Paving the way to a sustainable future

Today’s complex world raises some pressing questions. What can we do to tackle the climate crisis? Why do we need a European Green Deal? How is it put to use in the EU and its Member States? What does the legal framework to foster the transition to a climate-neutral Europe look like? How can you ensure the green transition will be socially fair? What role do human rights play in environmental law?
Law fostering sustainability and sustainable development is one of the fastest-developing, most challenging legal disciplines, and the EU has become a key global actor in this field. This Master’s programme on Law and Sustainability in Europe discusses how the EU and its Member States respond to challenges related to the sustainability transition in a globalised context. It approaches the role of Europe and its multi-layered legal regimes (including EU law) in an international setting. But it also teaches students how national law can play an essential role in implementing European law on sustainability. This unique dual approach is the core feature of this Master’s programme.

Do you want to gain knowledge about legal principles and instruments to create truly sustainable economies and societies at the European and national levels? Are you interested in how liability law is used in climate litigation and which new legal concepts are being discussed to stop biodiversity loss? Do you want to become a legal expert who contributes to saving the planet and improving the quality of life for current and future generations? If so, our one-year Master’s in Law and Sustainability in Europe sounds right for you!

We teach you to be at the forefront of this fast-developing area of sustainability in Europe

Content of the programme

During this Master’s in Law and Sustainability in Europe, you will: 

  • study one of the fastest-developing and most challenging legal disciplines;
  • acquire essential knowledge on EU sustainability policy and law, and learn from the Member States’ experiences in implementing EU and international regulatory instruments;
  • gain a solid understanding of the implications and effects of the legal framework on policy goals;
  • gain knowledge on how to approach sustainability in a multi-dimensional way to become a ‘sustainable’ regulator and enforcer or the sustainability law expert of a company or law firm; and 
  • acquire insight into the European legal regimes of climate protection, natural resources law and sustainable water management.

Our elective modules (Capita Selecta) will offer you the opportunity to specialise further. During the programme, we will train you to apply your skills to topics such as sustainability in EU procurement law, green crimes, sustainable strategic litigation, philosophy and ethics of sustainability, and comparative regional and national approaches to sustainability. During the Research and Thesis Trajectory, you will write a thesis on something you find interesting with the support and supervision from our expert staff.

Programme Objectives

This Master’s programme equips you with knowledge and skills that will benefit you in your professional and personal life. During the year, you will:

  • understand how sustainability in Europe can be a game changer, and the limits of legal instruments;
  • conduct your own research and learn to report it clearly and understandably in written and oral form;
  • learn to quickly deepen your knowledge of specific areas of EU law on sustainability and related matters, and develop the skills for lifelong learning;
  • acquire a critical, reflective attitude, including the ability to give and receive feedback; and; 
  • develop the interpersonal and social skills by working with fellow students in an international classroom and joining a network of graduates working on similar challenges.

Career Prospects

Because the transition to sustainability will have such a large impact on society and the economy, there will be a huge demand for lawyers who understand these issues in a European context. This Master’s opens the door to a successful career in legal practice, government, government agencies or the corporate world.

Have a glimpse of our city, library and university buildings and watch our video.

The perfect location

Utrecht is more than a well-established classical university town: it is a vibrant community where Dutch history comes together with a cosmopolitan population and an active student network. Every year, students from all over the world find their way to Utrecht and enjoy the experience of a lifetime. Why not join them?


Key facts

European Law
Language of instruction: 
Mode of study: 
Study duration: 
1 year
Tuition fees: 
Dutch and other EU/EEA students (statutory fee, full-time) 2024-2025: € 2,530

Non-EU/EEA students (institutional fee) 2024-2025: € 20,043

More information about fees
Croho code: 
Accredited by the NVAO
Law, Economics and Governance 
Graduate school: 
Law, Economics and Governance
Request a brochure