Master's and LLM Degrees

MLS ENRLP Course Information

You may customize your course of study, depending upon your career goals. The Sturm College of Law offers over 40 courses in these advanced degree programs, divided equally between international and domestic issues. You may customize your degree by selecting any approved courses. Please be advised that not all courses are offered every year and some courses may be offered in only one semester every year.


  • American Legal Systems, Research, and Writing
  • Students must complete the Capstone requirement by submitting a written product of at least 15-25 pages in an appropriate legal subject and with a significant legal research component, approved by the ENRLP Program Director. This can be achieved either through an elective course taken after the first term of the program or by registering for a 2-3 credit Directed Research project.

To view the current Sturm College of Law class schedules, please click here.

To view all Sturm College of Law course descriptions, please click here.

Environmental and Natural Resources Law Discipline Courses

American Legal Systems, Research, and Writing | L4707

American Legal Systems, Research, and Writing is a three-credit course required for students enrolled in the Masters of Legal Studies program. The course covers the foundations of the American Legal system, the structure of state and federal courts, the relationship between the courts and the legislative and executive branches of government, and the anatomy of a lawsuit. In addition, students will have a rigorous writing experience designed to instill in students a competence in legal research, writing, analysis, and the fundamentals of proper attribution. Students will also learn skills essential to success in law school courses, such as how to prepare case briefs, how to take notes in a Socratically-taught course, and how to prepare for and successfully take law school exams. (3 credits)

Animal Rights | L4019

This course will explore the definition of the term animal; explore and study the laws offering protection of animals, including state anti-cruelty laws and federal laws, such as the Animal Welfare Act and the Endangered Species Act, and consider arguments for and against granting animals legal rights. Student participation is emphasized. (3 credits)

Bioethics and the Law | L4708

Comparative Environmental Law | L4137

This course compares and contrasts the domestic environmental law regimes of five countries (Chile, China, India, Nigeria, US) and one supranational organization (EU). Domestic environmental law is a widely expanding field. It is relevant in a broad range of activities including policy development as well as evaluating potential and existing business and commercial arrangements. On the other hand, comparative law is a method of examining different legal systems, institutions, and problems. In this course, the aim of a comparative approach is to gain insights regarding and make observations about legal matters involving environmental issues that would be limited if considered only in the context of one country’s approach. Comparison in this manner is often an extremely effective way of reaching a better understanding, not only of issues generally but of a particular country’s system and its possibilities and limitations.

Issues in particular that are considered: Key drivers, including topical events that influence environmental issues in the various countries; How environmental policy is made; Relationship of environmental policy vis-à-vis other policies (e.g., economic development); Specific environmental laws/regulations covering, e.g., air, waste, and water pollution; Remedies Enforcement. (3 credits)

Contemporary Issues in Oil & Gas Development | L47xx

Despite the world’s efforts to decarbonize, fossil fuels – particularly oil and gas — are projected to remain important and will remain the dominant source of energy power for the global economy at least through 2035 according to the “BP Global Energy Outline to 2035” report. According to the report gas will be the fastest growing fossil fuel at 1.8 percent per year while oil usage will increase about 1 percent per year.

This course considers some of the most important current issues involving oil and gas development, most prominently of which deals with unconventional oil land gas development. This development is now taking place as a result of the deployment of hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling. While this new technology has revolutionized oil and gas development it has also created major legal and social issues that will be covered in the course. These issues will be considered both in a domestic (i.e., US) as well as an international (e.g., Argentina and China) context. Colorado is perhaps the most interesting U.S. state in terms of regulating unconventional development, and thus it will be emphasized. Other issues that will be discussed include: (1) litigation associated with unconventional development; (2) transportation of the fuels; (3) the current state of the oil and gas business and its impact on development; and (4) political questions that are playing a key role in how receptive states and the federal government are (or aren’t) to unconventional development.

