The Department of Environmental Science and Policy offers a B.A. degree in environmental planning and policy. Capability in these two disciplines is built upon the department’s basic environmental science core courses. The degree is designed to prepare students for graduate school and careers in federal, state, and local government; the private sector; nonprofit organizations; and citizen advocacy groups. Many graduates have immediately entered professions in landscape design, regulatory compliance, land-use or community planning, urban renewal, environmental consulting, education, and as environmental technicians.
The faculty seek to educate individuals who make a difference by contributing to solving environmental problems, making public and private institutions more responsive to social and economic needs of communities, and by moving toward a more sustainable society. The curriculum emphasizes application as well as theory by focusing on problems and projects affecting the region. The opportunity to gain practical planning and policy experience is also provided to students through participation in field-based courses and an internship.
The environmental planning aspect of the degree is intended to introduce students to foundations of community and natural resource planning. Through a series of core courses, students examine spatial and non-spatial aspects of environmental problems. The environmental policy aspect trains students on policy development, formulation, and implementation, through an in-depth examination of policy science, assessment, environmental impact analysis, and environmental economics. Students can also explore a particular topic of interest such as pollution, natural resources management, international policy, or water resources.
The Department of Environmental Science and Policy offers an accelerated graduate degree pathway for students in the B.A. program. Students can combine their senior year with the first year of graduate work on a Master’s in Policy, Planning, and Management (M.P.P.M.) in USM’s Muskie School of Public Service.