November 12, 1998
Vol. 18 No. 4

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    Harris School, Physical Sciences offer new master’s program

    By Joel Williams
    Irving B. Harris School of Public Policy

    Citing a need for better-informed environmental policy leaders in business and government, faculty in the Harris School of Public Policy Studies and the Physical Sciences Division at Chicago have announced the creation of a two-year, professional graduate program leading to a master of science degree in environmental science and policy.

    “There is a strong need for professionals with the analytical and empirical skills necessary to develop and implement environmental policies based on sound, credible science,” said Don Coursey, the Ameritech Professor in the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, an environmental economist and co-founder of the new degree program.

    The environmental science and policy program will address such issues as air, land and water pollution, the impact of agriculture and forestry on the environment, environmental legislation, waste management, recycling, environmental problems in developing countries, natural reserve areas and endangered animals and plants. Faculty and outside specialists in these various fields will serve as instructors, guest lecturers and workshop leaders.

    According to Coursey and program co-founder John Frederick, the new degree is designed to help students understand the processes that control the natural environment and its response to disruptions, particularly those brought about by human activities as a consequence of policy decisions.

    In addition to the economic, technological and social factors that routinely face decision makers, an organization’s impact on the environment is increasingly the subject of regulatory and public scrutiny, said Frederick, a Professor in the Geophysical Sciences and the College and a leading atmospheric science researcher. “With a strong emphasis on the fundamental physics and chemistry of the environment, the program is aimed at students interested in assessing the scientific repercussions of various policies on the environment,” he said.

    The program requires a total of 18 courses, including two electives in public policy and/or the physical sciences and an independent study course.

    Applicants for the new master’s program must have previous training in science at the undergraduate level and satisfy all prerequisites for the environmental sciences curriculum. Admission to the program is subject to the approval of both the Harris School and the Physical Sciences Division.

    The Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies at the University is among the leading public policy research and training programs in the world, with core concentrations in such policy areas as children and families, international relations, political economy, public management and poverty studies and welfare.

    Established in 1988, the Harris School evolved from the Committee on Public Policy Studies, which for 13 years served as the primary locus of training and research on public policy issues at the University.

    For the latest Harris School news, readers may visit its Web site at: http://www.HarrisSchool.uchicago.edu.