The course will include a number of guest speakers who will explain how they or their organization are involved in the underlying issues. The course will conclude with a final paper, which will be due several weeks after the final course meeting. (2 credit hours)

Energy Law | L4210

The regulation of production, conversion, transportation, distribution and pricing of fossil, hydroelectric, nuclear and other conventional sources of primary energy; the regulation of inexhaustible, renewable energy resources, including energy from the sun, wind, biomass, oceans, earth (geothermal), and rivers (low-head hydroelectric). Emphasis on new legislative and judicial development relating to coal, petroleum, natural gas, hydroelectric and nuclear sources, on related international environmental and taxation considerations, and administrative and common law responses to new technologies that use and disseminate power from sun, wind, biomass, ocean, geothermal, and river resources. (3 credits)

Environmental Appellate Advocacy | L47xx

This course is open to students interested in covering advanced topics in environmental law and appellate advocacy. The students who will represent the Sturm College of Law at the National Environmental Moot Court Competition, hosted by Pace Law School, are expected to take this course, although other students may also take the course, particularly those who are interested in participating in the NEMCC in subsequent years. The course will meet 3 times per week in a classroom environment for approximately the first two months of the Spring semester. Topics covered may include, but are not limited to, 1) procedural issues such as intervention, standing, or agency deference; 2) detailed study of substantive environmental law; and 3) oral advocacy skills. Grading will be based on classroom participation, written homework, and simulated oral arguments. (2 credits)

Environmental Law | L4220

The major federal laws and programs for environmental protection, such as the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, wildlife laws, landform preservation laws, and public resource laws. Federal laws are compared to common law remedies. Issues of economics and technology are explored, as are tactics of environmental litigation, legislative lobbying, and administrative agency enforcement. Administrative Law is recommended, but not required. (3 credits)

Environmental Law Clinic and Seminar | L4206/L4802

Clinic: The Environmental Law Clinic is a joint undertaking of the Law School and the Center for Biological Diversity. The Center is perhaps the most successful litigation environmental group in the nation, winning approximately 85% of its cases. The Center is dedicated to the preservation, protection and restoration of biodiversity, native species, ecosystems and public lands. Clinic students help handle Federal Court litigation under the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Act, Federal Land Policy and Management Act, National Forest Management Act, the Wilderness Act and other federal environmental statutes. The clinic emphasizes hands-on legal work to the extent possible and strives to expose students to career opportunities in public interest environmental law. The clinic is designed to serve as a capstone experience to law students specializing in environmental law, who have taken appropriate courses, and desire to practice what they have learned before leaving the school.

Seminar: During class, students will review federal civil procedure through a lecture series entitles “anatomy of a lawsuit,” have specific lectures on effective legal writing, and commonly used statues such as the Freedom of Information Act, and Endangered Species Act. Each student must also prepare a class presentation on their assigned major case, and participate in random, less formal docket meetings. Students must also attend four guest lectures from lawyers and other professionals on environmental law advocacy issues. Students will earn 3 in class credits for this course and 3 out of class credits through the corequisite course L4206, Environmental Law Clinic. (6 credit hours for entire year clinic)

Environmental Law Workshop | L47xx

The Environmental Law Workshop provides students with the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge issues in environmental and natural resources law. During the semester, professors that study these fields from around the country present that is underway, and students and faculty discuss and comment on these projects. Students also write a substantial paper of their own about a topic selected with the advice of the Workshop’s professors.

Federal Indian Law | L4300

This introductory course surveys the body of Federal Indian Law, focusing on the legal relationship between Indian nations and the United States, including implications of this relationship for states and individual citizens. The course covers the historical origins of federal Indian common law, the development of federal Indian policy, and tribal sovereignty in the modern era (tribal property, jurisdiction, criminal and civil governance, and economic development including gaming). It may provide a brief introduction to the Indian Child Welfare Act, religious and cultural freedoms, tribal law, and indigenous peoples in international law, if time allows. (3 credits)

Federal Wildlife Law | L4251

This course covers federal wildlife law beginning with the Constitutional underpinnings of federal wildlife law. It focuses on the Endangered Species Act with some coverage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The course takes new approaches to species and habitat preservation, paying particular attention to Colorado species. (3 credits)

Global Climate Change Law & Policy | L4259

As concern over the threat of global climate change spreads, action on greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) is increasingly commanding attention. This seminar consists of supervised research and writing on the issue of climate change and the legal and policy responses. The course focuses on the effects of climate change on development and the environment in industrialized and developing countries and the laws in the international, regional and domestic arenas that address the problem. (3 credits)

Hazardous Waste & Toxic Substances Law | L4380

The course focuses exclusively on the different aspects of toxic and hazardous waste law by studying the dominant statutory materials. It provides the student with a thorough background in both the legal and political issues commonly seen in toxic and hazardous waste law. The course concentrates on the practical legal dimensions of this growing subspecialty of environmental law. Prerequisite: Environmental Law or Natural Resources Law. (3 credits)

