ESPP courses are open to all MSU graduate students, not only those enrolled in the dual major.


Because ESPP allows students to waive either ESP 801 or 802 but also requires students to pass at least two ESP courses, those students receiving two waivers will not be approved for a project-based capstone experience and will instead be required to enroll in a capstone course. Details


The Capstone Experience may involve taking one of the two 3-credit courses below or working in another collaborative setting. Key elements are interdisciplinarity, policy-relevance, and collaboration/ teamwork. Students complete a co-authored, interdisciplinary, policy-relevant paper. The paper may be academic or more of a policy-oriented white paper. At least two other requirements should be completed before you take the capstone. In addition, if you have received two waivers for other courses, you will not be eligible for a capstone project and must, instead, attend one of the two capstone courses. Please submit this application to ESPP for approval of your alternative capstone experience. NEW All capstone proposals and final capstone projects will be reviewed by the Graduate Program Council three times a year only: March 1, July 15 and October 1. You may submit your capstone proposals and projects at any time but the review will not begin until after the next deadline has passed. The council will then have two weeks to review all requests and let ESPP staff know which proposals were approved and denied. The staff will communicate those decisions to students via email with official letters attached to send to the student’s home department to become part of their academic record. It is the student’s responsibility to submit final projects/waiver requests in time to assure the review is completed before graduation.

ESP 804: Environmental Applications and Analysis
Spring (annual), Wednesdays 3 p.m. - 5:50 p.m. 273 Giltner Hall
Dr. Joe Hamm (

This course provides the opportunity to apply knowledge learned in previous ESP courses. Global, regional and local environmental issues will be presented and explored. Class projects will be identified from these issues. Students will be assigned projects and will use a systems approach to identify and solve environmental problems associated with the assigned issues. This course is designed for graduate students with ecology, biology, physical, or social science backgrounds seeking an interdisciplinary, environmental science approach to problem solving.

FW 868: Water Policy and Management
Fall (odd years) | M, W 12:40 - 2:00 p.m.
Dr. Erin Dreelin,
Broadly speaking, the purpose of this course is to learn about water policy and management from the perspective of a scientist. You will learn about major US environmental laws related to water, such as the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act among others. However, water policy and management is more than just memorizing a set of laws. You will learn about the policy cycle, how agencies make regulations, how property rights and common law affect water management, how the courts have shaped water law and policy, and how science and policy interact (or don't). Many of you will go into careers in which you will interact with policymakers, this course is designed to give you a basic understanding of water policy and management as well as provide you with skills and knowledge that you can use in the future.

Research Colloquia Presentation

1. Planning and making your own presentation: The student-organized colloquia provides ESPP students a venue to gain practical knowledge and experience organizing interdisciplinary scholastic activities, skills necessary for a variety of career activities such as professional conferences and research panels.  A dual major student first identifies a broader research area that encompasses his or her research work, and then invites one or more other speakers who are experts in this area to serve on a discussion panel. The panelists could be fellow students, faculty members such as the student’s advisors or committee members, or other researchers. A typical colloquium will include a 30 to 50 minute presentation by the student followed by 10 minutes of questions and answers for the student, and 30 minute panel discussion with questions for the panel prepared by the student.

The student organizer will be responsible for:

  • scheduling a date in the seminar series before the start of the semester with the series committee (contact Karessa Weir;
  • inviting and organizing the panelists; preparing a 30 to 50 min. presentation; and
  • preparing questions to lead the panel discussion after the student presentation. 

The number of student-organized colloquia will vary each semester to accommodate dual major students so they can meet this requirement.  Questions about organizing your colloquium should be sent to Karessa.

2. Colloquia Attendance: A large part of being an ESP dual major student is the opportunity to meet and learn from students outside your main discipline. To that end, ESPP students are required to attend at least six student research presentations before receiving their dual major, and are expected to make every effort to attend at least half that are held during their time at MSU. Sign-up sheets are available before every presentation to keep track of attendance.

Course Chart

ESPP Course Chart 2018-2019
  Principles of ESP Natural Science and Policy Social Science and Policy Capstone
Fall 2018  

ESP 801: Physical, Chemical, and Biological Processes of the Environment

  FW 868: Water Policy and Management
Spring 2018 ESP 800: Introduction to Environmental Science and Policy  

ESP 802: Human Systems and the Environment

ESP 804: Environmental Applications and Analysis
Alternatives   Waiver Form Waiver Form Application for Capstone Experience Project

View previous course charts here:

ESPP Courses 2014-2016

ESPP Courses 2013-2015

Get to know ESPP


Get to know Environmental Science and Policy Program doctoral student Sara Tanis and ESP 802 professors Robert Walker and Michael Kaplowitz. Video produced by ESPP newswriter Liz Pacheco.

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