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M.S. in Climate Science and Policy

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Overview

The climate science and policy degree is designed for students who understand the risks posed by global climate change and who need advanced knowledge and skills, real world experience, and career guidance to help drive just and sustainable policy solutions. The degree encompasses fundamental concepts of climate science, agricultural and ecosystem science, environmental and natural resource economics, and U.S. and international climate policy.  Integrated throughout is a focus on ensuring justice in climate policy through stakeholder representation. Classes center on scientific understanding and on economic and policy solutions, training future leaders to guide efforts in greenhouse gas mitigation and climate adaptation. Students gain hands-on experience through a 6 month professional internship, faculty-mentored research project, and community-based learning in both the Hudson Valley and in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Classroom to Impact in 9 Months

On climate, the next decade is critical, and will determine what will be be possible in the decarbonization window through 2050.  Given this urgency, Bard's MS programs uniquely enable students to begin high impact work after only nine months of study. Students spend an intensive two semesters at Bard, mastering the tools required to drive effective policy change.  In June of the second year, they then spread out across the US and internationally, creating impact through a required, 4-6 month high-level Internship followed by an outcome-oriented Capstone Project that typically builds on the internship. 

First Year: Academic Training

The first-year curriculum is integrated to connect core scientific principles to socioeconomic impacts,  and economic, political and legislative responses to climate change. Climate change policy moves well-beyond controlling industrial emissions of greenhouse gasses. Climate stabilization requires the re-imagining and redesigning of food, energy, transportation  and waste systems, as well as city, national and international economies - always with a focus on a just transition to a low-carbon future. 

First-year courses cover several key topics: 

  • Climate science 
  • Climate impacts on ecosystems and agriculture
  • Energy systems
  • Clean energy solutions
  • Carbon markets and incentive programs
  • Regional climate adaptation and mitigation
  • International and U.S. climate policy 
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All students participate in a January-term course in Oaxaca, Mexico on local and regional sustainability solutions in the face of a changing climate.


Second Year: High-Impact Career Training

Beginning in June of the second year, students explore their individual career interests through a required 4-6 month, full-time climate-focused internship. Internships sites range from Australia to China, South Africa to Geneva, NYC to DC, and across the US. Students then build on their internships by researching and writing a Capstone Project. Some students qualify for a non-residence Capstone project, creating the opportunity for a fully-remote second year.

The two-year curriculum ensures that graduates develop broad and deep knowledge of climate science and policy issues; a strong suite of analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills; an understanding of how to ensure justice in policy decisions; professional experience in their chosen field; and finally, specialized expertise on the particular topic of their research project. In short, Bard's Masters programs are designed to deliver true mastery over the student's area of focus, providing a strong foundation for career success.

Watch the recording from our webinar, Building a Career in Sustainability: Advice From Climate Change Experts:

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Distinctive Program Features:

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Integrated, Interdisciplinary Curriculum

Bard CEP features a unique, modular core curriculum where students explore issues like air and atmosphere pollution, biodiversity loss, or ecosystem services simultaneously in their science, economics, law and policy courses. This unique structure creates a powerful dialogue across disciplines, always driving towards solutions. Other masters programs cannot deliver this level of interdisciplinary focus across classes, as students typically do not take the same courses together. Bard's core curriculum allows faculty to coordinate closely across classes, allowing the program to complete the delivery of the foundational  climate policy toolkit in nine-months. This frees up the second year of study for the professional internship and capstone project.

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1:1 Faculty Engagement

Bard CEP offers every student individualized engagement with expert faculty on student research, writing, and communication. Our small class size and dedicated graduate faculty provide students with unmatched access to their professors and mentorship opportunities. Bard was recently ranked #1 in the US for classroom experience -Bard CEP carries that tradition of excellence forward.

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High-level, Extended Professional Internships

All CEP students complete a 4-6 month, student-driven, full-time internship from June to January of the second year in NYC, DC, internationally, or wherever leading-edge policy work is being done. 

The internship is a major item on our graduates' resumes, and supports development of their career networks. Between 30% and 50% of internships turn directly into jobs. The internship also typically forms the basis for the students' Master's Capstone Projects.

Bard CEP helps students find internship opportunities with a variety of institutions, and is continuously expanding its list of internship sponsors. The internship allows students to follow their preferred areas of specialization locally, elsewhere in the United States, or abroad. The internship gives students an applied focus to their degree and an opportunity to learn in a professional setting the job-specific skills they will use upon graduation.

