The 32-credit Environmental Observation and Informatics (EOI) curriculum provides the expertise that the market demands, focusing specifically on three pillars.
1. Remote sensing and integrated technology
Learn the fundamentals of earth observation by interpreting aerial photos and satellite data, then quickly advance to learn and apply new technology such as drones, LiDAR and radar, and cloud computing.
2. Modeling and analysis
Construct scenarios and models of environmental phenomena, natural processes, and human actions to predict and project future outcomes and inform decision making.
3. Innovative leadership
Drive strategic thinking to design and manage the use of observation technologies to advance policy, program direction, and executive decisions.
Details and Timeline
Here’s how the 15-month curriculum program breaks down each semester.
First Summer, In Person at UW-Madison
Kick off the summer with a two-week intensive seminar that includes:
- Field trips to learn about local conservation issues
- Social events to meet members of our professional network
- Classroom lectures and discussions to learn about the relevance of observational data for a variety of environmental topics.
Then switch gears for your technical courses in remote sensing and statistics that give you a solid foundation in using and interpreting environmental data. As a bonus, the summer also includes a multi-day hands-on workshop on working with geospatial data in R offered with the UW-Madison Data Science Hub.
- Environmental Leadership Seminar (1 credit)
- Environmental Monitoring Seminar (2 credits)
- Fundamentals of Environmental Remote Sensing (3 credits)
- Statistics: Foundations and regression with big data (2 credits)
- Welcome reception
- Geospatial Data Carpentry workshop
- Special seminar with leading conservationists
Fall Semester, In Person at UW-Madison
Campus will be buzzing with students in the fall as you dive deeper into the applications and analysis of spatial data. The two technical courses in GIS and remote sensing give you hands-on experience working with local and global conservation organizations, and with cloud computing platforms and open-source applications. Further your effectiveness through professional development in cross-cultural communication, diversity/equity/inclusion/justice, media and outreach training, presentations, and facilitation. Round out your experience with an elective course to focus on the social, economic, or ecological issues relevant to working with geospatial environmental data.
You also have an option of a fall course to focus on the social, economic, or ecological issues relevant to working with geospatial environmental data.
Required Fall Courses
- Conservation GIS (3 credits)
- Advanced Digital Image Processing (3 credits)
- Professional Development: The Practice of Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development (1 credit)
Some Fall Elective Course Options
- Policy and Politics of Environmental Information (3 credits)
- Remote Sensing for International Development (3 credits)
- Climate Change Ecology (3 credits)
- Conservation Biology (3 credits)
- Restoration Ecology (3 credits)
- Forest Ecology (3 credits)
- Dozens of Nelson Institute events
- Multiple guest seminars
- Professional development workshops
Spring Semester, Online
Online learning is at its best when it is through carefully crafted courses. The spring semester has a series of one-credit modules that are frequently updated based on what you need. In addition, you will be a master of earth observation by learning advanced image processing techniques and the emerging technologies. While you can learn from anywhere in the world, if you choose to stay in Madison, you can come to campus weekly to meet with your peers and instructors – the choice is yours.
- Remote Sensing for Conservation & Management (1 credit)
- Conservation Governance, Institutions, and Legislative Processes (1 credit)
- Conservation Grant Writing (1 credit)
- Statistics: Methods for Spatial Data (1 credit)
- Environmental Sensing Technologies (3 credits)
- Advanced Remote Sensing (3 credits)
- Spring commencement celebration
- Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference
Second Summer, Distance
The final summer of the program is all about practical hands-on learning. By this time, you will have worked with program staff and a partner organization to develop a project that is just for you. Under the guidance of a faculty advisor and supervision of your host organization, you will execute your plan and set yourself up to enter the workforce with your news skills and credentials.
- Independent study (4 credits)
Read more about student’s work on the Program Advantages page.
View complete enrollment guides with course descriptions:
All courses are taught by UW-Madison faculty and instructional staff who are passionate about this field and excited to bring you into it. Here a few of the core instructors for the EOI curriculum.