Skip Navigation

Website Sections

All VLS Courses

Course Name

Public Lands Management - Montana Field Study


A comparative approach to competing legal mandates and diverse philosophies that make federal land management a lively topic not only in the West, but throughout the country. Resource extraction, preservation, and sustainable/multiple-use concepts are addressed. 

PDF LogoDownload the 2014 Course Syllabus

Professor Jack Tuholske and veteran students of the 2013 course held an informal Q&A session to answer student questions about what this backpacking course entails. You can view the discussion video here.

PDF LogoDownload the 2014 Application and Waiver

Public Law


This course provides a comprehensive introduction to public law, focusing on the constitutional structure of government, the legislative process and statutory interpretation, the nature and authority of public administrative agencies, the methods agencies use to establish regulations and other legal rules, and the process for judicial review of agency action.

PDF LogoDownload the 2014 Course Syllabus

RCRA - Solid and Hazardous Waste Regulation


Examines the regulation of solid and hazardous waste under the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Solid Waste Act, RCRA's overlap with other statutes, and the policy implications of the statute.  The course addresses the regulatory and policy problems associated with recycling, resource recovery, waste minimization, land disposal, incineration, underground storage tanks, and state and federal regulation of the generation, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes.  

Regulating the Marine Environment

EnvironmentalInternational Law

Examines the interaction of state, federal, and international regimes in the regulation of the marine environments through the examination of issues such as the marine environment as a source of energy; the nonrenewable resources of the seabed; and the winds, waves, currents, and temperatures of the sea itself.

Renewable Energy Law and Policy


This course explores the expanding field of renewable and alternative energy supplies. It reviews local, state, and federal laws and policies that promote (and impede) such sources, and considers emerging distributed generation models. Turning to technology-specific evaluations, it surveys the range of emerging technologies and looks in depth into some specific models of high potential or value, concluding with consideration of proposed strategies for reducing greenhouse gases.

PDF LogoDownload the 2014 Course Syllabus

Renewable Energy Project Finance and Development


An in-depth look at the legal and regulatory issues associated with the development and project financing of renewable energy projects such as wind, hydro, solar, and geothermal, and the basic terms and conditions of the contracts that are necessary for a successful project financing, such as power purchase agreements, engineering contracts, fuel supply arrangements, and operation and maintenance agreements.

Risk Assessment


A science and law course taught from the perspective of a scientist.   This course examines the science, methods, principles and limitations of risk assessment and, more broadly, teaches methods of evaluating and critiquing scientific information.

Science for Environmental Law

EnvironmentalRequired LLM

Introduces students to the science critical to environmental law and policy, including climate science, air pollution, toxicology, and natural resource management. It also introduces students to scientific thinking and culture, and explores some of the challenges involved in effectively using science in legal and policy decision-making.

PDF LogoDownload the 2013 Summer Course Syllabus

Scientific Controversies


Through case studies, this course explores the manipulation of scientific information underpinning some public policy controversies such us global climate change, abortion, homosexuality, DNA forensics, evolution, genetically modified organisms, and debates over the safety and effectiveness of prescription drugs. The course also has the broader goals of teaching the student to critically read and identify political or social bias on scientific literature.

State and Local Government


Examines the interaction between federal, state and local governments, with particular attention to resource management, pollution control, and human rights. The course also covers non-state jurisdictions such as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Indian Country.