e s f letters
e s f letters

Environmental Policy, Planning & Law Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies

This option is concerned with how environmental policies, plans, and laws from the local to the global are created, implemented and contested. It emphasizes legislative, regulatory, and collaborative approaches to addressing environmental issues.

Policies are guidelines for action. They can be in the form of laws, regulations, treaties, agreements, prescribed practices, professional standards, corporate strategies, operating procedures and personal codes of conduct. Studies will focus on how policies come to be, how they are implemented, enforced, evaluated, and affirmed, rejected or revised. Environmental planning encompasses plan formulation to implementation.

As environmental problems grow more complex and urgent, the need has grownfor professionals in government, advocacy, business, education and the laws resulting in a sound understanding of the policy process in its many dimensions and a clear grasp of the interdependencies between ecological and social systems. Policy and planning approaches increasingly involve public-private collaborations of diverse actors and stakeholders who address the unique environmental, legal, social and cultural components of the resource systems to be managed.

The Environmental Policy, Planning & Law Option (EPPL) promotes understanding of and develops skills for the many facets of the policy process, including:

  • how policies come into being (proposed, advocated, communicated, adopted, implemented, evaluated, reformed)
  • types of policies (laws, regulation, economic incentives and disincentives, education and communication),
  • scale (personal, local, state, national, international, global),
  • activities (industrial processes, consumer behavior, resource extraction and use, transportation, marketing and social infrastructure.)
  • how society selects among competing aims (individual freedom, economic efficiency, social cohesion, safety and security and others.)
  • the role of politics and political ideology in policy making (conservatism, liberalism, environmental radicalism, deep ecology, government and governance)
  • the interaction between environmental policy and social justice (racism and the environment, feminism, indigenous and First Nations rights and perspectives, issues of globalism and global resource inequities).

Environmental Policy, Planning and Law graduates have career opportunities in all environmental sectors, working for federal, state and local governments, industry and consulting firms, and environmental non-government-organizations (NGOs). Many, either directly upon graduation or after a few years of work experience, go to graduate school in programs including law, public administration, planning, landscape architecture, and environmental management.

Environmental Policy, Planning & Law Option Requirements

Course Course Name Credits
  Option Methods Courses (2) 6
  Option Electives (4) 12
  Environmental Law Course 3
  Environmental Planning Course 3
EST 550 Environmental Impact Analysis 3
Total Option Credits

Environmental Policy, Planning & Law Methods Courses

Methods are tool-related topics that are used to analyze existing policies, to evaluate the need for new policies, and to facilitate effective collaborations. Below is a list of approved courses. Your EPPL Option advisor may substitute, without petition, other courses that they determine meet the analysis/facilitation tool intent. Students are strongly encouraged to take at least one Geographic Information Systems course.

ESF Courses:

  • EFB 417 Perspectives of Interpretive Design
  • ENS 519 Spatial Ecology
  • ESF 300 Introduction to Geospatial Information Technologies
  • EST 427 Environmental and Energy Auditing
  • ERE 365 Principles of Remote Sensing
  • FOR 333 Managerial Economics for Environmental Professionals
  • LSA 311 Natural Processes in Design and Planning
  • LSA 451 Comprehensive Land Planning

SU Courses:

  • ANT 372 Intercultural Communication and Conflict
  • ANT 484 Social Movement Research Methods
  • GEO 361 Global Economic Geography
  • GEO 372 Political Geography
  • GEO 386 Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Geography

Environmental Policy, Planning & Law Option Courses

Many courses at ESF and SU are policy focused. The courses below are illustrative. In addition, all of the Law courses listed below may also count as Policy, Planning and Law option elective courses. Students are strongly encouraged to work with their advisor to develop a coherent set of courses that provide the breadth and depth suitable as a foundation for graduate study and/or entry-level professional positions.

