The concentration in Environmental Science and Public Policy is designed to provide a multi-disciplinary introduction to current problems of the environment. It is founded on the premise that the ability to form rational judgments concerning many of the complex challenges confronting society today involving the environment requires both an understanding of the underlying scientific and technical issues and an appreciation for the relevant economic, political, legal, historical and ethical dimensions.
Information for Prospective Concentrators
Watch this video for a faculty message about choosing ESPP as a concentration. Visit the Board of Tutors page to find a list of ESPP faculty which includes their home department, research interests, and email address. ESPP faculty are happy to be contacted via email by prospective students.
Note drop-in office hours listed on our home page, please stop by one of these sessions with questions. Happy to meet other times that may be more convenient: please email Lorraine at email@example.com to arrange an alternate time.
Please complete tbis form when declaring ESPP -- this in addition to declaring your concentration in my.harvard (instructions here). The Harvard College deadline for Concentration Declaration is Thursday, November 19, 2020.
Still not sure? Reach out to one of our current students to hear first hand about ESPP! The current concentrators listed below all agreed to be contacted by prospective students to answer questions about ESPP and share their stories and interest.
Chris Altizer ‘21
Joint concentrator: ESPP and History & Science
ESPP Interests: I’m particularly passionate about the intersection between climate science and education. As a joint concentrator with History and Science, I’m also fascinated by the history of the environment and the ways in which we study it.
Alyx Britton ‘21
Joint concentrator: ESPP & Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality
ESPP interests: environmental justice, especially food justice and sovereignty. My (in-progress) senior thesis uses an interdisciplinary, feminist approach to critically examine representation in sovereignty advocacy and resulting environmental consequences.
Wyatt Hurt ‘21
ESPP Interests: I’m primarily interested in the politics and policy of shared environmental resources, especially transboundary river basins. I have taken a wide variety of courses across the natural and social sciences, and am currently writing a senior thesis on the ways that satellite data is shifting regimes of political power, cooperation, and expertise in transboundary water governance.
Robert Powell ‘21
ESPP interests: I am interested in natural resource management (water, agriculture, wildfires) and clean energy. I've focused my studies and research primarily on analyzing remotely sensed data and policy conclusions therefrom!
Lincoln Sorscher ‘21
Morgan Whitten ‘21
ESPP Interests: I love all things ESPP but am particularly interested in the sustainable development and the impact of climate change on conflict and migration. I’d be happy to talk about classes, cities, hiking, beekeeping, or anything else.
The J-Term sailing trip aboard the Sea Education Association's Corwith Cramer served as a capstone experience to the knowledge gained through the diverse ESPP course offerings.
The intimate size of the program has encouraged me to form relationships with both professors and students with whom I share common interests and passions.
The social side of ESPP appealed to me more when I decided to be an ESPP concentrator but over the last three years, I have appreciated the importance of the scientific aspects and enjoyed the challenge of getting to grips with them.
From the fun-loving and awesome classmates that became close friends, to the great TFs that became mentors, to the Professors who took us under their wing and helped cultivate passions, to our wonderful administrator Lorraine who cared about everyone and made everything run smoothly, the people I was so fortunate to be around definitely made ESPP the right choice for me!
ESPP is valuable because it brings together different types of thinking and knowledge necessary to address complex global problems, and the people who are passionate about solving them.
The small, focused ESPP classes have afforded me the opportunity to interact with guest lecturers from across the globe—experts in innovation and technology, genetically modified organisms, environmental health, particulate air pollution, superfund sites, and indoor air quality. In addition to their work, these experts discussed their experiences and career paths, providing advice that was as valuable as the cutting-edge research they shared with us.
The ESPP concentration gave me a series of frameworks to think about change, and through an emphasis on case studies and success stories, taught me that the most overwhelming obstacles can be tackled despite their daunting scope.
I would encourage students to treat ESPP not as a program that teaches you material/facts, but as a program that teaches you how to think about problems and how to learn about new ones.
I have encountered many other graduate students and professionals in conservation biology who do not have any academic background in policy or law. In a field as integrative and interdisciplinary as fisheries and wildlife biology, I feel that I am at a huge advantage in having a solid understanding of the economic, legal, and governance aspects of conservation in addition to its scientific components.
I found the process of developing, researching, and writing a Senior Thesis and the mentorship that I received during this experience particularly enjoyable, and it inspired me to pursue a career in environmental research.
For those pursing medicine, ESPP was an ideal concentration as it facilitates completion of the typical "pre-med" requirements, but more importantly it affords an opportunity to explore one's talents in the sciences as applied to other fields.
I have worked in the energy and environment space since I graduated from Harvard undergrad, and I think my undergraduate education was incredibly helpful in preparing me for my current position.
Office Hours for First-Year Students and Sophomores
Please stop our office hours with questions or just to say hi.
Drop-in office hours (Eastern Time) :
With ESPP Head Tutor, Professor N. Michele Holbrook:
Friday, November 6 from 10-11:00am
Monday, November 9 4:30-5:30pm
With ESPP Program Administrator Lorraine Maffeo:
Wednesday, October 28 2:00-4:00pm
Monday, November 2 11:00am-1:oopm
Wednesday, November 4 3:30-5:00pm
Other times by appointment--please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fall 2020 Courses
ESPP 78 Environmental Politics
ESPP 90n Addressing the Global Climate Crisis: Challenges for Both Developed and Developing Economies
Michael McElroy and Shaojie Song