International & Comparative Mining Law | L4342

The course deals with basic concepts of mineral law, as practiced in various jurisdictions. This includes exploration, mining and environmental protection and reclamation issues. It then focuses on the current evolution and legal and policy status of mining legislation, mineral investment agreements, and major actors. Students completing this course develop a basic understanding of the general approaches, legal frameworks, policies and agreements used to regulate the mining industry in key jurisdictions outside the United States. (3 credits)

International & Comparative Petroleum Law | L4343

The course deals with basic concepts of international law relating to petroleum investment, current elements of petroleum legislation, and petroleum investment agreements (production-sharing, concession, joint venture, service, management contracts). Also, students explore such aspects of petroleum law as dispute settlement and legal status. The instructor will discuss the major actors (international petroleum companies, state petroleum enterprises, Ministries of Energy) and their legal and policy status. Students completing the course leave with a basic understanding of the general approaches, policies, and agreements used to regulate the petroleum industry in key selected jurisdictions outside the United States. (3 credits)

International Business Transactions | L4315

This course provides students with a general overview of international business transactions. The course examines the legal framework of international sales transactions including the commercial terms of the sales agreements, shipping contracts, insurance, financing arrangements and customs documentation. The course also examines the foreign direct investment transaction, international franchise and distribution agreements. The regulation of international business is reviewed, with special attention to the World Trade Organization agreements and regional trade areas. (3 credits)

International Business Transactions: Federal Regulation | L4318

International Business Transactions: Federal Regulation examines the ability of the federal government to control international trade. The focus of the course is US export controls, embargoes, anti-terrorism regulations that apply to international commerce, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Students prepare a compliance program integrating these regulations into a workable framework for a company. (3 credits)

International Environmental Law | L4317

This course covers the international law governing the environment and environmental protection. We will begin by learning about the sources and institutional structure of international environmental law. We will then cover fundamental principles in international environmental law that currently influence environmental law in many countries around the world, such as sustainable development, the precautionary principle, permanent sovereignty over natural resources, environmental impact assessment requirements, and common but differentiated responsibilities. The course will continue by delving into the core treaty regimes in the field, covering ozone protection, climate change, biodiversity and species protection, and biosafety. We will also cover trade and environment issues and the role of local communities and indigenous communities. The class is an EA class. (3 credits)

International Human Rights | L4319

The seminar begins with a general overview of international human rights as put forth in the International Bill of Rights. The second part of the course focuses on the emerging area of corporate social responsibility and human rights. The last part of the seminar consists of student presentations on the topics of the research papers required for the course. (3 credits)

International Law | L4320

The foundation course in public law, treaties, systems, and policies binding nations into a “world community of law,” with special emphasis on the origins of international law, statehood, international responsibility and claims, use of force and human rights. (3 credits)

International Trade Law | L4379

This course examines the law of international trade in goods and services, focusing principally on the law of the World Trade Organization and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. We will examine the trading systems rules restraining national restrictions on trade that address, among other things, tariff and non-tariff barriers, discrimination, regionalism, anti-dumping, countervailing duties, and safeguards. The course will also spend time considering the relationship between trade and other regulatory areas or social values, such as environmental protection, health and safety standards, human rights, intellectual property protection, and other facets of globalization. (3 credits)

Introduction to the American Legal System | L4064

This course is designed for international LLM students who have not previously had exposure to either the U.S. legal system or other common law systems. The course provides an overview of American constitutional and procedural law, with an introduction to the U.S. judicial system, legal methodology, and government structure. Students will also be introduced to legal research and writing. Students will get a rigorous writing experience, drafting at least one legal paper or document. In so doing, students will learn about legal research, analysis, and writing. Students may also be asked to deliver an oral argument or presentation. (3 credits)

