International Environmental Law

The leadership of tomorrow is facing many challenges. However, few of these have the scope and impact of global climate change and environmental degradation. Recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have given alarming information about global climate change due to human activities. The adoption of the Paris Agreement confirms that the international community is ready to take action. Ambitious targets now need to be set and maintained by the law to reduce our carbon footprint and increase the use of renewable energy. However, it remains to be seen whether international efforts can stave off the dangerous effects of climate change and preserve valuable ecosystems and biodiversity.

Why this programme?

Strong legal frameworks are needed to combat environmental deterioration. Changing the way governments regulate business and the economy, and establishing international legal approaches which enforce environmental protection and regulation are paramount. Navigating human rights and varying national agendas requires visionary and optimistic people capable of working at the epicentre of a complex and ever-evolving set of issues. The International Environmental Law programme is designed for students whose goal is to work within the development of supranational environmental law, as policy and decision-makers in governments and businesses, for NGOs in the field of environmental law and sustainable development, as consultants, researchers and academics, or as corporate lawyers and barristers.

At the heart of the climate change issue
The programme takes a fundamental approach in discussing the role of international law to protect the environment and tackling the worldwide problem of climate change from the perspective of principles, environmental rights, and the choice and design of regulatory instruments. Although particular emphasis will be placed on the European Union (EU) and how it addresses environmental problems, students will also examine specific legal cases and questions dealing with international environmental protection and law. These include topics such as the Paris Agreement, whaling in Antarctica, Multilateral Environmental Agreements, the legal aspects and ethics of market-based regulatory tools such as the international carbon market and the role of the International Court of Justice.

Programme dates:

  • January 2021:
    3 - 23 January 2021

See European and international institutions at work
True to the tradition of applied learning, the International Environmental Law programme is not confined to the classroom. Weekend study trips with visits to EU institutions and relevant international organisations allow students to gain first-hand experience from key-players within international environmental law. They will also have the opportunity to wander through charming old town centres and to immerse themselves in European culture and tradition.

The first study trip to Belgium includes, for example, visits of the European Parliament and European Commission, a historical city tour and a chocolate tasting.

The second study trip to the Netherlands includes, for example, visits of the International Court of Justice, Greenpeace international office, the Anne Frank House, the Dutch Open Air Museum ‘Zaanse Schans’ and an activity of choice.

What can you expect from CES?

At CES we have a small team of young-hearted, dedicated people ready to help you, so you can focus on the things that really matter during your stay abroad, whether that is selecting the right courses, getting to an airport for your flight to Barcelona, finding a volunteer opportunity, meeting Dutch students, buying a bike or more. Read more.

Before you get here...
You will have one person responsible for your programme, who will guide you through the application process and the preparation of your stay abroad. The programme coordinator will sign you up for classes, arrange housing and order insurance (if applicable), as well as organise the airport pick up and the introduction programme. You can contact your coordinator with any question you might have.

After you arrive...
Once you're here, your programme coordinator will guide you through the application of your temporary residence permit (if necessary). Afterwards, we will be here for whatever you need. There are no limited office hours, our doors are always wide open and you can reach each programme coordinator on their cell phone 24/7. Just walk in, we are always happy to see you.

General overview of CES services

  • Advice and assistance during application
  • Direct enrolment at Maastricht University
  • Academic guidance
  • Visa and temporary residence permit assistance
  • Housing reservations
  • Tour of Maastricht University
  • Airport pick up & drop off (on the official arrival and departure day of the programme)
  • Extensive introduction programme
  • Integration into Dutch student life
  • On-site support throughout the programme
  • Library and IT services
  • Transcripts
  • Disability Management
  • Insurance
  • Dutch SIM cards
  • 24/7 emergency assistance

Courses & curriculum

A challenging study experience
For students of international law, Maastricht is the perfect setting, located between the ‘European capital’ in Brussels and Amsterdam and The Hague, centres of international law and politics. Maastricht is renowned as the birthplace of the Maastricht Treaty, which established the European Union. Maastricht University is a recognised international European institution with a prestigious Law faculty and dozens of international study programmes.

