Syllabus for MSP-530



This course covers major issues and policies in the environmental field. Students will develop an awareness of the political, social, cultural, and economic systems and processes related to environmental protection. Environmental Issues and Policy evaluates the economic factors involved as the business world addresses climate change through government-regulated as well as voluntary programs. Current major issues and policies in the environmental field will be presented, discussed, and analyzed.


  1. Scientific knowledge and triple bottom line analysis
  2. Democracy, politics, and environmental policy
  3. Environmental pollutants and problems
  4. Policy formulation
  5. Historical perspective: Relationships with nature and politics
  6. Setting standards
  7. Natural resources
  8. Costs, benefits, and risks
  9. Sustainable development


After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Discuss sustainable development and how it may be used as the basis for a environmental policy. (CO1)
  2. Analyze the risk to public health and the environment from contaminated air and drinking water; global climate change, loss of biological diversity, and population growth. (CO2)
  3. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of devolving environmental responsibilities to state and local governments. (CO3)
  4. Discuss strategies for raising the public’s awareness of environmental issues. (CO4)
  5. Design techniques to encourage a greater level of civic environmentalism. (CO5)
  6. Discuss changes that should be made to major environmental laws and the role of federal and state subsidies. (CO6)
  7. Assess the level of progress being made through environmental protection and natural resource policies. (CO7)
  8. Suggest ways that market incentives might be used more effectively. (CO8)
  9. Describe the factors that most significantly affect the success of international environmental agreements. (CO9)
  10. Analyze groups and organizations that have moved most strongly toward sustainability and draw conclusions about their success. (CO10)



You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

  1. Kraft, M.E. (2011). Environmental policy and politics, 5th ed. Boston: Pearson/Longman.

ISBN 13: 978-0-205-74537-1


Environmental Issues and Policy is a three-credit online course, consisting of eight modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.


  1. Module 1: Environmental Problems and Politics

  1. Module 2: Assessing the State of the Environment

  1. Module 3: Making Environmental Policy

  1. Module 4: The Evolution of Environmental Policy and Politics

  1. Module 5: Environmental Protection Policy: Controlling Pollution

  1. Module 6: Energy and Natural Resource Policies

  1. Module 7: Evaluating Environmental Policy

  1. Module 8: Environmental Policy for the Twenty-First Century


Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, and complete a final project. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

You are required to participate in eight (8) graded discussion forums as well as an ungraded "Introductions" forum. The online discussions are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules. Below is the rubric that will aid in the grading of online discussions.

Click link for an Evaluation Rubric.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete four written assignments. The written assignments will require you to write papers of 500 to 800 words each (two of the assignments include 2 papers). In these assignments you will analyze subjects and may be required to do outside research. Below are the rubrics that will aid in the grading of your written assignments.

Click links for:

  1. Rubric for Written Assignment 1.
  2. Rubric for Written Assignment 2 (both parts).
  3. Rubric for Written Assignment 3A (first part).
  4. Rubric for Written Assignment 3B (second part).
  5. Rubric for Written Assignment 4.

Final Project

The final paper consists of a 12—15 page paper in which you will analyze a public policy issue. You are required to consult three outside sources and to document your sources properly.

See the Final Project area of the course for a fuller description. Below is the rubric that will aid in the grading of your final project.

Click link for an Evaluation Rubric.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Online discussions (8)—20% percent
  2. Written assignments (4)—30% percent
  1. Final project—50% percent

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:
























Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  1. Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  1. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.

  1. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.


Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized assignment, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.


Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism.  (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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