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Department of Public & Environmental Affairs

Environmental Policy and Planning

The major in Environmental Policy and Planning, offered by the Department of Public and Environmental Affairs, is an environmental studies program based in the social sciences. It is designed to prepare students for a variety of challenging professions involving the planning, analysis, design, and administration of policies and programs dealing with the natural and human-made environment. This interdisciplinary major is also suitable preparation for further study in a wide range of graduate programs, including environmental studies, public policy, public administration, law, urban and regional planning, and related fields. Through this major, students develop knowledge and skills in planning and decision making, public policy, political and economic systems, and the environmental sciences, and acquire the analytic capacities for participation in those processes which will shape environmental quality in the future.

Internships, special topics courses, and/or applied research projects are available for every student. Internships are especially encouraged. These are generally short-term positions with local governments or agencies (usually non-paid) where students carry out projects related to their academic interests and skills. In addition to obtaining valuable experience, students enhance their opportunities for future employment and graduate school.

Graduates work in public, private and nonprofit organizations. For example, students have found employment with environmental groups, in local government and in environmental compliance departments of large companies. Information about careers can be found on the Internet, or in career guides. Other material about careers can be reviewed in the University's Career Counseling and Placement Office. That office also can assist you in exploring career opportunities and in preparing a resume.

This brochure should answer most of your questions about the major. If you are interested in pursuing an Environmental Policy and Planning major or minor, contact the program adviser or the chair of Public and Environmental Affairs to discuss programs of study that are available. They can advise you on the best order in which to take courses, the most suitable way to prepare for specific courses, and help you succeed in the program. You should also consider talking with students in the program, or accessing the newsletter on the department’s website. You might also want to examine the PEA department home page for information about internships, course syllabi, faculty, and other pertinent topics.

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