Our curriculum is designed to provide the requisite knowledge, tools, and experiences to devise policy solutions to complex environmental problems.

The core courses ensure that students have the perspectives from economics, politics, public policy and law, when they analyze environmental policy problems. The elective courses and tools provide students the knowledge and skills in a specific field they want to dive deeper. The Master’s Project gives students a testbed to apply what they have learned into a real-world environmental policy challenge, thus accumulating practical case experiences.

The curriculum consists of 16 classes (48 course hours) spread out over 2 years. Students will be required to take 7 core classes (21 course hours of credit) so as to ensure quality and consistency in the degree. They will also be required to enroll in a full year of the Masters Project class (MP, 6 course hours).

Core Curriculum

ENVIRON 805K Environmental Economics

This course provides an overview of environmental economics by introducing analytical methods and tools to analyze environmental problems and identify policy solutions. The first part of the course provides a microeconomic foundation of environmental economics, with a focus on market efficiency and market failures. The second part introduces environmental policy decision tools such as benefit-cost analysis and cost-effectiveness criterion. In particular, this part focuses on benefits estimation including revealed preference approaches and stated preference approaches. The third part discusses environmental regulation, with topics covering command-and-control regulation, market-based approaches, and behavioral interventions. The challenges of applying economic instruments to real world environmental problems will be also discussed, such as time and space, risk and uncertainty, compliance and enforcement, etc. This course is expected to stimulate critical thinking about environmental challenges and policy solutions.

PUBPOL 870K Statistics and Program Evaluation

This course is designed to give student a foundation in statistics and program evaluation related to environmental policy. Program evaluations seek to identify the causal effect of a program/regulation/policy on some outcome of interest. In the environmental area, this often involves evaluating whether a program has a causal effect on environmental quality. Through this class, students will learn to become critical thinkers in program evaluations and use these evaluations to improve policy. The course has two components, theory and applications. The first component of the course helps students learn the major empirical methods in program evaluation. The second component of the course applies these tools to international environmental policy choices, where students will read and analyze evaluations of the effectiveness of different policy instruments.

PUBPOL 871K Environmental Policy Analysis

The objective of this class is to learn how to organize and present analyses of data to solve important environmental problems. The course draws upon specific policy analysis tools and case studies to evaluate and distinguish between different policy issues and choices. There is a focus on the special challenges posed by environmental policy analysis, including the importance of translating core terms and concepts between cultures so that policy analysts in differing countries can learn from one another’s experiences.

ENVIRON 718K Environmental Science

This course introduces students to the core concepts and topics of environmental sciences. It will give an in-depth overview of main themes in the field of environmental studies: global environmental challenges, human population trends, global atmospheric changes, air, land and water resources and pollution, the ocean and fisheries, key ecosystems (forests, grasslands, wetlands, freshwater and marine environment), biodiversity and conservation, non-renewable and renewable energy, agriculture and sustainable production. Quantitative and qualitative research methods will be introduced with case studies.

ENVIRON 803K Environmental Policy Process

This course provides an introduction to and overview of the environmental policy process. The first part of the course introduces the environmental policy process with case studies from different countries exemplifying regional differences. The second part of the course introduces various aspects and challenges in the design and formation of environmental policies with focus on the role of science and scientific uncertainties, pressure from various interest groups, public participation in policy-making, environmental policy instruments and tools to forecast the impact(s) of environmental policies. The third part of the course focuses on implementation and tools to evaluate the impact of environmental policies. The fourth part of the course discusses the formation of international environmental policies and their impact on national priorities. Throughout the course case studies from jurisdictions across the globe will be used to exemplify the practical implications of these theoretical frameworks and challenges in areas such as pollution control, climate change, conservation and natural resource management.

PUBPOL 872K Environmental Economics and Policy Practicum

This course uses an integrated approach to leverage economic and policy analytic skills learned during the first semester and applies them to real world environmental policy problems. Students work in small operational units under the supervision of a client on a specific topic designated by the client. Student groups work through the process of clearly defining the nature and scope of the environmental policy problem, generate evidence on the impact of the problem or projections about the potential effects of policies aimed at addressing this problem, and prepare written and oral communications aimed at diverse stakeholders, including, but not limited to, their clients. Class sessions also provide students with exposure to advanced topics in economic policy analysis, specifically welfare analysis, cost-benefit analysis, and cost-effectiveness analysis.

ENVIRON 835K Environmental Law Governance and Regulation

This is an introductory environmental law course, with emphasis on the practical use and application of legal concepts within the context of pollution control and resource management. This class will explore the role of law, regulation and governance in protecting, managing and restoring the environment and natural resources. Understanding these processes in China will be the main focus of the class. On occasions, cases from other jurisdictions will be included in the syllabus.

PUBPOL 897 Masters Project iMEP I

This course is designed to offer a framework for students to develop a feasible, ambitious and impactful Masters Project (MP). It is designed to offer guidance and resources to students for conceiving of, designing, and completing the initial steps of their MPs. All contents are assignments are focused on the students’ projects. The MP I Course culminates in the production of around 3,000 words MP Prospectus, which will be formally evaluated by an MP prospectus review committee at the end of the Fall term. Only projects that pass the review committee can validate the MP I course. This course has been taught at both Duke and DKU over the course of review period.

PUBPOL 898 Masters Project iMEP II

This course seeks to help students complete an impactful Masters Project (MP), and to present project findings in coherent and compelling ways. It will expand upon the work students completed in the course ENVIRON 898K, MASTERS PROJECT DEVELOPMENT I, in which they conceived of, designed, and completed the initial steps of their MP. In this MP completion course, students will review and revise project content in peer-to-peer and instructor-to-student settings, critically evaluate their methods and data, search for new ways to leverage their findings, and tighten their resulting analysis. Students will also work to build innovative and effectively communicated written and presented products from their MP work. The course will be highly interactive, with limited lecture content. This course has been taught at both Duke and DKU over the course of review period.


ENVIRON 593K Independent Study

ENVIRON 600K Key Topics in International Environmental Policy

ENVIRON 602K Natural Resources and Protected Area Management

PUBPOL 631K Research Methods

PUBPOL 632K Research Method II

ENVIRON 736K Planetary Health and Environmental Epidemiology

ENVIRON 759K Environmental GIS

ENVIRON 806K Environmental Economics II

Electives (online)

ENVIRON 581K Global Environmental Health Problems: Principles and Case Studies

ENVIRON 640K/PUBPOL585K Climate Change Economics and Policy

Electives (offered by Duke visiting faculty)

ENVIRON 510K Environmental Change and Evolution of Ecosystems (John Tenhunen, Fall 2017)

ENVIRON 601K Building an NGO Toolkit: From Design to Monitoring (Liz Losos, Spring 2018)

PUBPOL 716K Quantitative Modeling for Energy Systems Analysis (Dalia Patiño -Echeverri, Fall 2018)

ENVIRON 781K Narrating Nature: Documentaries for Environmental Studies (Miguel Rojas-Sotelo, Fall 2018)