Frequently Asked Questions

Most of the details of the Certificate Program in Environmental, Energy and Land Use Law are described on the Student Registration and Tracking Form available on the Program web page. The following additional questions arise frequently for students who are beginning to explore options for their upper level curriculum:

What is the Certificate Program?

The Certificate Program is designed to assist College of Law students with an interest in environmental, energy or land use law in designing a coordinated curriculum and achieving a meaningful level of curriculum emphasis in these fields. This is done through a combination of required courses, selected electives, and opportunities for practical experience in the field.

Who should consider participating?

Students with an academic or career interest in environmental, energy or land use law may find the Certificate Program a desirable way of achieving enhanced exposure to the subject matter of those fields. Participating in the Program offers several advantages:

  • Individualized curriculum advice from Program faculty.
  • Direct mentoring by Program faculty.
  • A program of study designed to fulfill your interests and to provide you with an overview of the various aspects of environmental, energy and land use law practice.
  • A credential/certificate, recorded on your College of Law transcript, which communicates to employers your interest in the field and accomplishments in the curriculum.

When do I enroll in the Program?

Students who wish to participate in the Program should begin taking the required courses (Environmental Law, Land Use Regulation and Administrative Law) in their second year. NOTE: All required courses must be taken for a GRADE. Taking a required course P/NP will disqualify the student from receiving the Certificate.

As soon as the student begins making progress toward earning the Certificate, the student should complete and submit a Certificate Program tracking form to the Associate Dean for Environmental Programs. Students should submit a new tracking form EVERY SEMESTER until the student has completed the Certificate requirements.

What else can I do in starting the Certificate Program?

The Program faculty strongly recommend that students interested in the Certificate Program meet with a Program Director early in your second year and at least once thereafter. Five FSU College of Law faculty help to administer the Certificate Program: Professors Donna Christie, Shi-Ling Hsu, David Markell, Garrick Pursley and Hannah Wiseman. In addition, there is an Associate Dean for Environmental Programs (currently Professor David Markell) who is available to answer questions and to help with planning and registration.

What are the other Program requirements?

All program requirements are listed on the Program’s web site. In brief, to receive the Certificate, all Program students must take three required courses: (1) Environmental Law; (2) Land Use Regulation; and (3) Administrative Law. These requirements serve to give Program participants a necessary overview of the various aspects of environmental law practice. Program participants must also complete an additional 9 hours of program electives. There is also a practical experience requirement, which is covered on the Tracking Form.
IMPORTANT: All required courses must be taken for a grade. Students who take one of the required courses P/NP CANNOT earn the Certificate.

What electives count toward the Program?

The College of Law offers an impressive number and variety of elective courses in the Program fields. The Program also has identified courses in other departments of FSU that will be accepted as Program electives. Not all the courses are offered at the College of Law or in other departments each year, however, and in many years new courses are created that may be accepted into the Program. A list of courses that satisfy the elective requirement is available on the Program website. You should consult course offerings each semester to determine which of the eligible electives are being offered.

What if I do not complete the Program?

There is no penalty for not completing all the Program requirements. Failure to achieve the Certificate is not recorded on your College of Law record.

Can I earn academic honors for the Certificate Program?

Yes. The Certificate Program awards three levels of honors: Honors; High Honors; and Highest Honors. These designations will appear on the final Certificate issued to the student.

The GPA requirements for honors in the Certificate Program track the numeric GPA requirements for honors at graduation, but your GPA for Certificate honors purposes is calculated solely on the basis of your Certificate Program courses. If you complete more elective courses than the minimum required for the Certificate, the Associate Dean for Environmental Programs will give you the benefit of the best GPA calculation; however, in all circumstances, the honors calculation must include the three required courses (Environmental Law, Land Use Regulation and Administrative Law).

Honors in the Certificate Program is calculated AFTER graduation, after all grades have been turned in.

When will I receive my Certificate?

Program staff will mail you your Certificate in Environmental, Energy and Land Use Law in the semester AFTER you graduate. For those of you who graduate in May, Certificates will be mailed in late summer.

IMPORTANT: Please be sure to give the Program Associate for the Environmental Programs (currently Ms. Lori Wingfield) the address to which you want your Certificate sent, keeping in mind where you might be living when it is mailed.