Skip to main content

Our rankings

  • 19th in the world

    We're ranked 19th globally for life sciences by the 2022 QS University Rankings by Subject.

  • 1st for employability

    Our graduates are ranked 1st in Australia and 4th globally for employability by the 2022 QS Graduate Employability Rankings.


In response to COVID-19, the University of Sydney has reviewed the availability of courses to be delivered remotely. 

This course will be available for students to study remotely during 2022 if they are unable to undertake face-to-face study. Please note that some units of study that are not essential to completing the degree may not be available to be studied remotely. For the latest updates on course availability, visit the COVID-19 information page.

About this course

Take part in a unique opportunity to study science, environment and law in a single degree. If you’re a science graduate looking to learn about environmental policy, the Master of Environmental Science and Law integrates diverse disciplines into an outstanding program.

This highly regarded postgraduate program is open to science graduates. The one-and-a-half-year degree lets you study complementary subjects across both environmental science and environmental law. It provides you with the opportunity to extend your scientific knowledge into environmental areas, as well as providing an introduction to the field of environmental law and policy. It also provides the opportunity for you to gain a qualification to complement your environmental experience and to acquire knowledge in areas of policy and management. 

The Master of Environmental Science and Law at the University of Sydney is unique. The program brings together subjects that are normally taught separately and that are difficult to study together outside of this program. As a student, you will benefit from an exceptional combination of resources that are at your disposal. The Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law, based at the University of Sydney, is well known around the world in this field. The University performs well above world standard, with a 5 star rating in the latest Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) rankings in the fields of Environmental Science, Environmental Science and Management, and Ecological Applications.

As a graduate of this program you can expect to leave with a practical and theoretical background in aspects of environmental science and environmental law, which open doors to careers in environmental management and policy development.

Commonwealth Supported Places

Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) are available for this course for eligible domestic students.  This means that your course fees are subsidised by the Australian Government and you pay a student contribution amount (SCA). CSP places are limited in number and are allocated based on academic merit.

Subject areas
Shared pool

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your entry requirements

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

For academic requirements check the ‘Admission requirements’ section on this page.

Your fee

How to apply

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Applying for a Commonwealth supported place (CSP)

There is no separate application required to apply for a CSP. Once you apply for admission, if you are successful in securing a CSP, you will receive notification via an offer of admission.

A Commonwealth supported place (CSP) is not guaranteed as there are a limited number of CSPs available for postgraduate courses. The number of available CSPs for a course can change each semester/year.  CSPs are also not automatically awarded for course transfers and upgrades.

CSPs are awarded for the duration of a course based on academic merit determined by the University and eligibility criteria specified by the Australian Government. Learn more about CSPs. If you do not qualify for a CSP you may be offered a domestic fee-paying place.

Standard closing dates:

Semester 1 - 31 January of the commencing year
Semester 2 - 15 July of the commencing year

Late applications may be considered subject to availability of places. We strongly encourage applicants to apply as early as possible, offers are made on a rolling basis and places are limited. Separate scholarship deadlines apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (February) and Semester 2 (August)

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Standard closing dates:

Semester 1 - 15 January of the commencing year
Semester 2 - 25 June of the commencing year

We strongly encourage international applicants to apply as early as possible to allow time for visa and travel arrangements. Separate scholarship deadlines may apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (February) and Semester 2 (August)

What you'll study

Study plan

Students follow the study pattern of the core units of study and electives as required. You may undertake the course on a full time or part time basis. You will complete a total of 72 credit points of study.

The Environmental Law and Policy and Legal Reasoning and the Common Law System units are compulsory for all students. Students are able to select environmental science units to suit their specific needs and interests, but these must be completed alongside a research-oriented capstone unit.

The program consists of:

  • (a) 18 credit points of core units of study (including 12 credit points of Law); and
  • (b) 18 credit points of Environmental Science core units of study; and
  • (c) 18 credit points of Environmental Law core units of study;
  • (d) 18 credit points of units of study selected from the remaining core units of study or elective units of study or research pathway units.

Sample course progression

  Semester 1

  Semester 2

  Year 1

  Environmental Law and Policy 
  Environmental Science core
  Environmental Law core unit 

  Legal Reasoning and the Common Law
  Environmental Science core unit
  Environmental Law core unit

  Year 2

  Semester 1

  Semester 2

  Integrated Environmental Practice  
  Environmental Science core unit  

  Environmental Law core unit 


Research Pathway

High-achieving students are encouraged to pursue an 18-credit point Environmental Science or Environmental Law research project instead of elective units, starting in your second semester. This research pathway provides an opportunity for you to develop valuable research skills under the supervision of an academic member of staff that will enable you to pursue a research career in environmental science.

Units of Study

Admission requirement

For admission to the course, you should have:

  • a Bachelor's degree with at least a credit average. 

A credit average means a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 65. A very limited number of Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) may be available to domestic applicants for this course from year to year.

For S1, 2017 commencements, all domestic applicants who apply by 31 January 2017 and are successful for admission into this course are automatically ranked and assessed for CSP by the Faculty of Science on the basis of academic merit. No additional application to the Faculty is required. Only top-ranked applicants will be granted CSP, subject to yearly availability. Late applicants will not be considered for CSP.

Career Pathways

Employment opportunities depend largely on your background and the areas in which you have chosen to study, but for the most part you will be best qualified for employment in the area of environmental management and/or policy development, or in private consultancies. Graduates are prepared to work in private industry, government agencies, international development agencies, non-governmental organisations, conservation agencies and in research.

This program does not qualify you as a practicing lawyer, but will have the knowledge and capabilities for jobs where the development of policy and management schedules is required.

Domestic students

International students

Other courses in
To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.