Top 10 Environmental Policy and Management Programs

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March 15th, 2010 in Rankings

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The environmental issues confronting the world today require immediate attention and effective action. The rapidly changing environmental systems and depleting resources are causing substantial concern to government and business leaders around the world. There is no doubt that critical decisions are warranted and radical changes are required. The development of policies by industry leaders and government officials need to address the critical environmental problems and to prevent the continued detriment of irresponsible decision making to the environment. The immediate need for educated and knowledgeable individuals who understand the complexities of the environmental issues has caused many of the top universities to initiate programs or to revise existing programs in environmental science and policy for the purpose of producing graduates with an ethical and comprehensive understanding of the impact of society on the environment and the need for responsible action.

1. Indiana University – Bloomington

The School of Public and Environmental Affairs has earned its place as the top ranked institution of higher learning in public affairs and environmental studies because of its commitment to research and superior academic curriculum addressing the most critical and pressing issues facing the world today. The programs are structured to prepare graduates to become effective leaders dedicated to serving the public and discovering productive, viable solutions to the complex environmental issues. The faculty members are renowned experts and researchers who also serve as advisors to the students they teach. Students of Indiana University benefit from the extensive affiliations with private industry companies, governmental entities and various community organizations from which they can attain valuable industry knowledge and gain network connections.

The sixty credit dual Master of Science in Environmental Science and Master of Public Affairs degree program links two disciplines integral to the success of future leaders in environmental policy. Individually, each curriculum for the two majors is ranked as the top program in the nation. The combined program provides an exceptional and distinctive educational program. Students will be required to complete core courses in each of the two program areas and select a concentration in one of three options. One option permits students to develop a program focused on policy. The student will be expected to complete 9 to 12 credits in the concentration. Each student will be required to complete a capstone project. Students enrolled in the program are afforded extensive course flexibility and permits students to complete the degree within two and half to three and a half years.

2. Duke University

The Nicholas School at Duke University was established in the late 1930’s and is regarded as one of the premier schools of environmental science and policy studies. Through the collaborative efforts of the college’s 56 expert faculty members, scientists and environmental and government leaders, Duke University is committed to finding innovative and effective solutions to the complex environmental problems facing the planet. The university expects to accomplish this goal through research, academic exploration and the education of future leaders in the field. Students are equipped with a comprehensive understanding of the inherent complexities of the environmental issues facing the planet to ensure they will become socially responsible and proactive leaders in their professional capacities. The faculty members teaching the courses are world renowned experts and researchers of the environment.

The degree programs in environmental science and policy offered at Duke University are comprehensive; examining the environment in its entirety instead of in segments. The multi- and interdisciplinary and rigorous curriculum ensures students will attain a thorough understanding of the environment, the impact of human actions, the extensive issues and problems associated with the changes caused by human interference and natural evolution and the various approaches by which experts are attempting to address and resolve these concerns and divert potential crises. Duke University offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the major. The undergraduate Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Sciences and Policy incorporates the disciplines of natural science and engineering along with studies in social sciences. Courses include probability and statistics, environmental sciences and policy, microeconomics, biological diversity, general chemistry, earth sciences and calculus.

3. Syracuse University

Syracuse University, founded in 1870, has earned recognition for its innovative and bold educational pursuits and its commitment to advancing knowledge, creating solutions and educating future leaders of industry and government. Syracuse endeavors to provide globally relevant academic programs which remain abreast of the societal, academic and technological changes. The Environmental Science and Forestry School of Syracuse University represents these ideas, earning it a top ranking by US News & World Report. The interdisciplinary academic programs provide students with a complex, comprehensive understanding of the fields in which they intend to enter. Students are afforded the opportunity to gain valuable practical experience working collaboratively with field professionals to develop new solutions and policies. The 146 full time faculty members employed by ESF are highly regarded teachers and researchers.

The Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies program is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the extensive environmental issues through interdisciplinary study. The program includes studies in social, scientific and cultural areas to ensure students understand the cause of the environmental issues and are capable of conversing and collaborating effectively with scientists and governmental leaders. The curriculum provides training in the foundational areas essential to becoming a successful policy maker. The program encompasses technical writing, survey research and statistical analysis. The students develop collaborative skills through project work, internships and various community based courses which provide the opportunity to attain proficiency in the necessary skills and requisite areas of study. Students have the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree and an advanced certificate program in the areas of environmental policy and management.

4. Yale University

The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies was initially established in 1901 for the purpose of educating individuals on forest conservation; eventually evolving to encompass the field of environmental studies in its entirety. Yale University is striving to become the leading environmental institution worldwide through exceptional educational programs and the development of new knowledge through productive research. The collaborative efforts of faculty members and students to disseminate knowledge to the public and raise awareness of the urgency of environmental issues and effective solutions have earned Yale University additional recognition as a premier environmental institution. The strong emphasis on cross-disciplinary studies at Yale provides students with comprehensive educations equipping them with the knowledge and perspective necessary to become effective leaders in the environmental and related fields.

The degree program at Yale University in Environmental Policy and Management encompasses all of the integral aspects of the field. The unique duel degree program earns students two degrees: a Master of Business Administration and Master of Environmental Management. Combining the curriculum for the two disciplines produces graduates knowledgeable in the essential areas of business, policy development and the environment. Students are trained to identify and recognize central environmental and sustainable resource development issues and to develop innovative and constructive viable policies with positive effects. The curriculum includes courses from the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the School of Management, an internship and a capstone project. Students are expected to choose an area of specialization within the environmental studies which includes policy, economics and law.

5. University of Washington

The University of Washington established their Program on the Environment (PoE) in 1997. Although the discipline was not initially established under a specific school within the university, it is now part of the College of the Environment which was formed in 2009. The unique inter- and multi-disciplinary programs within the department provide an exceptional and comprehensive program which incorporates studies in all disciplines with relevance to the field. The faculty members teaching within the program are established instructors from the other schools within the university, offering expertise in a range of disciplines. The university embraces and encourages collaboration between departments and with industry leaders to promote integrated learning. The University of Washington sponsors seminars and lectures from highly regarded expert guest speakers.

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies equips students with the skills and knowledge necessary to become successful professionals in the field of environmental policy. Students are required to complete foundational courses in the earth and life sciences, statistics courses and courses in culture. The Capstone requirement can be completed as a group project, an internship, an individual research project or the student can choose to study abroad. The graduate programs in environmental management provide students with the specific skills and academic training to become effective policy makers. Students also have the option of completing the graduate certificate in environmental management as well. The curriculum for both programs provides students with advanced training in physical and life sciences, business, economics and policy.

6. University of California – Berkeley

The University of California at Berkeley is a highly regarded research university with international recognition. The Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management within the University of California endeavors to discover new knowledge of environmental and natural resource systems for the purpose of developing effective solutions to the extensive global issues. The accomplishment of these goals is expected to be realized through the success of complex research projects and by educating and disseminating information to both students and the public. The University of California provides a comprehensive and innovative curriculum. The 59 department faculty members specialize in specific areas of environmental research and serve as leaders to the community, businesses and governments.

The Master of Science in Environmental Science, Policy and Management offered at the University of California provides students with a focused advanced educational program. Students enrolled in the advanced major specialize in one of three areas; organisms and environment, ecosystem sciences and society and environment. The focused programs provide students with the core foundational courses necessary to develop an understanding of the complex field of environmental policy and courses in a specialized area of study that equip graduates with the knowledge needed to complete in depth explorations of the subject through research and professional endeavors. Students have the option of completing a thesis or a non-thesis plan. All students are provided with a guiding committee comprised of two advisors to help develop an appropriate curriculum.

7. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

The School of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan was established in 1950 to protect and study the earth’s natural resources and the environmental problems which require notice and has become an international leader in the field. The urgency of the rapidly evolving environmental issues has prompted the University of Michigan to implement rigorous degree programs in environmental policy; training future leaders in the field capable of informed and effective decision making. Through education and research, the university endeavors to discover new knowledge and methods by which limited natural resources can be conserved and sustained to serve the needs of the global population and to develop new policies and techniques to accomplish this goal.

