Environmental Policy Curriculum
Information compiled by the GradSchools.com team - last updated December 2010
“Going green" is becoming more and more popular, as well as necessary in the modern world. Humans have realized the damage society has done to the environment and are searching for ways business and industry can live in peaceful coexistence with the environment. This is where environmental policy graduate courses enter the picture.
Studying in the field
Graduate curriculums in environmental policy are interdisciplinary, blending such study fields as law, the social sciences, ecology, engineering, management and economics. In order to earn a masters or PhD degree in environmental policy, students must gain a clear understanding of environmental policies and the politics involved in their creation. They will enhance their critical thinking and decision-making skills as they study environmental policy analysis.
Environmental policy graduate curriculums typically offer a choice of concentrations. Environmental policy concentrations may include environmental policy and regulation, resource management, pollution, and industrial archeology. Students can take a variety of courses depending upon their focus, including wildlife biology, conservation, forestry and renewable energy.
Other environmental policy courses may include environmental chemistry, biostatistics, environmental law, policy analysis and environmental health. Students pursuing a masters or PhD degree in environmental policy will likely be required to take classes in environmental economics, economic policy analysis and cost-benefit analysis. It is important that students are able to make the necessary connections between the environment and human society.
Students enrolled in environmental policy courses will be expected to build an understanding of complex policy issues and how to resolve them without harm to the environment. They will participate in a number of hands-on learning experiences in which they can apply their knowledge to real-world problems.
Graduate courses in environmental policy lend themselves well to study abroad opportunities. Students may choose to study abroad to learn about the environmental policy-making of a foreign country’s government or organizations. For example, students interested in pollution can study abroad in Tokyo to discover how the city’s environmental policies affect the air quality in the area.
Those studying toward a Masters degree in environmental policy will graduate with the ability to develop and implement policies. They will also gain the knowledge needed to understand the scientific and management foundations of the field. Students pursuing a PhD degree in environmental policy will take the study a few steps further. They may focus on conducting research that explores how public health and environmental protection needs influence policy-making.
Job opportunities in the field
Many environmental policy careers are available for those who have earned a Masters or PhD degree in environmental policy. Students can find work in a variety of industries, government agencies, universities and non-profit organizations. Those who earn a masters degree may opt to go on to do more research and obtain a PhD. And as is normally the case, a PhD will command a student a higher salary, as well as more career choices.
Companies and organizations are increasingly sensitive to environmental issues, which ensures graduates of an environmental policy graduate curriculum the ability to work in a field in which they will make a difference. Students may find themselves in environmental policy careers working as consultants, scientists or professors. They may go on to design the environmentally friendly products of tomorrow, or to oversee the environmental policies of a well-known corporation.
The career outlook for students with a Masters or PhD degree in environmental policy is positive. Those who decide to become urban/regional planners can earn an average of $50,000 annually, while a senior environmental compliance specialist can take home about $65,000 per year.
Environmental health and safety engineering supervisors, as well as academic researchers make an average of $70,000 each year. Those who want to be professors will earn a mean salary of around $100,000. A PhD degree is usually required for a position as a scientific research director, a career that command an average salary of $115,000 per year. Meanwhile, an environmental health and safety engineering manager can earn $120,000 annually.
As you can see, the career possibilities in the graduate field of environmental policy are as varied as the concentrations students can choose to study. There is no end in sight to the popularity of graduate courses in environmental policy, just as there is no end in sight to the environmental issues faced by humanity. As going green becomes ever more popular, so will environmental policy careers be available.
Check out: Environmental Policy Graduate Programs