iMEP Core Courses

This course provides an overview of environmental economics by introducing analytical methods and tools to analyze environmental problems and identify policy solutions. The first part of the course provides a microeconomic foundation of environmental economics, with a focus on market efficiency and market failures. The second part introduces environmental policy decision tools such as benefit-cost analysis and cost-effectiveness criterion. In particular, this part focuses on benefits estimation including revealed preference approaches and stated preference approaches. The third part discusses environmental regulation, with topics covering command-and-control regulation, market-based approaches, and behavioral interventions. The challenges of applying economic instruments to real world environmental problems will be also discussed, such as time and space, risk and uncertainty, compliance and enforcement, etc. This course is expected to stimulate critical thinking about environmental challenges and policy solutions.

This course is designed to give student a foundation in statistics and program evaluation related to environmental policy. Program evaluations seek to identify the causal effect of a program/regulation/policy on some outcome of interest. In the environmental area, this often involves evaluating whether a program has a causal effect on environmental quality. Through this class, students will learn to become critical thinkers in program evaluations and use these evaluations to improve policy. The course has two components, theory and applications. The first component of the course helps students learn the major empirical methods in program evaluation. The second component of the course applies these tools to international environmental policy choices, where students will read and analyze evaluations of the effectiveness of different policy instruments.

The objective of this class is to learn how to organize and present analyses of data to solve important environmental problems. The course draws upon specific policy analysis tools and case studies to evaluate and distinguish between different policy issues and choices. There is a focus on the special challenges posed by environmental policy analysis, including the importance of translating core terms and concepts between cultures so that policy analysts in differing countries can learn from one another’s experiences.

This course introduces students to the core concepts and topics of environmental sciences. It will give an in-depth overview of main themes in the field of environmental studies: global environmental challenges, human population trends, global atmospheric changes, air, land and water resources and pollution, the ocean and fisheries, key ecosystems (forests, grasslands, wetlands, freshwater and marine environment), biodiversity and conservation, non-renewable and renewable energy, agriculture and sustainable production. Quantitative and qualitative research methods will be introduced with case studies.

This course provides an introduction to and overview of the environmental policy process. The first part of the course introduces the environmental policy process with case studies from different countries exemplifying regional differences. The second part of the course introduces various aspects and challenges in the design and formation of environmental policies with focus on the role of science and scientific uncertainties, pressure from various interest groups, public participation in policy-making, environmental policy instruments and tools to forecast the impact(s) of environmental policies. The third part of the course focuses on implementation and tools to evaluate the impact of environmental policies. The fourth part of the course discusses the formation of international environmental policies and their impact on national priorities. Throughout the course case studies from jurisdictions across the globe will be used to exemplify the practical implications of these theoretical frameworks and challenges in areas such as pollution control, climate change, conservation and natural resource management.

This course uses an integrated approach to leverage economic and policy analytic skills learned during the first semester and applies them to real world environmental policy problems. Students work in small operational units under the supervision of a client on a specific topic designated by the client. Student groups work through the process of clearly defining the nature and scope of the environmental policy problem, generate evidence on the impact of the problem or projections about the potential effects of policies aimed at addressing this problem, and prepare written and oral communications aimed at diverse stakeholders, including, but not limited to, their clients. Class sessions also provide students with exposure to advanced topics in economic policy analysis, specifically welfare analysis, cost-benefit analysis, and cost-effectiveness analysis.

This is an introductory environmental law course, with emphasis on the practical use and application of legal concepts within the context of pollution control and resource management. This class will explore the role of law, regulation and governance in protecting, managing and restoring the environment and natural resources. Understanding these processes in China will be the main focus of the class. On occasions, cases from other jurisdictions will be included in the syllabus.

This course is designed to offer a framework for students to develop a feasible, ambitious and impactful Masters Project (MP). It is designed to offer guidance and resources to students for conceiving of, designing, and completing the initial steps of their MPs. All contents are assignments are focused on the students’ projects. The MP I Course culminates in the production of around 3,000 words MP Prospectus, which will be formally evaluated by an MP prospectus review committee at the end of the Fall term. Only projects that pass the review committee can validate the MP I course. This course has been taught at both Duke and DKU over the course of review period.

This course seeks to help students complete an impactful Masters Project (MP), and to present project findings in coherent and compelling ways. It will expand upon the work students completed in the course ENVIRON 898K, MASTERS PROJECT DEVELOPMENT I, in which they conceived of, designed, and completed the initial steps of their MP. In this MP completion course, students will review and revise project content in peer-to-peer and instructor-to-student settings, critically evaluate their methods and data, search for new ways to leverage their findings, and tighten their resulting analysis. Students will also work to build innovative and effectively communicated written and presented products from their MP work. The course will be highly interactive, with limited lecture content. This course has been taught at both Duke and DKU over the course of review period.


Students work with a faculty advisor to develop a course syllabus with a significant final research project, which constitutes most of the grade. The faculty and student decide on a regular meeting time to ensure progress throughout the semester. Students may only receive credit towards their degree for one independent study.

This modular course will use a case-based curriculum to give an overview of the key areas in international environmental policy. The course will include seven modules covering international environmental economics, international environmental policy and politics, and international environmental negotiations. Students will be expected to participate in policy debates and simulations. The principal goal of the course is to preview the application of social sciences (economics, public policy, and political science) to the environment, and facilitate the translation of core curricular concepts into a variety of real-word applications.

