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Marine Environmental and Conservation Law Micro-credential


Subject Area Law
Credits 10
Start Date September 2023
Duration 12 weeks
Time Tuesday 14:00 - 15:50 (Subject to change.)
Mode of Delivery Online 
Lead Academic Assoc. Prof. Richard Collins
Fee €1425
Application Deadline TBC

Recent years have seen rising concerns over the human impact on the marine environment, marine ecosystems, and biodiversity. Overexploitation of marine living resources, ocean warming, and acidification as well as harmful pollution, especially from microplastics, together suggest the need for concerted action to improve the health of the world's oceans and seas. The international community has responded to these concerns through a number of legal instruments, regimes, and institutions, at the global and regional levels. 

In the Marine Environmental and Conservation Law micro-credential, you will learn about the main laws, regimes, and frameworks that come into play at the international and European levels, regulating both the conservation of marine living resources and marine environmental protections. The micro-credential will also look at how these global rules and policy frameworks shape local legal and policy responses across the island of Ireland, looking in particular at the implementation of fisheries rules, marine protected areas, and marine spatial planning north and south of the border.

This micro-credential is taught by leading environmental law experts in these fields, with extensive experience in academia and in practice.

Key Features

This micro-credential has been designed for anyone working, or interested in, the fields of marine environmental and conservation law, policy, or science. For example, those working in the legal sector; environmental consultants; environmental policy-makers and regulators at an EU level, and in central and local government; natural resource managers; planners, and those working for environmental NGOs.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this micro-credential, you will have a strong understanding of:

  • The foundational rules of the international law of the sea, and especially the jurisdictional principles that apply in each of the maritime zones.
  • International fisheries and marine conservation laws, including through regional regimes and institutions, international and regional environmental rules, and the protection of marine biodiversity.
  • European Union rules on fisheries law, habitats, and protection of marine biodiversity,
  • National approaches to the conservation of marine living resources and marine spatial planning, as influenced by international and European legal rules and regimes (including application of transboundary approaches).

You will also be able to:

  • Understand and evaluate problems and tensions in international legal frameworks, and
  • Critically engage with national practices from the perspective of norms and standards of international marine environmental and conservation laws.

Due to the breadth of the environmental law field, several key substantive areas will be selected for particular focus. Topics vary from year to year but may include:

  • Who governs the environment? International and European institutions;
  • Principles of environmental law;
  • Techniques of governing the environment;
  • Enforcing environmental law at international and EU levels;
  • Human rights and the environment;
  • Sustainable development.

Individuals and their employers will benefit by way of the knowledge and skills gained, allowing Marine Environmental and Conservation Law to be better applied and enforced in practice via those working in (or hoping to work in) the public, private, and NGO sectors. 

Taking this UCD micro-credential will give you the opportunity to learn from leading law experts, with extensive experience in academia and in practice.

This micro-credential is delivered through the UCD online learning platform (Brightspace) and will consist of pre-recorded lectures, podcast style interviews, web resources, surveys, quizzes and scheduled synchronous online seminar discussions. 

A repository of resources will be available to support your learning, and as a UCD student you will have full access to the library. 

This is a 10 ECTS micro-credential and involves 200+ hours of learner effort.

Applicants must hold a degree in law or another relevant discipline, including the social and natural sciences. An upper second-class honours Level 8 degree (GPA 3.08), or international equivalent is required.

Applications will also be accepted from those with significant, relevant, practical experience or those with a graduate qualification relevant to the micro-credential.

Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate proof of English proficiency as per UCD's minimum English language requirements.

All applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

  • 3000 word essay – 70%

  • Continuous Assessment: Reflective diaries and questions set on class content throughout the trimester – 30%

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

This micro-credential is also a module on the UCD Sutherland School of Law’s MSc Environmental & Climate Law programme.

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