The total workload for January Programmes is 36 class hours, during which time students earn 7.5 ECTS. How ECTS transfer back depends on your home university or college. Generally a 5-6.5 ECTS course is the equivalent of a full semester course (3 American credit hours).

Maastricht University uses the European-wide ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits to measure academic progress.

Rankings & recognition

An intensive study abroad experience
Maastricht is the ‘birthplace’ of the European Union and a symbol of pan-European identity, lying at the southernmost part of the Netherlands between Belgium and Germany. Maastricht University is an internationally renowned research university, with dozens of academic programmes in English and focused on internationalism and themes of European integration. You couldn’t pick a better or more beautiful city in which to get to know the EU.

High academic standard
CES programmes are designed for enthusiastic and intellectually curious students dedicated to expanding their academic horizons while abroad. To ensure that students do well, CES offers extensive academic advising, workshops and regular monitoring. Maastricht University uses Problem-Based Learning (PBL), a student-centered teaching approach. Small groups of students (12-15) work on academic or practical cases prepared by their professors. Faculty act as guides to students who are in charge of their own learning and are expected to be committed, active and self-motivated.

Your future

Make yourself marketable to your future employer by studying abroad. The knowledge and skills you aquire beyond the classroom translate seemlessly to the workforce. A proven track record for being culturally sensitive, independent and proactive makes you a much more valuable candidate for employement, as does having a wider worldview and a deeper understanding of international affairs and global issues.

Admission requirements

Acceptance to the open enrolment programmes is competitive and early application is recommended. While most students participating in our open enrolment programmes are undergraduates at the junior or senior level, applications by motivated students at the sophomore and/or freshman level with a good GPA will be considered too.

You should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to apply for a CES Open Enrolment Programme. If you have a lower GPA you can request to be considered if you can show a recommendation from a professor or academic advisor at your home university or college with specific details about your academic development so far.

Applicants must be proficient in English. Non-native speakers are required to demonstrate proof of English language proficiency.

Students with an International Baccalaureate or European Baccalaureate diploma are exempted, as are EU-nationals. International students who are enrolled as fulltime students at university or college in a native-speaking country where English is the language of instruction are also exempted.

All other prospective students must present a current TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Testing System), score before they can be admitted.

Your TOEFL test score has to be at least:

  • 575 points (paper-based version)
  • 230 points (computer-based version)
  • 90 (internet-based version)

Your IELTS test score must be at least 6.5.

Admission and registration

Application procedure
Complete and submit the online application form and send all additional information mentioned below via email/regular mail to your coordinator. Your CES coordinators will contact you within a week after receiving your application and additional information to assist you in the registration process and the preparations for your stay in Maastricht.

Additional required information

  • Official transcript;
  • Letter of recommendation from teacher or study abroad advisor;
  • Motivation letter;
  • 1 colour passport picture (digital, in jpeg format);
  • Scan or a clear copy of your passport (information page with photo and any other pages with stamps, etc.).

CES cancellation policy
The Center for European Studies incurs costs for each student we register. CES applies the following cancellation regulations:

  • If a student withdraws 8 weeks or more before the start of the programme (i.e. before 8 November 2020), no costs will be charged;

  • If a student withdraws between 8 and 4 weeks before the start of the programme (i.e. between 8 November 2020 and 6 December 2020), CES will charge 25% of the tuition fee and any non-refundable visa fees, where applicable;

  • If a student withdraws between 4 weeks and the start of the programme (i.e. after 6 December 2020), CES will charge 50% of the tuition fee and any non-refundable visa fees, where applicable.

Exceptions to the abovementioned cancellation regulations will be reviewed by CES on a case-by-case basis.

Application deadline

15 October 2020


Iris Hofman

International relations officer
Monday - Friday

+ 31 43 388 5295