UCLA Law Environmental Law Specialization for J.D. Students

UCLA Law's Environmental Law Specialization trains the next generation of environmental leaders by providing courses and experience to prepare them for careers in environmental law.

Students in UCLA Law's environmental law J.D. specialization create a demonstrated record of study and experience and prepare for careers with public-interest organizations, government agencies, and private law firms. In addition to doctrinal environmental law courses, students in the specialization represent clients through our environmental law clinics and serve as externs with nonprofits and government agencies. Students in the specialization benefit from robust faculty advising, with each student developing an individualized curriculum package. For details on UCLA Law’s Environmental Law Specialization, scroll down to the FAQs on this page.

Centers of Excellence

Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

The Emmett Institute trains future leaders and develops solutions to the climate crisis and environmental justice challenges.

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Areas of Focus

Environmental Law

Our cutting-edge curriculum equips students to make a lasting difference in addressing environmental challenges.

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Pursuing the Environmental Law Specialization

We encourage any student with an interest in environmental, energy, natural resources, or land use law to consider the specialization. Prior to admission to the specialization, J.D. students are required to meet with one of the faculty advisors to discuss their areas of interest.

  • Declaring the Specialization

    J.D. students are encouraged to declare their intention to pursue the specialization during the spring semester of their 1L year, and ordinarily are required to do so before the end of the fall semester of 2L. With the permission of the faculty advisors, a student may elect to join the specialization later. Transfer students are also eligible to apply for the specialization. Interested students should fill out a (non-binding) declaration of intent​ so that the records office can note your interest on your transcript.

    The Environmental Law Specialization does not provide a separate admissions track into the law school. Students interested in UCLA School of Law and the Environmental Law Specialization should apply to the law school through the regular admission channels.

  • How do I learn more?

    For more information about the specialization or to set up an advising appointment, email professor Cara Horowitz.

Frequently Asked Questions


J.D. students are required to complete five courses with a grade of B- or better in each course to complete the program, fulfilling both Requirements A and B of the specialization. Students must also complete a supervised research paper relevant to environmental law that meets the Substantial Analytical Writing (SAW) Requirement, as described further below. Each student in the environmental specialization develops an individualized curriculum plan to fulfill these requirements in consultation with a faculty advisor.  Students may petition the Environmental Law Specialization Committee to have other relevant courses or independent studies counted toward the specialization.  Externships relating to environmental law may count as satisfying one course towards fulfilling Requirement B. A student wishing to use an externship as a qualifying course must receive the prior consent of the designated faculty advisor. Consent will require a demonstration that the externship will provide exposure to relevant substantive areas of law. Regardless of the number of externships or externship units a student completes, a student may use externships to count, at most, as one course towards Requirement B.  Please note that not all courses will be offered every year.  Please note that students pursing the Environmental Law Specialization do not receive priority enrollment for any course in Group A or Group B. There is no effective enrollment cap in any of the required courses in Group A. Students are encouraged to enroll for Group B courses they are interested in as early as possible in the enrollment period to avoid disappointment. Please contact the specialization director, Cara Horowitz, with any questions about curriculum or enrollment.

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