Program Highlights

The Environment and Resources program offers two degree options.

Master of science degree in environment and resources (thesis required)

Doctor of philosophy in environmental studies with a major in environment and resources (dissertation required)

A Study Plan Just for You

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)

Program Structure

Applicants to the PhD program must have a post-baccalaureate degree (i.e., MS, MA, JD or MBA), or significant comparable experience. Students who apply without post-baccalaureate credentials or equivalent experience must first apply to the MS program; such students may apply for admission to the PhD 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 MS degree and four to six years for a PhD. 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.

Learning Goals

Students in this program will learn to create, apply and transfer world class knowledge and skills about the environment and its sustainability in a flexible, interdisciplinary way to serve the people of the state, region, and world.

The Environment and Resources program expects its graduates to have these skills and to have mastered these areas of knowledge:

  • Familiarity with methods and concepts from a range of disciplines relevant to environmental issues and outcomes (interdisciplinarity)
  • Broad understanding of environmental issues and solutions (breadth requirement)
  • A coherent and rigorous course of study related to the thesis topic (depth requirement)
  • Familiarity with quantitative and qualitative methods and methods of data analysis and presentation appropriate to the study of the environment (measure and analysis requirement)
  • A capacity to integrate knowledge and to make original contributions that improve understanding of environmental problems
  • A commitment and ability to communicate research findings and environmental information generally in writing and orally to a broad audience, including stakeholders and the general public
  • An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility