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DURHAM, N.C. – Duke Kunshan University will offer a new international master’s degree in environmental policy beginning in the fall of 2017.
The four-semester, 16-course Master's in Environmental Policy (MEP) is designed to meet the growing global need for leaders who are versed in both Chinese and international environmental issues and policies. Student recruitment will begin this spring.
“Rapid economic development has transformed the landscape across China and much of Asia. This has brought new opportunities, but also new challenges linked to increased air and water pollution, water scarcity, resource depletion and toxic waste disposal,” said environmental economist Junjie Zhang, who will direct the MEP program.
The impacts of these challenges are compounded by concerns about climate change and food security, and extend far beyond Asia’s shores, Zhang said. There is now unprecedented demand for policy analysts and environmental and business managers who understand the issues, can recognize global and local opportunities for addressing them, and help governments, businesses and nongovernmental organizations forge solutions.
“Producing this new generation of global environmental leaders is what the international Master’s in Environmental Policy program is all about,” he said.
The MEP program was approved by Duke University’s Board of Trustees and Academic Council in fall 2015 and will be offered at Duke Kunshan as a Duke University degree issued jointly by Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Sanford School of Public Policy.
Students in the new program will gain the knowledge, tools and training they need to devise solutions through intensive instruction by researchers from both China and the United States. Core classes will span multiple disciplines, including economics, political science, sociology, history, law, statistics and environmental science.
In addition to the full-time MEP faculty members based at Duke Kunshan, a rotating roster of Duke faculty members will visit the campus each semester to teach, conduct research and advise students. Some classes may be taught jointly at both Duke and Duke Kunshan via teleconferencing and other technologies.
Extensive networking opportunities and professional internships will augment classroom instruction, and students will gain firsthand experience conducting policy research at a new environmental research center slated to open at Duke Kunshan this year.
MEP students at Duke Kunshan can spend one semester studying at Duke, and master’s students in public policy and environmental management at Duke can spend a semester in China.
Duke faculty members Erika Weinthal of the Nicholas School, Billy Pizer of the Sanford School and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, and Jim Zhang of the Nicholas School and Duke’s Global Health Institute spearheaded the program’s creation.
Following approval by China’s Ministry of Education, the MEP program will be the fourth master’s degree offered at Duke Kunshan. Master’s degrees are already in place there in medical physics, global health and management studies.
A widely cited expert on Chinese environmental and energy issues, Junjie Zhang will join Duke Kunshan’s and Duke’s faculty this fall as director of the MEP program and the new environmental research center. He comes from the University of California at San Diego, where he is associate professor of environmental economics and a senior adviser at the Asia Society. He holds a Ph.D. in environmental and resource economics from Duke, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in environmental engineering from Tsinghua University, and a bachelor’s degree in environmental economics and management from Renmin University of China.
China's Ministry of Education approved the establishment of Duke Kunshan in 2013 as a joint venture institution of Duke and Wuhan University. The campus offers both degree and non-degree academic programs for students from China and around the world.