Final-Year Courses

Final-Year Courses
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Amy Faust '07

Consultant, Environmental Planning, UK Department for International Development/World Bank, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Amy Faust

"The theoretical and practical training from BCEP was key to my entry into international development. My con-sulting assignments for international financial institutions vary from climate change planning to environmental impact mitigation to urban development in Latin America and East Africa - all have required a holistic approach and a firm grounding in understanding economic, political, technical and community angles to develop sustain-able solutions with government and donor clients." 

Final-Year Courses

In the final year of study, which is the second year for most MS students, both EP and CSP students specialize by concentrating on career interests through a professional internship and the Master’s Capstone.  Additionally, final-year courses emphasize leadership training, communication skills, and trending environmental topics.


Master’s Capstone Proposal

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.  Read More >


The internship provides hands-on experience working with professionals in the field and facilitates entry into the job market. Internship arrangements with public, private, and nonprofit organizations offer a wide range of choices and provide real benefits to the student and the collaborating organization. Conducted during the summer and fall semester of the second year, internships are at least 30 hours a week and four consecutive months in duration. Read More >


Master’s Capstone Seminar

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.
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Leadership and Careers Seminar

Careers in environmental policy require excellent analytical skills, but also the ability to lead policy implementation. This class focuses on values-based leadership—understanding different leadership approaches, critical skills, and pathways to engage a community in a policy vision. It emphasizes self-awareness and communication as foundations for leadership. Students learn how leaders communicate clearly and accurately about environmental problems, becoming familiar with various approaches to framing and conveying messages. The course also helps students develop their career skills, focusing on fundraising and negotiation skills, as well as interviewing techniques, using social media creatively and effectively.

Topics in Environmental Policy: Energy Policy/Food Policy

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.

The Energy Policy 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.

The Food Policy 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.