Selected List of Internship Placements:

  • Amazónicos por la Amazonía–AMPA (Peru)
  • American Museum of Natural History, Center for Biodi-versity and Conservation
  • Campanario Research Reserve (Costa Rica)
  • Center for Disease Control
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (China)
  • Conservation Law Foundation
  • Council on Competitiveness
  • Earth Pledge | Ecologic Institute (Germany)
  • Environ-mental Advocates of New York
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
  • Food and Water Watch
  • German Marshall Fund
  • IBM Corporation
  • Instituto de la Naturaleza y la Sociedad INSO (Mexico)
  • International Food Policy Research Institute
  • Malawi Sustainable Agricultural Project (Africa)
  • University of Maryland Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology
  • National Resources Defense Council
  • New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
  • Nike
  • New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Ocean Acidification Research Center
  • Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
  • Pace Energy and Climate Center
  • Resources for the Future | Riverkeeper, Inc.
  • Scenic Hudson
  • Slow Food USA
  • The Beacon Institute
  • The Energy and Resource Institute, TERI (India)
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • U.S. Agency for International Development
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region II, Wetlands Division
  • United Nations Environment Programme 
  • Winrock Internation-al
  • Woods Hole Research Center
  • World Resources Institute  
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Global and Local Engagement + Peace Corps Option

Students engage hands-on with local, regional and global sustainability challenges while in residence at Bard, in the beautiful Hudson Valley in New York State. During their first year, students work with local community groups to address regional PFAS/PFOS water contamination.

In January of their first year, all students also participate in a ten-day immersion in Oaxaca, Mexico, focused on sustainable development. Read this letter home from Professor Segarra, and watch this video for more information.

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In the second year, some students pursue international internships, while others work on local and regional challenges in the US. 

Bard CEP also offers students the opportunity to combine their graduate work with Peace Corps service - click here to learn more.

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Individualized Research Opportunities

At Bard, the Master's Project provides the opportunity for students to develop true mastery in their chosen field of interest, ranging across topics such as water, energy, biodiversity, toxic pollution, and environmental justice. Unlike at many other schools where a capstone project is derivative of a faculty member's research interest, at Bard, students develop their own capstone topics, typically focused on solving an environmental policy problem identified during the student's internship. In these cases, students devote an entire year to practical work in the area in which they are passionate: six months of hands-on experience, coupled with six months of academic analysis and reflection through their capstone work. This kind of mastery provides a strong foundation for career success. Each Master's Project is carefully mentored by two Bard CEP Faculty members, including a primary and secondary advisor. 

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Career Focus

A policy career means "changing the rules" to incentivize sustainable outcomes. Bard CEP graduates do this work in a wide variety of professional settings in national, international, state and local government; in nongovernmental organizations; in consulting firms and private corporations; and in development, advocacy, and conservation organizations. The integrated curriculum, the extended professional internship, and the capstone project come together to give our students the knowledge and the practical experience to gain meaningful jobs in their chosen arena. In a typical year, close to 40% of Bard CEP students are already employed upon graduation, primarily as a result of job offers arising from the professional internship. On average, 75-85% of graduates find work in the environmental sector within six months of graduation.

To learn about the diverse careers our graduates are pursuing, please review our Alumni Profiles

 

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Download
A Guide to Getting an Environmental Master's Degree

 


 

Course Work

The Climate Science and Policy curriculum focuses on climate science, energy and food systems, and agriculture and ecosystem linkages to climate. It connects core scientific principles to socioeconomic impacts, infrastructure  and technology policy, and economic, political and legislative responses to global climate change. Students master the basic concepts of environmental and natural resource economics, environmental policy, and detailed analyses of U.S. and international climate law and policy. Courses emphasize analytical frameworks and basic principles through examples and case studies. Joint class sessions, field trips, guest lectures, and conferences expose students to the critical issues and contemporary practices of environmental policy. Throughout, there is a focus on stakeholder engagement as a primary strategy to ensure justice in policy-making. The nine-month interdisciplinary curriculum, combined with the internship and the Capstone project in the second year, allow students to specialize in their chosen field of interest and launch a high-impact career.

Course Descriptions      Faculty Members

 

Communication and Policy Making Strategy

Climate change professionals must be able to communicate their knowledge clearly and effectively through the spoken and written word as well as with images, data, and figures. Courses emphasize various modes of communication and persuasion through writing exercises and group presentations. Regional and international implications of “local” environmental problems are explored. Special emphasis is given to the problem of translating scientific knowledge into workable policies. Students learn the scientific basis underlying climate solutons and the difficulty of policy making under conditions of risk, scientific uncertainty, and incomplete information.

