Integrated Core Curriculum

Bard's graduate sustainability programs feature a unique, integrated first-year core curriculum. Most policy and education programs are "cafeteria style", in which students cobble together a collection of classes from a list of dozens of options over two years of residence, but his scattershot approach can waste students' time. By contrast, Bard condenses most of the academics into a carefully curated first-year core curriculum that provides all of the tools needed for professional success during the extended professional internship in the second year. M.S. students also have the option of substituting select courses from Bard's MBA in Sustainability to fulfill M.S. requirements. 
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In their own words . . .

—Jessica LeClair '12

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"The academic rigor and standard of excellence instilled by Bard CEP faculty and staff has helped prepare me for the challenges and opportunities young professionals face. The diverse and in-depth coursework has prepared me for my current work for the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, where I work in the Office of Climate Change, Technology and Research. I draw from in-class discussions and assignments daily to inform my work, and my textbooks have found new life in the office library. My time at Bard CEP provided invaluable experience learning to interpret and translate scientific fact to create and implement policy decisions that will directly impact my state and my fellow citizens. I am constantly reminded of the valuable nexus between science and policy and feel like Bard CEP puts graduates out in front of the curve." 

Year One

First-year M.S. students take courses in environmental (or climate) science, environmental and natural resource economics, and environmental (or climate) policy and law. These courses are modular and integrated, so when students are studying "air and atmosphere" in their science classes, for example, they are also doing so in economics, law and policy, biodiversity, or urban policy. The goal of these year-long classes is to see issues from multidisciplinary perspectives in order to develop robust policy solutions. Also in the first year, students take two toolkit classes: Statistics and Econometrics, and GIS. In January, all students travel to Oaxaca, Mexico for a ten-day short course focused on sustainable development. In the first year, there is also a policy course that alternates between Energy Systems and Food Policy Systems.

Year Two

From June to January of the second year, students spread out across the planet to pursue their professional internships. In the second semester of the final year, students take an additional policy course (either Energy Systems or Food Policy Systems), as well as a class focused on Leadership and Careers, while completing their individually-mentored Masters Capstone Projects. Most policy students return to the Bard campus to complete their second year. For students whose internships have turned into a job, it is possible to remain employed there through our Non-Resident Capstone Option, in which students attend classes remotely in the final semester.