University of Southern Maine - Department of Environmental Science and Policy

ID# 000979
96 Falmouth St.
Portland, ME 04103
United States
800-800-4876 (Main Phone)
BA in Environmental Planning and Policy


• Landscape design
• Regulatory compliance
• environmental/land-use planning
• Community planning
• Urban renewal consultant
• Environmental consulting
• Environmental education
• Environmental technician
• Environmental advocate
• Environmental policy analyst

The Department of Environmental Science and Policy offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Environmental Planning and Policy. Capability in these two disciplines is built upon ESP's basic environmental science core courses. The degree is designed to prepare students for graduate school and careers in federal, state, and local government; the private sector; nonprofit organizations; and citizen advocacy groups. Many of our graduates have immediately entered professions in landscape design, regulatory compliance, land-use or community planning, urban renewal, environmental consulting, education, and as environmental technicians.

We seek to educate individuals who make a difference by contributing to solving environmental problems, making public and private institutions more responsive to social and economic needs of communities, and by moving toward a more sustainable society. Our curriculum emphasizes application as well as theory by focusing on real problems and projects affecting the region. The opportunity to gain practical planning and policy experience is also provided to our students through their participation in field-based courses and an internship.

The environmental planning aspect of the degree is intended to introduce students to the foundations of community and natural resource planning. Through a series of core courses, students examine the spatial and non-spatial aspects of environmental problems. Theenvironmental policy aspect trains students on policy development, formulation and implementation, through an in-depth examination of policy science, assessment, environmental impact analysis, and environmental economics. Students can also explore a particular topic of interest such as pollution, natural resources management, and international policy, or water resources.

ESP offers an accelerated admissions opportunity for students in the BA program. They can combine their senior year with the first year of graduate work on a Master of Policy, Planning, and Management at USM's Muskie School of Public Service. Environmental Planning and Policy majors in the spring semester of their junior year may apply for conditional admission to this program. If accepted, the students will take courses throughout their senior year that will count toward completion of both their undergraduate and master's degrees. Upon completion of their senior year, those students who have met minimum grade requirements will transition to full graduate student status. This fast track can save tuition and time.
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