Certificate in Environmental and Land Use Law

Environmental and Land Use Law is an exciting field of practice. Attorneys who practice in this area often say what they enjoy most about their jobs is the interdisciplinary nature of their work and the fact that no two days are the same. Whether you are interested in working in a private law firm, government agency, corporation or nonprofit organization, the Certificate in Environmental and Land Use Law will provide you with the knowledge, skills and values needed to successfully practice in this interdisciplinary field.

Through this certificate program, students will:

  • Learn how to analyze and solve pressing land use and environmental law and policy issues.
  • Learn how to work on cross-functional teams.
  • Be exposed to important issues facing Atlanta and the Southeast.
  • Build a network of professionals with similar interests.

We invite you to learn more about this exciting program and how your participation can prepare you for a successful career in environmental or land use law.

A student is eligible to apply for participation in the certificate program after completing the first full year of law study (31 credit hours). To enter the certificate program, a student must be in good academic standing with a 2.3 GPA or greater.

Because participation in the Urban Fellows Program is a mandatory component of the certificate program, students must have two full semesters (fall and spring) remaining in their studies. Therefore, students must apply to enter the certificate program no later than the end of the spring semester of their second year.

To apply for the certificate program:

**Applying to enter the certificate program is not binding. You may change your mind and decline to pursue the certificate at any time.

The chart below summarizes the required courses for graduating with a Certificate in Environmental and Land Use Law. More details on each of the components may be found below.

Required Courses Credit Hours Comments
Administrative Law (LAW 7010) 3
Environmental Law (LAW 7200) 3
Land Use Law (LAW 7320) 3
Urban Fellows Program
(writing requirement - LAW 7494)
2 Students must participate in a full year (fall and spring semester) of the Urban Fellows Program and write the mandatory research paper on an urban topic.
Environmental or Land Use Law Electives 9 Includes externships, study abroad programs offered by the Metro Growth Center, or graduate courses in non-law departments*. See more details below.

Required Foundational Courses

Students pursuing the Certificate in Environmental and Land Use Law are required to take three foundational courses:

  • Administrative Law (LAW 7010) — 3 credit hours
  • Environmental Law (LAW 7200) — 3 credit hours
  • Land Use Law (LAW 7320) — 3 credit hours

Elective Courses

In addition to the required courses, students must select 9 credit hours of related electives.  This requirement may be satisfied in several ways:

  • Taking electives in the College of Law
  • Participating in externships
  • Attending the Spring Break Study Abroad Program in Barcelona, Spain
  • Taking graduate courses in other Georgia State departments*
  • Taking graduate courses at Georgia Institute of Technology's School of City and Regional Planning*

*Students are limited to one elective course (3 hours maximum) from a nonlaw department, including Georgia Tech's School of City and Regional Planning. Dual degree students may take two courses (6 credit hours) from a nonlaw department. Nonlaw courses are subject to the rules of the College of Law. Students must receive pre-approval from the associate dean for academic affairs before registering for non-law elective courses.

Approved Elective Courses 
Advanced Local Government Law (LAW 7386) Law and Emerging Technologies (LAW 7355)
Advanced Real Estate Transactions (LAW 7437) Legislation (LAW 7375) Externships
Biotechnology Law (LAW 7098) Local Government Law (LAW 7385) City of Atlanta
International Perspectives on Urban Law & Policy (LAW 7397) Natural Resources Law (LAW 7203) Georgia Department of Law
Comparative Law (LAW 7125) Public Health Law (LAW 7244) GreenLaw
Growth Management Law (LAW 7242) Real Estate Transactions (LAW 7435) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Hazardous Waste (LAW 7238) Selected Topics in Environmental Litigation (LAW 7202) U.S. Department of Interior
International and Foreign Legal Research (LAW 7288) Sustainable Development Law (LAW 7656) Federal Highway Administration
International Human Rights (LAW 7277) Water Rights (LAW 7500)

Participation in the Urban Fellows Program

Students pursuing the certificate are required to participate in a full year (fall and spring semester) of the Urban Fellows Program, which provides students with an opportunity to learn from top decision-makers about important issues facing cities today.  The program consists of a lecture series, research paper, community service and mentoring opportunities.

Click here to learn more about the Urban Fellows Program and how to apply. Students must apply to the Urban Fellows Program the spring semester of their second year to enable a full year of participation in the program.

Writing Requirement

The Urban Fellows class (LAW 7494) is a vital component of this certificate. Through this class, students are able to fine-tune their legal research and policy analysis skills and address a real growth management issue.

In this class, students will write a research paper of publishable quality. The paper may be written on any urban, growth management, or environmental law and policy issue. The paper must conform to the guidelines established by the Urban Fellows Program and the College of Law writing requirement.

Download the guidelines for writing an Urban Fellows paper.

A Certificate in Environmental and Land Use Law may be awarded to any student who fulfills all of the requirements before graduation.

Students must verify they have met all of the requirements of the certificate program prior to graduation.  This includes successfully completing the:

  • Required courses (Administrative Law, Environmental Law, Land Use Law)
  • Elective courses (9 credit hours of approved courses)
  • Urban Fellows Program
  • Writing Requirement (Urban Fellows Class — LAW 7494)

To receive a certificate, students must submit a verification form. This form must be signed by your faculty adviser and submitted to the registrar. The deadline for submitting this form is the drop/add date of your last semester.