Graduate Diploma in Mining Law, Finance, and Sustainability

Western Law is excited to launch its Graduate Diploma in Mining Law, Finance, and Sustainability in Fall 2019. 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 Diploma: providing academic leadership, meeting industry needs, and setting new standards in interdisciplinary collaboration.

The first parameter, 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 natural resource exploration and development practices that make financial sense.

Addressing industry needs, in the second place, 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, insofar as enhanced interdisciplinary collaboration is concerned, Western Law is actively pursuing interdisciplinary 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. This enriches our course offerings and content. Other interdisciplinary ties include Business; Anthropology; History; Geography; First Nations Studies; Political Science; Environmental Studies; Science and Engineering.

Flexible Options

Insofar as program design methodology is concerned, its core feature is flexibility.

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.

Who Should Apply

By reason of its collaborative interdisciplinary approach, this program is suitable for graduate students with a background in a variety of undergraduate programs. 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; the rights of Indigenous peoples; applicable corporate finance provisions; and transparency measures.

How to Apply

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

Please Note: For the Graduate Diploma in Mining Law, Finance and Sustainability ONLY applicants may request a January start. Students who begin the program in January will break for the Summer term and return in September for their second term. Please use the 2020 application and include in your Statement of Interest that you would like to begin the program in January 2020. The deadline to submit your application for January 2020 start is December 15, 2019.


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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 the following:  

Four compulsory courses:

  • Legal Foundations and Primary Legal Sources (online only: from Fall 2019 onwards)
  • Mining Law (in class Fall 2019; online from Winter 2020)
  • Mining Finance Speaker Series (online from Fall 2019 onwards; in class Winter 2020)
  • 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:

  • Aboriginal Law (in class Fall 2019; online from Winter 2021 onwards)
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (in class Winter 2020; online from Fall 2020 onwards)
  • Environmental Law (in class 2019-2020; online from Fall 2021 onwards)
  • Sustainable Natural Resource Development and Energy Law (in class Fall 2019; online from Winter 2020)
  • 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, timing may vary from year to year):

  • 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