Each cohort is enrolled in a set curriculum. First year classes below are for either the environmental policy (EP) degree or the climate science and policy (CSP) degree. Both EP and CSP students choose one of three electives, which are offered as short-courses in January. Scroll all the way down to see 2012 J-term options.
Environmental Policy Courses
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This yearlong course explores environmental issues and debates, with emphasis on sustainability, systems analysis, and mass and energy transfer. Students examine the role of uncertainty and learn to interpret scientific research critically, then discuss translation of scientific knowledge into workable policies under conditions of incomplete information. Topics range from broad themes, such as biogeochemical cycling, toxicology and risk assessments, and life-cycle analysis, to detailed examinations of carbon cycling and sequestration, species- and genetic-level loss of biodiversity, and the role of simulation models in policy formulation. Students are expected to be familiar with basic chemical concepts and equations.
These courses bring out the dynamic and complex relationship among various factors-legal, political, cultural, and ethical-that influence the environmental policy-making process. The courses introduce students to the core concepts of environmental law, policy making, and environmental policy cycles that include defining the environmental problem, setting the environmental agenda, and presenting and implementing policy solutions. The making of environmental law and policy is shaped by the interplay of politics, interest groups, elected leaders, appointed judges, public opinion, and governmental institutions. Students examine responses to environmental changes that rely on legal and regulatory instruments, the courts, public hearings, and voluntary agreements. They also take into account the nature of state-federal relationships in developing and applying the law, as well as the role of technology, tension between private and public interests, and equity considerations. The courses explore international environmental regime development, conflict resolution, and transboundary citizen networks that influence global environmental decision making.
These courses cover the concepts and tools used by economists for environmental policy making; discussion focuses on issues such as air pollution, climate change, water quality, fisheries management, land use, and biodiversity loss. The goal is to understand how economists view environmental issues and solutions. These courses demonstrate why the market fails in the case of environmental issues and which economic instruments can correct market failures. All explorations are carried out rigorously, using well-established scientific and statistical tools.
Climate Science and Policy
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A solid understanding of the concepts in this course enables Bard CEP graduates to be intelligent and discerning consumers and analysts of the quantitative information they may come across in their careers. Before students arrive in August, they should have a firm grasp of descriptive statistics (such as mean, mode, median, range, standard deviation, and variance), and the rules of probability and probability distributions. The course builds upon these concepts to examine hypothesis testing, which allows credible conclusions to be drawn from given data. Other topics include research design, sampling, correlation, and regression analysis.
All MS students enroll in a final semester of course work in the spring semester of the second year, following the internship placement. The Capstone and Communication courses are both designed to provide leadership and communication skills to prepare students as they move into their chosen career.
Capstone Seminar Careers in environmental policy require good 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 your community in a policy vision. The course focuses on self-awareness and communication as foundations for leadership. The class works with community leaders from the Hudson Valley to test leadership theory against practice.
Communication Strategies Students learn how to communicate clearly and accurately about environmental problems and how to target information for different purposes and to audiences in multiple sectors. Students become familiar with various approaches to framing and conveying messages. Classes with voice and speech coaches help students hone their presentation and public speaking skills, while lectures from veteran environmental journalists and advocates offer insight into working with the press and the policy process. Additionally, students learn about fund-raising, foundations, and grant writing.
J-term short courses are a new addition to the CEP curricula and take place the last two weeks in January. Courses are designed for CEP graduate students, but are open to the public for either a certificate or for credit. J-term class options have included:
Terra Preta to Commercial Product: Can we scale up Biochar?
Private Land Conservation: A Primer and Climate Change Consequences
Slow Water for Sustainable Development: Oaxaca
Private Land Conservation: A Primer, and The Role of Agriculture
Energy and Environment in Asia
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