FAQs for space law students and future space lawyers
How can I get an introduction to the concepts of space law?
ISPL runs occasional introductory space law courses for students in university education programs. If you would like to know when the next course is offered, sign up for our events notification list.
For details sign up on our contact page for events notifications.
You can also pursue self-study at this level by looking at the basic documents of space law, and the principles they embody. The primary documents, and space law FAQs, are on the UN website.
How do I become a space lawyer?
Space law is a very specialised field, and one that encompasses everything from public international law to specific areas of commerce, such as satellites. There have been a number of routes to a space law career. One is to obtain a degree in law, international relations, or government, and to pursue further study at a large number of institutions, at the Masters or Doctoral level. Some law firms have specialist departments, and it is worthwhile identifying them and contacting them about work and training opportunities. Agencies such as ESA employ a number of specialists, as do commercial firms: this may be a way to gain experience and knowledge. There are summer schools and short courses for those wishing to sample the field before deciding on a career path.
Where can I find information about degrees in space law & policy?
There are presently no undergraduate degrees in space law that we’re aware of. Most taught degrees relating to space law are in some combination of air and space law, rather than pure space law. There are also opportunities for studying policy, and space technology with elements of air and space law.
The UN publishes a fairly comprehensive list of educational opportunities in space law, and this is a good starting point. It can be found on the UNOOSA website and here. Although it is updated frequently, please be aware that the list may not have the most up-to-date material for all institutions. Contact the institution you’re interested in, and ask for their current details.
Is there funding to study in these fields?
There is funding – but not necessarily for every program, or for every student. Bursaries, scholarships, and outside funding is out there, but may require some effort to find. We’ll be posting more information to make that easier, but for now the first step is to look at the website of your preferred institution to see what you may qualify for.
Funding may be available from your national government, from the host government, or from intergovernmental bodies.
Many higher-degree students study part-time while working in the industry, and self-fund their studies.
Are there internships and work placement opportunities?
Law firms, space insurance companies, space sector corporations and international agencies or NGOs may be able to place well-qualified applicants, but generally not at the level of a first degree or pre-first-degree.
Educational institutions such as ISPL accept applications for visiting scholars and researchers from higher degree programs, or those in the legal or space sector wishing to pursue specific topics.
What institutions around the world are involved with space law or policy?
Our Resources page includes many links to private and public institutions, space agencies, international bodies and educational organisations.
Are there organisations of students interested in the space sector?
University law societies frequently contact us to connect with their members, as do engineering and other space-related groups.
SGAC is a global non-governmental organisation and network which aims to represent university students and young space professionals to the United Nations, space agencies, industry, and academia.