Just Transition to a Low-Carbon Future

Courses in economics, law, and policy explorie how society might respond to climate change at the scale and speed that science and justice demand. The policy tools that are available including laws, regulations, market-based instruments, technology and infrastructure policy and voluntary agreements, are shaped by a variety of political, cultural, and ethical forces. Students analyze how these factors come together to influence the policy-making process. They also analyze how the tools can be applied locally, regionally, and globally to influence behavior, achieve or go beyond compliance, and lead to rapid reductons in global warming pollution and effective adaption efforts.

 

Course Descriptions

Total Credits for MSCSP= 60

Year 1 (full-time students)*

*Students interest in part-time enrollment should contact the Admissions Team to learn about the part-time course of study. 

Climate Science (Fall)

The primary goal of this course is for students to develop a sound working knowledge of the components of Earth’s climate system and drivers of climate change, both natural and human-caused.  These include investigations of the circulations of the ocean and atmosphere and their dynamic interactions; carbon and other biogeochemical cycles; radiation balance; the greenhouse effect and other factors that force climate to change; and feedbacks in the climate system. Among secondary goals are to provide guidance on where to obtain authoritative scientific information and climate data; how to extract key messages from highly technical, jargon-laden articles; and how to critically evaluate non-scientific sources of climate science information such as reports in major media.   Special emphasis is placed on developing comprehensive understanding of climate interventions – geoengineering and bioengineering approaches aimed at reversing anthropogenic warming of the global climate system that are likely to become a central theme in climate policy over the coming decade. 

 

Learning Outcomes:

  • Fundamental understanding of the workings of the climate system and the science of climate change to equip students for careers in the climate policy arena.  
  • Foundational understanding of the scientific processes at work in both the natural/pre-industrial and current anthropogenically-perturbed atmospheric systems 
  • An introduction to earth system models and their application as indispensable tools for understanding Earth’s past, present and future climate.
  • Appreciation of the methods and rationale of science, importance of observations, and nature of evidence and scientific uncertainty
  • Ability to understand and synthesize papers from the primary scientific literature 
  •  Robust understanding of proposed climate interventions as potential pathways towards – and possibly pathways to avoid – achieving a sustainable global climate.

Climate and Agroecology (Spring)

Agriculture is responsible for roughly one quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, while global food, fiber and fuel production is under increasing risk of climate extremes.  Yet there is a movement supporting a radical transition toward food producing systems that both present important opportunities for carbon sequestration and are also climate resilient.  This course covers the key themes of climate risk to food production, with a special focus on small-holder vulnerabilities to food insecurity, and the myriad ways in which soil health, perennialization, conservation of crop genetic diversity, and cropping system complexity can address resilience and mitigate emissions.  Fundamental scientific concepts such as carbon and nitrogen cycling, water use efficiency, and the role of biodiversity in supporting resilience are explored through readings from the peer-reviewed literature and opportunities to conduct simulation modeling in collaboration with local farms to assess strategies to mitigate greenhouse gases.

 

After completing this course, students will:

  • Have a thorough comprehension of the ways in which agriculture contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions, in particular the non-CO2 GHGs;
  • Understand the science behind and opportunities for “natural climate solutions” in farming systems and how these practices contribute to broadly regenerative systems;
  • Be able to distinguish between “technical” and “economic” potential with respect to mitigation potential of various practices, and associated uncertainties;
  • Understand the value of and efforts to conserve traditional, small-holder farming systems and crop genetic diversity for improving climate resilience to meet the needs of future populations.
  • Be comfortable with vocabulary, units of analysis and concepts used in the peer-reviewed literature on climate change and farming systems;
  • Have skill in locating, reading, and interpreting the science literature for the purpose of conveying key concepts to a non-expert audience through both written and oral work.

Natural Resource Economics and Environmental Economics (Fall + Spring)

The study of economics involves both a normative and positive frame; this year-long course offers both. We trace and analyze various schools of thought and their proponents including Smith, Marx, Keynes, and Hayek, which allows us to view current policy debates through multiple historical and value lenses. While economics has traditionally  emphasized efficiency, modern economics has sharply pivoted towards values of sustainability, fairness, equality, and justice. This course incorporates these vital principles to assess the constraints and promises of policymaking, especially when paired with statistical tools that permit rigorous empirical testing of theories. The combination of theory and practice fosters students to hone their worldviews and value frames as well as acquire practical  professional skills.

