Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
Zhaoqun Zou


Educating the next generation of environmental leaders is one of the many ways Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions helps bridge the gap between science and policy. Institute staff members are aiding in this mission by teaching courses across campus, as well as hosting policy boot camps and webinars, and other supplemental offerings. For more information on these courses, visit

Learn more about what the Nicholas Institute has to offer students and the larger Duke community: NI @ Duke

Fall 2021

Duke University

Energy Law
This course provides an introduction to U.S. energy law through the examination of the legal framework governing electricity production and the extraction and use of energy sources. It is designed to provide an overview of key topics in energy law so that students develop a foundational understanding of energy law and policy. (ENERGY 727/LAW 327) 

Instructor: Amy Pickle, director, State Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.


Energy Policy for a Changing World
Energy use is essential to all aspects of modern life and a significant determinant of economic and social opportunity throughout the world. Yet energy production, distribution and use, if left unchecked, can have detrimental effects on the environment and society. Of particular significance is the role that energy from fossil fuel combustion can play in disrupting the planet’s climate system. This course will explore how public policies affect the way in which energy is produced and used and how policies can be designed to advance a more accessible, affordable, reliable and clean energy system. It will draw on material from multiple disciplines to gain a deeper understanding of the breadth and depth of factors affecting our current energy system. Students will have an opportunity to directly engage with experts from the public and private sector to gain insights into policy options for a more sustainable and equitable energy system and to better understand the consequences of those policies for the environment, economy and society.  (ENERGY 190FS) 

Instructor: Brian Murray, Interim Director, Nicholas Institute & Duke University Energy Initiative


Environmental Justice, Nationalism, and Culture
This course examines the environmental justice movement, its countermovements, including nationalist and conservative movements, and how their interplay shapes political opportunities and responses. We will consider the substantive concerns of the environmental justice movement (the needs of humans in the built environment), its methods (community-based political organizing carefully coordinated with allies within legal professions and academia), and the scales at which it operates (local, national, global). Because social movements of political significance will generate opposition, we will also consider the rise of nationalist and conservative movements that interact with and challenge the environmental justice movement. These topics will be explored using a range of materials, including scholarly books, articles, case studies, and documentary films. (ETHICS 190FS/PUBPOL 190FS)

Instructors: Kay Jowers, senior policy associate at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions


An introduction to hydrology by examining how rainfall and snowmelt become streamflow, evapotranspiration, and groundwater with emphasis on hydrological processes inside watersheds. Topic areas include: hydrologic cycle and water balances, evapotranspiration and snow energy balances, vadose zone hydrology, hydrogeology, hyporheic zones, riparian zones, streamflow generation mechanisms, biogeochemical budgets, and field measurement techniques. Linkages between physical hydrology and broader ecological and environmental sciences will be highlighted. (EOS 723D) 

Instructor: Martin Doyle, professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment, and director, Water Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.


Program Area Seminar – Water Resources Management
This course is intended to give students a first exposure to ideas of planning and management of organizations related to water resources. The course will develop a basic framework for strategic planning for environmental organizations with specific applications to water resources. It will provide some tools for forecasting future water conditions, as well as emerging tools for forecasting uncertain water conditions. Finally, it will expose students to approaches in water management, particularly adaptive management and scenario forecasting. (ENVIRON 898-04) 

Instructor: Martin Doyle, professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment, and director, Water Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.


More course listings will be added soon. Please check back with us.