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Policy, Science, and the Environment
ENVS 5000

Purpose of the Course and Expectations

The course has two basic goals.  First, to discuss issues arising at the intersection of policy, science and the environment that create challenges for effective decision making; and second, to introduce you to conceptual tools which are useful in thinking more effectively and responsibly about any problem of policy; and third, to develop and practice skills using the tools to analyze the various dimensions of an policy issue.  For this semester, the course will focus mainly on the issue of climate change.

To meet these goals, the course focuses on two primary activities:

  1. core readings and discussion
  2. periodic individual and shared assignments


Please note that five books are required reading for this course, other readings are either selected chapters or journal articles.

What you will get out of this class is proportional to what you put into the class. A good deal of the substantive material that we discuss will be brought to the class by you -- through the projects and our class discussions of the readings. 

In order to get the most out of this course, you will need to come to class prepared, participate, and complete all of the assignments.  I encourage you to use the office hours as an opportunity to discuss in more detail certain aspects of the course, share ideas on your case study, and to provide feedback on the course and the readings.  The remainder of this syllabus details some of the important aspects of this course.