The Environmental policy degree program provides a thorough and comprehensive curriculum designed to equip student with the leadership skills and knowledge necessary to become effective policy makers. The students will complete coursework in the areas of policy analysis, planning, law, politics, institutions, life and earth sciences and a range of cultural electives. Students will develop skills in problem solving, critical and analytical thinking, dispute resolution, negotiation and decision making which will be necessary for developing and implementing viable environmental policies. The program is designed to allow students to pursue a specialization in a specific area of environmental science such as water, climate change and energy, biodiversity and ecosystem management, environmental justice and sustainable land use.

8. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina is considered a pioneer in public policy; credited with instituting one of the first undergraduate degree programs in the discipline. The Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina was established in 1979 and has held to the belief that public policy analysis should be a principal task and concern of all educated individuals. In addition to a challenging and comprehensive academic curriculum, students are offered the benefits of participating in the undergraduate public policy majors union, lecture series, internship opportunities, seminars and extensive research opportunities. The 12 full time faculty members and 16 adjunct faculty members are dedicated educators and researchers.

The undergraduate Bachelor of Art and graduate degree programs in public policy with a specialization in environmental policy offer students a thorough and rigorous curriculum. The interdisciplinary program equips students with the knowledge essential to understanding the underlying principals of developing policy and the vital skills necessary to become capable professionals in the field. Students develop communication and analytical skills and are encouraged to pursue original research in areas of particular interest to them. Students complete courses in ethics and public policy, economic analysis, quantitative analysis, and at least three courses in the area of environmental policy. The capstone project allows students to gain valuable experience in developing original policy for current global issues.

9. Harvard University

Harvard University has long been regarded as a top ranked premier research institution of higher learning committed to advancing knowledge and providing exceptional educational programs and experiences. The Environmental Science and Public Policy concentration offered at Harvard University was founded with the purpose of training students to recognize the relevance of the economic, political, legal and ethical aspects in relation to the complex environmental issues facing the current and future populations. Harvard ascribes to the belief that only with this comprehensive understanding will future leaders in the field be capable of successfully developing and creating effective policies with sound scientific premises. Harvard University provides students with extensive resources in the form of rich field research locations, culturally diverse museums, lecture series, field trips and seminars.

The Environmental Science and Public Policy concentration at Harvard University is a multi-disciplinary curriculum providing an introduction to the current, complex environmental issues. Students are afforded the benefit of small class sizes and intensive student-faculty interaction due to the limited enrollment allowed in the concentration. The curriculum encompasses the areas of government, mathematics, environmental sciences, economics, earth science, chemistry and biology. Students are encouraged to develop a specialization in a specific social or natural science area related to the environment. Required courses include environmental science and public policy, microeconomics, social analysis, chemistry, physics and environmental science engineering. An honors option is provided to students who complete a written thesis project.

10. Carnegie Mellon University

The Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University prepares students to become knowledgeable and informed leaders. The department provides students with a range of relevant degree programs which provide a general overview of the problems in technology and policy and study issues in engineered systems; both of which have a significant impact and relevance to environmental systems, energy and sustainable resources. The seminar series, strategy discussions and research opportunities hosted and offered at the university provide students with the opportunity to develop an inherent understanding of the field and the complex environmental issues confronting current societies.

The Engineering and Public Policy undergraduate degree program offered at Carnegie Mellon University encompass the most prevalent factors affecting and relating to the present day and future environmental issues. The curriculum explores the problems involving the impact of technology and engineering on energy resources and the environmental systems. Students have the opportunity to develop a truly unique and comprehensive individualized degree program which can be combined as a double major with any of the five engineering departments or with computer science. Students who enroll in the double major degree programs are able to complete many of the same core courses for both majors and can then concentrate the remainder of the courses on advanced specialized courses specific to the two field majors.

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