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) and the White House have given dire warnings about rapid global climate change due to human activities. Such reports have become a regular feature of the news, and have been met with ambitious targets within the EU and abroad for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprints, increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy. Despite strategies to establish good governance and co-operation, it remains to be seen whether international eff orts can stave off the worst effects of climate change and preserve valuable ecosystems and biodiversity.

Why this programme?

The first challenge in combating environmental deterioration is a legal one. Changing the way governments regulate business and the economy, establishing international consensus, creating targets for environmental protection and enforcing existing regulation while navigating issues like 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 with the goal of working 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.

Programme dates 2020:

To be confirmed

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 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 whaling in Antarctica, Multilateral Environmental Agreements like the Kyoto Protocol and the Aarhus Convention, the legal aspects and ethics of market-based regulatory tools and the EU carbon market and the role of the International Court of Justice.

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. During two 3 –day weekend study trips, visits to EU institutions and relevant international organisations allow  you to gain first-hand experience of some of the key-players within international environmental law, whilst meandering through charming old town centres and immersing yourself in European culture and tradition.

1st Study Trip to Brussels, inlcuding visits to the European Parliament and European Commission, historical city tours and other cultural highlights.

2nd Study Trip to The Hague and Amsterdam, which includes for example, visits to the International Court of Justice, Greenpeace headquarters, the Anne Frank House, the Dutch Open Air Museum ‘Zaanse Schans’ and various world-class art museums.

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
  • Mobile phones
  • 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

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)

Please note that once your course list is finalised you will receive a course approval form which you will need to fill in with the help of your home institution.

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, no costs will be charged with the exception of any non-refundable visa fees, where applicable
  • If a student withdraws between 8 and 4 weeks before the start/arrival day of the programme, CES will charge 5% of the tuition fee and any non-refundable visa fees, where applicable
  • If a student withdraws between 4 weeks and the start/arrival day of the programme, CES will charge 10% 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


Suzanne van der Laan

International relations officer
Monday - Friday

+ 31 43 388 4838