Learning outcomes:

  • Recognize and appreciate competing value frames that inform policy
  • develop practical empirical skills to quantify, measure, and test the efficacy of various policy interventions
  • learn statistical mechanisms to identify causal linkages between policy interventions to outcomes

Climate Policy and the Politics of Solutions (Fall + Spring)

These courses focus on the legal, political, cultural, and ethical dimensions of the climate policy–making process. They provide an overview of basic concepts of environmental law, politics, and policy making used to analyze U.S. and international climate law and policy. Using a range of cases drawn from the United States and the global south, students evaluate climate change responses that include incentive-based regulatory approaches (cap-and-trade and cap-and-dividend systems with offsets and carbon taxes), command and control approaches, direct promotion of clean technology through regulation and subsidy, and voluntary agreements. Students examine critical issues of monitoring and enforcement, climate equity, and climate federalism, as well as the relationships among local, national, and international organizations. 

Learning Outcomes:

  • Basic knowledge of qualitative policy analysis

  • Overview of international regime theory

  • Familiarity with key concepts and concrete policy instruments related to climate mitigation and adaptation

  • Integration of policy analysis with an understanding of technical and scientific solutions to climate change

Environmental Law for Policy (Fall)

This course provides students with an introduction to the fundamentals principles of environmental law. We begin with an overview of the US legal system and then move on to assess key federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations. Towards the end of the class, we will also study the international environmental lawmaking process, with a focus on the international climate regime that has developed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Throughout the course, we will consider the political economy of environmental regulation and the interests of different stakeholders, including environmental justice communities. 

 

Upon completion of the course, students should have an understanding of the following concepts:

  • The structure and goals of major federal environmental laws including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act
  • The administrative lawmaking process as well as the procedure for challenging administrative rules 
  • The history and present goals of the environmental justice movement
  • The relationship between federal, state, and local bodies of law

 

Students will also gain experience interpreting judicial opinions and other legal texts, including federal and state statutes. 



Tools of Analysis: Statistics and Econometrics (Fall)

This course introduces students to quantitative tools used for analyzing data, understanding the nature of causality, and developing policy. Through real-world applications, this course focuses on developing a logical structure underlying statistics and eschewing formulaic learning. A deep understanding of statistics allows students to recognize that statistical methods (such as the t test, ANOVA, and regression) form a logical and nested progression.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Ability to explain statistical concepts rigorously in plain English

  • Understand the nature and meaning of causality

  • Develop an appreciation for connections among geometry, trigonometry, and statistics

  • Test any hypothesis using a logical sequence of steps

  • Write code in a programming language such as STATA or R

Communication (Fall + Spring)

Communication skills are crucial to educators’ and policymakers’ ability to mobilize against structural environmental and climate change injustices.  Recognizing this, in the Communication course at Bard CEP, students work to become inclusive and inspiring writers and speakers.  Students learn how to take audience and purpose into account as they read, synthesize and communicate complex science, economic and policy information. The course covers both academic and professional written and oral genres: the blog post, memo, lit review, cover letter, slide presentation, interview.  

This course supports students’ ability to:

  • frame their writing/presentations for differing purposes and audiences, with an emphasis on engaging community stakeholders
  • find and evaluate relevant research and communicate it accessibly and accurately 
  • support a reader through an argument via effective introductory/concluding material, coherent sections and paragraphs, thoughtfully placed transitions, precise word choice, and clear, concise, sentences
  • craft and deliver visually engaging, effectively structured, and memorable slide presentations
  • analyze their own and their classmates’ writing and presentations and give and receive constructive feedback



Sustainable Development: Oaxaca, Mexico Immersion Course (January)

Oaxaca is one of the most highly biodiverse and culturally diverse states in Mexico, as well as its poorest. In the January class, we work with Zapotec and Mixtec communities in the Sierra Juarez and Sierra Sur mountain ranges, who play a critical role in conservation and watershed health. (or water management?) Historically marginalized by the Mexican state and elites, these communities are now exerting significant control over how they manage their forests and water and in the process, developing new opportunities for sustainable business and improving livelihoods.  The January class will provide us with an overview of how new partnerships to support these efforts are built between communities, state agencies, international non-profit organizations and corporations, as well as within communities. Understanding the dynamics of building trust within a system in which many indigenous communities have had little faith, is a critical conceptual component of the trip.  Students will also have an introduction to the different forms of indigenous land tenure and local governance structures that facilitate accomplishing shared goals within communities and their partners. In addition, the class will provide students with a basic framework of conducting team-based research in the field, from note-taking to triangulation and analysis.

Tools of Analysis: Geographic Information Systems (Spring)

Using ESRI GIS software and associated apps, students will receive formal instruction in the fundamentals of using spatial information, conducting spatial analysis, and producing high-quality cartographic products. Students will learn how GIS may be used as a tool for identifying and assessing environmental justice (EJ) issues at the local, regional and global scale. Students will apply these GIS skills and knowledge base to a team-based research project focused on an environmental justice problem. The course culminates in a presentation session, where students show their analysis and results to their peers, professors and the greater Bard community.

