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The Middlebury Institute Master of Arts in Environment Policy and Management is a four-semester, 60-credit program.

Start Credits Practicum Second Language Program Chair
August or January 60 Required Optional Jason Scorse

Learning Goals

The fundamental premise of the curriculum is that innovation is in the implementation—we focus on educating leaders who can impact major policy that improves people’s lives and the environment on which we all depend.

Our curriculum is designed around a distinct set of learning goals to give you the skills to address and help solve today’s complex environmental challenges.


Core course work:

  • Public Policy and the Environment (2 credits)
  • Research Strategies for Environmental Policy (2 credits)
  • Governing the Global Commons (4 credits)
  • Environmental & Natural Resource Economics (4 credits)
  • Applied Conservation Science & Policy (4 credits)
  • Methods (4 credits) sample courses:
    • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
    • Data Analysis for Public Policy
    • Advanced GIS

Specialization (16 credits)

Practicum (6 credits)

Language Studies and Intercultural Competence (ICC)

  • 4 credits of ICC are required, language studies are optional using electives.

Electives (10 credits of open electives, 4 credits from policy and management courses)

Core Course Work

Core classes provide a base of natural science literacy, along with an emphasis on interdisciplinary social science—economics, law, policy, psychology, communication, and data analysis. We don’t simply study problems but address them, paying particular attention to behavioral design, effective advocacy, and social justice concerns. You will gain and develop the following:

  • A fundamental understanding of economics as it relates to environmental policy
  • Quantitative skills to support environmental policymaking
  • An understanding of the applied science that underlies effective natural resources management, conservation, risk assessment, and decision making in a changing world
  • A strong background in environmental policy and management strategies

Specialization Areas

Students choose one of the following three specializations.

Sustainability Management

Businesses, governments, and NGOs are increasingly searching for business solutions to global sustainability problems like climate change and marine plastic pollution. This specialization aims to position graduates to fill the growing demand in all sectors for sustainability-savvy professionals with foundational competencies in financial management, entrepreneurship, and organizational leadership. Sample courses:

  • Corporate Sustainability Management and Strategy (4 credits)
  • Foundations in Financial Management (3 credits)
  • Organizational Development and Leadership (3 credits)
  • Sustainable Supply Chain Management (2 credits)
  • Materiality Assessment (2 credits)

Faculty advisor: Lyuba Zarsky

Natural Resource Policy and Management

As the importance of biodiversity protection becomes more widely recognized, the demand for multifaceted and skilled professionals is growing. Governmental organizations, NGOs, consulting firms, and private companies are looking to minimize their environmental impact, and students in this specialization focus on resources as diverse as forests, fisheries, minerals, freshwater, and natural protected areas. Sample courses:

  • Conservation Project Design and Evaluation (4 credits)
  • Foundations in Financial Management (3 credits)
  • Environmental Leadership (4 credits)
  • A second methodology course (4 credits), sample courses: 
    • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
    • Advanced GIS
    • Data Analysis for Public Policy

Faculty Advisor: Jeff Langholz

Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM)

Learn to integrate marine science and policy with economics and management to understand and address global climate change and promote ocean and coastal sustainability. This specialization is offered in conjunction with the Center for the Blue Economy (CBE). Students can participate in UCSC’s MARINE (Monterey Area Research Institutions’ Network for Education) program and are also eligible for fully funded summer fellowships with top marine organizations.

Learn more about the OCRM specialization and see where our alumni are working.

Sample courses:

  • International Marine Policy Speaker Series (1 credit or audit)

  • Marine Science and Policy (4 credits)

  • International Marine Law (4 credits)

  • Environmental Leadership (4 credits)

  • Sustainable Coastal Management (4 credits)

Faculty Advisor: Jason Scorse

Professional Practicum

Put theory into practice through a semester-long practicum in the field. An immersive learning experience, the Professional Service Semester integrates academic work with professional opportunities. Students serve as junior professional staff members in an organization while producing specific deliverables for academic credit.

Language and Intercultural Competence

You will take content courses in a second language and/or courses in intercultural competence.

Sample language studies courses:

  • Arab-African Relations (in Arabic)

  • Citizenship, Security, and Development in Latin America (in Spanish)

  • Challenges in Peacebuilding—Congo (in French)

Sample intercultural competence courses:

  • Intercultural Group Dynamics: explore why global and multicultural teams often struggle and conversely how you can manage diverse teams to outperform homogenous groups.

  • Communication in Multicultural Settings: gain the knowledge and tools needed for effective participation in multilingual and multicultural communication as you examine the related social, cultural, and linguistic factors.

You may use electives to take additional language studies and/or intercultural competence courses.


Students may 10–12 credits to take language studies courses, additional intercultural competence courses, environmental courses, and/or courses from other degree programs (assuming prerequisites met).

An additional 4 credits must be applied to policy and management courses outside of the program.

Sample elective courses from the Environmental Policy and Management program:

  • Sustainable Agriculture-Regenerative
  • Foundations of Climate Science
  • Environmental Conflict Management
  • International Renewable Energy Policy & Science
  • Green Business Feasibility Assessment
  • Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Risk Assessment
  • Harnessing Innovation for Sustainable Development Goals

Sample Course Schedule

Fall Start, Full Time, Four Semesters

Term Course Credits
Fall 1 Public Policy & the Environment 2
Fall 1 Research Strategies for Environmental Policy 2
Fall 1 Methods Course 4
Fall 1 Intercultural Competence 4
Fall 1 Specialization Course 4
Spring 1 Governing the Global Commons 4
Spring 1 Applied Conservation Science & Policy 4
Spring 1 Environmental & Natural Resource Economics 4
Spring 1 Electives 4
Fall 2 Policy/Management Course (outside of IEP program) 4
Fall 2 Specialization Courses 8
Fall 2 Electives 4
Spring 2 Practicum 6
Spring 2 Specialization Course 4
Spring 2 Electives 2
TOTAL   60