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Students talk about their internship experiences as part of the Bard CEP master's program.

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." 


The Master’s Capstone consists of original research with practical application to a specific environmental problem. Often linked to some part of the student’s internship, the Master’s Project or Master’s Thesis reflects the multifaceted nature of an actual environmental issue.

Master’s Capstone

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.

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 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.

Nonresidence Option

A non-residence Master’s Capstone option is available for students who gain relevant employment during their second year. These students may request to be considered for non-residency and, if approved, complete the second year of the program off campus with two week-long residencies during the spring semester of the second year.

The non-residence Capstone option is not available to international students on an F-1 visa who secure employment in the U.S. However, international students who secure employment in their home country will be elgible for the non-residence option provided they meet the remaining criteria for approval by the Capstone committee.

Sample Capstone 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)