Undergraduate Concentration

The Concentration in Environmental Policy and Management examines the relationship between business and the natural environment, including human health and safety as well as addressing a range of policy issues. This concentration provides an in-depth foundation for those interested in pursuing careers in the growing environmental sector of the economy, whether in private business, government or environmental consulting. It takes an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on faculty and courses from several Wharton departments. Students may pursue additional coursework on environmental and technological risks in parallel with the Wharton program through the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The concentration is administered by Eric Orts, Faculty Director, IGEL; Guardsmark Professor, the Wharton School.

Note: Acronyms on the following list of courses refer to the following departments: Legal Studies (LGST), Operations, Information and Decisions Department (OIDD), Business Economics and Public Policy (BEPP), and Environmental Studies (ENVS).


Four of the following courses:

BEPP 305 – Risk Management
This course describes the concepts and techniques available to corporations, nonprofit organizations and other organizations in their efforts to manage pure risks. Students will examine risk management practices such as risk assumption, prevention, diversification, and transfer via insurance and non-insurance market mechanisms. Students learn to recognize that the institutional structure of the organization itself influences its own risks and their corresponding treatments. Cross listed: INSR 805, INSR 205)

BEPP/OIDD 263 – Environmental and Energy Economics and Policy
This course examines environmental and energy issues from an economist’s perspective. The course starts by analyzing sources of environmental problems, and how policy makers can intervene to solve some of these problems, then moves to discussing the economic rationale for a broad range of possible policies: environmental taxes, subsidies, cap-and-trade regulation and performance standards. In doing so, the course examines fundamental concepts in environmental economics, such as externalities, valuation of the environment and cost-benefit analysis. The course then focuses on energy and natural resource economics. Over the last several decades, energy markets have become some of the most dynamic markets of the world economy, as they experienced a shift from heavy regulation to market-driven incentives. The course reviews scarcity pricing and market power in electricity and gasoline markets, and optimal extraction and pricing of both depletable (e.g., oil) and renewable (e.g., fisheries) natural resources. There will be special attention for the economics of renewable energy and policies to foster its growth. Finally, there is an overview of the transportation sector, and heavily debated policies such as fuel-economy standards and subsidies for green vehicles.

LGST 215 – Environmental Management: Law & Policy
This course provides an introduction to environmental management with a focus on law and policy as a basic framework. The primary aim of the course is to give students a deeper theoretical and practical sense of the important relationship between business and the natural environment and to think critically about how best to manage this relationship. Cross listed: LGST 815, MGTM 213, MGMT 713.

MKTG 233/733 – The Social Impact of Marketing
This course explores the ways in which the marketing actions of firms can have an impact on society (positive or negative). Of particular interest are the actions that are central to the main products and services delivered by the firm (e.g., the development of products and brands, pricing, advertising, and distribution). There is also a focus on how the consideration of social issues can be integrated into broader marketing strategies and how companies, pro-social organizations, and government agencies can develop joint strategies (e.g., cause-related marketing) and credible metrics and reporting practices for assessing social impact. Prerequisite(s): MKTG101 or permission of instructor.

OIDD 290 – Decision Processes
This course is an intensive introduction to various scientific perspectives on the processes through which people make decisions. Perspectives to be covered include cognitive psychology of human problem-solving, judgment and choice, theories of rational judgment and decision, and the mathematical theory of games. Much of the material to be covered is technically rigorous. Prior or current enrollment in statistics 101 or the equivalent, although not required, is strongly recommended.

OIDD / BEPP 261 – Risk Analysis and Environmental Management
This course is designed to introduce students to the role of risk assessment, risk perception and risk management in dealing with uncertain health, safety and environmental risks including the threat of terrorism. Students will explore the role of decision analysis as well as the use of scenarios for dealing with these problems. The course will evaluate the role of policy tools such as risk communication, economic incentives, insurance, regulation and private-public partnerships in developing strategies for managing these risks. A project will enable students to apply the concepts discussed in the course to a concrete problem. Cross listed: BPUB 761, BPUB 961, BPUB 261, ESE 567.

Students are strongly encouraged to take:

ENVS 200 – Introduction to Environmental Analysis
An introduction to philosophy, techniques, and selected details of application of a broad spectrum of disciplines that relate to environmental problems. Cross listed: COLL 003.

ENVS 301- Environmental Case Studies
A detailed, comprehensive investigation of analyses of selected environmental problems. Guest speakers from the government and industry will give their accounts of various environmental cases. Students will then present information on a case study of their choosing.

For additional course descriptions, please reference the University Course Register and Environmental Policy and Management Concentration.