Environmental Policy and Planning career services information

"A diverse skill set is needed to effectively make or influence environmental policy. Through SNRE's environmental policy and planning program, I have received a range of training that has included conflict management, negotiation, politics, and environmental science. These are the tools I'll need to contribute meaningfully in the government and/or non-profit sectors."

--Mike Sintetos, SNRE Environmental Policy and Planning Alum

Favorite Environmental Policy and Planning job search websites What exactly is the study of Environmental Policy and Planning?
Employers of SNRE graduates and interns Why should employers hire Environmental Policy and Planning students?
Job titles and employment sector of SNRE alumni Examples of Environmental Policy and Planning coursework
Other employers of interest Conferences of interest
Environmental Policy and Planning-focused master's projects
Professional organizations to join
Interested in Environmental Policy and Planning-focused internships? Need help finding a job?
eRecruiter Environmental Policy and Planning highlights Need help finding an internship?

Favorite Environmental Policy and Planning job search websites

Policy Jobs
Environmental Career Opportunities (Please go to eRecruiter to obtain the password for the job subscription) 
Environmental Jobs
Environmental Planner Jobs (powered by Monster)
Green Careers Journal (Please go to eRecruiter to obtain the password for the job subscription)
High Country News Classifieds (focus on important issues in the American West)
SNRE Job Posting Websites
State of Michigan Vacancy Posting Page

Employers of SNRE graduates and SNRE interns*

Check out the SNRE Group on LinkedIn to network with SNRE students & alumni who have professional experience in the field.  

Abt Associates
Alliance for the Great Lakes
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia
Anne Arundel County Public Works Department
Apex Wind Energy
Arava Institute for Environmental Studies
Argonne National Laboratory
Au Sable Institute for Environmental Studies
Axio Power
Bank Information Center
Berkeley Air Monitoring Group
BHP Billiton
Booz & Co.
Boston Properties
Bucknell University
Carroll University
Center for Automotive Research
Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP)
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
Chikaming Open Lands
City of Ann Arbor
City of Detroit
City of Indianapolis, Office of Sustainability
Clean Energy Coalition
Clean Water Action
CLF Ventures
Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana
Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts
Colorado Division of Wildlife
Columbia University
Consensus Building Institute
Contra Costa County
Criterion Ventures
Dartmouth College
Defenders of Wildlife
Dow Chemical
DTE Biomass Energy
DTE Energy
Duke Energy
EDAW, Inc.
Environmental and Energy Study Institute
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
Environmental Resources Management, Inc. (ERM)
Environmental Science Associates
Food System Economic Partnership (FSEP) 
Ford Motor Company
Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation
GE Energy - Renewable Energy Leadership Program
Genesee Institute
Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute
Great Lakes Fishery Commission
Greenbelt Alliance
Greenman-Pedersen, Inc. 
Huron River Watershed Council
ICF International
International Resources Group (IRG)
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
Kennedy/Jenks Consultants
Knox College
Korea Environment Institute
League of Conservation Voters (LCV) (also check with state LCV organizations, for example AZ LCV, MI LCV)
Living Steel
M-Consulting Group
Maliasili Initiatives
Management and Engineering Technologies International
Maryland Judiciary
McKinsey and Company
Melbourne Institute of Technology
Meridian Institute
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Landowner Incentive Program
National Climate Change Secretariat
National Institute of Development Administration, Thailand
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Sanctuary Program
National Renewable Energy Lab
National Science Foundation (via the Knauss Sea Grant Fellowship)
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Climate Center
Near East Foundation
Network for Environment and Sustainable Development - Central Africa (Yaounde, Cameroon)
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
Northern Plains Resource Council
Oberlin College
Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies (BEST)
Oregon Department of Energy
Oregon Natural Desert Association
Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Oregon State University, Institute for Natural Resources
Pacific Gas and Electric
Pacific Northwest National Lab
Piedmont Environmental Council of Virginia (PEC)
Pinchot Institute for Conservation
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
Recycle Here!
Recycle One Inc. (Japan)
Resource Recycling Systems
San Francisco County Transportation Authority
Shepherd Advisors
Shoener Environmental
Sierra Nevada Alliance
Sinochem (China)
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Southern Environmental Association (SEA Belize)
SRA International
SRG Global
State of Ohio - Ohio Lake Erie Commission
Strategic Energy Innovations
Tel Aviv University
Texas A&M University
The Boston Consulting Group
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
The Dow Chemical Company
The Greening of Detroit
The Healthy Reefs Initiative
The Keystone Center
The Nature Conservancy
The Northern Forest Center
The Porter School of Environmental Studies, Tel Aviv University
The Water Initiative
The Wilderness Society
The World Bank
Toyota Motor North America
Union of Concerned Scientists
University of Colorado
University of Michigan, Facilities and Operations, Office of Waste Reduction
University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment
University of Montana
US Department of the Army
US Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency 
US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Area
US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service International Programs
US Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy 
US Department of State
US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Colorado BLM, California BLM
US Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service
US Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Business Plan Initiative
US Department of the Interior, Office of Environmental Policy & Compliance
US Environmental Protection Agency, Development, Community and Environment Division (DCED) is home to EPAí¢â‚¬â„¢s Smart Growth program, Office of Inspector General
US House of Representatives
US Office of Management and Budget
US Senate
Vancouver Island University
Verdis Group
Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
Vermont Judiciary, Environmental Division of Superior Court
Virginia Outdoors Foundation
Waste Management
WE ACT for Environmental Justice
Whitman College
Williams College, Center for Environmental Studies
World Resources Institute 
World Wildlife Fund, Indonesia, Romania
Youngstown State University

