2014-15 Catalogs

BA in Environmental Planning and Policy

The Department of Environmental Science offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Environmental Planning and Policy.  The combination of these two disciplines recognizes the inherent interconnection in conjunction with DES'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.  The environmental 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.

DES offers an accelerated admissions opportunity for students in the BA program. They can combine their senior year with the first year of graduate work in USM's Muskie School master's degree program in Community Planning & Development.  To do this, Environmental Planning & Policy majors in the spring semester of their junior year may apply for conditional admission to the Program in Community Planning & Development.  If accepted, the students will take courses throughout their senior year that will count toward completion of both their undergraduate and master's degrees.  Seniors can complete up to 24 credits which can be applied toward the 48 credits required for the master's degree.  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.

The minimum number of credits required for the major is 66. Some of these courses also meet the 43 to 52 credits required for the University's Core curriculum. All students must have at least 120 total credits and  must not require any remedial work.  A student must achieve at least a 2.0 grade point average and must earn at least a C- in each course applied toward completion of the major.

Required courses for all majors in the department

     ESP 101 Fundamentals of Environmental Science
     ESP 102 Fundamentals of Environmental Science Lab
     ESP 125 Introduction to Environmental Ecology
     ESP 126 Introduction to Environmental Ecology Lab
     ESP 150 Field Immersion
     ESP 197 Research Skills Lab
     ESP 203 Environmental Communication
     ESP 280 Research and Analytical Methods
     ESP 340 Environmental Regulations
     ESP 400 Internship (between junior and senior year)
     ESP 401 Environmental Impact Assessment and Lab (capstone)
     ESP 475 Senior Seminar

Choose one tools course

  • Suggested tools courses include: MAT 120, MAT 220, ESP/GEO 108, GEO 205, GEO 308

Required courses specific to students in the BA in Environmental Planning and Policy
     ESP 220 Introduction to Environmental Policy
     ESP 305 Community Planning Workshop
     ESP 375 Environmental Risk Assessment and Management
     ESP 417 Site Planning and Assessment
     ESP 421 Natural Resource Policy
     CHY 1XX Chemistry Lecture
     CHY 1XX Chemistry Lab
     GEO 209 Land Use Planning
          or ESP 200 Environmental Planning
     ECO/ESP 326 Environmental Economics
          or ECO/ESP 327 Natural Resource Economics


Choose two environmental science classes 200-level or higher.