Courses: 2015-2016 Academic Year

Educating the next generation of environmental leaders is one of the many ways Duke's Nicholas Institute helps bridge the gap between science and policy. During Duke's 2015-2016 academic year, staff members are aiding in this mission by teaching courses across campus. For more information on these courses, visit

Fall 2015


Energy Law
The course will examine the legal framework governing energy production and consumption in the United States, and policy approaches for balancing energy needs with other societal goals. The course will include three main modules: (1) electricity sector regulation; (2) energy resources for electricity generation; and (3) oil and gas law. (Energy Law 327.01)

Instructor: Jonas Monast

Political Economy of Public Policy
This course introduces Ph.D. students to a core set of social science ideas relevant to public policy: theories of collective action, institutions and governance. It provides students with a  framework for evaluating market, political and social failures; identifying possible policy interventions; and predicting ways in which such interventions would translate into policy outcomes. (PubPol 901.01)

Instructors: Billy Pizer, faculty fellow at the Nicholas Institute.

United Nations Climate Change Negotiations Practicum
This graduate-level, 1-credit independent study course is an advanced seminar focused on the international agreements under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (ENVIRON 593.163)

Instructors: Billy Pizer, faculty fellow at the Nicholas Institute and Jonathan Wiener of the Duke University School of Law.

Water Resources Planning and Management
This serves as an introductory course to water in the built environment, with basic treatment of hydrology, treatment, regulation, and planning of water resources. Course It serves as a survey course for non-water specialists, and a bridge course from hydrology to policy, management, planning, and finance, or vice versa for policy students interested in bridging to hydrology. Emphasis will be on applications of basic techniques common in management contexts. (ENVIRON 621)

Instructors: Martin Doyle, Director, Water Policy Program, Nicholas Institute.


Political Sociology
The course will examine the the social bases of political authority and the reciprocal influences of state and social organizations upon each other. (SOCI 420)

Instructor: Kay Jowers, senior policy associate at the Nicholas Institute.

Spring 2016

Natural Resources Law
The course will examine the constitutional, statutory, and common law governing the legal status and management of federal lands and natural resources. (Law 368/Environ 868)

Instructor: Jonas Monast

Renewables and the World's Poor
This graduate-level course focuses on the glaring human need to bring electric power to the 1.2 billion people in the world that lack it. The class will look at the differentiated challenge between rural and urban systems, and the technologies that can solve the unique challenges of each developmental situation. It will also investigate the impediments to progress, and explore the different business models and technologies that are being used to tackle the challenge. The class will culminate by asking the students to help design the most appropriate model for deploying power technologies in a range of world regions. (ENERGY 790)

Instructors: Tim Profeta, director of the Nicholas Institute, and Jim Rogers, university fellow.

Energy, Environment, and the Law
The online Duke Environmental Leadership course examines legal framework governing energy production and consumption in U.S., environmental issues associated with the nation's energy sectors, and policy approaches for balancing energy needs with environmental protection. It is divided into three main sections: state utility regulation; energy resources for electricity generation; petroleum. (DEL Environ 985)

Instructor: Jonas Monast

Special Topics in Environmental Regulation
The course provides in-depth analysis of current issues in environmental regulation. Spring semester will focus on the Clean Power Plan for Greenhouse Gas Emissions. (Environ 891)

Instructors: Jonas Monast, Tim Profeta, director of the Nicholas Institute, Brian Murray, director of the Environmental Economics Program at the Nicholas Institute, and Lori Bennear of the Nicholas School of the Environment.

Putting Ecosystem Services Markets into Practice
Ecosystem Services, the benefits nature provides to people, are often undervalued. As a result, these benefits are being degraded or lost at a rapid pace. Through guest lectures and published and gray literature, this class will assess how environmental markets and trading can help society value ecosystem services and improve outcomes, as well as how markets can be detrimental to sustainability and conservation goals if not well designed and implemented. (ENVIRON 590.86)

Instructor: Lydia Olander, director of the Ecosystem Services Program at the Nicholas Institute.

Applied Environmental Policy Entrepreneurship
This class begins with the notion that environmental policy is developed using multiple tools, drawing from multiple disciplines. It will review a wide range of current environmental policy issues, providing students the opportunity to apply a variety of tools to resolve real-world impasses. Particular attention will be paid throughout to the process by which ideas are considered, approaches chosen, and tools applied. (ENVIRON 590.75)

Instructor: Christopher Galik

Federal Fisheries Policy
This course was designed by the Fisheries Leadership & Sustainability Forum to provide students with an introduction to U.S. federal fisheries managmenet. It will focus on current trends and topics, and explore regional examples based on the Fisheries Forum's work with NOAA fisheries and the eight U.S. regional fishery management councils (ENV 590.36).

Instructor: Catherine Latanich, co-director of the Fisheries Forum.