 

After taking this course, a student will better able to:

  • Perform geographic inquiry - ask spatially-based questions, acquire and evaluate data, develop methods, and summarize results
  • Produce effective maps for decision-making through traditional cartographic techniques as well as web-based applications 
  • Use GIS in creating solutions to environmentally and inequity-based problems

Topics in Environmental Policy: Energy Policy/Food Policy (Spring Y1 + Spring Y2)

The content of the Food/Energy Policy course is continually updated to reflect cutting edge policy and legislative issues.  It is generally supported with invited speakers who span a spectrum of stakeholders from sustainability coordinators in private sector food companies to labor organizers working on protecting farmer worker rights to legal defense organizations working on banning toxic pesticides, in the case of food policy, or for energy policy, state-level regulators developing policy on off-shore wind to electric vehicle experts speaking on charging infrastructure.  Students engage in teams to develop policy position statements for presentations to stakeholders to gain skill in integrating across competing interests.

 

This course supports students’ ability to:

  • Explore specific policy challenges and solutions in the food or energy system arenas that may lead to the radical change needed to address these global issues;
  • Draw on the disciplinary expertise they are gaining in their economics, science, law and politics courses to take “theory into practice”;
  • Understand the perspectives of various stakeholders on an issue, and explore the art of compromise in policy formulation.

 

Year Two (all students)

Master's Internship (Summer + Fall)

Extended Professional Internship

The extended professional internship is a unique feature of the Bard CEP program. In the second year of study, all students complete a four-to-six month, high-level internship in locations ranging from Washington, D.C., to New York City, Texas, Oregon, and Alaska; across the world in Thailand, South Africa, Geneva; and close to home, in the Hudson Valley. Some recent internship experiences are captured in this video.

The internship typically forms the basis for the students' Master's Capstone Projects. Between 30% and 50% of internships turn directly into jobs. The internship is a major item on our graduates' resumes, and supports development of their career networks.

In their own words . . .

Photo for In their own words . . .

“My internship experience through Bard CEP was a unique life and career experience. I was a project assistant for WASTE, a Dutch NGO (nongovernmental organization), working on implementing an integrated solid waste management system in Haiti. Being engaged in fieldwork for six months helped me to truly understand the realities while allowing me to perform to my highest capabilities. The opportunity launched my international development career and helped me grow as a young professional. I am currently working at VNG International as a policy advisor.” —Rachel Savain ’12

Placement Options

Bard CEP helps students find internship opportunities with a variety of institutions, and is continuously expanding its list of internship sponsors. The internship allows students to follow their preferred areas of specialization locally, elsewhere in the United States, or abroad. The internship gives students an applied focus to their degree and an opportunity to learn in a professional setting the job-specific skills they will use upon graduation. Internships also expand professional networks, often leading directly or indirectly to employment. 

Peace Corps and Dual Degree Students

Students in theMaster's International programcomplete the internship through their Peace Corps service. Students in thejoint degree programwith Pace complete two internships/externships during their summer months at Pace to satisfy the Bard CEP internship requirement. Students in thedual M.S./MATprogram satisfy the requirement through student teaching. Students in theM.S./MBA programfulfill their internship through theNYCLab coursein the MBA program.

Where We've Interned

Bard CEP students undertake internships locally, nationally, or internationally. Past internship locations include Catskill Rail to Trail Conservancy in the Hudson Valley, Resources for the Future in Washington, D.C, and the World Health Organization in Germany.

Here is a list of organizations where our students have spent their internships:

Amazónicos por la Amazonía–AMPA (Peru) | American Museum of Natural History, Center for Biodi-versity and Conservation | Campanario Research Reserve (Costa Rica) | Center for Disease Control | Chinese Academy of Sciences Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (China) | Conservation Law Foundation |  Council on Competitiveness | Earth Pledge | Ecologic Institute (Germany) | Environ-mental Advocates of New York | Environmental Defense Fund | Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta | Food and Water Watch | German Marshall Fund | IBM Corporation | Instituto de la Naturaleza y la Sociedad INSO (Mexico) | International Food Policy Research Institute | Malawi Sustainable Agricultural Project (Africa) | University of Maryland Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology | National Resources Defense Council | New York State Energy Research and Development Authority | Nike | New York City Department of Parks and Recreation | Ocean Acidification Research Center | Ohio Environmental Protection Agency | Pace Energy and Climate Center | Resources for the Future | Riverkeeper, Inc. | Scenic Hudson | Slow Food USA | The Beacon Institute | The Energy and Resource Institute, TERI (India) | The Nature Conservancy | U.S. Agency for International Development | U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region II, Wetlands Division | United Nations Environment Programme | Winrock International | Woods Hole Research Center | World Resources Institute  

Capstone Proposal (Fall)

Students can pursue two different Master’s Capstone avenues: (1) the Thesis, which is designed to help students understand evidence-based policy formation by generating a research question, developing its proof and communicating these ideas to a potential policymaker audience, and (2) the Project, which is designed to replicate a professional experience, either in the form of a consulting project or a communication piece.

