Environmental Law and Policy

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Key information

DegreeDoctoral Degree
SubjectLaw & Philosophy
Teaching languageEnglish
Start dateSeptember 4, 2018
Duration3 years
Tuition feeRMB46000/Y
Application feeRMB 800 (USD 140)

I. Research Institute of Environmental Law

The Research Institute of Environmental Law (RIEL) of Wuhan University, co-founded by the former National Environmental Protection and Wuhan University in 1981, is the premier institution in China and in Asia-Pacific region dedicated to the study of environmental and natural resources law and policy. In 1999 RIEL was designated as a National Key Research Institute of the Humanities and Social Sciences by the Ministry of Education. Since 2001, the environmental law program of RIEL was designated as the sole National Key Discipline by the Ministry of Education, China.

The Chinese Society of Environment and Resources law and its secretariat are based in RIEL. In addition, in 2011, IUCN Academy of Environmental Law set up its first Advanced Training Centre for Environmental Law Teaching and Research in RIEL. In 2013, RIEL was first included in the national “2011 program” as the one of the supporting organizations of the Collaborative Innovation Centre of Judicial Civilization. In 2015, RIEL was identified as the Research Foundation on Environmental-related Judicial Theory of the Supreme People’s Court, China.

In 1982, RIEL initiated the first program for awarding masters degrees for environmental law in China under an accreditation by the former Commission of Education of PRC. In 1998, RIEL was accredited for awarding doctoral degrees in environmental law.

RIEL possesses a library and information center with the largest number and the most complete set of documents concerning environmental law in China, including more than 10,000 books in Chinese, more than 2,000 books in foreign languages, and more than 200 journals in Chinese and foreign languages. In addition, RIEL has the first Chinese website of environmental law, namely, the Web of China Environmental Law (www.riel.whu.edu.cn).

Presently, RIEL has 12 full-time researchers who are engaged in the teaching and research of environmental law, among whom there are 7 professors, 4 associate professors, and 1 lecturer.

II. Curriculum

The curriculum of the PhD program in Environmental Law and Policy consists of 4 mandatory courses with 4 credits and optional courses with a total of 4 credits are predefined for each specialization.


Title of Course


Class hour

Degree Course

International Environmental Law



Degree Course

Chinese Environmental Law



Degree Course

Research Methodology




Degree Course

Comparative Environmental law




Optional Course

Pollution Control Law



Optional Course

Climate and Energy law




Optional Course

Water Law and Law of the Sea



Optional Course

Legal  writing



Optional Course

Biodiversity Law



Optional Course

Heritage Law




 The PhD program in Environmental Law and Policy includes the following specializations:

²  Chinese Environmental Law & Policy

²  International Environmental Law & Policy

²  Comparative Environmental Law & Policy

²  Pollution Control Law

²  Climate and Energy Law

²  Biodiversity and Natural Conservation Law

²  Water Law and Law of the Sea

²  Environmental Litigation

The name of the major is Science of Environment and Natural Resource Protection Law.

III. Credits

To obtain a PhD degree, the students are required to earn 8 credits in the Wuhan University Credit System (of which at least 4 are for degree courses and 4 are for optional courses). There is no fixed amount of credits required each semester. One credit in the Wuhan University Credit System corresponds to 18 hours of classes.


IV. Doctoral Supervisors

Prof. Qin Tianbao

Prof. QIN Tianbao is a Changjiang (Cheung Kong) Scholar and Luojia Professor of Law, and serves as the Director of the Research Institute of Environmental Law (RIEL) and the Associate Dean for Research and International Affiliations for the School of Law, Deputy Director of the Research Center of the Supreme Court of China on Environmental-related Cases, Professor of China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies and the European Studies Centre, Wuhan University; Editor-in-Chief of the Chinese Journal of Environmental Law; Member of the Compliance Committee of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS.

Dr Qin received his LL.B and LL.M degrees from Wuhan University. He finished his Doktorarbeit (doctoral dissertation) in Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt in Germany and obtained his Dr. iur degree from Wuhan University. He has been a Post-doctor Research Fellow in Ghent University, Belgium.

He is a Legislative Expert for China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Agriculture, and Hubei Provincial Parliament, and headed or participated in drafting of several major environmental bills. He is an Advisor for Chinese negotiations on biodiversity, ocean and climate change issues; and he was a Legislative Expert for the UNEP Division of Environmental Law and Conventions, and an Environmental Law Expert for several projects of International Institutions (GEF, UNDP, ADB) in China. He was the Head of Environmental Rights Department of the Centre of Protection of Rights of Disadvantaged Citizens (CPRDC) which is a prestigious NGO for Human Rights in China.

Currently, he is concentrating his researches in law and policy concerning biodiversity and biotechnology, water and ocean, climate change and energy, environment and health, and trans-boundary environmental issues. Prof. Qin is author of several books and more than 100 articles in these fields. His recent publications include: Research Handbook on Chinese Environmental Law (Edward Elgar, eds), Principles of International Biodiversity Law (CUPL Press), Legal Issues on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-sharing (WHU Press).


Prof. Ben Boer

Ben Boer was appointed as Emeritus Professor in the University of Sydney in late 2008. In 2011 he was appointed as Distinguished Professor at Wuhan University Law School in its Research Institute of Environmental Law. He now teaches in Wuhan for around three months a year. Between 2006 and 2008, he was the international Co-Director of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Academy of Environmental Law and Visiting Professor based at the University of Ottawa. He was appointed as Deputy Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law in 2012.

