LLM Double-Degree Program in Energy & Climate Law and Energy & Environmental Law
The George Washington University Law School (GW Law), located in Washington DC, USA, and the University of Groningen, located in the Netherlands, offer an exciting
double-degree opportunity for LLM students interested in the study of energy, environmental, and climate law. In this program, students will undertake a rigorous course of study over two to three semesters, with residency for at least one semester on each campus, covering the subjects of energy and climate law under both European Union and United States law. Students who successfully complete the curriculum, including the mandatory thesis requirement, will be awarded an LLM degree in Energy & Environmental Law from GW Law and an LLM degree in Energy & Climate Law from the University of Groningen.
Students will begin the program in the fall semester at the University of Groningen, complete the remainder of their course work during the spring semester at GW Law, and would be permitted to finish their thesis during the summer semester (with no associated residency requirement). Instruction at both universities is in English. Importantly, prospective students must meet the respective entrance requirements of each university to be admitted to the program. Prospective students may seek admission to the double-degree program by submitting a single application through the Online Application System (OAS) of the University of Groningen, with permission to share the admission documents with GW Law.
Some of the questions students may have about the program are addressed below or by contacting GW Law. For more information and the link to the admission portal, please visit University of Groningen's website.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the advantages and disadvantages a student should consider when choosing between the double-degree program and pursuing GW Law’s Energy & Environmental LLM (or another GW Law LLM) through the full-year track?
The double-degree and the full-year program meet different needs. Deciding which is the right fit for you depends very much on your educational and career objectives. Generally speaking, the double-degree program is more rigorous and offers less flexibility than the other GW Law LLM programs, commensurate with the challenge and reward of earning two degrees over a single year. Some of the factors you might want to consider include:
Dual Degree Program Full-Year at GW Law Truly international experience of living and studying in two countries over the course of a single academic year. Immersive Washington DC (U.S.A.) experience for a full academic year, or for part-time students, two academic years. Two degrees awarded upon successful completion of the program: LLM in Energy & Climate Law from the University of Groningen and LLM in Energy & Environmental Law from GW Law. One degree, selected from any of the LLM degrees offered by GW Law; and, provided requirements are met, the flexibility to change the focus area during the course of the year (e.g., to change from Energy & Environmental LLM to Environmental LLM) Rigorous program requiring completion of 68 ECTS (E.U.) or equivalent 30 credits (U.S.), inclusive of a thesis and a practice component such as an internship, necessary to earning two degrees in a short period. Flexible program requiring completion of 24 credit-hours. Students have the option of completing a thesis or meeting their written work requirement with short papers. Highly-focused course of study assures students cover all the basics needed for each degree. Course choices, where permitted, are limited to courses that support the degrees. Students must complete a minimum of 16 credits from their core area of study, which can include credit for an internship, and must complete a minimum of 24 credits, which can include credits from non-related areas. Students study in the fall semester at the University of Groningen and in the spring semester at GW Law. Students may complete their thesis and practice component over the following summer semester (with no residency requirement). Students may start their LLM in either the spring or fall semester. Some course work may also be completed in the summer semester. The thesis is typically completed during two semesters, although extensions are available.
- How does the tuition work for the double-degree program?
Students are responsible for the tuition payments to each school. For GW Law, tuition is based on the number of credits the student takes at GW Law. A minimum of 12 credits at GW Law is required for completion of the double-degree. Based on the 2023-24 per credit hour fee of US$2,450, a student completing the minimum 12 credits would pay tuition of $29,400 to GW Law. Tuition payments are subject to adjustment each year. Tuition payment for the Spring semester will be due in January and will be calculated based on the number of credits for which you have registered. Students who complete their thesis during the GW Law summer semester must also pay a small continuing enrollment fee. Merit scholarships from GW Law are available for the GW Law portion of the tuition fee. Each student who is accepted will be considered for all available scholarships (no separate application needed.) Notification of any scholarship amounts awarded will be provided at the time of acceptance. The student will also pay tuition to the University of Groningen. The LLM tuition for the University at Groningen is based on its schedule of fees, which varies based on citizenship. Please see the University of Groningen website for more information. In addition, the student is responsible for other applicable fees, the cost of books, their living expenses, travel, costs of medical and liability insurance (see each university’s policies on insurance requirements), and other personal expenses.
- Is the double-degree more or less expensive than a full-year at GW Law?