Land Conservation Transactions | L4358

Increasingly important in our efforts to preserve ecological diversity, historic places, working lands, scenic viewsheds, open space, and public uses of land are conservation tools and processes such as donation of conservation easements, purchase of sensitive lands, and private/public partnerships for land conservation. Students will research and review the swiftly developing body of law and legal issues accompanying the use of conservation easements and will gain a practical understanding of both the legal and non-legal dimensions of land conservation transactions involving conservation easements. In addition, students will actively engage in the progression of a conservation easement transaction, beginning with early negotiations, drafting, and financial analysis, and proceeding along a spectrum to donation, amendment and termination evaluation, violation, and enforcement. Each student will be responsible for engaging in role-playing exercises throughout the conservation transaction process to assess various financial scenarios, identify and resolve disputes related to the conservation transaction, and negotiate and draft a conservation easement. (3 credits)

Land Use Planning | L4360

This course examines government controls used in the regulation of land use and development and the urbanization of the built environment in cities and metropolitan areas in the United States. The course includes an analysis of state and local laws and federal constitutional issues related to the use of master plans, zoning and land development codes, growth management and smart growth development techniques, as well as the topics of subdivision regulation, eminent domain and urban renewal. Special problems in land use planning studied include exclusionary zoning, regulation of aesthetics, design controls and visual beauty, signs and billboard, religious land use, protection of natural lands and wildlife habitat, regulation of natural resources development, fair housing laws, and the protection of private property rights in the urban regulatory process. (3 credits)

Mining Law | L4445

This course provides the basic framework of mining law. It begins with the acquisition of title to and development of deposits of hard minerals and energy resources under the mining and mineral leasing laws of the federal and state governments in the western United States. Next, it emphasizes the practices and procedures of the various proprietary and regulatory agencies responsible for the management and administration of public lands. Finally, students learn how to resolve competitive demands for exclusive and multiple use of public lands for mineral production and conservation. (3 credits)

Natural Resources Law | L4450

The course is designed primarily for students who wish to have an introduction to and an overview of the entire natural resources law area in one course. Students survey the primary natural resources subject matter areas: water law; mining law; oil and gas law; public land law; environmental law; and energy law. (3 credits)

Natural Resources Practitioner in Residence | L47xx

The Distinguished Natural Resources Practitioner in Residence Seminar is a ?capstone seminar? taught each year in the Spring Semester by a different but prominent natural resources or environmental law lawyer who has extensive experience in energy, resources, or environmental law work. The focus of the Seminar is on skills training, where the skills taught are those that all lawyers need in order to have a successful career in the practice of law. Among the skills typically addressed are (1) how to obtain a job, either as a lawyer or as a law-trained worker; (2) how to obtain and retain clients; (3) how to work in the private sector, government sector, business sector, and in-house sector; (4) how to write; (5) how to work with associates and colleagues; (6) how to deal with technical or scientific matters in a legal context; (7) how to work in the litigation arena, before trial and appellate courts; (8) how to practice or appear before administrative agencies; (9) how to organize and refine a mass of complicated information so that a decision-maker can make sense of it. There is no final exam or paper expected; the grade is usually by class participation and small writing exercises. Students seeking to apply must have had the basic course in Natural Resources Law or some other course (e.g., Environmental Law) taught by the faculty of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Faculty. (3 credits)

Negotiating Natural Resources Agreements | L4462

Students completing this course leave with an understanding of the general approaches, and primary issues and motivations pertaining to the negotiation of large, internationally funded petroleum and mining projects. They particularly gain a perspective on the negotiation of first-tier agreements between trans-national companies and governments, and joint venture agreements between private parties. (3 credits)

Oil and Gas Law | L4465

This course surveys the various characteristics of oil and gas interests. Topics include mineral rights, and how ownership leases and transfers of these rights should be handled. The instructor also distinguishes the field of oil and gas law on private lands from those in the public domain. (3 credits)

Public Land and Resources Law | L4495

This course provides an overview of law, policy, and procedures governing the third of United States land managed by the federal government for the benefit of all the people. The course traces the interwoven law, history, and economics controlling acquisition and allocation of public lands and resources and examines a selection of significant commercial uses and resource categories of land use practices. Students should take LAWS 4025 Administrative Law prior to enrolling in this course. (3 credits)

Renewable Energy Project Development and Regulation | L4509

This course examines the broad range of legal topics that a renewable energy lawyer must understand in order to practice effectively. We examine the structure, regulation, and functioning of the electric energy industry in the United States. We explore in detail the law applicable to the development, ownership and operation of renewable projects across the spectrum of technologies. Significant emphasis is placed on the practical “real world” issues encountered in developing, financing and operating these projects. (3 credits)

