California Masters in Environmental Policy Graduate Programs

Masters in Environmental Policy graduate students are commonly trained to deal with laws, permitting and regulations concerning the environment, ecology and industry. For individuals who are concerned with climate change, pollution, recycling and the impact of laws and policies on issues such as resource conservation or sustainability, earning a Masters of Science Degree in Environmental Policy may prepare you to pursue a variety of potential careers. Whether you aspire to establish yourself in law firms, government, private industry, the judiciary, or non-profit, public interest organizations, Masters in Environmental Policy graduate programs will broaden your knowledge of the sources of pollution, methods to protect nonrenewable resources, economics, and statistics. 

Environmental Policy Masters Program Information

Masters of Science in Environmental Policy: Program Overview

A subsection of Environmental Management, a Master of Science (MS) in Environmental Policy Program involves understanding the principles of environmental sustainability and change. These programs offer students an interdisciplinary learning experience, combining core science courses with ethics and technology courses. Students gain a powerful understanding of where the sciences overlap and inform policy as well as insight into how policy is implemented and affect environmental outcomes.

Furthermore, to work in some professions, such as Policy Analysts and Political Scientists, a doctorate degree may be useful if you aspire to higher-level research or leadership roles. If you are planning ahead, the Masters Degree may form part of the academic preparation for Environmental Policy PhD programs.

A Master's degree might take 1-3 years beyond your undergraduate degree, though this may depend on the graduate school and whether you are a full or part-time student.  It is not usually required to have studied environmental policy for an undergraduate degree, though. Biology, chemistry, ecology, economics, statistics, and business management are a few undergraduate choices that would provide a beneficial background to a graduate degree in Environmental Policy.

Masters in Environmental Policy: On Campus or Online Graduate Programs?

If you are ready to initiate a search for MS programs in Environmental Policy, it is helpful to decide whether you are looking for the traditional Graduate School experience or whether you would prefer an online masters program. If you prefer learning in person, interacting with classmates and meeting your professors, studying on campus gives you this type of opportunity. If you are currently working and want to earn your Masters degree in Environmental Policy in your own time, distance-learning may be more convenient.

Any search you conduct will yield results to look through. If you are looking for graduate schools and on-campus programs, you can use the location settings to determine what is available in a particular city, state or country. Or, browse online Masters in Environmental Science Programs. Some of the listings you might encounter may include MS Environmental Science and Policy, MS in Energy Policy and Climate, MA in Environmental Conservation Education, Master in International Environmental Policy or Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management. Keep in mind that you can request information from each university directly from our site to learn more about the individual programs.

FUN FACT: Organizations that research or advocate for specific causes, such as immigration, healthcare, or the environment, need political scientists to analyze policies relating to their field.[i]

Types of Masters in Environmental Policy Programs & Potential Coursework

While an MS in Environmental Policy provides the students with developmental and analytical skills to determine organizational & governmental policy-making, there may be different types of programs to choose from. The choice that is best for you should reflect any career goals you may have. For instance, do you want to work as an Urban Planner or do you see yourself working as a policy analyst or environmental lawyer?

In a Masters in Environmental Policy program, students learn how to carry out credible policy analysis, make sustainable decisions, and deliver potentially visionary ideas for future success. Some of the course topics might include:

  • Fundamental policy knowledge
  • Management and leadership
  • Values and ethics
  • Policy analysis and evaluation

In some universities, Environmental Management is taught as a joint degree – the MS in Environmental Policy and Management. In this type or program, students may study topics that might include:

  • Environmental ethics
  • Civic responsibilities in relation to the environment
  • Role of environmental legislature
  • Environmental cost analysis & economics

Other Programs such as Masters of Environmental Science and Policy may have a slightly different curriculum. The courses in this type of program may integrate technology, sciences and study the environmental effects of current use on the creation, updating, regulating, communicating and enforcing of environmental policy. Course topics might include:

  • Environmental Monitoring & analysis of issues
  • Ecological Sciences / Ecological Management
  • Environmental Management
  • Environmental Planning

If you pursue a Masters in Environmental Policy and Planning, you might expect a curriculum that may include classes in institutions, politics, law, policy analysis, and planning. Some universities allow you to tailor-make your degree so that you are potentially able to develop expertise in a specific issue such as water, climate change and energy, public lands, biodiversity and ecosystem management, environmental justice, and sustainable land use.  A Masters in Environmental Policy and Planning curriculum might provide a very solid foundation for dual-degree programs in public policy, urban planning, law, or business. Course topics might include:

  • Environmental Policy, Politics and Organizations
  • Negotiation Skills in Environmental Dispute Resolution
  • Energy Markets and Energy Politics
  • Economics of Environmental Regulation
  • Landscape Planning and Analysis

Joint MBA/MA or MS in Environmental Policy may also be offered. The MBA provides a firm foundation in business administration and educates students about the ways in which business operations may affect the environment, environmental laws, and how operations can be improved to minimize those effects. Some of the core courses students might find in the MBA/Environmental Policy Specialization may include:

Operations management,

  • Business law and ethics,
  • Marketing management
  • financial accounting and financial management courses may be included to educate students about how the environmental aspects of business can affect the bottom line.

Potential Career Paths For Masters in Environmental Policy

Jobs for environmental policy professionals are predicted to rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of environmental specialists will grow 11% from 2014 to 2024, as more businesses will turn towards these experts to help minimize waste, prevent pollution, conserve resources and comply with regulations.[ii]

Graduates holding a Masters degree in Environmental Policy might be prepared for a variety of potential careers. Some of these might include:

  • Researcher
  • Climate Change Analyst
  • Policy Analyst
  • Political Scientist
  • Environmental and natural resources planners 
  • Urban Planner
  • Environmental lawyer
  • Environmental Compliance Inspector
  • Environmental Analyst

Ready to Search For an Environmental Policy Masters Program?

If you are hoping to gain insight into the environmental movement, the evolution of renewable and sustainable energy, learn how to analyze domestic and international public policy as it relates to the environment, a Masters in Environmental Policy Graduate Program may be a great fit. Why not initiate a search to find the program that aligns with your interests today!


Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/political-scientists.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-scientists-and-specialists.htm | other sources: bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/political-scientists.htm | onetonline.org/link/summary/19-2041.01 | bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/urban-and-regional-planners.htm | bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm | onetonline.org/link/summary/19-1031.01

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