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Law and Environment and Resources


Stanford joint degree programs really do help law students begin to "think like a client." The interdisciplinary background I'm building will help me be a better lawyer and a more effective advocate. – Brian Shillinglaw, JD/MS, Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER) '08

Addressing the ecological and resource challenges of our rapidly changing world requires more than a passion for the environment. It takes a mastery of analytical tools, strong problem-solving skills, and a commitment to thinking and working across disciplines as diverse as law, biology, history, economics, psychology, and engineering.

Stanford's Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER) allows students to combine expertise in the natural and social sciences, engineering, law, and business to address pressing environmental and natural resource problems. Formally part of the School of Earth Sciences, E-IPER offers a rigorous joint degree program that pushes students to understand and use natural and social science approaches, skills, and concepts to re-imagine and address legal and policy questions with a fresh mind-set and novel analytical tools. By giving students the opportunity to delve into both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of environmental issues, course work prepares them to analyze environmental and resource problems from multiple perspectives and use diverse analytical approaches from multiple disciplines. For example, a student interested in exploring the potential for open-ocean fin-fish aquaculture can use classic economic analysis as well as business market studies, coupled with biological risk assessment and legal gap analysis, to understand and evaluate both the potential for and important environmental issues raised by such a venture.

E-IPER students who earn a JD/MS are poised to move into a multitude of potential professional opportunities that merge law with environmental concerns, including academia, policy development, private industry, NGOs, government, or in-house lawyering. There is also be a JD/PhD option for students who want to conduct in-depth, original research in preparation for careers in academia or government, or with an NGO.