College or University: University of Michigan
Type of degree: M.S.
Brief overview of program: Changing the world requires new public policies and visionary plans, along with innovative decision-making processes and well-managed organizations. The Environmental Policy and Planning field of study builds students’ professional skills to design and implement effective policies and plans while considering the human and institutional behaviors that underlie environmental problems.
In addition, students develop the ability to create decision-making processes that are scientifically credible, involve a diverse set of interests and lead to the development of organizations that can move society in a more sustainable direction. Those who are interested in planning also acquire a familiarity with spatial analysis and design in rural or urban settings.
“Our students are effective because they are grounded both in the science underlying a particular environmental issue and in the political, economic and institutional factors that can be used to promote change,” says Professor Steven L. Yaffee, coordinator of the Environmental Policy and Planning field of study.
Website: Click here for program website
For the students that enter the workforce, what are the most common occupations that they pursue with this degree or certificate? Graduates work as policy analysts, advocates, planners, program managers and leaders in non-profit environmental organizations, land trusts, all levels of government, consulting firms and corporations.
The training provided by this field of study in collaboration and dispute resolution also opens up job opportunities in environmental-mediation firms and regional-scale partnerships. Some students decide to pursue research careers at academic institutions and with nonprofit organizations.
Other career options span the range of geographic scales, including community-based conservation, state-level environmental management, federal policy-making in the United States and other countries, and international institutions, such as the United Nations Development Program and World Wildlife Fund.