Environmental Policy & Governance Concentration

E&S students with a concentration in Environmental Policy and Governance (EPG) will study policy and broader social dimensions of environmental issues. Foundational courses in several realms of the environmental social sciences will acquaint students with different approaches to studying human-environment relationships. Students will also learn about the design, construction, implementation and evaluation of environmental policy and management. Whether a student is interested in a policy career or social-environmental analysis, this concentration provides a foundation for understanding human-environmental relationships holistically.

If you are ready to declare your concentration, fill out this form.

Course requirements

Semester Key: F=Fall, S=Spring, Su=Summer
Students may not use the same course to fulfill both a core and concentration requirement. (*) denotes courses that may be used to fulfill core requirements.

Seven courses beyond the E&S core requirements consisting of the following:

Foundational Themes (4 courses):

The four foundational themes provide a grounding in key concepts of environmental action and management. Environment and Law introduces legal tools relevant to environmental issues. Environment and Human Behavior gives students approaches to understanding varying ways that people and human communities create, understand, struggle over, and resolve environmental concerns. Environment and Institutions acquaints students with key institutions through which people use or interact with environmental resources and equips students to analyze variation and change in environmental management. Environment and Policy provides insight about how people construct and implement policies and regulations concerning natural resources and the environment.

  • Environment and Law (choose one)
    • CRP 4590 - Legal Aspects of Land Use Planning (S, 3 cr)
    • GOVT/AMST 3131/LAW 4131 - The Nature, Functions, and Limits of Law (S, 4 cr) 
    • LAW 4330/ENVS 4331 - Environmental Law and Policy (F, 3 cr)
    • LAW 6361 - Environmental Law (F, 3 cr) (requires co/prerequisite LAW 6011)
    • LAW 7358 - International Environmental Law (S) 
    • PADM 5130 - Legal Aspects of Public Agency Decision-Making (S, 3 cr)
  • Environment and Human Behavior (choose one)
    • ANTHR/AIIS/BSOC 2420* - Nature-Culture: Ethnographic Approaches to Human Environment Relations (F, 3 cr)
    • BSOC/STS 2061/PHIL 2960* - Ethics and the Environment (S, 4 cr)
    • DEA/COGST/PSYCH 1500 - Introduction to Environmental Psychology (F, 3 cr)
    • GDEV/SOC 3240/ STS 3241 - Environmental Sociology (S, 3 cr)
    • NTRES/AIIS/AMST 3330* - Ways of Knowing: Indigenous and Place-Based Ecological Knowledge (F, 3 cr)
  • Environment and Institutions (choose one)
    • NTRES/BSOC/GDEV/STS 3311 - Environmental Governance (F, 3 cr) 
    • NTRES/ENVS 4600* - Planning for Environmental Conservation and Sustainability (F, 3 cr) 
    • GOVT 3613/3614/3623 - Politics of Sustainable Development in Latin America I, II, III (F, W and S, 1 cr) 
    • CRP 3860 - Planning for Sustainable Transportation (F, S 3 cr)
    • GOVT 1817 - Making Sense of World Politics (F, 4 cr) 
    • HIST/AMST/BSOC 2581* - Environmental History (S, 4 cr)
    • AEM 4500/ECON 3860 - Resource Economics (S, 3 cr)
    • AEM 4510/ECON 3865 - Environmental Economics (S, 3 cr)
  • Environment and Policy (choose one)
    • BME 4440 - Science Policy Bootcamp: Concept to Conclusion (S, 3 cr) 
    • [GOVT/PUBPOL 3583 - Comparative Public Policy: Political Pathways to Equality] (S, 4 cr) (Not offered S24)
    • [GOVT 3032 - Politics of Public Policy in the US] (F, 4 cr) (Not offered F24)
    • NTRES 4300/4301/4302 - Environmental Policy Processes I-III (F, W and S, 0.5 cr) (highly recommended to gain benefits of experiential learning and career path opportunities on site in Washington DC
    • [NTRES 4750/PUBPOL/PADM 3172 - Environmental Justice and Policy] (S, 3 cr) (Not offered S24)
    • PUBPOL/PADM 3730 - Comparative Environmental Policy (S, 3 cr) 
    • PUBPOL 3670/ECON 3850 - Economics and Environmental Policy (F, 3 cr)
    • PUBPOL 3910 - Federal Policy Making in Action (S, 1 cr) AND PADM 5441 - Effective Writing for Public Policy (F, 1.5 cr) (must take both to count)

Methods/tools course

Choose one of the following methods/tools courses to acquire tools that will enhance your ability to do research and analysis on the social dimensions of environments. Students may not use the same course to fulfill both a core and concentration requirement. (*) denotes courses that may be used to fulfill core requirements.

