Skip Navigation

Website Sections

All VLS Courses

Course Name

Extinction and Climate Change


Examines the ecological, social and ethical consequences of biological impoverishment and considers various legal and policy options to address the phenomenon of climate change.  The course addressses the extent to which laws like the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and some international laws can be used to address both conventional threats to species as well as the  threat of climate change.

Food Regulation and Policy


Presently, the United States is experiencing a resurgence in public concern over the safety of our food supply due to biotechnology, pesticide use, and unsafe food packaging, etc. This course will introduce students to the laws and policies that govern food regulation and policy in the United States.

Food System Justice and Sustainability

Our current globalized food system affects the struggling margins that are impacted by industrial production methods and inequitable distribution of healthy food. This course will examine the policies and programs that could help create a Good Food environment, where food is healthy, affordable, and sustainably and fairly produced.

PDF LogoDownload the 2014 Summer Course Syllabus - updated 7/3/14

Global Energy and Climate Policy


Offers a detailed assessment of the most advanced commercially available technologies for strengthening global energy security, mitigating the effects of climate change, and enhancing resilience through adaptation and geo-engineering. The course also evaluates the barriers to the deployment of these technologies and critically reviews public policy options and behavior changes crucial to their adoption.

Global Energy Justice


How can justice theory help people make meaningful decisions about the production, delivery, use, and effects of energy? The class is divided into four parts: (1) understanding the global energy system and the injustices currently associated with it; (2) exploring justice theory and what it can offer when applied to energy problems; (3) examining policy mechanisms and tools that promote energy justice; and (4) analyzing case studies around the world of where communities or countries have made remarkable gains promoting energy justice.

PDF LogoDownload the 2014 Summer Course Syllabus

Global Food Security


This course explores the legal landscape of global hunger: the definition of “food security;” food security risks; global food governance organizations and legal instruments; assessing and monitoring food security; food related human rights concerns; the current status of global food security; and international NGOs’ strategies for policy advocacy against hunger.

PDF LogoDownload the 2014 Summer Syllabus - updated 7/9/14

GPP II - Environmental Issues In Business Transactions

General PracticeEnvironmental

An exploration of the types of environmental risks and issues that are commonly confronted in a variety of business-related transactions such as the acquisition of all a company’s stock, asset purchases, real estate deals, leases and financings. Special focus on how the environmental issues in transactions are identified and managed in the course of a deal. The unique environmental issues associated with the purchase and redevelopment of contaminated properties or so-called “Brownfield sites” are also covered.

Indian Tribes as Governmental Stewards of the Environment


Examines the unique body of law governing "Indian country," the geographic areas recognized by the federal government as the homelands of sovereign American Indian tribes. Major topics include the history of federal-tribal relations, tribal property rights, tribal court systems, and the balance of governmental power between tribes, states, and the federal government.

PDF LogoDownload the 2014 Summer Course Syllabus - updated 7/21/14

International Environmental Law and Policy

EnvironmentalInternational Law

Provides an overview of the structure and basic principles of international environmental law and policy. The course considers the challenge of addressing global environmental problems; the regulatory limitations of U.S. law; and the basic structure and principles of international environmental law. The course examines in detail the structure of the Montreal Protocol regime  and covers other areas, including treaties related to climate change, biodiversity and wildlife protection, and the intersection of international trade and the environment. 

International Investment Arbitration and the Environment

International LawEnvironmental

Covers particular themes where human rights, environmental, and investment law interact, such as the right to health, due process and denial of justice, property rights and expropriation, and stabilization clauses and positive human rights obligations. The course places special emphasis on ongoing negotiations, as well as on investment, human rights, and environmental cases decided by international tribunals.

PDF LogoDownload the 2014 Course Syllabus