Environmental Studies Graduate Program Requirements
The Masters Degree Program in Environmental Studies is flexible; students, with their academic advisors, design their own study programs by choosing from courses throughout the University. Within this diversity of choice, and because we believe a well-rounded perspective and range of skills are needed to be an effective environmentalist, a limited number of foundational courses are required:
Natural Systems Ecology - A biologically grounded ecology course taken either as an undergraduate or while in residence at Environmental Studies.
Scientific Approaches - Examines methods and limits of scientific inquiry and critical analysis of information. A 3-credit course from:
- ENSC 501 Scientific Approaches to Environmental Problems
- ENSC 540 Watershed Conservation Ecology
- ENSC 550 Pollution Ecology
- ENSC 551 Environmental Field Study
- ENST 555 Research Methods for Social Change
Policy Approaches - Examines socioeconomic and political processes. A 3-credit course from:
- ENST 560 Environmental Impact Analysis
- ENST 575 Rhetoric and Environmental Controversy
- ENST 594 Environmental Policy Analysis and Evaluation
- ENST 594 Politics of Food
Thought and Writing - Explores environmental writing, literature and relationships between humans and the natural world. A 3-credit course from:
- ENST 504 Topics in Environmental Philosophy
- ENST 505 The Literature of Nature Writing
- ENST 573 Environmental Writing
- ENST 594 The Greening of Religion
Engagement - Develops leadership, organizational and participatory skills through civic and other forms of hands-on involvement. A 3-credit course from:
- ENST 520 Environmental Organizing
- ENST 531 Citizen Participation in Environmental Decision Making
- ENST 537 Building Effective Environmental Organizations
Students have three options for demonstrating their critical and analytical abilities and their written communication skills: thesis, professional paper or portfolio. The formulation of a topic is encouraged by April of the first year of study.
1. Thesis Option:
Development of a substantive scholarly work that includes either the collection and analysis of data to answer a research question (as in original field or laboratory research in the natural sciences or survey research in the social sciences) or the production of an innovative, interpretive or critical work (as in the humanities or fine arts).
2. Professional Paper Option:
Development of a substantive report that targets a specific audience and demonstrates the student's ability to participate in professional discourse.
3. Portfolio Option:
In consultation with an Environmental Studies advisor, students select courses of classroom study, internship experience(s) and portfolio projects directed toward specific career goals. Portfolios include three discrete portfolio pieces, one of which usually involves an internship experience, and demonstrated coherence between these pieces, the student's course of study and the student's goals. Upon completion of the portfolio, students are given a one-hour oral examination that focuses upon the integrity of each portfolio piece and coherence between the pieces.
Credits required for graduation:
Thesis option: 33 semester hours
Non-thesis options: Professional Paper: 33 hours; Portfolio: 36 hours.
Environmental Studies graduate students who do either a thesis or a professional paper must register for a minimum of three thesis or professional paper credits. They must register for at least one of those credits in the semester that they defend. The minimum number of credits required for graduation with a thesis or professional paper is 33.
Portfolio-option students must take a total of 36 credits, but there are no semester specific credit requirements nor any portfolio credits per se. Their only requirement, which applies to all students, is that they must abide by the continuous registration rule of the Graduate School, registering for at least three credits each semester.
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