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Create solutions to the complex environmental challenges of the 21st century. The future of the planet depends on you.

Right now, people all over the world are facing social and economic injustices and escalating environmental threats to their health and wellbeing. From toxic pollution to habitat loss to climate change, our planet’s inhabitants and ecosystems are facing critical and highly time-sensitive challenges.

At Clark University, we aren’t daunted by these challenges. Our creativity and resolve are inspired by them. A signature program in our influential International Development, Community, and Environment (IDCE) Department, the M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy uses an integrative, collaborative approach for understanding and responding to complex issues. We work in partnership with communities, nonprofits, businesses, donors, and policymakers in the United States and internationally to promote safer, healthier, more sustainable relationships between humans and the natural environment. And we help develop knowledge that can be translated into action through changes to policies, practices, behaviors, attitudes, and technologies.

Why a Master’s in Environmental Science and Policy at Clark University

  • Accelerated degree options – earn a master’s degree in 12 to 15 months. Two other degree track options are available to earn your degree in 12 to 24 months.
  • Gain a competitive professional edge in a department ranked #15 in the world for development studies (based on academic reputation) by QS World University Rankings.
  • Engage in one of nine departmental concentrations, taking classes with students across IDCE’s degree programs, to tackle significant global challenges on projects that cross geographic and cultural boundaries. Learn to work across teams with diverse intellectual and personal backgrounds to become a change maker.
  • Design and implement projects in partnership with impacted communities, policymakers, and businesses.
  • Collaborate with diverse groups to build social and technical capacities that promote sustainable development, water quality, food security, ecosystem conservation, climate-change resilience, and more.
  • Pursue your master’s degree on your terms with options for part-time and full-time study. Start dates for the program are in Spring and Fall.
Sarah Maloney is Ready to Use What She Learned at Clark

Sarah Maloney is Ready to Use What She Learned at Clark

The flexibility of the IDCE curriculum and faculty allows Sarah Maloney to explore other areas, such as GIS mapping and programming, as part of her master’s in environmental science and policy degree.

I’ve always really liked science, and I wanted to use it in a greater context. My advisers let me choose classes to meet my requirements that weren’t the usual.

The Essentials

Program Overview

The Environmental Science and Policy master’s degree is professionally oriented and academically rigorous.

The core courses and final project provide a firm foundation in science and policy knowledge, in addition to applied research and/or practitioner experience. The interdisciplinary concentration courses are taken with natural scientists, engineers, or social scientists — in one of IDCE’s concentrations.

Our graduate students enjoy taking courses across many departments at Clark University. They have the opportunity to learn something outside their area of study — building stronger bonds and horizon-broadening skill sets.

You have the flexibility to complete your degree at your own pace — either as a full-time or part-time student, beginning in Spring, Summer (online only), or Fall.

Three separate degree tracks provide students with options for completion of an advanced degree.

  • 10 Unit Degree Option – 12 to 15 months –- 10-unit curriculum consisting of three units of core courses, two units of methods and skills courses, four units of concentration courses, and one completion unit.
  • Prior Experience/Service Option – 12 months –- This option gives academic credit for prior professional work or service experience which would allow qualified students to complete an IDCE degree in eight units, which could take nine to 12 months. This pathway lets those students focus on building the skills they need to advance their careers and to maximize their impact in the world.
  • Research Track Option – 20 to 24 months — IDCE recognizes that a traditional, two-year residential master’s degree remains attractive to those students interested in conducting independent research as preparation for further graduate study. A research degree track will require 12 units for completion. Under this track, students will complete nine units of work across their first three terms (12 to 15 months). This option differs from the 10-unit Degree Option in that students are required to take a third method or skills course and engage in two units of substantial research in their final term.

Understand complexity integratively. Respond in partnership with diverse social groups. Tackle provocative questions:

  • What does a more environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable future look like for New England, for Puerto Rico, and for the world?
  • How can universities, communities, policymakers, and businesses collaborate to envision, plan, and implement a sustainable future?
  • How can we increase the climate change resilience of towns, cities, and regions in unified ways across sectors such as water, energy, health, food, and transportation?
  • How can we conserve biodiversity and ecosystem integrity and mitigate human-wildlife conflicts — while meeting the livelihood needs of humans?
  • What are the health risks of pollution, and how can we reduce, mitigate, or eliminate those risks?
  • Critically examine and challenge conventional ideas, policies, technologies, and practices, such as U.S. energy policy or U.N. sustainable development goals
  • Acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of diverse data: quantitative, qualitative, spatial (GIS), and ethnographic/narrative
  • Knowledge of what it takes to collaborate with communities, businesses, governmental agencies, NGOs, researchers, donors, and activists
  • Capacity to develop systems-based understanding of an issue — and responses to it — within its environmental, social, political, cultural, and economic contexts
  • Ability to constructively engage with complexity, instability, and uncertainties that exist in the world
  • Landscape Ecology
  • Case Studies in Environmental Issues and Policy Analysis
  • Sustainable Development Assessment and Planning
  • Field Methods in Environmental Science
  • Humanitarian Assistances in Complex Emergencies/Disasters


10 course units

  • 3 core courses
  • 2 methods/skills courses
  • 4 concentration courses (interdisciplinary elective courses in one of IDCE’s focal areas)
  • 1 completion unit

Course Catalog

Explore the Department of International Development, Community, and Environment.