Job titles and employment sector of SNRE alumni*

Please note that some positions may require a PhD.

Non-Profit/NGO/Multilateral Organization

1Sky Campaign Organizer
Associate Director
Campaign Coordinator
Campaigns Project Manager
Climate Change Coordinator
Climate Finance Coordinator
Communications Director
Conservation Associate
Community Organizer
Domestic Research Assistant
Environmental Policy Analyst
Industry Analyst
Land Conservation Program Manager
Land Protection Specialist
Legislative Liaison
Municipal Sector Program Manager
Natural Resources Management Specialist
Outreach Coordinator
Policy Analyst
Policy Associate
Policy Coordinator, Energy and Climate
Program Associate, Regional Climate Change Program
Program Manager
Project Manager
Research Fellow
Senior Adviser
Senior Associate
Technical and Policy Analyst

Private (Consulting and Industry)

Associate, Energy Finance and Strategy
Associate Marketing Manager - Sustainability
Associate Planner
Commercial Associate
Computer Operator, Fire Protection Consultant
Corporate Governance Analyst
Environmental Consultant
Environmental Planner
Environmental Scientist
Finance Manager
Impacts and Adaptation Associate
Management Trainee
Managing Associate
Managing Partner
MBA Leadership Associate
Program Manager
Project Analyst
Project Development Associate
Project Manager
Project Scientist
Research Assistant
Senior Analyst
Senior Associate
Senior Consultant
Senior Environmental Scientist 
Senior Manager
Senior Project Manager 
Senior Scientist
Solar Project Finance Manager
Strategic Analyst
Technical Expert


Adjunct Assistant Professor
Adjunct Professor
Assistant Professor
Associate Professor
Director of Research
Education Director
Faculty Research Associate
Post-doctoral Research Scientist
Director of a Center
Research Assistant
Research Chair
Research Officer


Assistant Forest Planner
Assistant Project Manager
Biological Scientist
Community Involvement Coordinator
Conservation Planner
Energy Technology Program Specialist
Environmental Policy Analyst
Environmental Policy Specialist
Environmental Quality Analyst
Environmental Resource Specialist
Environmental Specialist
Evaluations Director
Fish Habitat Fellow
International Visitor Exchange Specialist
Land Use Planner
Landscape Specialist
Law Clerk
Legislative Assistant
NOAA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Program Coordinator
Natural Resources Policy Analyst
Natural Resources Specialist
Ocean Etiquette Manager/Coordinator, "Thank You Ocean" Campaign
Policy Analyst
Presidential Management Fellow
Program Specialist
Project Manager
Program Examiner
Public Participation Specialist
Regional Coordinator
Renewable Energy Project Manager
Research Associate
Researcher, Environmental Security
Research Fellow
Russia, Europe, and Near Asia Specialist
Science & Technology Policy Fellow
Senior Conservation Programs Planner
Senior Research Fellow
Senior Transportation Planner
Special Assistant
Social Scientist
Stewardship Specialist
Sustainable Systems Engineer

Click here for some sample Environmental Policy and Planning Career Opportunities

Other employers of interest

These are just a handful that have been suggested by faculty, students, or are registered employers on eRecruiter...many more are out there! Check out eRecruiter for a complete listing of Environmental Policy and Planning employers that are registered with SNRE.

