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Harvard To Introduce Secondary Field in Energy and Environment

By Dev A. Patel and Steven R. Watros, Crimson Staff Writers

The concentration in Environmental Science and Public Policy, in conjunction with the Harvard University Center for the Environment, plans to introduce a secondary field in Energy and Environment for the upcoming fall semester.

"Our faculty and students have vital roles to play in confronting the challenge of climate change, and we’re committed to advancing their work,” University President Drew G. Faust said in a statement. “This new secondary field creates an important new academic pathway for our undergraduates to engage with one of the most pressing issues of our time."

According to the ESPP website, the new secondary aims to “increase students' exposure to, and literacy in, the interconnecting set of issues related to energy and the environment.”

Daniel P. Schrag, director of the Center for the Environment and professor of geology, said that the new program stands apart from other subjects taught at Harvard because of its interdisciplinary nature.

“It touches on just about every discipline we have at Harvard,” he said.

The new secondary requires four courses: one elementary course from a list of six possible options and three additional upper-level courses. Of these three electives, at least one must be in the Social Sciences and Humanities category and at least one from Natural Sciences and Engineering.

“We wanted to create a secondary field that could introduce students to the issues but also allow them to fit it into their schedules,” Schrag said.

Students must additionally attend at least one of several evening discussion sessions with faculty members affiliated with the Center for the Environment.

“We want students to be exposed to real world issues,” Head Tutor for ESPP Paul R. Moorcroft said, pointing to these discussions as an opportunity for exposure to these topics.

Proponents of the new field said that the secondary is not designed solely for students studying the sciences.

“We wanted to give undergraduates from every possible concentration some perspective on these issues, because they affect everyone here,” Schrag said.

While the new secondary will fall under the ESPP concentration, its administration will be housed in the Center for the Environment.

—Staff writer Dev A. Patel can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @dev_a_patel.

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