Innovative Study

Certificate Program in Sustainability Law

Students interested in careers in environmental and natural resources law and sustainability law have the opportunity to enroll in a focused program of study and earn a specialized certificate along with their Doctor of Jurisprudence degree.

The Certificate Program in Sustainable Environmental, Energy & Resources Law (SEER) places special emphasis on the role of the lawyer in formulating environmental and natural resources law and policy to sustain and protect our local and global resources. The program's full course of study was designed by the Willamette law faculty to be both comprehensive and intensive. Students enrolled in the SEER Certificate Program will receive a solid foundation in all areas of the law, but they also have the academic flexibility to specialize in specific areas related to sustainability and the environment.

Why Study Sustainability Law at Willamette?

The Certificate Program in Sustainability Law was designed to prepare the next generation of lawyer-advocates to lead their communities, the nation and the world toward a more sustainable future. The program places special emphasis on the role of the lawyer in formulating environmental and natural resources law and policy to sustain and protect our global resources and to ensure social justice for all beings.

The program trains students to think about environmental issues in concrete ways and to translate broad legal theory into targeted public policy and litigation. The program also provides new insights into environmental, energy and natural resources law, with a keen focus on the long-term sustainability of our world.

The program's full course of study is highly comprehensive. Students in the program have the opportunity to become involved in sustainability-related issues as early as their first year. Core second- and third-year courses include environmental law and policy, administration law, and either sustainable natural resources law or global sustainability. A wealth of other course choices are available to satisfy the certificate program's elective requirements, including land use planning, water law, wildlife law, animal law, energy law, environmental justice, American Indian law, and environmental law moot court.

Students who graduate from Willamette with the Certificate in Sustainability Law leave the school with the skills, knowledge, tools and hands-on experience needed to solve complex environmental law problems with creativity and sophistication.

Program Requirements

This certificate program requires completion of 15 hours of coursework as described in the chart below. A student must maintain a minimum grade of a B (3.00) in each course required to complete the certificate.

There is no formal application requirement. Rather, if you are interested in earning a certificate you may apply anytime during the 3-5 semesters  to Reyna Meyers at 503-370-6046 or to register for the program. As you are closer to your graduation date, please confirm with Reyna that you in fact have satisfied the three requirements described below:

  1. Have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher to be eligible for admittance into the Certificate Program;
  2. Complete a total of 15 hours in the Certificate Program courses listed below; and
  3. Receive a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in the Certificate Program courses, including Environmental Law and Policy, Sustainable Natural Resources or Global Sustainability, and Administrative Law, all of which must be taken on a graded basis.*

* Students must have the practical ability to take and complete all courses required for the Sustainability Law Certificate prior to graduation. If, for any reason, a Certificate candidate is unable to complete all courses prior to graduation, the student shall either opt to graduate on time without the Certificate and/or continue at the College of Law for such additional time as is necessary to complete the Certificate requirements.

1L Elective Courses

Complete one of the following: Lawmaking Process (LAW 116)  OR International Law & Dispute Resolution (LAW 117) OR Negotiation I (LAW 113) (3 hrs.)

  • Environmental Law & Policy (LAW 223) or Administrative Law (LAW 255) (3 hrs.);
  • Sustainable Natural Resources Law (LAW 348) or Global Sustainability (LAW 386) (2 hrs.)
  • Optional Courses:  Additional hours of coursework needed to complete the programs may be satisfied in any of the following courses:  Land Use Planning, Water Law, Wildlife Life, Animal Law, Energy Law, Environmental Justice, American Indian Law, Environment Law Moot Court,  (GSM 6297) Sustainability Management and the Physical Sciences (when offered) or additional coursework approved by the program director. (6-7 hrs.)
  • 2L/3L Required Courses

    2L/3L Required Practicum Experience

    Certificate students must complete a supervised practicum experience approved by the Director in environmental, energy, sustainability or natural resources, for example a clinic or externship.

    2L/3L Research Writing Requirement

    Certificate students must satisfy their writing their research writing requirement writing on an environmental, energy, sustainability or resources topic in a core program seminar or another seminar approved by the Director.

    Program Faculty

    Students enrolled in the Certificate Program in Sustainability have the opportunity to learn from lawyers with extensive experience litigating natural resources cases and forming environmental policy. They include experts in sustainable natural resources, environmental justice, climate change, energy law, international law, cultural heritage, American Indian law, water law, ocean resources and wildlife law. In addition to the four full-time professors teaching in the program, more than 10 members of the Willamette faculty offer a broad range of sustainability and environmental law courses.

    View program faculty


“Students enrolled in the Certificate Program in Sustainability Law will receive a rich repertoire of innovative legislative and private negotiated solutions to the problems of sustainability.”

— Professor Robin Morris Collin


“At Willamette, you get a lot more than an environmentally based class or two — you get the real deal. You learn about the law and the environment in a setting that actually respects the environment, and for that matter, the individual studying the environment. The professors involved in the program are dedicated, motivated, concerned and involved.”