Students will gain:

  • An understanding of how businesses connect to each other and to consumers through supply chains, and how business behaviors impact the environment
  • A broad perspective on the theory and drivers motivating firms to create sustainable business practices
  • A fundamental understanding of science and technology as it relates to sustainable business practices
  • A background in economics, policy and business strategies
  • First-hand exposure to industry leaders and how firms implement sustainability programs
  • Critical skills in data analysis and modeling

  • Experience with professional and technical communication, project management and teamwork


The Business and Environment program provides students with knowledge and skills to assist them and the organizations they will work for in making informed and effective decisions about environmental practices. Students will hone their skills through coursework, practical applications and client-based consulting projects.


Our curriculum will introduce you to how multinational firms and small and medium enterprises address environmental, economic and social sustainability imperatives. It leaves plenty of room for you to customize your educational experience to meet your interests and career goals, whether they involve a focus on supply chains, compliance, strategy or product innovation.

Your faculty advisor will work with you to select a curriculum and area of specialization based on your interests and goals. You can choose from courses across Duke and at our partner institutions.

Transferable Skills

Business & Environment students receive in-depth training in:

  • Finance
  • Life cycle and value chain analysis
  • Strategic analysis
  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Applied data analysis
  • Appreciative Inquiry

Your Future

Our graduates work in a wide array of business sectors. They serve in both traditional environmental and sustainability positions, as well as roles within project teams focused on supply chain, responsible sourcing, logistics, sales and marketing, product design, corporate strategy, government affairs and community engagement.

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Prerequisites for all mem students

ADDITional prerequisiteS for b&e Students

  • 1 semester of college-level microeconomics. Alternatively, this requirement can be fulfilled with one semester of introductory economics, if your course had a focus on micro rather than macroeconomics.

Courses & Requirements


In addition to the MEM degree requirements, a typical BE curriculum consists of the following components:

  • Required Introductory Courses (10.5 credit hours)
  • Applied Methodologies Courses (10.5 credit hours minimum)
  • Physical or Natural Science Courses (9 credit hours minimum)
  • Concentration Elective Courses (9 credit hours minimum)
  • Other Electives (3-6 credit hours)
  • Additional electives to meet the 48-credit hour minimum for degree completion

Requirements for All MEM Students

All MEM students must take the following courses:


Courses supporting the BE program are taught within the Nicholas School, at several other departments at Duke, and at UNC-Chapel Hill and NCSU. This list of example courses is not exhaustive; see the Courses section for the current list of available courses.

Applied Methods Courses (select 10.5 credit hours)

  • ENVIRON 531            Economic Analysis of Environmental Policies (3 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 532            Evaluation of Public Expenditures (3 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 557            Social Science Surveys (3 credit hours, spring)
  • ENVIRON 559            Fundamentals of GIS (4 credits, fall)
  • ENVIRON 638            Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (3 credit hours, spring)
  • ENVIRON 658            Applied Qualitative Research Methods (3 credit hours, spring)
  • ENVIRON 680            Economics of Forest Resources (1.5 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 710            Applied Data Analysis for Env. Sciences (3 credit hours, fall) **
  • ENVIRON 716L          Modeling for Energy Systems (3 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 740            Water Resources Planning and Management (fall, 1.5 credit hours)
  • ENVIRON 741            Water Resource Finance (spring, 1.5 credit hours)
  • ENVIRON 790            Environmental Reporting and Certification (3 credit hours, spring)
  • ENVIRON 752            Sust & Renewable Res Econ (3 credit hours, spring)
  • ENVIRON 790.03       Clean Energy Finance (1.5 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 832             Environmental Decision Analysis (3 credit hours, spring)
  • ENGRMGMT 530       Finance in High Tech Industries (3 credit hours, fall)
  • ENGRMGMT 532       Advanced Finance in High Tech Industries (3 credit hours, spring)
  • ENGRMGMT 560       Project Management (3 credit hours, fall, spring)
  • ENGRMGMT 562       Operations Management (3 credit hours, fall)
  • ENGRMGMT 590.05  Data Mining (3 credit hours, fall)
  • EOS 567                      Data Analysis (3 credit hours, spring)

**   not required, but strongly recommended

Physical and Natural Sciences (select 9 credit hours)

Students are encouraged to select Physical and Natural Science electives that expose them to the scientific underpinnings of the interactions between business and the environment. Selection of courses requires pre-approval of faculty advisor.

  • ENVIRON 501            Environmental Toxicology (3 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 540            Chemical Fate of Organic Compounds (3 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 542L          Environmental Aquatic Chemistry (3 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 549            California Water Crises (3 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 552             Climate and Society (3 credits hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 603            Air Quality: Management (1.5 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 604            Air Quality: Human Health Effects (1.5 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 623L          Ecological Diversity and Climate Change (3 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 634            Ecosystem Services (2 credit hours, spring)
  • ENVIRON 646            Urban Ecology (3 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 711            Energy and the Environment (3 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 721            Soil Resources (3 credit hours, spring)
  • ENVIRON 734L          Watershed Hydrology (4 credit hours, fall) ***
  • ENVIRON 812            Wetlands Ecology and Management (3 credit hours, fall)
  • EOS 511                      The Climate System (3 credit hours, spring)
  • EOS 527                      International Water Resources (3 credit hours, fall)
  • EOS 550                      Climate and Society (3 credit hours, fall)                                            
  • EOS 715                      Introduction to Coastal Environmental Change (3 credit hours, fall)
  • EOS 723                      Landscape Hydrology (3 credit hours, fall)
  • CEE 683                      Groundwater Hydrology (3 credit hours, fall)

Concentration Electives (select 9 credit hours)

Students select courses listed below plus any additional electives that fulfill Nicholas School of the Environment MEM requirements.

  • ENVIRON 550            Land Use Principles & Policy (3 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 556            Environmental Conflict Resolution (2 credit hours, spring)
  • ENVIRON 577            Environmental Politics (3 credit hours, spring)
  • ENVIRON 579S          Collective Action (3 credit hours, spring)
  • ENVIRON 590.28       US Water Governance (3 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 590.67       Participatory Methods (1credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 630            Transportation and Energy (3 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 755            Community-based Environmental Management (3 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 762            Megatrends (1.5 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 782            Foundations of Environmental Entrepreneurship (3 credit hours, spring) 
  • ENVIRON 826            Global Environmental Politics (1.5 credit hours, spring)
  • ENVIRON 830            Building Energy on Campus (3 credit hours, spring)
  • ENVIRON 887A         Theory & Methods for Policy Analysis of the Commons (3 credit hours, fall)
  • ENVIRON 891            Topics in Environmental Regulation (1.5, spring)
  • LAW 235                      Environmental Law (3 credit hours, fall)
  • MANAGEMT 750       Social Entrepreneurship (3 credit hours, spring)

Free Electives (select 3-6 credit hours)

Students may select any additional courses that satisfy the guidelines set by the Nicholas School. Many BE students opt to take additional business related electives to fulfill their MEM program credit hours requirements. 

See all Courses

For Current & Admitted Students

Master's Projects

A Master’s Project combines the academic rigor of a thesis with the practical experience of an internship. Working singly or in groups, students apply skills and knowledge they’ve acquired in the classroom to tackle real-world environmental challenges for real clients through a well-formulated and defensible analysis. The MP typically culminates in a paper and presentation in your final semester. It fulfills 4-6 credit hours. The BE program requires a business-sponsored MP with specific consulting components detailed to you when you start your second year.