Dept. Code: ECSD

Through the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Department of Environmental Science and Policy offers an interdisciplinary course of study leading to a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Policy.  Doctoral students are supported by research assistantships, which include tuition remission and a monthly stipend. All students are also required to serve satisfactorily for two terms as teaching assistants in the Ecosystem Science and Policy undergraduate program.


Students admitted to the program must have earned a bachelor's or master's degree and should display a strong interest in the interdisciplinary study of ecosystem science and policy.

Curriculum Requirements

Core Courses
ESP 601 (Interdisciplinary Environmental Research: Introduction to the Why and the How)3
ESP 603 (Interdisciplinary Environmental Methods)
ESP 605 (Interdisciplinary Enviromental Law and Policy)3
ESP 607 (Interdisciplinary Environmental Decision Analysis)3
ESP 840 (Doctoral Dissertation)
Proposed Additional Courses 118
Additional Courses to get to 60 Credits18
Examinations 2
Dissertation 3
Total Credit Hours45


The Environmental Science and Policy (ESP) graduate program was formulated in response to increasing societal demand for academicians and practitioners at the Ph.D. level with interdisciplinary training aimed at addressing complex problems concerning the impact of human activity and global climate change on so-called linked social-ecological systems. Our graduate program targets top caliber students whose demonstrated skills and interests bridge science and social science, and who seek the theoretical and analytical skills to address human-environment problems from academic and applied perspectives.

Program Goals

The Ph.D. program is intended to provide students with the ability to work on interdisciplinary research problems using mixed methods, both quantitative and qualitative. The goal is for students to formulate dissertation projects that factor in both social and natural science approaches at the outset in order to further understanding of linked social-ecological systems.  

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate command of interdisciplinary environmental policy literature.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to perform sound interdisciplinary analyses of environmental problems and formulate sound interdisciplinary research approaches.
  • Students will exhibit an ability to communicate effectively in oral presentations and in writing.