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New Dual Degree: Master of Environmental Studies/MBA
January 20, 2009, Volume 55, No. 18

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and School of Arts and Sciences have launched a new program to enable participants to earn a dual master of business administration/master of environmental studies degree in three years or less. This will groom environmental-issues students for global leadership roles in environmental management, finance and other business specialties.

The students will take business classes full-time for three semesters at Wharton and spend a year in SAS’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS), which oversees the environmental-studies portion. LPS offers evening and summer classes, enabling students to work at the same time. Students will select a research focus in a concentrated field of study and develop a thesis, which can be done simultaneously with the LPS work, enabling some students to finish in two and a half years.

“Wharton is very pleased to establish this new multi-disciplinary degree that advances educational goals in both the business and environmental studies disciplines,” said Dr. Eric Orts, professor of legal studies and business ethics and director of the Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL) at Penn. “It is a good example of the Penn Compact’s promise to integrate knowledge across disciplines.” 

IGEL is supported by a group of leading companies, including BASF, GE, Exelon, Goldman Sachs, Interface, International Paper, Merck, Rohm & Haas, Suez Environnement and Xerox. 

Wharton’s environmental and risk management track will help students develop a range of skills and knowledge in business practice. The MES portion will deepen their knowledge of environmental issues, technical environmental evaluation and provide practical field experience.

“This degree will close the gap between business and the environmental sciences,” said Yvette Bordeaux, director of the MES and other programs at LPS. “We envision that our students will develop new approaches solving the problems of sustainability in the business world.”

Potential students must apply and gain admission to both schools independently. Once admitted, they may choose the joint-degree program.

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Almanac - January 20, 2009, Volume 55, No. 18