Environment and Resources

Contacts: Patrick Eagan (Professor and Chair); Jim Miller (Graduate Advisor), (608) 263-4373

Environment and Resources (ER), formerly Land Resources, is an interdisciplinary program for graduate students who need the flexibility to customize a course of study appropriate to the environmental problem that interests them.

Students can earn a master of science (M.S.) degree in Environment and Resources or a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in Environmental Studies with a major in Environment and Resources. A thesis (for M. S. students) or a dissertation (for the Ph. D.) is required of all students.

The curriculum provides opportunities for interdisciplinary graduate education and research that cannot be found in more traditional academic departments. Each student designs a study plan with the help of faculty advisors in a process that encourages self-direction and individual creativity. It is possible, for example, to combine courses in basic science and engineering with courses in social sciences, humanities and law.

Environment and Resources prepares students to become professionals with a solid knowledge of the environment equipped to contribute creative solutions to environmental problems. Alumni of the program have followed many career paths.

Students may pursue interests in a wide variety of areas, such as:

  • Agroecology
  • Air resources, atmospheric systems and climatology
  • Animal and plant ecology and wildlife resources
  • Conservation biology (but see also our Environmental Conservation Professional Master's Program)
  • Conservation communication and outreach
  • Earth system science
  • Energy resources
  • Environment and health
  • Environmental history
  • Environmental policy, governance and justice
  • Global environmental systems
  • Geospatial analysis
  • Restoration ecology
  • Water resources and hydrology (but see also our Water Resources Management Program)

Applicants to the Ph.D. program must have a post-baccalaureate degree (i.e., M.S., M.A., J.D. or M.B.A.), or significant comparable experience. Students who apply without post-baccalaureate credentials or equivalent experience must first apply to the M.S. program; such students may apply for admission to the Ph.D. program once they have made sufficient progress.

Time to completion varies with the circumstances of each individual, but full-time students generally take two to three years for an M.S. degree and four to six years for a Ph.D. (For additional details, see table.) Applicants should discuss expected time to completion with their prospective advisors.

Master's-level students may combine ER with graduate or professional study in other fields through certificate or joint, double, dual degree programs.