  • AEM 2770 - Excursions in Computational Sustainability (S, 3 cr)
  • CRP 3555 - Environmental Impact Review (F, 3 cr)
  • CRP 4080 - Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) (F, 4 cr)
  • EAS 2400 - Observing the Earth: Remote Sensing and GIS (S, 3 cr) 
  • GDEV 3130 - Social Indicators and Introduction to Social Science Research (S, 3 cr) 
  • GDEV 3140 - Spatial thinking, GIS and related methods (F, 4 cr)
  • GDEV 3680 - Environmental Decision Making (S, 3 cr)
  • GOVT 2169 - Survey Data in the Information Age (S, 3 cr)
  • NTRES 4600* - Planning for Environmental Conservation and Sustainability (F, 3 cr)
  • PLSCS 2200 - Introduction to Mapping and Spatial Analysis with GIS (F, 3 cr)
  • PLSCS 4200 - Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Concepts and Application (S, 3 cr)

Additional environmental courses

Choose two from the following list of additional environmental courses. Students may not use the same course to fulfill both a core and concentration requirement. For example, if you took HIST 2581 to fulfill the Humanities core requirement, you could not also count it toward this requirement, but you could additionally take NTRES 3320 for this requirement.

Courses not in this list that are relevant to social and policy dimensions of environmental issues can be considered for this requirement with approval of your advisor and the E&S Program. (*) denotes courses that may be used to fulfill core requirements.

  • AEM 2000 - Contemporary Controversies in the Global Economy (S, 3 cr)
  • AEM 4500/ECON 3860 - Resource Economics (S, 3 cr)
  • AEM 4510/ECON 3865 - Environmental Economics (S, 3 cr)
  • AEM 4880 Global Food, Energy, and Water Nexus (F, 3-4 cr)
  • ANTHR 2420* - Nature/Culture: Ethnographic Approaches to Human-Environment Relations (F, 3 cr)
  • ANTHR/AIIS 3422 - Culture, Politics, and Environment in the Circumpolar North (S, 4 cr)
  • [ANTHR 4410 - Indigenous Peoples, Ecological Sciences, & Environmentalism] (F, 4 cr) 
  • BIOEE 4690/BSOC 4691/STS 4691 - Food, Agriculture, and Society (S, 3 cr)
  • BSOC 2061* - Ethics and the Environment (S, 4 cr)
  • [CEE 5970 - Risk Analysis and Management] (S, 3 cr) (Not offered S24)
  • COGST 1500 - Introduction to Environmental Psychology (F, Su, 3 cr)
  • COMM 2850 - Communication, Environment, Science and Health (S, 3 cr)
  • COMM 3210 - Communication and the Environment (F, S, 3 cr)
  • COMM 4860 - Risk Communication (S, 3 cr)
  • [COML 2036* - Literature and the Elements of Nature] (F, 3 cr) (Next offered 2025 - 2026)
  • CRP 3840 - Green Cities (F, 3 cr)
  • CRP 5080 - Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Planners (F, S, 4 cr)
  • [CRP 5460 - Introduction to Community & Environment Dispute Resolution] (F, S, 3 cr) (Next offered 2024 - 2025)
  • DEA 4220 -  Ecological Literacy and Design (S, 3 cr) 
  • GDEV 2010 - Population Dynamics (F, 3 cr)
  • [GDEV 2030 - Global Garbage] (F, 3 cr) (Next offered 2025 - 2026)
  • GDEV 3010 - Theories of Society and Development (F, 3 cr)
  • [GDEV 3020 - Political Ecologies of Health] (S, 3 cr) (Next offered 2024 - 2025)
  • GDEV 3150 - Climate Change and Global Development: Living in the Anthropocene (F, 3 cr)
  • [GDEV 3400 -  Agriculture, Food, Sustainability and Social Justice] (F, 3 cr) (Next offered 2024 - 2025)
  • GOVT 3781 Human Rights in Law and Culture (F, 3 cr)
  • FSAD 3200 - Global Textile and Apparel Sustainability (F, 3 cr)
  • [GERST 6190 - Introduction to Systems Theory] (F or S, 4 cr) (Next offered 2024 - 2025)
  • HIST 2581* - Environmental History (S, 4 cr)
  • NS 4450 - Toward a Sustainable Global Food System: Food Policy for Developing Countries (F, 3 cr)
  • NTRES/AIIS/AMST 3330* - Ways of Knowing: Indigenous and Place-Based Ecological Knowledge (F, 4 cr)
  • NTRES 4320 - Human Dimensions of Coupled Social-Ecological Systems (S, 3 cr) 
  • NTRES 4330 - Applied Environmental Philosophy (S, 3 cr, alternate years)
  • [SOC 3650 - Sociology of Disasters] (F, 3 cr, alternate years) (Next offered 2024 - 2025)
  • [STS 3181 - Living in an Uncertain World: Science, Technology, and Risk] (S, 4 cr) (Next offered 2024 - 2025)
  • STS 4131 - Comparative Environmental History (S, 3 cr) 

More information

Students in the EPG will be able to:

  • Articulate the mechanisms, strategies and, constraints involved in securing social and ecological well-being through conservation of ecosystems at scales from local to global.
  • Explain legal and policy processes pertaining to environmental issues.
  • Integrate narrative, statistical, and technical information to evaluate environmental concerns and formulate courses of action.

These skills will allow students to work with government agencies, commercial firms and civil society organizations and to address contemporary debates regarding conservation and the role of environment in politics, economic development, and security.