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Jackie Fahrenholz in the Bahamas for student research.

Environmental Studies - Environmental Policy and Management

How do decisions get made about what happens to the health of our planet? Who gets to make them? How do these decisions affect the economy and other aspects of our society? And, most importantly, how can you get involved and make a difference?

Degree Types
Major , Specialization
Complementary Programs
Distinctive Requirements
Research Facilities

Why McDaniel for a degree in Environmental Policy & Management?

Our Resources, Your Passions. Environmental Policy and Management students consider big questions, like how human policies can shape our society, economy, and environment for years, decades, and generations to come. In this specialization, you'll develop a deep understanding of the policies and processes that govern natural resource use in the United States and abroad.

With this interdisciplinary specialization in Environmental Studies, you'll become one of tomorrow's policy and management professionals. Not only will you be prepared to understand the structure and function of natural ecosystems that provide environmental services to society, but you'll also learn to design, implement, and advocate for sustainable practices.

Future Career Paths

Environmental Studies students will be well prepared for graduate study and to pursue careers as:

  • Policy Analyst
  • Natural Resources Professional
  • Environmental Educator
  • Policy Advocacy
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Public or Environmental Health Professional.
Students speak to a tour group at the McDaniel Environmental Center, standing in front of a sign about the forest garden.

The McDaniel Environmental Center provides students with opportunities to do hands-on research, agricultural work, and community education.

Distinctive Courses

ENV 3106 - Conservation Biology

The mission of conservation biology is the conservation of life on earth, and thus to balance the needs of people and biodiversity. To understand the promise and peril of conservation biology’s mission in a rapidly globalizing world, the course introduces students to the elements of the contemporary biodiversity crisis, the applied practices of professional conservationists, and the values and scientific theories that provide the discipline’s foundation. Coursework is designed to develop practical skills and disciplinary knowledge through interactive lectures, field trips, and group and individual projects.

ENV 2118 - Changing Food Systems

This course examines contemporary efforts and initiatives to address the challenges of sustainability, health, and equity in our agri-food systems. Globalization  and neoliberalism, rapid technological change, human population growth and migration, environmental and resource degradation, climate change, and rising  social inequalities together form an important backdrop for growing concern among consumers, citizens, civil society groups and social movements worldwide about the conditions and outcomes of agri-food systems. 

ENV 2207 - Environmental Management

This course examines the concepts and practices used to maintain and develop Earth’s natural systems and humanity’s built environments. Specifically, the course is designed to review how the human and natural systems critical to biodiversity and human well-being can be developed and managed sustainably. Course topics include ecosystem and wildlife management, urban planning, climate change mitigation, and global environmental governance. An emphasis is placed on understanding how people individually and collectively influencenatural and built environments, as well as developing knowledge and skills useful to contemporary environmental managers. The course format includes class discussions, projects, and interactive lectures.

ENV 2215 - Environmental Policy

This course is designed as a survey of the principles and practices of environmental policy. Using the case study approach, theories of public policy are linked to its application to understand existing approaches to environmental policy and how these approaches influence, and are influenced by, social and environmental change. An emphasis is placed on the design and evaluation of policy instruments, the diversity and trade-offs of environmental governance systems, and the democratic engagement required to achieve environmental sustainability. Students will learn the language of public policy and develop transferable professional skills, including memo writing and policy analysis.

The McDaniel Commitment in Action

The McDaniel Commitment—a series of opportunities guaranteed to all students—provides enhanced mentoring and coaching, and ensures every undergraduate student completes at least two meaningful experiential learning opportunities.

A student leans forward on a railing with a pair of binoculars around his neck.

Green Terror Alum Class of 2024: Carl Feibusch Practical Courses in Environmental Studies

"My favorite class at McDaniel has to be Environmental Management, taught by Dr. Scullion. In this class, one of the main projects is to restore a plot of land next to McDaniel Run, a small stream at the MEC. The MEC is one of my favorite places, so being able to learn how to restore stream banks there, while also learning about local ecology, was super fun. I love being able to spot restoration projects all over Maryland and the country and be able to better identify plants throughout the mid-Atlantic when with friends or family."

Ellen Larsen '10 in front of a bonfire

Alumni Spotlight Ellen Larson ’10

Ellen Larson ’10 always envisioned herself working for a land management agency someday. She just didn’t know what job it would be, nor what she should study to get there. “Majoring in Environmental Policy and minoring in Sociology, I was very interested in how humans interact with the environment, our behaviors, and how land management agencies play a part in those behaviors,” Larson says. In 2013, Larson got a job with the U.S. Forest Service as a wildland firefighter. She has worked for two different national forests in Arizona and traveled to most of the western states for work.

Students at Singleton Matthews Farm.

Faculty Spotlight Jason Scullion Assistant Professor and Department Chair

Professor Scullion is a conservation scientist focused on the conservation of wilderness landscapes, particularly intact forests. His current research is focused on improving forest governance in protected areas and frontier landscapes and developing tools to improve landscape management.