The nation stands on the precipice of some of the greatest natural resource and environmental threats since the dawn of the modern environmental movement. These challenges range from climate change to shrinking budgets, from water quality degradation to debates over governance, and from chronic environmental public health risks to policy debates. How will these problems be resolved? Who will lead the charge? What common ground can be found?

The MENV Environmental Policy specialization prepares its students to engage on these very questions and issues. Students learn how to identify and apply the best processes and tools to solve environmental and natural resource problems using a combination of theory, case studies, and practice.

Students graduating from the Environmental Policy track will be prepared to work in the organizations and institutions that are central to the natural resource and sustainability debates of today. These careers might include natural resources or environmental management with a government agency, sustainability planning for a corporation, or advocacy for a non-governmental organization.

Course Requirements

Examines concepts related to regulatory processes, bureaucratic institutions, and management of the environment and natural resources. Explores environmental laws at the federal and state level as well as how the processes and institutions at various levels of government help shape laws and their implementation. Focuses on policy tools including property rights, regulation, voluntary compliance, and market-based mechanisms.

This course will incorporate a theoretical understanding of how policies are made, what decisions are enacted, and which actors seek to influence policy outcomes. Students in this class will assess frameworks for understanding policy formation and decision-making, and apply this understanding to cases of environmental and natural resource policy.

Students in this course will learn the concepts and analytical tools associated with understanding and facilitating individual or group decisions. The discussion and applications in this course will be tailored to environmental management, organizations, and discourses. Concepts from fields such as decision analysis, organizational behavior, environmental management, economics, and policy analysis will be used throughout this course to prepare students to work in the fields of environmental policy and management in various sectors.

An exploration of the impact of a variety of factors that may result in market failures, including public goods, externalities, information asymmetries and uncertainty, with a special focus on the environment and natural resources. Government policies as a mitigating policy tool for market failures is assessed.

Course Sequence

Term Courses
  • Student Orientation
  • The Scientific Basis of Environmental Change (MENV core; 4 credit hours)
Fall Semester I
  • Foundations of Environmental Leadership (MENV core; 3 credit hours)
  • Socio-Environmental Systems (MENV core; 3 credit hours)
  • PP&M: Foundations (EP Specialization requirement; 3 credit hours)
  • Environmental Decision-Making (EP Specialization requirement; 3 credit hours)
  • Capstone Innovation Lab I (1 credit hour)
Spring Semester
  • Business Fundamentals for Environmental Professionals (MENV core; 3 credit hours)*
  • Environmental Statistics (MENV Core; 3 credit hours)*
  • Ethics and Values in Environmental Leadership (MENV core; 3 credit hours)
  • PP&M: Theory and Practice (EP Specialization requirement; 3 credit hours)
  • Capstone Innovation Lab II (1 credit hour)
  • Elective (3 credit hours)
  • Elective (optional; 3 credit hours)
Summer Semester
  • Capstone Project (5 credit hours)
Fall Semester II
  • Environmental Economics and Public Finance (EP Specialization requirement; 3 credit hours)
  • Capstone Innovation Lab III (1 credit hour)
  • Elective (3 credit hours)
  • Elective (3 credit hours)

* Students choose one of these two core courses