Master of Science
CEP Class of 2012 (c) Karl Rabe
The Bard Center for Environmental Policy provides master’s level leadership education for a generation that will change the future. Distinctive program features include a modular approach to course work; close student-faculty interaction; professional internships; practical training in leadership and communication strategies; and research opportunities created to fit student interests.
Earning either an M.S. in environmental policy or an M.S. in climate science and policy, Bard CEP graduates enter the workforce with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue high-level careers in research and policy.
MS in Environmental Policy
The Bard CEP curriculum integrates the core disciplines of science, policy, law, and economics into a consistent and comprehensive first year of graduate course work. Through close collaboration with faculty and an innovative program of study, students learn to think across disciplines to understand the complexities of today’s environmental problems and challenges. Courses delve simultaneously into curricular themes to provide students with a deep understanding of the issues from multiple perspectives and at the same time highlight linkages and divisions across disciplines. This holistic approach to learning illuminates integral connections between the social world and the physical sciences, and encourages students to incorporate various perspectives and ideologies into their work.
First-Year Course Work
The first-year courses link natural ecosystems and their functioning to the impact of socioeconomic activities and to the political, institutional, and legislative processes that address environmental problems. Emphasizing analytical frameworks and basic principles through examples and case studies, the courses are designed to focus on the topic specified in each of the following themes, or modules:
• Foundations and General Concepts
• Air and Atmosphere
• Risk and Uncertainty
• Industrial Ecology
• Urban Environments
The internship provides students the chance to narrow the focus of their degree through hands-on experience working with professionals in the field and facilitates entry into the job market. Internship arrangements with public, private, and nonprofit institutions offer a wide range of choices, providing real benefits to the student and the collaborating organization. Students are expected to work a minimum of 30 hours per week for at least four months at an internship site. Internship selection begins during the late fall of the first year and is based on Bard CEP guidelines as well as the criteria and interests of the students.
Flexible Student Research
The master’s thesis is the student’s chance to specialize and to create an original body of work, often linked to some aspect of the internship, with practical applications to environmental policy issues. Bard CEP theses reflect the multifaceted nature of environmental issues while integrating aspects of the natural and social sciences and humanities in the policy-making process. The student is expected to pursue a topic intensively, drawing on and integrating knowledge from the first-year course work and internship, and demonstrate skill in developing and conveying recommended policies and action on a particular issue or problem.
Students work closely with their advisers during development of the thesis topic. Graduate theses, which range greatly depending on the student’s interest, may fall into such categories as water policy, wildlife and biodiversity conservation, pollution prevention, regulatory review, land-use planning, environmental justice, preservation of natural resources, economic growth and sustainable development, corporate social responsibility, national environmental agendas, and international environmental policy. A summary of degree requirements can be found here.
MS in Climate Science and Policy
The master of science degree in climate science and policy focuses on the interplay between climate science and solutions. The program trains future policy leaders to guide critical greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation efforts, working in business, government, and in NGOs. Students develop specific expertise in the development and deployment to scale of clean energy technologies, and in the interaction of ecosystems, agriculture, and climate. Joint class sessions, field trips, guest lectures, and conferences expose students to the critical issues and practices of climate change science and policy. Policy experts and natural and social scientists have designed the curriculum for students to gain the sophisticated graduate level training in policy solutions demanded by employers today.
Graduate Program for Climate Leaders
Bard College undertakes and fosters initiatives that reflect innovation, ambition, risktaking, and a fundamental belief in the link between liberal education and democracy. Bard CEP graduate programs provide aspiring leaders the knowledge, tools, methods of inquiry, and courage to create effective policies on the scale demanded by today’s extraordinary environmental challenges.
The M.S. in climate science and policy is a two-year program, which includes a year of interdisciplinary coursework, an extended professional internship, and a master’s thesis. Residency during the first year and the spring semester of the second year is required. Professionals who have at least five years of post-baccalaureate experience in a related field may apply for a waiver of the internship.
Bard climate masters have unique access to world-class scientific research opportunities, classroom education, and field experiences through a collaborative partnership with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies (CIES), one of the world’s premier research institutions focused on applying ecosystem analysis to policy challenges. In addition, students interact with top-scientists, business leaders, and policy experts nationwide through engagement in the National Climate Seminar, a public platform for dialogue on climate change solutions.
The first-year curriculum covers climate science, energy consumption, and the agriculture and ecosystem linkages to climate, connecting core scientific principles to socioeconomic impacts, infrastructure investment, and the political and legislative responses addressing fossil fuel dependence and global climate change. Students are taught the basic concepts of environmental law, politics, and policy making, as well as detailed analyses of U.S. and international climate law and policy. The program focuses on the following broad themes throughout the firstyear curriculum:
• Climate Science
• Ecosystem and Agricultural Sciences
• Energy Conservation and Efficiency
• Renewable Energy and Clean Technology
• Global Food Security
• Lifecycle Analysis
• Carbon Sequestration and Offset Projects
• Carbon Markets and Incentives
• U.S. Legislative Process and Climate
• International Negotiations and Development
• Regional Impacts and Adaptation Strategies
Education, Leadership, Change
The program transitions to an innovative applied focus in the second year. Students participate in a four- to six-month, high-level internship, and then return to campus to complete a master’s thesis, supporting the development of deep individual expertise. In the final semester, students also enroll in a capstone leadership seminar. In this way, students develop broad knowledge of climate change issues; a suite of analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills; professional experience in their chosen field; and finally, they become experts on topics that they have selected. Our alumni/ae are making a difference in private, nonprofit, and public sectors around the world. A summary of degree requirements can be found here.