Home Graduate Master's programs MPP/MPM Specializations Environmental Policy specialization

Environmental Policy specialization

The Environmental Policy specialization aims to identify and develop policy approaches that ensure human well-being and economic prosperity while enhancing the health and quality of our natural world. Our goal is to understand the need for environmental protection in different regulatory and development contexts.

We take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding these dimensions, including: the science of environmental issues, including climate change, biodiversity protection, ecosystem health, and pollutants; the evolving relationship of environment and development and how it might change in the coming decade; the complex relationships of ecosystems and society in diverse development contexts; the impact of globalization on resource relationships; the relationship of biofuels and agriculture to ecological health in different world regions;  the relationship of energy systems to regional pollution and climate change; adaptation to climate change; Maryland state and Chesapeake bay environmental policy; and nuclear waste, health, and disposal.

Our place in the School of Public Policy, which covers both domestic and international affairs, enables us to view environmental issues from both US, global, and regional, and state perspectives; and our situation in the University of Maryland provides access to a rich intellectual community—both throughout campus, including the Earth Systems Science Interdisciplinary Center, the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, the Joint Global Change Research Institute, various campus departments such as Geography and Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences, and more; and also access to the active environmental policy community in Washington DC. Many students also engage with DC- or Maryland-based institutions via research experiences or internships.

Requirements for the specialization

In addition to meeting the core requirements of their degree program, students specializing in Environmental Policy are required to take:

  • PLCY 740: Public Policy and the Environment
  • PLCY 741: Global Environmental Problems
  • PLCY 745: Human Health and the Environment
  • Either one environmental elective course or another elective approved by the specialization advisor, including:
    • PLCY 742: Environmental Ethics
    • PLCY 743: Ecological Economics
    • PLCY 744: Environment and Development
    • PLCY 699Z: Energy Policy
    • PLCY 798N: Energy Economics
    • PLCY 798O: Energy Security
    • PLCY 784: Disease, Disasters, and Development
    • PLCY 699B: Intersections of Technology and Policy: Modernizing the Energy System (crosslisted as PHYS662)
    • PLCY 689L: Science and Technology Policy
    • AOSC 663: Water and Climate Systems

There are also two international field courses offered as electives:

  • PLCY 798T: Sustainable Development, Environmental Policy, and Human Rights in Peru
  • PLCY 689I: Social-Ecological Systems, Environmental Policy, and Sustainable Development in Indonesia

Sample plan of study for the Environmental Policy (ENV) specialization

Below is an example of how a student in this specialization may progress towards her MPP degree semester by semester. It does not represent the only way to sequence the courses.

For more information, please contact the Environmental Policy specialization head, Dr. Lucy Qiu.