The total tuition may be lower (with the difference dependent on factors such as whether the student qualifies for the EU/EEA reduced tuition at the University of Groningen and the relative value of the Euro and the U.S. dollar at the time) but a student’s total costs are variable. When determining a budget, students should consider the cost of transportation and moving mid-year, the potentially higher cost of shorter-term lodging in each country, and any applicable visa fees (for study in both the Netherlands and in the U.S.), in addition to the usual considerations.
- Some of the courses that interest me at GW Law are offered only in the fall semester. Will I be able to take those if I am a double-degree student?
During their semester at GW Law, students will choose only from among the spring course offerings. Those offerings change from time to time, but we anticipate that the spring courses offered to the double-degree students in the Spring of 2024 will include: Energy Law & Regulation (U.S.-focused); Oil & Gas Law; Air Pollution Control; Natural Resources Law; Control of Solid & Hazardous Wastes; Energy Law Seminar: Offshore Wind; Energy Law Seminar: Electricity Grid of the Future; Climate Change Law & Justice or Human Rights and Environmental Protection or Environmental Justice; Environmental Negotiations; and International Project Finance.
- Which courses at GW Law are required of double-degree students and which are elective?
All students will take a minimum of 12 credits during the Spring semester at GW Law. Two of those credits will be a Thesis course, designed to support the double-degree students as they work on their theses. Graduates of non-U.S. law schools must also take the 2-credit course, Fundamental Issues of U.S. Law, in order to get the proper foundation to succeed in their studies.
To get a proper foundation in U.S. energy and environmental law, students must also take (1) at least one of Energy Law & Regulation or Oil & Gas Law; and (2) at least one of Air Pollution Control or Control of Solid & Hazardous Wastes. Each is a 2-credit course.
After completing the minimum required credits, students need at least 4 to 6 additional credits to complete the degree requirement of 12 credits at GW Law. Since most of the courses in this degree are 2-credit courses, this likely means 2 elective courses (4 credits) for graduates of non-U.S. law schools and 3 elective courses (6 credits) for graduates of U.S. law schools. Students must choose from a restricted list, which is expected to include, at minimum, the courses listed above. Students may choose a foundational course they are not already taking (e.g., a student could take Energy Law & Regulation; Oil & Gas Law; Air Pollution Control; and Control of Solid & Hazardous Wastes, constituting satisfaction of the foundational requirements and four of their elective credits.)
All students will have the opportunity for individual or small group counseling to help guide them through course selection.
- Can I complete the double-degree as a part-time student?
No. This new program is presently designed only for students who are able to undertake full-time study.
- Can I complete the double-degree, or either semester of the degree, remotely?
No. The program is designed as an in-person, on-campus, immersive experience. Among other opportunities, you will study with students who we anticipate will become an important part of your life-long career network.
- Will I be qualified to sit for a state bar exam in the U.S. upon completion of the double-degree program?
Not as a result of this program. To sit for the bar exam and become a U.S.-qualified lawyer, students prepare by taking a set of “bar courses.” Students who have previously studied in the U.S., or who extend their studies in the U.S. after completion of this program, may become eligible to sit for the bar. However, it is not possible to combine the necessary course work for the bar with the rigor of this program.
- What is the language of instruction?
All courses, at both universities, are conducted in English. Admission to the program requires a demonstration of proficiency in English, as set forth in the admission requirements of each school.
- Will I meet students and professionals from outside of the double-degree program at GW Law?
Yes! With rare exceptions (for example, your thesis course) your courses at GW Law will include a mix of JD, LLM and perhaps MSL (non-law) or SJD students. This model facilitates the opportunities for our students to learn from each other. Moreover, you will be an integral part of our LLM population, many of whom come to GW Law from countries other than the U.S. We also encourage all students to partake in programs and professional events on campus and in Washington, DC. The program is intended to help you build your career network.
- How and when do I apply?
You will submit one application through the University of Groningen, by the May 1 deadline. For this program, GW Law’s typical June 1 application deadline does not apply. You will pay only one application fee, to the University of Groningen. The typical application fee for applying to GW Law is waived. The application that you submit to the University of Groningen will include an opportunity for you to authorize the University of Groningen to share your information with GW Law. You must provide this authorization for GW Law to consider your application. Your application will be considered independently by each university, and you must be admitted to both universities in order to participate in the double-degree program. Additional documents required for visa purposes will be required at time of admission.