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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.  

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 EPDM Major Requirements Here.

Career Outcomes

On average, 94% of students in this major have acquired employment or enrolled in graduate or professional school within 6 months of graduation with an average starting salary of around $43k. In a typical year, 23% of EPDM grads go directly into graduate or professional school.

Here are some examples of positions acquired by EPDM graduates immediately following graduation:

Ohio Environmental Council, Environmental Policy Fellow, Ohio
Committee on Natural Resources at U.S. House of Representatives, Policy Aide, D.C.
Columbus Recreation and Parks, Seasonal Naturalist & Camp Director, Ohio
Speedway, Environmental Compliance Specialist, Ohio
Ohio EPA, Science and Technical Communications Specialist, Ohio
Peace Corps, Environmental Management Advisor, Jamaica
Amazon, Environment, Health and Safety Specialist, California
LyondellBasell, Sustainability Specialist, Texas
Big Sur Land Trust, Land Steward, California
US EPA, Scientific Assessment Coordinator, Ohio
Fulbright Student Program, English Teaching Assistant, Colombia
Allen County Soil and Water Conservation District, Stormwater Program Field Services Technician, Ohio
Americorps, Resilience VISTA, Alaska
Nature Fresh Farms, Marketing Coordinator, Ohio
National Park Service, Public Health Fellow, D.C
Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, Environmental Coordinator, Alaska
BallotReady, Research Coordinator, Ohio
The Red Cross, Regional Disaster Preparedness Coordinator, Ohio

Graduate School Outcomes

Two-thirds of EPDM grads continuing their education after their BS pursue a JD or law degree.  Here are some of the law schools students have attended in the past 5 years:

Vermont Law School
Cleveland State University
Lewis & Clark Law School
Pace University
The Ohio State University
University of Kentucky
University of Minnesota
University of South Carolina
University of Southern California

Selected additional graduate programs pursued by EPDM students upon graduation in the past 5 years:

University of Nebaska Lincoln, Entomology
The Ohio State University, Environment and Natural Resources
University of Washington, Environmental Policy
The Ohio State University, Landscape Architecture
University of Tennessee, Library and Information Sciences
Indiana University, Public Affairs
University of Michigan, Urban and Regional Planning

Full employment and graduate school outcome reports are available here.