Students begin to formalize capstone ideas the summer after their first year, in consultation with an advisor on the faculty. The internship allows students to explore policy issues and usually serves as the springboard for the capstone.

Topics in Environmental Policy: Energy Policy/Food Policy (Spring Y1 + Spring Y2)

This seminar is offered annually in the spring and covers current topics in environmental policy. The class is held jointly with first year students, allowing the two classes to work together and share perspectives.

Energy Policy

This seminar provides an interdisciplinary review of the technology, economics, and politics of energy production, distri­bution, and use by humans with a focus on policy-level decisions, including recent events shaping a changing landscape. The course provides an overview of policy frameworks, available technologies, and analytic tools followed by an in-depth review of current systems and the New York State’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV) proceedings, which seek to change the landscape.

Food Policy

This seminar investigates the influence of federal agriculture policy by exploring the Farm Bill and Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and the degree of influence they have on farming practices, role of large multinationals on food systems, food justice issues, critiques of “local food,” controversies around the USDA National Organic Program, GMO labeling laws, competi­tion created by biofuels for land and water resources, and how crop insurance is playing a role in the loss of land enrolled in Conservation Reserve Programs, among other topics.

Leadership and Careers Seminar (Spring)

The Leadership and Careers course helps prepare spring-semester, final-year students for their first professional position after Bard CEP.  With a focus on storytelling, the course supports students as they set career goals and refresh their job application materials and interview skills.  It encourages their development as leaders, and especially as antiracist leaders, foregrounding work around emotional intelligence, self inquiry, and learning agility.  Finally, it introduces students to fundraising and grant writing basics, while interrogating the current dynamics around philanthropy and non-profit management structures.

 

This course supports students’ ability to:

  • understand their own professional vision and goals
  • present their knowledge and skills effectively to future employers
  • advocate for themselves through the hiring process
  • help lead their organizations in justice work
  • assess their strengths and areas for growth as leaders
  • pursue funding for projects

Capstone Project + Seminar (Spring)

The Capstone Seminar offers a platform for students to present successive iterations of their capstone research. Students discuss the policy problems and methodological challenges they encounter in their work, along with different ways of dealing with them. The seminar also offers students the chance to receive feedback from their peers and the Bard CEP faculty, and to focus on effectively communicating the results of their research. 

Student-Driven Capstone 

At Bard, the Master's Project provides the opportunity for students to develop true mastery in their chosen field of interest, ranging across topics such as water, energy, biodiversity, toxic pollution, and environmental justice. Unlike at many other schools where a capstone project is derivative of a faculty member's research interest, at Bard, students develop their own capstone topics, typically focused on solving an environmental policy problem identified during the student's internship. In these cases, students devote an entire year to practical work in the area in which they are passionate: six months of hands-on experience, coupled with six months of academic analysis and reflection through their capstone work. This kind of mastery provides a strong foundation for career success. Each Master's Project is carefully mentored by two Bard CEP Faculty members, including a primary and secondary advisor. 

How the Master's Project works:

Project Options

Students can pursue two different Master's Capstone avenues: (1) the Thesis, which is designed to help students understand evidence-based policy formation by generating a research question, developing its proof, and communicating these ideas to a potential policymaker audience; and (2) the Project, which is designed to replicate a professional experience, either in the form of a consulting project or a communication piece. Drawing on knowledge from the first-year coursework, students integrate aspects of the natural and social sciences in their capstone analysis and policy recommendations.

Project Timing

Students begin to formalize capstone ideas the summer after their first year, in consultation with an advisor on the faculty. The internship allows students to explore policy issues and usually serves as the springboard for the capstone. During the internship period, a formal proposal is presented to the student’s advisor, who chairs the student’s Capstone Committee, which is composed of three members (at least two of whom are Bard CEP faculty). An outside expert is often included to provide specialized advice on the capstone.

Master's Seminar

The Master's Seminar offers a platform for students to present successive iterations of their capstone research. Students discuss the policy problems and methodological challenges they encounter in their work, along with different ways of dealing with them. The seminar also offers students the chance to receive feedback from their peers and the Bard CEP Faculty, and to focus on effectively communicating the results of their research.