Apollo Alliance
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
Callander Associates
Campion Foundation
Center for Neighborhood Technology
Center for Resource Solutions
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Citizens Energy Corporation
Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts
Congressional Research Service
DTE Energy
Ecoagriculture Partners
Energy Action Coalition
Environmental Framing Consortium
Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
Environment New Hampshire
ERO Resources Corp.
Freedom to Roam
General Motors
Global Green USA
Green Corps
Green For All
International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT)
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
LMI Government Consulting
Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Northwest Environmental Business Council
Ocean Conservancy
Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC)
Pace Global Energy Services
PBS&J Corporation
Pew Charitable Trusts
Regional Environmental Council of Central Massachusetts
Renewable Northwest Project
Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc.
Sierra Business Council
Southern Environmental Law Center
Sustain Dane
The Cadmus Group, Inc.
The Consortium for Ocean Leadership
The International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
The Land Trust Alliance
The Sitka Conservation Society
The Union of Concerned Scientists
The Women's Research Institute (WREI)
Transportation Riders United
United Nations, United Nations Development Program, United Nations Environment Program
United Nations Foundation
Upstate Forever
US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
US Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Center for Environmental Innovation (NCEI) is located in the Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation
US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG)
Water Advocates
West Michigan Environmental Action Council
West Michigan Regional Planning Commission
West Michigan Strategic Alliance
William J. Clinton Foundation
Wind on the Wires

Check out federal, state and local governmental agencies for opportunities in Environmental Policy and Planning. Many regional planning authorities will also have positions of interest to Environmental Policy and Planning students.

Environmental Policy and Planning-focused master's projects

Interested in Environmental Policy and Planning-focused internships?

Go to the SNRE Internship Website to view Environmental Policy and Planning student internship reports.

eRecruiter Environmental Policy and Planning highlights

  • Search for Environmental Policy and Planning related jobs/internships (employers can register for eRecruiter for free)
  • Find career events on campus
  • Search for Employers who hire Environmental Policy and Planning students
  • Apply for Environmental Policy and Planning jobs/internship on-line
  • View our Document Library, full of helpful career related resources

What exactly is the study of Environmental Policy and Planning?

Changing the world requires new public policies and visionary plans, along with innovative decision-making processes and well-managed organizations. The Environmental Policy and Planning field of study builds studentsí¢â‚¬â„¢ professional skills to design and implement effective policies and plans while considering the human and institutional behaviors that underlie environmental problems.

Students develop the ability to create decision-making processes that are scientifically credible, involve a diverse set of interests and lead to the development of organizations that can move society in a more sustainable direction. Those who are interested in planning also acquire a familiarity with spatial analysis and design in rural or urban settings.

"Our students are effective because they are grounded both in the science underlying a particular environmental issue and in the political, economic and institutional factors that can be used to promote change,"says Professor Steven L. Yaffee, coordinator of the Environmental Policy and Planning field of study.

Why should employers hire Environmental Policy and Planning students?

"The breadth of social science perspectives (economics, politics, sociological, psychological, anthropological, and management) to which SNRE students are exposed is unusual when compared to other top schools." --Michael Moore, EPP Faculty 

Graduates work as policy analysts, advocates, planners, program managers and leaders in non-profit environmental organizations, land trusts, all levels of government, consulting firms and corporations. The training students receive in collaboration and dispute resolution also opens up job opportunities in environmental-mediation firms and regional-scale partnerships. "Training is more on-the-ground and experiential through case based teaching and client driven master's projects.  People can do things not just conceptualize them."--Steven L. Yaffee, coordinator of the Environmental Policy and Planning field of study.

"We focus on the real world. Students learn policy and planning concepts and tools in the context of current issues, institutions, and science. Students graduate with the knowledge and skills needed for professional practice." --Julia Wondolleck, EPP Faculty.  Some students decide to pursue research careers at academic institutions and with nonprofit organizations. Other career options span the range of geographic scales, including community-based conservation, state-level environmental management, federal policy-making in the United States and other countries, and international institutions, such as the United Nations Development Program and World Wildlife Fund.  

"Too often, there is a disconnect between science and policy.  Part of what makes the Environmental Policy and Planning (EPP) program so valuable is that it bridges that gap. EPP students are given the tools to digest scientific information and use that knowledge to inform policy decisions." --Mike Sintetos, SNRE Environmental Policy and Planning Alum

Some students also have the opportunity to work with the Ecosystem Management Initiative (EMI) and in the Environmental Psychology Lab, located on the University of Michigan Campus in the Dana Building.

