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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Environmental Policy and Decision Making

Environmental Policy and Decision Making (EPDM) explores the protection of long-term natural resource use and environmental quality through changes in human behavior and policy. Students study the economic and social forces that impact decision making across society. This major gives particular consideration to how policies are formulated and implemented and what impact they will have on society, as well as how to best engage individuals and communities to respond to environmental challenges.  

Since 2014, 84.2%-90% of students in this major have acquired employment or enrolled in graduate or professional school within 6 months of graduation. On average, 19% of EPDM grads go directly into graduate or professional school.

Students may choose one of the following 3 specializations in which to focus:

  • Communication and Behavior Change- This specialization focuses on how best to communicate environmental, science and risk information to public audiences.  Course work offers opportunities to understand what motivates individuals to act to protect the environment, and how best to frame information to engage the public in pro-environmental behavior.
  • Environmental and Social Justice- This specialization focuses on the local and global inequality in access to and control over resources, the impact this has on livelihoods, and how corporations and policies can contribute to both solutions and problems faced by disadvantaged populations. Course work offers opportunities to understand social inequality in specific contexts, to gain knowledge about globalization's impacts on local development and livelihood strategies, and to better understand the relationship between  socioeconomic status (e.g. race, gender, class) and the environment.
  • Policy and Governance- This specialization focuses on understanding how policies that affect the environment and natural resources are designed and implemented. Through course work, students learn both how policy decision-making processes work and how to analyze and evaluate the specific policies that result from such processes. 
View Environmental Policy and Decision Making major requirements here

Career Outcomes


Selection of positions acquired by recent grads:

Stormwater Program Field Services Technician, Allen County Soil and Water Conservation District, Ohio
Regional Disaster Preparedness Coordinator, The Red Cross, Ohio
Environment, Health and Safety Specialist, Amazon, California
Research Intern, Ohio Environmental Council, Ohio
Resilience VISTA, Americorps, Alaska
Seasonal Naturalist & Camp Director, Columbus Recreation and Parks, Ohio
Environmental Scientist, Lawhon and Associates, Ohio
Project Coordinator, Mid Ohio Pipeline Company, Ohio
AmeriCorps Position, Rural Action, Ohio
Environmental Compliance Specialist, Speedway, Ohio
Volunteer Coordinator/ Samuels Club Program Fellow, The Woods Project, Texas
Soil Conservationist, US Dept of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, Ohio

Full employment and graduate school outcome reports are available here.