Sample Master's Project Topics:

  • Land and Water Resource Management
    • Assessing Vineyard Irrigation Demand under Four-Climate Futures: Methods to Enhance Resiliency to Climate Change in Sonoma, California (K. Lambert ’13: Richmond, Vermont)
    • Predicting Wetland Susceptibility to Phragmites australis: An Assessment of Environmental Condi-tions in Coastal Louisiana with Recommendations for Wetland Management (G. Ramseur ’13: Ocean Springs, Mississippi)
    • Modeling Southern Resident Killer Whale Population Response to Chinook Salmon Abundance and its Implications for Recovery Policy (J. Rohrback, ’13: Seattle, Washington)
    • Managing Stormwater in the Hudson Valley: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Permeable Pavement (E. Murphy ’14: New Paltz, New York)
    • Expanding the Wildlife Conservation Funding Model in Michigan: Options for the Future (K. Rorah ’14: Algonac, Michigan)
    • Institutionalizing Integrated Regional Water Management in the Sierra Nevada: A New Hope (D. Lapin ’14: Sunnyvale, California)
    • Improving Cost-Efficiency and Flexibility of Farmland Conservation Tools (T. Duvall ’15: Kingston, New York)
    • Factors Influencing Rangeland Degradation in the Tibetan Highlands of China: Perspectives of Traditional Herders (S. Dongcuo ’15: Lhasa, China)
  • Environmental Risk Management
    • Our Disposable World: Emerging Plastic Bag Policies in the U.S. (K. Kokal ’13: Fort Myers, Florida)
    • Risk Assessment and Regulation of Wastewater Pollution from Unconventional Natural Gas Devel-opment in the Marcellus Shale (M. Segarnick ’13: Maplewood, New Jersey)
    • GMO Labeling in the United States: Legal, Economic and Political Perspectives on State Labeling Policies (S. Zeringo ’14: Cinnaminson, New Jersey)
    • Implications of Emerging Evidence of Glyphosate Toxicity for Federal Risk Assessment (L. Hubbell ’14: Princeton, New Jersey)
    • Introducing Road Salt SMART: Salt Management and Application Reduction Techniques to Save Money and the Environment (E. McCarthy ’15: Brooklyn, New York)
    • Assessing the Risk Management of Nuclear Energy in Turkey (C. Durmaz Dogan ’14: Bursa, Turkey)
  • Urban and Regional Planning
    • Forging Consensus? The Prospective Role of Regional Governance in the Planning of ‘Shrinking Cities’ (B. Starodaj ’12: New Britain, Connecticut)
    • Moving Forward with Sustainable Transport in Mexico: A Comparative Analysis of Mexico City and Guadalajara (T. Alarcon ’14: Guadalajara, Mexico)
    • The Costs of Spatially Fragmented Development: An Econometric Analysis (B. Sykes ’15: New Baltimore, New York)
    • Understanding the Impacts of Drought on the Tourism Industry in South Lake Tahoe, California (M. Murray ’15: Traverse City, Michigan)
    • Distributed Cogeneration as a Solution to New York City Brownfields: Increasing Energy Efficient Production without Increasing Land Use (M. Colligan ’15: Red Hook, New York)
    • Water Quality in the Village of Red Hook, New York: Evaluation of Possible Contamination from Septic Systems (A. Prior-Grosch ’13: Haverhill, Massachusetts)
    • Supporting Urban Forestry in U.S. Cities: Community, NGO and State Collaboration (L. Lafleur ’14: San Diego, California)
  • Economic Growth and Sustainable Development
    • A Feasibility Analysis of Waste to Energy in Nairobi, Kenya (C. Munyua ’13: Thika, Kenya)
    • Building Public-Private Partnerships: Integrating Informal Recyclers into Solid Waste Management in Haiti (R. Savain ’12: Plantation, Florida)
    • Tree Crop Investment in Northern Ghana: An Evaluation of Vertical Integration (S. Slavinski ’14: San Marcos, California)
    • Managing the Impacts of Oil Palm: Policy Options in Indonesia (A. Kroeger ’14: Libertyville, Illinois)
    • Turning Organic Waste into Fuel: Lessons for Implementing a Renewable Natural Gas Project in New York City (D. Bissett ’14: Baldwin, New York)
  • Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
    • The Balance of Power: Distributional Considerations in Calculating the Avoided Emissions of Renewable Energy (O. Peckham ’14: Raleigh, North Carolina)
    • Gauging Perceptions of Ocean Acidification in Alaska (L. Frisch ’14: Chicago, Illinois)
    • Considering Gender Equity in Climate Change Finance Mechanisms (M. Granat ’14: Auburn, California)
    • Assessing Household Vulnerability in Uganda: A Socio-Ecological Systems Approach (M. Gilligan ’15: Dallas, Pennsylvania)
    • Assessing Profitability of Climate Change Adaptation Investments: The Case of Farmers in Laos (J. Peck ’15: Topsham, Vermont)
    • Emerging Climate Governance: Partnerships among States, NGOs, and International Agencies in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Peru (J. Hanna ’15: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
    • Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Food Waste in the Restaurant Industry (S. DiNovi ’14: Mundelein, Illinois)