Natural resources and protected area management requires a certain suite of skills including wildlife monitoring, environmental change tracking, socio-economic survey and stakeholder engagement. This course combines in class learning for essential survey methods and experiential education through a 7-day field course (in Sichuan Province panda habitat or Sanjiangyuan national park in Qinghai) at the end of spring semester. Students will design their own group project to carry out in the local context. The project aims to practice the survey methods that students have learned in the lectures and answer a specific question related to natural resources and protected area management. Through the course, students could master the toolkit for practical natural resources management and understand the challenges involved in protected area management.

This course introduces students to basic research methodology for environmental sciences, including both health sciences and social sciences. Topics covered include quantitative and qualitative methods, experimental and quasi-experimental research designs, sampling and sample size determination, survey design and implementation, and the process of publishing academic research. Students will review published research of other scholars and critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the methods they employ in addressing their specific research questions.

This course is a graduate-level course on research methods for students in the iMEP Program. In this class, students will study research methods from many disciplines to understand the interdisciplinary nature of environmental policy research. The course focused on research methods used in anthropology, social science, public health, and economics. Students will read a variety of real research papers before class. During class, students will present and formulate discussions on the research question, research method, data source, findings, inference, and policy implications.

Study the human health impacts of accelerating environmental change through interdisciplinary approaches including environmental science, political science, public health and social science; engage in diverse materials from many types of examples of planetary health research, from nutrition and mental health, to infectious and non-communicable diseases.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a computer-based tool that uses spatial data to analyze and solve problems. This course introduces students to the core concepts and latest application of geographic information system in the environment area. It will give an in-depth overview of the key data types (raster and vector files) in this area, data collection and entry, data management, data analysis and output using ArcGIS. This course will also introduce application of GIS in real world problem solving, such as species habitat mapping and conservation planning. Students will be exposed to Google Earth, QGIS and other open source GIS tools.

This course provides for continued development and practice of skills learned in Statistics and Program Evaluation and Environmental Economics. Students develop conceptual and professional skills related to environmental policy evaluation. The goal is to stimulate critical thinking about today’s environmental problems and the public policies designed to improve them by implementing the theories and principles acquired in class.

Electives (Online)

Many environmental problems occur both locally & globally. Having insights and experience from different parts of the world is important for students to gain problem-oriented training. This course will cover fundamental principles on physical & chemical processes related to major environmental problems. These principles will then be integrated to discussions of case studies addressing a specific set of problems. The case studies will involve the participation of invited guest instructors who are experts on specific topics/cases. Depending on preference of guest instructors, they can introduce a case study via online lecturing/chatting or providing a pre-made video.

This course explores the economic characteristics of the climate change problem, assesses national and international policy design and implementation issues, and surveys the economic tools necessary to evaluate climate change policies. The course is discussion-oriented requiring high degree of student participation. Course objectives are increased comprehension of economic aspects of climate change and ability to apply tools of economic analysis to climate policy and the responses of firms and households to it. Course designed for graduate and advanced undergraduate students.

Language and Writing Center Courses

Before the start of their first semester, all iMEP students whose native language is anything other than English are required to take a language assessment at DKU. Based on the performance on this exam, students may be required to take English language courses offered by the DKU Language and Culture Center during their first year of study in the iMEP Program. Students will be notified of placement assessment results before the beginning of classes. The oral and/or written English graduate level credit-bearing course(s) are offered in both Fall and Spring semesters. These courses are only offered on a non-graded (Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory) basis.

If a student is required to take English language courses, these courses become additional degree requirements beyond what is required for the iMEP Program, and students are required to show satisfactory progress toward completion in their first year of study. These English courses cannot be counted as electives for the iMEP Program.

This course builds academic writing skills through a field-specific examination of the literacy practices common to DKU graduate school programs. Students learn useful organizational structures and functions and improve their ability to write clear and concise texts. They build vocabulary and learn to use high frequency academic collocations. Individualized instruction enables students to identify their strengths and limitations and make improvements in their writing.

The global nature of our work and the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration highlight the need for strong language skills, advanced intercultural competence and professionalism. This course seeks to stay abreast of the practices common to the student’s discipline and teach the communication skills needed for success in those field-specific practices.

Duke Semester Electives

During the semester iMEP students spend on the Duke campus in Durham, students each choose three electives from graduate student course options at NSOE and SSPP. They may also take courses from the Fuqua School of Business, Law School, Pratt School of Engineering and the Graduate School with special permission from the iMEP DGS and the course instructor. The vast majority of iMEP students take their electives at NSOE and SSPP.

The iMEP students have a large selection of courses available to them at NSOE and SSPP with a few limitations. According to the signed MOU between Duke and DKU, iMEP students may enroll in a total of three elective courses during their time at Duke. This requirement prohibits overloading on courses during the Duke semester, but it also prevents iMEP students from taking one or two credit courses, since that would force them to take four courses to fulfill graduation requirements. Similar to the limitations on any other graduate program at Duke, iMEP students must receive faculty permission to join the core courses of the other graduate degree programs (MPP and Master of International Development Policy programs through SSPP; MEM and Master of Forestry programs through NSOE). In addition, iMEP students must meet any pre-requisite requirements for a course, which are typically met by iMEP core curriculum or elective courses.

Most Popular Duke Electives:

ENVIRON 559 Fundamentals of GIS and Geospatial Analysis

ENVIRON 590 Special Topics: Big Cats Decline Africa & Asia

ENVIRON 630 Transportation and Energy

ENVIRON 761 Geospatial Analysis Conservation Management

ENVIRON 782 Marketing for Env Professionals

ENVIRON 831 Sustainable Business Strategy

ENVIRON 836A Seabird Survival and Dispersal Analysis

ENVIRON 857 Remote Sensing for Environmental Analysis

PUBPOL 890 Special Topics: Econ & Demographic Data

PUBPOL 890 Special Topics: Behavioral Economics and Public Policy