Renewable Energy for the 21st Century: Law, Policy & Markets | L4508

Renewable Energy for the 21st Century will help prepare students for future involvement in this dynamic sector. Students will be introduced to the policy and legal framework involving renewables and energy efficiency as well as important technological and market-based issues. (3 credits)

Social Change Lawyering | L4539

This seminar will explore the role of law and the legal profession in pursuing broader social causes across the political spectrum, such as the pursuit of civil rights for racial minorities or the effort to overturn the constitutional right to abortion. Distinguished from the practice of law solely advocating the interests of individual clients, social change lawyering is a major component of the legal profession of the 21st century. Known variously as “public interest law,” cause lawyering, and by numerous other labels, this area of practice implicates many important issues worthy of serious scholarly consideration.

Some of the topics that may be examined include: the competing definitions of social change lawyering and the relevance of such definitions; the history of American law and social change; the role of progressive/conservative ideologies in social change lawyering; the role of government and private firm lawyers in effectuating social change; strategies and organizational models for social change lawyering groups; the relationship between social change lawyers and their clients; the economics and financing of social change lawyering; ethics and social change lawyering; legal education and social change. Throughout the course, students will be asked to critically examine the role of lawyers in social change, and question whether and how lawyers have been effective agents of social change in American society.

The course will not use a traditional casebook. Rather, students will study a set of materials comprised of excerpts from law review articles and books, historical and sociological materials, and problems. Students will be required to write short, reflective discussion board posts on each week’s readings, as well as a more comprehensive final paper. (Students may elect to use this seminar to fulfill the upper level writing requirement if they submit a draft of the final paper and do a substantial rewrite after receiving the instructor’s feedback). (2 credits)

Sustainable Development and Trade | L4556

This seminar is designed to give an introduction to the convergence of trade, environment, and development issues and law, addressing areas of conflict and synergies among them. It will focus on rules, procedures, and institutions aimed at making globalization compatible with sustainable development by integrating trade policy and law with policies that address other aspects of “human development”, such as, environmental concerns, social concerns, human rights, gender issues, and governance. (3 credits)

Water Court Practice | L47xx

This seminar will focus on practice in Colorado seven water courts and in the Colorado Supreme Court. Water Lawyer Susan Ryan will lead class members through the water court statutes, rules, forms, and pertinent case law. Class members will draft applications for conditional water rights, absolute water rights, changes of water rights, and augmentation plans, as well as statements of opposition to water court applications. They will also draft proposed water right findings of fact, conclusions of law, judgments, and decrees for each type of application. Guest engineers, lawyers, and Senior Water Judge Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr. (retired Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court) will assist the class in understanding the hydrological, protection against injury, burden of proof, and water administration factors involved in cases before the water courts and on appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court. (Suggest taking Fundamentals of Water Law Course first, but not a prerequisite). (3 credits)

Water Law | L4670

Water Law is an introductory course for students interested in pursuing water law. It covers private property rights in water, and the legal and environmental controls surrounding it. Students should take L4025 Administrative Law prior to enrolling in this course. (3 credits)

Water Transactions Seminar | L47xx

Navigating the legal requirements as well as the political, economic, environmental, and social impacts of water transactions can be challenging and can require innovation, collaboration, and patience. Taught by Professor Amy Beatie, this hands-on seminar utilizing simulated real world examples exposes students to the issues, documentation, and experiences that an attorney in a water practice might encounter. It will focus on negotiating and drafting documents involved in a wide variety of water-related transactions, including the sale, lease, and other contracts for the use of water rights. Topics will include: water as an interest in real property; the role of lawyers and the legal practice; the anatomy of a transaction, including the purchase contract and other related documents; title work and issues; public records and recording statutes; and valuation. Classes will be a mixture of lectures, interactive discussions, and mock negotiations. Students will have the opportunity to work with practitioners, businesses, non-profit, and governmental entities in settings that will present students with simulated realistic practice opportunities. Elements used in grading will include class attendance, individual and group project participation, and written assignments. (Suggest taking Water Law Course first, but not a prerequisite). (3 credits)

Recommended Related Courses

Advanced Legal Research | L4035
Advanced Legal Writing | L4651
Administrative Law | L4025
Alternative Dispute Resolution | L4060
Comparative Law | L4135
Directed Research | L4999
Externship | L5025

Sturm College of Law
University of Denver
2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208