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Environmental Science MS

Program overview

Habitat loss, global climate change, water and air pollution, ozone depletion, species invasions, loss of biodiversity, and the accumulation of toxic wastes are among the many environmental dilemmas our society faces.

These complex problems pit environmental limits against economic development, diverse cultures, ethics, values, and social stability and therefore require an understanding of science, policy, society, history, and economics. Environmental scientists must use integrated and holistic approaches to understand and find sustainable solutions to these problems. Graduates of the environmental science program are well prepared for a variety of environmental careers including consulting, research, policy, and outreach, or further graduate work towards a doctoral degree.

Curriculum

Built on the concept that environmental issues are inherently interdisciplinary, the program is offered by the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences in the College of Science in collaboration with the department of science, technology, and society in the College of Liberal Arts. The curriculum provides students with a deep understanding of the science behind our environmental problems, along with the complex set of circumstances that impact environmental issues, and how environmental decisions and policies must attempt to find a balance between environmental conservation, human well-being, and economic development. Students augment their hands-on classroom work with in-depth experiential learning through an individual thesis or project providing students with the chance to work on real-world environmental problems under the guidance of skilled environmental scientists.

The program includes a core curriculum and electives chosen to reflect the student’s background and career goals. A minimum of 34 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree is required. All students must propose, conduct, and report on an original research thesis or project.

Environmental science (thesis option), MS degree, typical course sequence

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
ENVS-601 Environmental Science Graduate Studies 3
MATH-655 Biostatistics or Equivalent Course 3
  Graduate Public Policy Core Elective 3
  Graduate Science Core Elective 3
ENVS-670 Advanced Concepts of Environmental Chemistry 3
BIOL-675 Advanced Conservation Biology 3
STSO-621 Graduate Biodiversity and Society 3
ENVS-650 Advanced Applications of GIS 4
Second Year
  Professional Elective 3
ENVS-790 Environmental Science Thesis 6
Total Semester Credit Hours 34

Environmental science (project option), MS degree, typical course sequence

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
ENVS-601 Environmental Science Graduate Studies 3
MATH-655 Biostatistics or Equivalent Course 3
  Graduate Public Policy Core Elective 3
  Graduate Science Core Elective 3
ENVS-670 Advanced Concepts of Environmental Chemistry 3
BIOL-675 Advanced Conservation Biology 3
STSO-621 Graduate Biodiversity and Society 3
ENVS-650 Advanced Applications of GIS 4
Second Year
  Professional Elective 3
ENVS-780 Environmental Science Project 6
Total Semester Credit Hours 34

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS program in environmental science, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Hold a baccalaureate degree in environmental science, biological sciences, or a related field of study,
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) from all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work,
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (overall and in science/math),
  • Submit a statement outlining the candidate's research/project interests, career goals, and suitability to the program,
  • Submit three letters of recommendation, and
  • Complete a graduate application.
  • International applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum score of 550 (paper-based) is required. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores are accepted in place of the TOEFL exam. Minimum scores will vary; however, the absolute minimum score required for unconditional acceptance is 6.5. For additional information about the IELTS, please visit www.ielts.org.

Students are strongly encouraged to contact program faculty before applying to discuss thesis topics and research projects.

Additional information

Facilities and equipment

The program provides a wide range of research opportunities. Many faculty members are engaged in field-based projects and the college boasts excellent laboratory facilities that support field research, including wet laboratories and computer facilities (traditional and geographic information systems). For a list of past and present projects, and faculty research interests, please visit the program website.

Monitoring, mapping, and field equipment: ArcGIS 9.3 and IDRISI Andes GIS software, Garmin and Trimble GPS receivers, pocket PCs with ArcPad software, soil sampling equipment, soil analysis equipment, digital clinometer, water sampling devices, multisonde water quality probes, dissolved oxygen meter, SCT meter, ponar dredges, Li-Cor light meter, plankton samplers, macroinvertebrate nets/samplers, and a library of field reference texts.

Other equipment: Fluorimeter, Raman Spectrometer, UV-Vis, GC-MS, ICP, atomic absorption, polarimeter, TGA’s Micro-extruder, centrifuge, electrochemical equipment, gas chromatography, HPLC detectors, viscometer, ESR (built in-house), infrared carbon dioxide analyzer, Unisense microelectrode system, Lachat autoanalyzer, incubators, infrared spectrophotometers, capillary electrophoresis, DSCs, DMA, Asher, 300 MHz NMR, drying oven, and a Wiley mill.


Career Outcomes

Job Titles

Environmental Consultant, Energy Auditor, Water Pollution Investigator, Air Quality Inspector, Wetlands Ecologist, Solar Energy Research Scientist, Recycling Coordinator

Functions

To solve significant environmental problems using an interdisciplinary team based approach and to engage in environmental research

Recent Employers

Governmental regulatory agencies, private environmental organizations, engineering firms, manufacturing firm


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