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Environmental Policy

Degree Option

Bachelor of Arts with a major in environmental policy.

Description of Program

This interdisciplinary degree prepares students in a liberal arts tradition to understand the connections between human beings and the Earth’s environment. The program will enable students to understand and engage in the intersection of social and natural sciences that produces environmental policy. Students will develop expertise in decision-making, policy formulation and implementation, the natural sciences, adaptive management and critical thinking. Graduates of the program will be well prepared to undertake graduate study in environmental law or policy, as well as to work in governmental and nongovernmental capacities on environmental issues and policy-making.

Environmental policy is forged at the intersection of scientific and political systems; therefore students need to be familiar with the political institutions that reconcile conflicts between these systems. Students with an interdisciplinary environmental policy degree will be conversant in multiple discourses that influence environmental policy. Coursework that emphasizes theory and application of policy is required, and students are able to choose a focus on either national or international issues. Policy must also be evaluated in its sociological impact and effect on cultural justice. Students will develop an understanding of natural science disciplines including the life sciences, physical sciences and environmental issues. An understanding of organisms and their environments, ecosystem function and atmospheric process is fundamental to formulating policy that protects air, land, water and biodiversity. A course in statistics will develop an understanding of the importance of research and data analysis for both natural and social scientists. The Capstone experience will require students to complete a group service-learning project in which, working as environmental consultants, they will produce and present a product to a local or regional client.

Students are strongly encouraged to develop depth in a focus area of interest by consulting with their academic adviser or the program director. Students planning to attend either graduate school or law school should also work with their adviser to determine what additional courses will be needed to prepare for admission.

Drake’s environmental policy major is distinguished by its strong focus on interdisciplinary study, emphasis on experiential learning, opportunities for research and independent study, and service learning approach to the senior capstone experience.

Approximately 15 students are enrolled in the major. Average class size is 20 students.

Requirements for Major

Minimum 50 credit hours. Students must complete the following courses to earn a degree in environmental policy:

Core Curriculum  [minimum 23]

ENSP 35 (One Earth: Global Environmental Science)3
ENSP 36 (One Earth Laboratory)1
Elective (choose one)
(i)   Biology 1,1L  (The Biological Sciences) OR
      Biology 13,13L (General/Pre-Professional Biology II) OR
      Biology 19,19L (Introduction to Botany)3,1
ENSP 65 (Geographic Information Systems)     3
Elective (take one course)
(ii) ENSP 41 (Principles of Geology) OR 4
      ENSP 51 (Energy and Environment) OR3
      ENSP 22 (Meteorology: Science and Weather)3
Economics 2 (Microeconomics)3
Elective (take one course)
(iii)  Political Science 1 (American Political System*) OR
       Political Science 75 (World Politics**)3
Biology 117 (Ecology)3
Elective (take one course)
(iv)  Statistics 50 (Statistics for Social Sciences)3
       Biology 99 (Biological Research and Statistical Methods)3

* Prerequisite for Political Science 155, ENSP 156 and American Politics group

** Prerequisite for International Politics group

Public Policy Theory and Application [15]

Political Science 155 (American Public Policy)3
ENSP 156 (Environmental Politics and Policy)3
Elective (take one course)
(i)  ENSP 157 (Environmental Justice) OR
      ENSP 103 (Foundations of Environment)3
Electives (take two 3 credit courses from an area of concentration)
American Politics and Policy
Political Science (110-119); POLS (150-159)
International Politics and Policy
Political Science (120-129); Political Science (170-179)6

Data Analysis, Interpretation and Inference  [6]

Electives (take 6 credits)Credits
Biology 118L (Ecology Lab)2
ENSP 105 (Principles of Environ. Geology)4
ENSP 165 (Advanced GIS)3
Economics 109 (Public Economics)3
ENSP 154 (Environmental Decision Making)3

Science and Policy Integration  [3]

Elective (take 3 credits)Credits
ENSP 135 (Global Climate Change: Science and Policy)3
ENSP 125 (Conservation Biology)3
Or adviser approved elective3

Capstone  [3]

ENSP 191 (Environmental Science and Policy Practicum)3

Requirements for Minor

All minors must have an adviser in the program and must successfully complete 23 credit hours that fulfill the following requirements:

  • Biology 1 (Intro to Biological Science)
  • Economics 2 (Principles of Microeconomics)
  • ENSP 35 (One Earth: Global Environmental Science)
  • ENSP 36 (One Earth: Global Environmental Science Laboratory)
  • ENSP 106 (Environmental Decision Making) OR
    ENSP 157 (Environmental Justice)
  • Political Science 1 (American Political System)
  • Political Science 114 (Public Opinion) OR
    Political Science 116 (Media and Modern Politics) OR
    ENSP 111 (International Environmental Policy Seminar)
  • ENSP 156 (Environmental Politics and Policy)

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