MES
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MES/MPA Dual Degree

The dual degree program between the Fels Institute of Government and the College of Liberal and Professional Studies offers students the opportunity to earn a Master of Public Administration (MPA) and a Master of Environmental Studies (MES) concurrently. This dual degree program enhances the interdisciplinary approach used in the MES program. Students who participate in this dual degree program will be able to close a gap between government and high-quality environmental management that is lacking in a single degree program.

The MPA prepares students for leadership in government, nonprofit organizations, and private firms engaged in public sector work. The exposure to biology, chemistry, earth sciences, and other relevant disciplines found in the MES program serves as a valuable complement to the MPA's leadership education. The ubiquity of environmental policy issues across all parts of the public and non-profit sectors makes this area of study relevant for students, who can then go on to careers where they may demonstrate their expertise in environmental policy, resource management, and the Urban Environment.  Additionally, the interdisciplinary nature of the MES degree exposes Fels students to faculty and students with similar interests in environmentally related topics throughout the Penn community. The capstone component of the MES program provides the MPA students with the opportunity to participate in a research initiative related to their field of study.

Program Format

Students must apply for each Masters program separately. Once accepted into both programs the student's career is combined into the Dual degree. 

Typical Dual Degree Time Line

Fall Year 1 (Fels-MPA)

GAFL 621: Economics

GAFL 703: Statistics

GAFL 722: Budgeting

ENVS 601: Proseminar

 

Spring Year 1 (Fels-MPA)

GAFL 732: Public Management

GAFL 735: Performance Mgmt

GAFL 783: Public Financial Mgmt

ENVS Foundation Course

Summer Year 1 (LPS-MES)

ENVS Concentration Course

 

 

Fall Year 2 (LPS-MES)

GAFL 631: Politics

ENVS Foundation Course

ENVS Foundation Course

ENVS 533: Research Methods

 

Spring Year 2 (LPS-MES)

GAFL 589: Policy Development

ENVS Foundation Course

ENVS Concentration Course

ENVS 699: Capstone

Students may opt to reduce the course load in Spring or Fall and take additional courses in the Summer of Year 1 and/or Year 2.

Sample Curricula

Degree Requirements

  • The proseminar (1 CU)
  • Four foundation courses (4 CUs)
  • Five courses in the student's professional concentration (5 CUs)
  • One research methods course (1 CU)
  • A capstone project (1 CU)

The Proseminar-ENVS 601

The Proseminar - Contemporary Issues in Environmental Studies - acquaints students with issues, debates and current knowledge in the study of the environment. Its content is drawn from many disciplines at Penn.

Research Methods

Each student must complete a research methods course that prepares him/her to enter the capstone phase of the program. This course may be satisfied by ENVS 533 Research Methods in Environmental Studies.  Other courses may be substituted depending on the student's capstone topic.

Foundation Courses

Each student takes four foundation courses selected from a list of topics presented below (to be selected in consultation with the student's advisor). These courses are a source of interdisciplinary breadth for each student.

  • Environmental Biology
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Geology
  • Environmental Law

Sample Courses for the Foundation:

Environmental Biology

  • ENVS 507 - Wetlands
  • ENVS 530 - Rocky Mountain Field Geology and Ecology
  • ENVS 610 - Regional Field Ecology

Environmental Chemistry

  • ENVS 502 - Environmental Chemistry
  • GEOL 421 - Elemental Cycling in Global Systems
  • GEOL 528 - Aqueous Geochemistry

Environmental Geology

  • GEOL 401 - Environmental Geology
  • GEOL 511 - Soils
  • GEOL 652 - Physical Geology for Environmental Professionals
  • GEOL 653 - Introduction to Hydrology

Environmental Law

  • ENVS 611 - Environmental Law
  • ENVS 625 - Overview of Environmental Justice
  • ENVS 643 - Brownfield Remediation

Area of Concentration (5 CU's)

Each Dual Degree student develops a professional concentration from the following options:

  • Environmental Policy
  • Urban Environment
  • Resource Management

Five graduate courses are selected in consultation with the student's advisors to complete the Professional Concentration. Those courses enable the student to develop the professional capacity identified initially as the objective of his or her course of study, and to acquire the skills and the critical perspective necessary to pursue the capstone exercise.