2021-2022 Academic Calendar*

August 23-27, 2021

Workshop Week

August 30, 2021

Fall Semester Classes Begin

October 11-12, 2021

Fall Reading Days

November 22-26, 2021

Thanksgiving Reading Week

December 13-17, 2021

Exam Week

   

December 20, 2021 - January 14, 2022

Winter Recess

   

January 17-28, 2022

M.Ed. Outdoor and Place-Based Education Course

MS Oaxaca Course (second years)

January 31-February 4, 2022

Research & Writing Week

February 7, 2022

Spring Semester Classes Begin

March 21-25, 2022

Spring Reading Week

May 23-27, 2022

Exam Week

May 26-27, 2022

Capstone Presentations

May 28, 2022

Commencement 2022

June 6-18, 2022

MS Oaxaca Course (first years)

 


Fall 2021 Semester: August 20 - December 13
Spring 2022 Semester: January 28 - May 23
*Dates subject to change.

Sample Weekly Schedule

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

 

Economics
9:30-11:00am
  Economics
9:30-11:00am
Environmental Law
10:00-11:30am
  Communication
11:30am-1:00pm
    Brown Bag Series/
National Climate Seminar

12:00-1:00pm

Statistics/
Econometrics
1:30-3:00pm

Environmental Policy 
1:30-3:00pm
Environmental Law
1:30-3:00pm
Environmental Policy 
1:30-3:00pm
Statistics/
Econometrics
1:30-3:00pm

Climate Science
4:00-5:30pm

    Climate Science
4:00-5:30pm
 

 

Campus Visits

Whether you are hoping to better understand class structure, make connections with faculty and current students, or get a feel for campus culture - visiting campus is the best way to find out if Bard Center for Environmental Policy is the right fit for you.

When you register for a campus visit, our Bard Graduate Programs in Sustainability admissions staff work with you to customize an on-campus experience, which may include attending class, having lunch with current students, meetings with faculty, and taking a tour of campus.

Learn More and Pick a Date to Visit

History

Founded in 1999

The Bard Center for Environmental Policy was created in 1999 to promote education, research, and public service on critical issues relating to both natural and human-made environments. Its primary goal is to improve environmental policies by facilitating the use of the best available scientific knowledge in the policy-making process at the local, regional, national, and international levels. The Center’s premise is that in order to be effective in addressing environmental problems and pursuing sustainable patterns of natural resource use, scientists, economists, lawyers, ethicists, and policymakers must be able to understand one another’s perspectives and values - they must then effectively engage stakeholders to develop effective policy leading to just and sustainable outcomes.  
 
 

A History of Leadership

The founding director of the Bard Center for Environmental Policy, Joanne Fox-Przeworski, developed the Center as the home for the interdisciplinary, career-fcoused MS Environmental Policy degree,  and to engage the public through programs such as the Open Forum lecture series. Fox-Przeworski brought to Bard her deep commitment to interdisciplinary environmental education, in particular international studies, as well as her experience as former director of the United Nations Environment Programme.

Since joining Bard CEP as director in 2009, Dr. Eban Goodstein has built on the success of the Center’s interdisciplinary educational model, adding his passion for the issue of our time, climate change. In 2010 Goodstein launched a new MS degree in Climate Science and Policy. Goodstein built on previous national efforts to raise awareness and encourage action on climate change issues by expanding the Center’s public programs to offer the National Climate Seminar and the C2C Fellows Network. In 2012 Goodstein founded the Bard MBA in Sustainability (now ranked as the #1 Green MBA) and in 2016, expanded Bard CEP offerings to include a MEd in Environmental Education degree. In 2020, Goodstein further expanded CEP's public programs with the launch the Solve Climate by 2030 initiative, now a global program.

Want to learn more?
Let's chat!

We love to chat one-on-one with aspiring change agents. Our team is happy to schedule a call to discuss your sustainability career goals and tell you more about our various programs. We can also get you connected with an alum, professor, or student doing work you are interested in learning more about.