Graduate Diploma in Mining Law, Finance, and Sustainability

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Western Law is excited to offer the Graduate Diploma in Mining Law, Finance, and Sustainability. The objective of this program is to address the perceived gap between university training and the realities experienced by the extractive industry and associated sectors. 

Three main parameters have been key to the design of the Graduate Diploma in Mining Law, Finance, and Sustainability: providing academic leadership, meeting industry needs, and setting new standards in interdisciplinary collaboration.

The first principle, academic leadership, refers to the fact that Western Law is positioning itself as a Canadian and world leader in a niche market, namely, the study of responsible and sustainable mineral resource exploration and development practices that make financial sense.

Addressing industry needs, means that we are partnering with various industry-stakeholders, including industry leaders; geologists; resource developers; regulators; environmental agencies and organizations; Indigenous communities; government agencies; NGOs; and multilateral development banks (MDBs).

Finally, Western Law is actively pursuing interdisciplinary collaboration through partnerships with other faculties, schools and departments, both at Western, elsewhere in Canada, and abroad. One notable partner is Western’s Department of Earth Sciences. These partnerships enrich our course offerings and content. Other interdisciplinary ties include Business; Anthropology; History; Geography; First Nations Studies; Political Science; Environmental Studies; Science and Engineering.

Who Should Apply

This program is suitable for prospective students with a diverse range of professional and educational experiences. Our goal is to provide mining professionals (e.g. geologists, geophysicists, engineers), business professionals (e.g. those in finance or human resources), mining lawyers, public servants, Indigenous leaders, and advocates working with non-governmental organizations with knowledge of the key legal frameworks that govern the extractive industries in Canada and abroad. This will help them to understand issues in areas like environmental regulation and climate change; the rights of Indigenous peoples; sustainability; business and human rights; applicable corporate finance provisions; and emerging trends in these areas.

Flexible Options

The Graduate Diploma is flexible in three interrelated dimensions. First, students may elect to follow the program in a convenient class format, be that online, in person, or in a hybrid format that comprises some courses followed online and others in person.

Second, students may elect to take courses on an à la carte-basis, or to follow the program as a whole. This means that a student may enrol for a single course, may follow multiple courses, or may elect to complete the entire Graduate Diploma qualification.

Third, students may opt to take the program on either a full or a part time basis. For students completing the program on a full-time basis, the Graduate Diploma in Mining Law, Finance, and Sustainability is a two-term (eight month) program, running from September–April. Part-time students can complete the program in up to six terms. As the Faculty of Law does not offer Summer courses, students would be limited to taking courses in the Fall and Winter. Part-time students will not be charged tuition during the Summer Term.

Tuition and fees for students in the Graduate Diploma in Mining Law, Finance, and Sustainability:

Students registered full-time in the Graduate Diploma program will be billed tuition of $6,750 domestic / $10,500 international per term plus full-time ancillary fees. Full-time ancillary fees include the SOGS Health and Dental Plan (billed annually) and various student fees (billed per term). The total annual full-time ancillary fees are approximately $1,305 domestic / $1,735 international. For details, please see the tuition and fee schedules available at Western’s Office of the Registrar. Total full-time tuition and fees for the 2-term program are approximately $14,805 domestic / $22,735 international.

Full-time students will normally enrol in 3 courses in each of the Fall and Winter terms, completing the program in 2 terms (8 months). Full-time students are not allowed to take course overloads (more than 3 courses) in any term. Students who do not complete the program within 2 terms must register for additional terms and pay fees as required.

Students registered part-time, either in the Graduate Diploma program or as a non-degree student, will be billed tuition of $2,250 domestic / $3,500 international per course plus part-time ancillary fees of approximately $70 per term. Total tuition and fees for the 6-course program will vary depending on the number of terms required to complete the program.

Part-time students may enrol in a maximum of 2 courses per term. Students will not be registered or assessed fees for any term in which they are not enrolled in any courses (normally the Summer term).

Students may not transfer between the full-time per-term billing plan and the part-time per-course billing plan except in extraordinary circumstances. Please consider your options carefully and choose the correct registration plan for your needs. Full-time registration is appropriate for students who are able to devote full-time hours to their studies, want to complete the program as quickly as possible, and/or may need to maintain full-time registration in order to meet eligibility requirements for funding programs, immigration status, etc. Part-time registration is appropriate for students who are employed full-time or have other commitments that make it impossible to devote full-time hours to their studies, and who are content to complete the program over a longer period.

How to Apply

Please see our Graduate Admissions page to apply and for details of admission requirements.

Please Note: January start is available for the Graduate Diploma in Mining Law, Finance and Sustainability ONLY. Students who begin the program in January will break for the Summer term and return in September for their second term. Please be sure to choose the correct admission term in the application portal. 

Course Selection and Program Composition

With the exception of Legal Foundations and Primary Legal Sources, all of the online courses are also offered in class attendance format, albeit not in every term.

A student need not enroll for the entire Graduate Diploma and may elect to only take one or more selected course(s) from the list below.

Students wishing to obtain the Graduate Diploma qualification are required to complete 6 courses, some mandatory and some elective. Note that timing for in-class courses and availability of some elective courses may vary from year to year. Some "in class" courses will be taught online in synchronous format (scheduled class meetings). 

Students coming from a non-Law background must complete all 4 mandatory courses from Groups A & B, including Legal Foundations & Primary Legal Sources, 1 core sustainability course selected from Group C, and 1 additional elective course selected from Group D. 

Students with a Law background must complete 3 mandatory courses from Group B, 1 core sustainability course from Group C, and 2 additional elective courses from Group D.

Mandatory course (Group A):

  • Legal Foundations and Primary Legal Sources (online only)

Mandatory courses (Group B):

  • Mining Law (in class or online)
  • Mining Finance Speaker Series (in class or online)
  • Interdisciplinary and Indigenous Perspectives (in class Fall 2020; online Winter 2021 onwards)

One course in a field related to sustainability, chosen from among the following (Group C):

  • Aboriginal Law (in class Fall 2020; online Winter 2021 onwards)
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (in class or online)
  • Environmental Law (in class Fall 2020; online from Fall 2021 onwards)
  • Sustainable Natural Resource Development and Energy Law (in class or online)
  • Indigenous Legal Traditions (offering varies)
  • Another course approved by the Associate Dean.

One elective course, chosen from among the following, if not taken as a core course (Group D):

  • Aboriginal Law
  • Anti-Corruption Law
  • Corporate Finance
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Environmental Law
  • Comparative Mining and Energy Law
  • Indigenous Legal Traditions
  • International Environmental Law
  • Sustainable Natural Resource Development and Energy Law