Educational and Research Philosophy
Because a deep understanding of environmental issues and solutions to environmental problems requires the knowledge and analytic approaches of several disciplines, the school's faculty includes a range of natural and social scientists who research important environmental questions.
Moreover, because environmental issues arise in legal, political, and business contexts, the school's faculty also includes law and business professors who contribute the intellectual perspectives of other professional schools.
Although each scholar's research normally is situated within a particular discipline, the school fosters collaborative research and teaching, and its overall research and pedagogical profile is multidisciplinary.
Faculty and PhD Program
The school's mission requires scholars who build the base in the natural and social sciences that underlies current environmental issues, as well as scholars in public policy, law, and business, who evaluate and design environmental policies at the local, state, national, and international levels.
The Bren School's faculty members undertake research in fundamentally important areas of environmental science, social science, management, and policy, which is published in the leading scholarly journals in their fields. Faculty members mentor and train PhD students, who will continue their research and become the academic and professional leaders of the next generation.
Bren School faculty members play leading roles in advising government agencies, corporations, and nonprofit organizations about science, management, and policy questions. This exposure enables Bren professors to share their accumulated knowledge in finding solutions to current environmental problems; to provide intellectual leadership about the direction of environmental policy at the national, state, and local levels; and to bring to their teaching and research a concrete sense of the practical environmental issues facing decision-makers.
Master's and Professional Programs
The master's program, a central focus of the school's educational mission, trains students to work in environmental careers in government agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and consulting firms.
The coursework for the Master of Environmental Science and Management degree is multidisciplinary, including courses in natural sciences, social sciences, law, and business. The courses emphasize quantitative and analytic thinking but also train students to identify environmental problems, formulate the proper questions, and design and execute appropriate solutions, taking into account scientific knowledge (and its limits), legal constraints, and the particular business and social context of the problem.
The school also brings in environmental professionals from government, business, and nonprofit organizations to ensure that students' professional development reflects the integration of rigorous academic training with a sound understanding of real-world environmental problems and the needs of clients. This not only teaches students to tackle current environmental problems, but also fosters their capacity for long-range thinking and prepares them to face new challenges as they arise.
Additionally, the school has an important role to play in augmenting the skills of both practicing environmental managers and professionals, such as business managers, attorneys, and engineers, who may be only tangentially concerned with the environment and resources. Thus, the Bren School's programs are equally useful to professionals at mid-career and to students in other professional schools.