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Environmental Resilience and Adaptation

In 2017, the US experienced 16 weather and climate disasters resulting in at least 362 deaths; each event cost businesses and taxpayers more than $1 billion (NOAA, 2018). Worldwide droughts, wildfires, flooding, landslides and cyclones lead to major casualties, destruction of homes, loss of livelihoods and billions of dollars in damage to infrastructure. The realities of changing climate are acutely felt by cities where dense populations and aging infrastructure lead to infectious disease outbreaks such as cholera and the inability of rescue workers to reach the sick and injured after natural disasters. Thus, there is a need for professionals that can understand and work across a multitude of disciplines for planning and preparedness.

Graduates in the Environmental Resilience and Adaptation concentration can expect to find positions in private industry, environmental consulting companies, city government (water departments and sustainability offices) and nonprofit organizations working in environmental justice and planning capacities.

Student research

Your capstone project is a culmination of your classroom, research and field experiences in the MES program. Your methods and results are unique to your professional and academic goals. Take a look at abstracts by recent MES students with a focus in this emerging field.

Every student in the Master of Environmental Studies (MES) program creates a research poster designed to showcase their capstone project. The selection of posters listed below is representative of the range of research projects undertaken by recent students in the field of Environmental Resilience and Adaptation.

Sample Environmental Resilience and Adaptation concentration courses

In the Environmental Resilience and Adaptation concentration, you will choose from a wide variety of courses, from departments and graduate schools across the University. The following list provides some examples of courses that the program has approved for students to take as part of this concentration.

Department of Earth and Environmental Science (MES Home)
  • The Role of Water in Urban Sustainability and Resiliency
  • Issues in Food and Agricultural Policy
  • Fundamentals of Air Pollution
  • Air Pollution: Sources & Effects in Urban Environments
  • Wetlands
  • Conservation and Land Management
  • Risk Assessment: Science and Policy
  • Modeling Geographic Space (GIS)
  • Modeling Geographic Objects (GIS)
Penn Law School
  • Environmental Law
  • Land Use Law
School of Design
  • Negotiation & Conflict Resolution
  • Site Planning
  • Land Use & Environmental Modeling
  • Sustainable Cities
  • Sensing the City
  • Ecology, Technology and Design
  • Topics in Ecological Design
Wharton School of Business
  • Negotiation & Conflict Resolution
  • Risk Analysis & Environmental Management

Application information

Apply Now

You may apply to begin the Master of Environmental Studies degree during the fall or spring terms.

Apply now >


MES Virtual Café

MES Virtual Cafe

Join us on the first Tuesday of every month for an online chat, hosted live from noon - 1 p.m.

Learn more >

Student & alumni stories

Student & Alumni Stories

"I'm doing a research together with UNICEF in their WASH programs. It's a very enriching experience to learn from people who have economic perspective on this issue." - Richa Desai (MES '17)

Watch the video >

Penn LPS

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