PHILOSOPHY - In the 21st century, environmental professionals will need both interdisciplinary breadth and disciplinary depth. This is the model that some have called the T-shaped graduate student. Disciplinary depth is the pillar of the T that provides command of a literature in detail and the meticulous skills required to conduct sound research. Interdisciplinary breadth is the crossbar of the T, providing language and conceptual frameworks that allow communication across disciplines. Together, these develop professionals who understand the context of their research and can work effectively in multidisciplinary teams.

PROGRAM - The Graduate Specialization in Environmental Policy, which is administered by the College of Social Science, provides students with foundational skills and knowledge in environmental law, economics and policy and an opportunity to gain substantive expertise in the fundamental aspects of environmental policy.

The graduate specialization is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in master’s or doctoral degree programs at Michigan State University.  With the approval of department and college that administer the student’s degree program, the courses that are used to satisfy the specialization may also be used to satisfy the requirements for the master’s or doctoral degree.

Students who plan to complete the requirements for the graduate specialization must consult the graduate advisor for the specialization in the College of Social Science.

APPLICATION MATERIALS - To apply, you should forward to ESPP:

  • This downloadable application form, to be signed and returned to ESPP.
  • A letter requesting admission to the Environmental Policy Specialization and describing your professional interest in environmental science and policy.
  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • If you are applying to an MSU graduate program: Ask the program to which you are applying to forward to the Environmental Science & Policy Program a copy of their application package
  • If you are already enrolled in an MSU graduate program: Ask your graduate advisor to send a letter to ESPP indicating that you are in good standing and that the advisor supports your application to ESPP. This letter should be copied to the program coordinator of your department or program.


Requirements for the Specialization

Complete a total of 9 credits from the following:


Offered: Spring (annual) THIS COURSE HAS BEEN MOVED FROM SPRING 2017 TO FALL 2017 THIS YEAR ONLY | Tuesday 10:20 a.m. - 11:40 a.m. | 048 Agriculture Hall
Dr. Soren Anderson (

Economic principles, theoretical models and empirical methods related to environmental problems and policy interventions. Applications to air. land, water, forests, energy, fish and wildlife, and climate change, including in developing countries.


Fall (annual) | Tuesday 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. . | 210B Berkey Hall
Dr. S. Reckhow (reckhow@msu.ed)

Introduction to public policy and the policy-making process.

Additional Course Work:

Complete three credits of additional course work that focus on policy that meets the interest of the student. The course must be approved by the student's academic advisor for the specialization.

Final Requirement:

Completion of an examination consisting of a paper on the environmental policy aspects of a problem selected by the student and approved by the advisor for the specialization.