MESM Specialization: EPE


Faculty Advisors: Mark Buntaine (MESM 2017) and Sarah Anderson (MESM 2018)

Specialization Description

The Economics and Politics of the Environment (EPE) specialization trains students to develop and implement public policies dealing with environmental problems, to manage public environmental resources, and to understand how firms and other organizations respond to these policies and management systems. EPE students acquire knowledge about interactions between the public sector and the private sector and about the impact of political processes on efforts to solve environmental problems. In the process, they learn how to identify and evaluate policy options and to communicate the results to policymakers and regulators in an effective manner. Broadly defined to encompass the full range of issues pertaining to environmental quality and natural resources, the EPE specialization addresses these concerns as they arise from the local level through the state and national levels to the international level. Students taking this specialization find employment with local, state, and national governments as well as with intergovernmental organizations, firms subject to environmental policies, and consulting groups dealing with the management of environmental resources.


MESM students are required to take a minimum of 36 units of electives in their primary specialization. Students who pursue two specializations must meet the 36-unit requirement for each specialization. Some electives may count toward more than one specialization. Most courses associated with this specialization are offered every year. If the course is marked with an asterisk (*), it will be offered every other year.

EPE students should take the following courses:

ESM 242:

Natural Resource Economics and Policy

ESM 245:

Cost Benefit Analysis and Non-Market Valuation

EPE students should take at least one of the following courses:

ESM 243:

Environmental Policy Analysis

ESM 248: Environmental Institutions

EPE students should take at least one of the many law electives offered as:

ESM 294:

Advanced Topics in Environmental Law

EPE students should take at least two courses that will develop some depth in a substantive area.

For example EPE students with an interest in Conservation Planning should consider taking at least two of the four key courses (ESM 211, 215, 270 or 270P) recommended for the CP specialization. Similarly, those having an interest in Coastal Marine Ecosystems, for example, should take two of the key courses for that specialization (ESM 254, 257, 260).

EPE students should take at least one methodology course in addition to those listed in the first
two sections (economics and policy) above. Some examples include the following:

ESM 232: Environmental Modeling
ESM 244: Advanced Data Analysis
ESM 262: Computing for Environmental Science & Management
ESM 263: GIS

*ESM 266:

Remote Sensing of the Environment

ESM 269: Survey Design and Public Opinion
ESM 296: Adv. Topics in Environmental Management: Econometrics
Econ 240A: Introduction to Econometrics

The following courses may also provide curriculum opportunities of value for EPE students:

ESM 283: Environmental Negotiation
ESM 285: Environmental Markets
ESM 293: Advanced Special Topics in Energy and Climate
ESM 296: Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Management

ESM 297:

Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Policy

ESM 299: Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Science
ESM 430: Workshops in Environmental Science and Management
ESM 436: Legal Issues in Environmental Problem Solving
ESM 437: Writing for Environmental Professionals
ESM 440: Advanced Environmental Communication
ESM 442: Grassroots Organizing

  In addition, there are some classes in other departments that may be appropriate for EPE students.
  Some examples include:

ECON 114:

Economic Development

ECON 120:

Urban and Regional Economics


Economic Decisions

ECON 208:

Topics in Macroeconomic Theory and Policy

GLOBL 221 :

Political Economy, Sustainable Development and the Environment

GLOBL 277:

Organizational Policy and Management

GLOBL 278:

Managing Development Organizations, Non-Profits and other NGOs
GLOBL 271: Global Environmental Politics
POLS 294: Environmental Politics and Policy