Formerly, Ben was Professor in Environmental Law, University of Sydney (1997 -2008) and the Corrs Chambers Westgarth Professor of Environmental Law, University of Sydney (1992-1996). Prior to that, at Macquarie University, he was Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor, School of Law (1979-1991) and part-time Lecturer in the Graduate School of the Environment, and Tutor and Lecturer, Department of Legal Studies, La Trobe University (1974-1979).

Together with colleagues at the University of Sydney, the Australian National University and the University of Adelaide, he founded of the Australian Centre for Environmental Law; at the University of Sydney Law School this body is now called the Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law.

Ben has served as a consultant to various intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and foreign aid agencies in the following countries: China, Federated States of Micronesia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, New Caledonia, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vietnam, as well as conducting research for various departments of the Australian Federal Government. Ben has published widely in the area of environmental and natural resources law and policy. 


Prof. Alexander Zahar

Professor Zahar was born in Athens, Greece. He completed undergraduate studies in philosophy in New Zealand. Having received a British Council Commonwealth Scholarship, he completed a PhD in philosophy at University College London. In Australia, he studied law and worked in Sydney for the Government of New South Wales, first at the Legal Aid Commission and later at the Department of Juvenile Justice. In 2000, Professor Zahar joined the United Nations as a legal expert. He worked as a judicial advisor at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, in Arusha, Tanzania. In 2003, he transferred to the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, in The Hague, the Netherlands, as a senior judicial advisor. In the period 2008-2010 Professor Zahar taught law at Griffith University, in Queensland, Australia, and from 2011 to 2016 he taught at Macquarie Law School, in Sydney. Professor Zahar’s current research interests are in international climate change law, as well as climate change law in China. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of the international, peer-reviewed, journal Climate Law (published by Brill/Nijhoff). He periodically serves in Bonn, Germany, as an Expert Lead Reviewer of greenhouse gas inventories, National Communications, and Biennial Reports submitted by states pursuant to the  United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Professor Zahar is currently working on a monograph on climate change law in China.


Prof. Du Qun

Ms. Du is a professor and doctoral supervisor, and Deputy Director of RIEL. Prof. Du was born in Yongkang inZhejiangProvincein 1968. She was awarded a bachelors degree of law by the Law School of Wuhan University in 1991, an LL,M. at the RIEL in 1994, and a J.S.D degree at the Law School of Peking University. She was a faculty member at the Resources School of Beijing Normal University from 1994~2004. She finished her post-doctoral study at Queen's University Belfast inBritainfrom 1999~2000. Thereafter she held the post of senior consultant for environmental law projects in the China Office of ADB from 2002~2004. She has worked at RIEL since 2005. Prof. Du is a standing member of the Chinese Association of Environment and Resources Law, co-chairman of the Specialist Working Group for Sustainable Soil of the Commission of Environmental Law of IUCN. She has participated in many national key research projects of the Ministry of Science and Technology of PRC, the China Natural Sciences Foundation, the China Social Sciences Foundation, the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). Du has participated in legislation, revision and expert counseling on laws and rules on the environment and resources initiated by the Environment and Resources Committee of the National People’s Congress, the Ministry of Water Resources, and the State Environmental Protection Administration. She has participated in the design and implementation of many international projects. She has been invited to many foreign countries for academic exchanges, includingKenya,Hong Kong,Singapore,Sweden,Netherlands,Germany, theUnited Kingdom, theUnited States,Canada,Australia,Brazil, andEcuador. Furthermore, she has published more than 30 major academic articles in journals at home and abroad, including her representative work of The Theory of Combined Environmental Law---Integration of Legal Protection of Environment, Resources and Ecology (Science Press, 2003).


Prof. Kejian

Mr. Ke is a professor and supervisor of graduate students, and he serves as Vice Secretary-General of the Chinese Association of Environment and Resources Law. He is also a member of the Commission on Environmental Law of IUCN. He earned a bachelors degree of science atWuhanUniversityin 1990. He obtained his LL.M. and J.S.D at RIEL in 1995 and 2004, respectively. He has been a faculty member of RIEL since 1995. In recent years, Ke has published more than 20 Chinese and English articles in many influential journals at home and abroad. He has delivered advisory reports on legislation regarding the prevention and control of water pollution, soil pollution, global warming and other issues to the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress and State Environmental Protection Administration of PRC, and many of his proposals have been adopted by governmental bodies. He has been invited to foreign countries for academic research, including National University of Singapore (NUS) in 1997,SydneyUniversityofAustraliain 1998, Regensburg University of Germany in 1999, and Harvard University of USA in 2002 and 2003. He went to theAixMarseillesUniversity(France) for post-doctoral legal study of global warming in 2007, during which he was invited to give a special lecture by the Association of Sustainable Development and International Relationship of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of France. In addition, he is a Fulbright scholar in theUnited Statesfor the 2008-2009 academic year.

V. Entry Requirement

1.     Wuhan University Application Form for Foreign Students with a photograph fixed. It can be downloaded after the completion of online application.

2.     Diploma and degree certificate( notarized version, in notarized Chinese or English translation)

3.     Related transcripts( notarized version, in notarized Chinese or English translation)

4.     Two recommendation letters from professors or associate professors, in Chinese or English

5.     English proficiency test result for non-native English speakers

6.     One photocopy of your valid passport

7.     Study plan

8.     Form for Provisional Acceptance of International Student by WHU Professor

1) All required documents must be in Chinese or English;

2) The application documents will not be returned.


VI. How to Apply
Step 1 Submit Application Documents: Complete the online application and upload all application documents.

Step 2 Qualification Verification: It takes about 14 workdays for Qualification Verification for postgraduate students.

Step 3 Admission Notice: We would send out admission letter and JW202 about a week after the documents verification.

Please confirm your address with Wuhan University. DHL cannot deliver to a P.O.BOX

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