McGeorge School of Law

Water & Environmental Law and Policy Programs

The McGeorge advantage

The McGeorge Water & Environmental Law Program offers JD students, practicing attorneys, policy advisors, and advanced degree seekers opportunities to become experts in one of today's most dynamic and consequential legal and public policy fields. Many leaders began their specialty at McGeorge and make up an unrivaled alumni network across all levels of water and environmental law and policy practice. Water and environmental law and policy knowledge is fundamental to many governance and business activities across the state, nation and world.

Students at McGeorge receive focused guidance, individualized opportunities and an unparalleled depth of knowledge. Our faculty experts provide a classical education enhanced by a hands-on, interdisciplinary, experiential approach to learning that gives McGeorge graduates a practice-ready advantage. McGeorge offers one of the few graduate law programs in Water Resources Law in the world, with participants prepared to serve the diverse needs of public agencies, environmental and community interests, businesses and developers, farmers and ranchers, and non-profit organizations.

Distinguished Professor of Law Stephen McCaffrey is the 2017 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, chosen for his unparalleled contribution to the evolution and progressive realization of international water law. Read more.

An ideal location to study — Sacramento, with University of the Pacific campuses in Stockton and San Francisco

Located in California's capital, flanked by rivers that drain half the state through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, and near California's richest farmland, McGeorge is perfectly located for professionals studying and solving today's water and environmental conflicts. As the world's 6th largest economy, California is at the forefront of many policy issues, and Sacramento is right where it happens. The state's legislators, regulators, and civic leaders come to Sacramento to address issues like economic growth, environmental protection and other complex policy issues that affect California's water and environmental resources.

Combining interdisciplinary natural resources classes, simulations and case studies, and advanced law coursework in and out of the classroom, McGeorge offers a distinctive approach that is different than other graduate degree programs. Students can choose from a number of program offerings to fit their needs. These include:

McGeorge students have opportunities to:
  • Publish and network in McGeorge's California Water Law Journal:
  • Organize and participate in the California Water Law Symposium
  • Attend job fairs, fields trips, lectures and events in the McGeorge Water Law and Environmental Law Societies
  • Participate in premier water and environmental law externships (e.g. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, California Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Win scholarships from Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, the Tracy G. Helms Memorial Scholarship Fund, and more
  • Draft and lobby for real-world water and environmental law legislation in McGeorge's Legislative and Public Policy clinic
  • Choose from traditional or online course offerings in water resources law for interdisciplinary learning and schedule flexibility
  • Participate in faculty-supervised independent and group research projects in collaboration with partners from water
Student Testimonials

"Once I got to McGeorge, I realized this was the perfect place to be. California has so many water issues, and Sacramento is in the policy center of it all. We have all these water policy experts, hydrologists, biologists-you're in this hotbed of really smart people and cutting edge ideas. I couldn't have asked for a better school to learn water law. Part of the reason I've been able to be successful is because McGeorge is so willing to entertain student ideas." — Kristian Corby, '13 JD, '14 LLM (Fast Track), Associate Attorney at King Williams & Gleason LLP

"McGeorge helped me establish the professional network I needed to find a rewarding career in the public sector. I was able to connect with professors and peers with similar interests in environmental law and policy, and I am now participating in the formation of state climate policy." — Michelle Chester, '14 JD with Environmental Law Concentration, Legislative Analyst, California Energy Commission

Bryan Barnhart"I could not be happier with the practical water law education I gained at McGeorge. I found a great job representing public agencies in actions to recover clean-up costs from companies that pollute groundwater with toxic chemicals right after graduation, thanks to the help of my professors." — Bryan Barnhart, ’13, Litigation Associate at Miller & Axline

Hanspeter Walter"I greatly enjoyed taking the Water Resources Law Practice course. I particularly benefitted from the classroom simulations of complex water resources challenges and disputes. These simulations effectively provided condensed practical experience — enough to get your feet wet — into issues that often take years to resolve. I developed insights and perspectives that will allow me to more effectively represent specific clients in actual water resources disputes." — Hanspeter Walter, ’06, Attorney at Law at Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard

Tori Sundheim"Regardless of where I end up in the long run—whether that be in areas of water quality, water rights, tribal water law or even working on public policy issues — my experiences at McGeorge have provided a solid foundation and knowledge base that I am confident will contribute to a successful career." — Tori Sundheim, ’13, Public Lands and Natural Resources Coordinator, Nevada Association of Counties


Contact Clémence Kucera, Assistant Dean, Graduate & International Programs
Email | 916.739.7353

Contact Stephen McCaffrey, Director of Water & Environmental Law, International Track
Email | 916.739.7179