Law (JD)

Joint degrees with the Yale Law School, Pace University School of Law or Vermont Law School

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    Program Overview

    One route to effective advocacy for the environment is to combine training in law with knowledge of environmental science, policy and history. To make this possible, the Yale School of the Environment (YSE) offers a program combining a master’s degree in environmental management with a JD degree. The program is a partnership with Yale Law School and with two other schools: Pace University School of Law and Vermont Law School. Students learn about the law, hone their analytical skills and build a strong foundation in policy and in the natural and social sciences.


    Students earn one of four environment degrees – the Master of Environmental Management (MEM), the Master of Environmental Science (MESc), the Master of Forestry (MF), or the Master of Forest Science (MFS) – and a Juris Doctor (JD) from Yale Law School, Pace University School of Law, or Vermont Law School.

    Pursuing this joint program reduces the period of study to four years. Students divide their time between the two schools, 1.5 years at YSE and 2.5 years at the corresponding Law School.

    Course of Study

    The joint-degree program requires completion of 36 credits as well as a summer internship and a thesis or a capstone project. In addition, all joint-degree students are required to attend two weeks of technical skills training before beginning their studies at YSE.  These are hands-on workshops, offered every August, that teach plant identification, ecosystems management, land measurement, and urban ecosystem analysis. Please see Degree Programs at YSE for more information.
    At Pace University School of Law, JD/YSE students must earn a total of 112 credits. Required courses account for a minimum of 36 credits. All students must complete a writing project under the supervision of a professor, along with successfully completing a total of 6 credits of coursework in approved upper-level skills courses as a condition of graduation. Please see Juris Doctor Program at Pace for more information.
    At Vermont Law School (VLS), JD/YSE students must earn a minimum of 72 credits at VLS for a total of 108 credits. Students should begin the program at VLS, as courses taken at Yale prior to beginning the JD at VLS cannot be applied to the JD degree. Students are required to meet the American Bar Association (ABA) requirements for attendance and curriculum at VLS, and satisfy all VLS JD graduation requirements. Please see Degrees at VLS for more information.
    At the Yale Law School, each student takes the following courses in a “small group” seminar format their first semester: Constitutional Law, Contracts, Procedure, and Torts. To foster an environment of collaboration rather than competition, all first-term courses are graded on a credit/fail basis.  For the remaining semesters, the curriculum is almost entirely elective.  Joint-degree students must satisfy one of the two writing requirements before they can register for their penultimate term at the Law School.  Please see J.D. Program at Yale for more information.

    Pathway Options

    Students may begin their studies at the School of the Environment (YSE) or at their law school (YLS, PACE, VLS).

      Begin at YSE Begin at YLS, PACE, VLS
    Semester 1 & 2 YSE YLS, PACE, VLS
    Summer 1 YSE Internship/Research depends on joint school
    Semester 3 & 4 YLS, PACE, VLS  YLS, PACE, VLS
    Summer 2 depends on joint school  
    Semester 5 & 6 YLS, PACE, VLS YSE
    Summer 3   YSE Internship/Research
    Semester 7 YSE or Pace/Vermont YSE or Pace/Vermont
    Semester 8 YLS, or YSE if Pace or Vermont attended in Semester 7 YLS, or YSE if Pace or Vermont attended  in Semester 7



    Each school individually admits students in accordance with its own criteria. Prospective students may apply to the program prior to matriculation by submitting a separate application to each school during a single admissions cycle.  For more information on admission, please visit YSE Masters Admissions, VLS Admissions, Pace University Admissions & Aid, and the Yale Law School JD Admissions.


    While attending YSE full time, students pay normal tuition at YSE.  While attending either Yale Law, Pace, or Vermont, students pay normal tuition towards that school. Students should apply for financial aid from both YSE and the Law school they are attending, and any aid awarded will be applied to the semesters enrolled at that school. For more information on applying for financial aid at YSE, please see the YSE financial aid website. For more information on applying for financial aid at Yale Law, please see the Yale Law financial aid website. For more information on applying for financial aid at Pace Law, please see the Pace Law financial aid website. For more information on applying for financial aid at Vermont Law, please see the Vermont Law financial aid website

    Contact Info

    School of the Environment
    195 Prospect Street
    New Haven, CT 06511
    Phone: 800 825-0330

    Liaison for Prospective Joint Law Students
    Josh Galperin

    Yale Law School
    127 Wall Street
    New Haven, CT 06511
    Phone: 203 432-4992

    Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law
    78 North Broadway
    White Plains, NY 10603
    Phone: 914 422-4212

    Vermont Law School
    164 Chelsea St. PO Box 96
    South Rayalton, VT 05068
    Phone: 802 831-1000