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 that 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 2024:
    3 - 20 January 2024

What can you expect from CES?

At CES we have a small team of young-hearted, dedicated people ready to help you, before, during and after the programme. Read more.

Before you start...
You will have one person responsible for your programme, who will guide you through the application process. The programme coordinator will sign you up for classes. You can contact your coordinator with any question you might have.

During the programme...
During the programme, your coordinator will be available to assist you with any questions or issues that may arise.

General overview of CES services

  • Advice and assistance during application
  • Direct enrolment at Maastricht University
  • Academic guidance
  • Support throughout the programme
  • Transcripts
  • Disability Management

Courses & curriculum

The total workload for January programmes is 36 class hours, during which time students earn 7.5 ECTS credits. How ECTS credits 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) to measure academic progress.

Rankings & recognition

An intensive study experience
Maastricht is located between the ‘capital of the European Union’, Brussels, and Amsterdam and The Hague, centres of international law and politics. The city is renowned as the birthplace of the Maastricht Treaty, which established the European Union.

Maastricht University is an internationally renowned research university with a prestigious Law faculty, dozens of academic programmes in English and a focus on internationalism and themes of European integration.

High academic standard
CES programmes are designed for enthusiastic and intellectually curious students dedicated to expanding their academic horizons. To ensure that students do well, CES offers extensive academic advising, workshops and regular monitoring. Maastricht University uses Problem-Based Learning (PBL), a student-centred 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 completing an international study programme. A proven track record for being culturally sensitive, independent and proactive makes you a much more valuable candidate for employment, 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 incl. all additional information. Your CES coordinators will contact you within a week after receiving your application to assist you in the registration process.

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, etcetera).

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 2023), 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 2023 and 6 December 2023), 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 2023), CES will charge 50% of the tuition fee and any non-refundable visa fees, where applicable.

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

Application deadline
1 November 2023


Suzanne van der Laan

International relations officer
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

+ 31 43 388 4838