Environmental Studies Courses:

  • EST 493 Environmental Communication Workshop
  • EST 220 Urban Ecology
  • EST 395 Public Communication of Science & Technology
  • EST 426 Community Planning and Sustainability

Other ESF Courses:

  • EFB 400 Toxic Health Hazards
  • EFB 405 Literature of Natural History
  • EFB 522 Biophysical Economics
  • FOR 312 Sociology of Natural Resources
  • FOR 372 Fundamentals of Outdoor Recreation
  • FOR 442 Watershed Ecology and Management
  • FOR 465 Natural Resources Policy
  • FOR 478 Wilderness and Wildlands Management
  • LSA 311 Natural Processes in Design and Planning
  • LSA 451 Comprehensive Land Planning

SU Courses:

  • ANT/GEO 405 Conservation and Management Protected Areas
  • ANT 407 Environment and Policy in the Tropics
  • ANT 414 Cities, Spaces, and Power
  • ANT 475 Culture and Disputing
  • ECN 365 The World Economy
  • GEO 353 Geographies of Environmental Justice
  • GEO 356 Environmental Ideas and Policy
  • GEO 383 Geographic Information Systems
  • GEO 388 Geographic Information and Society
  • GEO 573 The Geography of Capital
  • PAF 315 Methods of Public Policy Analysis and Presentation
  • PAF 416 Community Problem Solving
  • PAF 451 Environmental Policy
  • PSC 305 The Legislative Process and the U.S. Congress
  • PSC 308 The Politics of U.S. Public Policy
  • PSC 318 Technology, Politics, and Environment
  • PSC 328 American Social Movements
  • PSC 355 International Political Economy
  • PSC 365 International Political Economy of the Third World
  • AAS 346 Comparative Third World Politics
  • SOC 363 Urban Sociology
  • SOC 421 Population Issues
  • SOC 466 Organization and Society

Environmental Law Courses

Legal processes play a critical role in the creation and implementation of environmental policies. All students must take at least one law course and are encouraged to take additional offerings from the recommended list below:

ESF Courses:

  • EST 460 Land Use Law
  • FOR 487 Environmental Law and Policy
  • FOR 489 Natural Resources and Policy

SU Courses:

  • LPP 255 Introduction to the Legal System
  • LPP 458 Environmental Law and Public Policy[1]
  • PSC 304 The Judicial Process
  • PSC 324 Constitutional Law I
  • PSC 325 Constitutional Law II
  • PSC 352 International Law

Environmental Planning Courses

ESF Courses:

  • EST 426 Community Planning and Sustainability
  • EFB 417 Non-personal Environmental Interpretative Methods
  • FOR 372 Fundamentals of Outdoor Recreation
  • FOR 442 Watershed Ecology and Management
  • FOR 475 Human Dimensions and Recreation Visitor Management
  • LSA 311 Natural Processes in Design & Planning
  • LSA 451 Comprehensive Land Planning

SU Courses:

  • ANT/GEO 405 Conservation and Management of Protected Areas
  • ANT 414 Urban Anthropology
  • PAF 416 Community Problem Solving

Senior Synthesis

During the Senior year, completion of the integrative Senior Synthesis is intended to both connect material from previous courses and to address a current real-world issue. The key to successful completion of this important program component is for the student to work closely with their advisor in the junior year to investigate the many potential choices that are available. Students considering an advanced integrative course should consider the following:

  • EST 493 Environmental Communication Workshop
  • LSA 451 Comprehensive Land Planning

Typical Course Sequence

This is a possible sequence for the option. In consultation with your advisor, you will probably need to adjust this sequence to suit your specific situation.

Junior - Fall Course Credits
EFB 320 General Ecology 4
EWP 410 Writing for Environmental Professionals 3
EST 361 History of the American Environmental Movement 3
  EPPL Option Elective 3
  EPPL Option Elective 3
Junior - Spring  
EST 321 Government and the Environment 3
APM 391 Introduction to Probability and Statistics 3
  Upper Division Environmental Studies Social Science 3
  EPPL Option Elective 3
  General Elective 3
Senior - Fall  
  Upper Division Computing or Natural Science Course 3-4
  EPPL Option Methods Course (GIS recommended) 3
  EPPL Option Environmental Planning Course 3
  EPPL Option Environmental Law Course 3
  Senior Synthesis 3
Senior - Spring  
EST 550 Environmental Impact Analysis 3
EST 494 Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies 1
  EPPL Option Elective 3
  EPPL Option Methods Course 3
  General Elective 3
  General Elective 3

[1] Since this course is the same course as FOR 496 Environmental Law and Policy, students may only take LPP 458 if they are unable to take FOR 496.