Examples of Environmental Policy and Planning coursework:

The curriculum includes courses in institutions, politics, law, policy analysis, and planning. Students also acquire skills in negotiation and dispute resolution and students are encouraged to develop expertise in specific issue areas, such as water, climate change and energy, public lands, biodiversity and ecosystem management, environmental justice, sustainable land use, forests and wildlife.


Energy Markets and Energy Politics The goal of this course is to give students a solid grasp of the environmental and social impacts of, and the institutions that govern energy use, so students can play a more effective role in shaping future policy or business decisions. Students begin with basic scientific and technological facts regarding the major uses for and sources of energy. Energy markets (including spot and future markets), and what they are capable of accomplishing are studied. The way energy markets may fail are also discussed. This will lead into an overview of the role of government in influencing energy decisions, starting with a high-level perspective, and then working with a series of case studies that examine in depth what government has accomplished in the area of energy policy. The course will wrap up with several current policy/business issues such as renewable portfolio standards, markets for renewable energy credits, and integrating the transportation sector into a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmental Law Introduces students to environmental law and the impact of the legal process on decisions that affect the environment. Topics include common law tort actions, toxic tort actions, statutory controls of pollution and other environmentally harmful activities. Additional areas include administrative agency structure and performance, constitutional rights to environmental quality and more.

Environmental Planning This course examines the issues and concepts underlying environmental policy-making and planning, with a focus on the United States. Rather than concentrating on one particular type of planning method (e.g., cost-benefit analysis, impact assessment, site design), the principal goal of the course is to address value-based and analytical conflicts that are common to environmental policy-making and planning processes employed in the U.S. and abroad. The course is designed to: provide students the ability to recognize and tease apart the competing values and analytical assumptions made by various stakeholders in environmental policy-making and planning debates; consider how those debates are shaped by and play themselves out within the political, legal, and administrative processes that characterize environmental policy-making and planning in the U.S.; and familiarize students with the various forms of contemporary environmental policy-making and planning practice that they will likely encounter in their professional work.

Environmental Policy, Politics and Organizations This course examines the ways that environmental policies are formed and implemented, and the behavior of governmental and nongovernmental organizations as they shape policies and management programs. Students develop an analytic ability to disaggregate complex political and management situations, assess the feasibility of environmental policy changes, and build strategy to get such changes adopted and implemented.

International Environmental Policy The course objective is to provide students with a survey of the environmental governance mechanisms and the changing landscape of environmental policy that shapes environmental outcomes in the developing world. The roots of contemporary environmental problems in the developing world; how colonial states attempted to govern nature and for what ends; and the present-day nature of the effects of historical environmental policies are examined.

International Environmental Policy and Law This course will examine how society manages - and sometimes fails to manage - environmental issues that fall beyond the authority or capability of a single national government. The course will examine relevant theoretical literatures from political science, law, and policy analysis, in order to characterize the systematic problems of making and implementing international policy to manage collective risks and resources; examine the approaches that have been proposed to mitigate these problems; and assess the available evidence of the effectiveness of these approaches. Topics to be considered will include scientific and technical assessment, negotiation of formal treaties as well as declarations, statements of principle, workplans, and other soft-law instruments; the establishment and management of international organizations; implementation and compliance systems, and initiatives by non-state actors as alternatives or supplements to government action; and the linkage of international environmental issues to issues of trade, international economic policy, security, and development.

Landscape Planning and Analysis The general goals of this course are: to acquaint students with the important issues, problems, and approaches of landscape planning; to create an awareness and understanding that site planning and land planning are part of a continuum and are inseparable from each other within the design process; to provide an awareness and understanding of how spatial information can be collected, analyzed, then combined to generate maps (by the use of a Geographic Information System, GIS) that allow one to investigate land planning alternatives; and to create an awareness and applied understanding of various landscape planning methods.

Natural Resources and Environmental Conflict Management This course builds an understanding of the causes, dynamics and consequences of natural resource and environmental conflicts as well as the range of possible procedural interventions that can be used to manage these conflicts. The course emphasizes the practical application of dispute resolution theories to the environmental and natural resource context. Case materials for the course are drawn from current conflicts in situations including public lands management, air and water pollution regulation, solid and hazardous waste facility siting, wildlife and endangered species management, and community planning.