Fels courses related to environmental studies that might be a natural fit include, but are not limited to, the following:

MES Concentration in Environmental Policy

  • GAFL 589 Policy Development (a)
  • GAFL 631 Politics, Policy, and Public Service (c)
  • GAFL 732 Public Management (a)
  • GAFL 748 Foundations and Grant Management (b)
  • GAFL 761 Lobbying (c)
  • Others with approval by Faculty Committee

MES Concentration in Resources Management

  • GAFL 520 Nonprofits and Social Entrepreneurism (c)
  • GAFL 521 Fundraising for Nonprofit Organizations (a)
  • GAFL 732 Public Management (a)
  • GAFL 748 Foundations and Grant Management (b)
  • GAFL 749 Leading Nonprofit Organizations (a)
  • GAFL 761 Lobbying (c)
  • Others with approval by Faculty Committee

MES Concentration in Urban Environment

  • GAFL 532 Big City Politics: How to Pass Municipal Legislation (c)
  • GAFL 569 The Politics of Housing and Urban Development (c)
  • GAFL 589 Policy Development (a)
  • GAFL 631 Politics, Policy, and Public Service (c)
  • GAFL 749 Leading Nonprofit Organizations (a)
  • Others with approval by Faculty Committee

The Capstone Project-ENVS 699

Toward the end of the program, each student undertakes a capstone project, an independent, one-semester research exercise that demonstrates the student's mastery of the subject matter.  The capstone documents the student's ability to define a research question; design a protocol to address that question; acquire the data necessary to clarify, if not resolve, that question; critically assess the quality of the data acquired; draw defensible conclusions from those data; and communicate that process and those conclusions to professional colleagues with clarity and precision.

Expanded Sample Fels Curriculum (12 CUs)

The following are requirements of the MPA degree. 

Degree Requirements

  • Eight core courses (8 CU)
  • Four electives (4 CUs)

Core Requirements

  • GAFL 589: Policy Development
  • GAFL 621: Economic Analysis in the Public Sector
  • GAFL 631: Politics, Policy & Public Service
  • GAFL 703: Statistics for Public Leadership
  • GAFL 722: Budgeting and Financial Management for Public and Nonprofit Entities
  • GAFL 732: Public Management
  • GAFL 735: Performance Management
  • GAFL 783: Public Financial Management

Electives

  • GAFL 502. Public Speaking for Government and Nonprofit Leaders
  • GAFL 502. Public Speaking for Government and Nonprofit Leaders
  • GAFL 510. Ancient and Modern Constitutionmaking
  • GAFL 515. The Business of Public Investment Banking
  • GAFL 520. Nonprofits and Social Entrepreneurism
  • GAFL 521. Fundraising for Nonprofit Organizations
  • GAFL 528. Marketing for Nonprofit and Government Organizations
  • GAFL 530. Leadership and Politics
  • GAFL 532. Big City Politics: How to Pass Municipal Legislation
  • GAFL 545. Politics of Education
  • GAFL 560. Women Leaders and Emerging Democracies
  • GAFL 561. Dealing with the Media
  • GAFL 569. (URBS451) The Politics of Housing and Urban Development
  • GAFL 626. Developing, Managing, and Leading Talent for Nonprofit and Government Organizations
  • GAFL 652. Auditing Government Performance
  • GAFL 710 Topics in Government
  • GAFL 713. Politics, Technology, and Economic Development
  • GAFL 716. State Elective Politics
  • GAFL 724. Infrastructure Investment and Economic Growth: Why, How and When?
  • GAFL 725. Development Projects in Cities
  • GAFL 727. Managing Public Funds: The Treasury Function
  • GAFL 729. Financial Management of Nonprofit Institutions
  • GAFL 748. Foundations and Grant Management
  • GAFL 749. Leading Nonprofit Organizations
  • GAFL 761. Lobbying
  • GAFL 792. Contracting for Public Services

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