student has obtained a sufficient understanding of the subject matter to warrant a pass; or
  3. Allow the student to make revisions to the thesis to be reviewed at a further thesis committee meeting.

The decision of the thesis committee shall be final.

Appendix ENRGP 9 – Uniform Thesis Grading Sheet

Student’s Name:
Thesis Title:
Section 1: Content (80% of total) Section 2: Presentation (20% of total)
Logical Structure 20 References and Citations 10
Analysis 25 Language 10
Relative Originality 10 -
Total Number for Content: Total for Presentation:
Section 3: Deductions
Lack of Accuracy: (max. -20 pts.) Total to be Deducted:
Comments:
Content Pass with honors: >85
Presentation + Pass: 65-85
Accuracy Fail: <65
Total = Pass with honors, Pass, or Fail:
Committee Chairman: Date:
Other committee members:
  • Definitions for Uniform Marking Sheet
    “Content” refers to issues of an intellectual nature; “presentation” refers to the production of the paper.
    • Content
      • Logical Structure: organization of the paper which should enable the question under consideration to be answered in a logical and orderly manner.
      • Analysis: the ability of the candidate to use legal “tools of the trade” to develop the points contained in the structure to address the question.
      • Depth of Research: the extent to which the candidate has collected information relevant to the question.
      • Relative Originality: the extent to which the candidate has used his/her own ideas rather than simply repeated the professors or depended upon a small number of sources.
    • Presentation
      • References and Citations: the ability of the candidate to use references in an approved manner and in a way which supports the arguments in the paper.
      • Language: the correct use of English in the paper.
    • Lack of Accuracy
      The accuracy of any statements of fact contained in the candidate’s thesis. This is effectively a mechanism to penalize errors.

Appendix ENRGP 10 – JD/ENRLP Concurrent Degree Program

J.D. and LL.M. in Natural Resources and Environmental Law and Policy, J.D. and Master of Resources Law Studies

This guideline describes the policies and procedures relevant to students who wish to pursue concurrent graduate degree programs for the Juris Doctor and either the Master of Laws in Natural Resources Law and Policy (LL.M.) or the Master of Resources Law Studies (M.R.L.S.), both of which are offered by the University of Denver College of Law. Within these programs, the relevant faculty committees retain their authority and responsibility concerning curriculum course content, degree requirements, granting of degrees, and related matters.

  • Admission
    The student wishing to pursue the two degrees concurrently shall make separate applications to the College of Law for admission to both the J.D. program and either the LL.M. or M.R.L.S. program.

Note: an offer of admission to the LL.M. degree program is contingent on the LL.M. applicant having either been granted a J.D. degree or having accepted an offer to be admitted into the University of Denver College of Law’s J.D. program. An offer of admission to the M.R.L.S. degree program is not contingent upon the applicant having been granted a J.D. or having accepted an offer of admission into the University of Denver College of Law’s J.D. degree program.

A student may make application for participation in the concurrent degree program prior to beginning either program or after he/she has begun work on either degree. A student may not apply for admission to the concurrent degree program after either degree has been granted. The provisions of this agreement are intended to apply only to students who are working concurrently on the J.D. and LL.M. degrees or the J.D. and M.R.L.S. degrees at the University of Denver.

As soon as possible after the student has accepted an offer of admission in both degree programs, the student shall notify in writing the Registrar of the Law School and the ENRLP Director of Graduate Studies that the student is accepted for both degree programs.

  • Advisement
    After acceptance of admission but prior to registration for the LL.M. or M.R.L.S. degree program, the student will consult with the Director of Graduate Studies in the Environmental and Natural Resources Law program concerning the program requirements, course selection, recording of transfer credits, application for approval of unlisted courses, and similar matters.
  • Granting of the Degree
    The J.D. and LL.M. degrees need not be granted simultaneously unless a student is pursuing a dual J.D./LL.M. Appropriate faculty and administration members can recommend the granting of either degree when all requirements for that degree have been met. A student must have completed all requirements for a J.D. degree in order to be granted the LL.M. degree. The J.D. must be granted concurrent with the granting of the LL.M. degree. Concurrent degree privileges only apply to work completed while at the University of Denver while the student is working toward either degree, but prior to receiving either degree.
  • Law School Provisions for the LL.M. Degree
    At the time of registering for a course, the student shall, in writing, notify the registrar whether the course is to be applied toward the J.D. degree or toward the LL.M. degree. Approval by the Director of the Advanced Degree Study Program should accompany this notification. Course credits applied toward the LL.M. can be counted toward the J.D. requirement, and course credits applied toward the J.D. requirement can be applied to the LL.M. requirement.