Negotiation Skills This course develops skills in bargaining and negotiation as they can be applied to the resolution of environmental disputes. It will help a student prepare for and carry out a negotiation, become a more effective communicator, and understand the psychological dimensions inherent in negotiation processes. In addition, the course examines mechanisms for assisting negotiations including facilitation and mediation. The course employs a series of gaming simulations that allow students to engage in controlled bargaining situations, followed by debriefings that critique strategy and styles. In addition, a framework for negotiation analysis is developed that draws on literature in the areas of decision analysis, social psychology, and public policy.

Public Opinion and the Environment This research seminar will examine trends in public opinion on the environment, influences on peoples concerns about the environment, and how such concerns affect personal behaviors and the political process. Specifically, the objectives will be to: 1. Examine the extent of concern for the environment in society. 2. Understand what influences peoples concerns about the environment. 3. Determine whether concern varies for different subgroups in society. 4. Assess the impact peoples concerns have on the actions they take (political actions and personal behaviors). 5. Assess the impact public opinion on the environment has on the political process. 6. Examine the environmental attitudes of policy makers. 7. Predict where public opinion on the environment is likely to head in the future.

Thinking Analytically for Policy & Decisions This course develops the skills of using analytic methods and models to understand real decisions and policy issues, drawn from the realms of natural resource management, public policy, business strategy, politics, negotiations, and conflict. The perspective is that of a decision-maker seeking better understanding of complex situations she/he faces in managerial and professional life, and practical guidance for making decisions in these situations. The course considers a variety of analytic techniques, methods, and models, particularly those emphasizing uncertainty and strategic interactions in decision-making. Some elementary concepts of modeling are also introduced, with emphasis on dynamics, uncertainty, and optimal choice under constraints.

The Environmental Policy and Planning curriculum provides a superb foundation for joint-degree programs with business, law, public policy, or urban planning disciplines on campus. About 25% of students in this field of study earn dual degrees. Students can also reach out to other schools and departments on campus to find faculty members interested in Environmental Policy and Planning. Faculty members in Economics, Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health, Ford School of Public Policy, Ross School of Business, and Taubman College of Urban and Regional Planning offer courses and conduct research in Environmental Policy and Planning. 

Conferences of interest

Conferences are great avenues for resource sharing, presenting papers/poster, networking, and meeting possible future employers!

Center for Environmental and Resource Economic Policy (CENREP) Workshops
Cleantech Forum (multiple events each year)
Clinton Global Initiative Annual Conference 
Conference Alert (listing of upcoming environmental conferences)
UM Environmental Law and Policy Program Conference (biennial conference)
Food System Economic Partnership (FSEP) Conference (check with FSEP for future conference opportunities)
GOVgreen Conference
Greenbuild Conference
Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference (search the Internet for workforce, labor development, or other green job conferences)
Katoomba Group Conferences
Women in Green Forum  (8.30-31.2011)
U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution National Conference
View the SNRE Conference Website

Many of the Professional Organizations listed below hold annual conferences, visit their websites for more information.  There are also many state and local chapters that hold conferences in which you may have interest.  The benefits are that the conferences are close to home and usually are less crowded than national conferences.

Professional organizations to join

Air & Waste Management Association
American Association for the Advancement of Science (Annual Meeting 2.16-20.2012)
American Economic Association
American Planning Association (National Planning Conference 4.14-17.2012)
American Political Science Association
American Psychological Association (APA)
American Sociological Association
American Solar Energy Society
Association of Environmental and Resource Economists
Association of Environmental Professionals (National Conference 3.6-9.2011)
Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management
Association for Psychological Science (APS)
Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA)
Institute for Research on Public Policy, Canada
International Association for Society and Natural Resources (IASNR) (2011 ISSRM Symposium 6.4-8.2011 )
Land Trust Alliance (Rally 2011, 10.13-16.2011)
Michigan League of Conservation Voters
National Association of Environmental Professionals
National Association of EHS Management (NAEM) (membership organization for environmental, health, safety and sustainability) Annual Conference 10.19-20.2011
National Environmental Health Association  (Annual Educational Conference and Exhibition 6.28-30.2012 )
Net Impact
Society for Conservation Biology  (International Congress for Conservation Biology will be biennial after 2011, 11.29-12.2.2011 )
Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI)

Need a help finding a job?

Email snre.careers@umich.edu to request an appointment with a SNRE Career Services staff member.

Lisa Yee-Litzenberg: Coordinator of Student Career Services
Room 1520 Dana Building
(734) 615-1633, yeeha@umich.edu

Need help finding an internship?

Email snre.careers@umich.edu to request an appointment with a SNRE Career Services staff member.

*Data taken from 2006-2011 surveys of SNRE students/alumni and from our eRecruiter system