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M.S. and M.P.S. Degrees
Environmental Studies

Coordinator:
Professor Sharon Moran
113 Marshall Hall
tel. 315.470.6690
smoran@esf.edu

Advising Faculty:

Paul Hirsch, Jack Manno, Sharon Moran, David Sonnenfeld

About the Program

The Environmental Studies graduate program at SUNY-ESF is dedicated to preparing students to actively support local to global communities working to achieve sustainability. The program integrates social, cultural, and environmental knowledge and skills to address the challenges of the 21st century. Students in this program want to make a difference. Our program offers students a focused, yet flexible, interdisciplinary understanding of environmental issues, the problems that underlie them, and the paths that lead to sustainable communities. The program facilitates student engagement with the study of fundamental cultural, social, political, technical, and economic forces that drive environmental degradation as well as the emerging approaches that can foster sustainability.

Coursework

Students in our program draw on the frameworks of social science, humanities, and natural science to enhance their critical, analytical, and communication skills. Coursework combines theoretical, practical, and applied approaches to engage areas such as environmental policy, environmental communication, sustainable communities, human behavior, collaborative governance, public participation, and environmental impact analysis.

Core Environmental Studies courses present its many disciplines and methodologies, and demonstrate its applicability to problem analysis, action, and the quest for sustainability. In addition to completing the core requirements, students may pursue a general program of study or emphasize a particular theme. A general program of study builds on the core and typically broadens it in multiple directions, providing a thorough preparation for diverse professional careers. A thematic focus builds additional competencies related to specialized academic and career goals. Suggested themes and lists of recommended courses are available in the Environmental Studies graduate program handbooks. Examples include conflict resolution, sustainable development, risk management, media and environmental journalism, watershed policy, and ecosystem-based management.

For M.S. students, a thematic choice is the preferred—though not required—alternative, since it should strengthen substantive content knowledge in an area relevant to the thesis.

Prerequisites

Students are expected to begin the program with some academic background in Environmental Policy or Communication; Environmental Science; and Ecology, demonstrated through successful completion of at least one course in each of these three areas. Deficiencies are identified in the letter of admission. If not completed prior to matriculation, these must be taken as co-requisites during the first two semesters of residence. Undergraduate or graduate courses successfully completed for credit may be used to satisfy deficiencies. Undergraduate courses are not included in Grade Point Averages, and do not contribute to the minimum number of required graduate credit hours. Graduate courses will be included in Grade Point Averages, but may not be used to meet program requirements.

Advanced Standing
  1. Course transfers: A maximum of six graduate credit hours with a grade of "B" or better that have not been applied to another degree may be transferred via Petition. The Petition must include an attached syllabus, and a justification of how the courses are to be included on the student's Plan Sheet. Petitions for course transfers are submitted following matriculation.
  2. Credit for prior experience (M.P.S. degree only): Applicants with a minimum of three (3) years of post-baccalaureate, full-time professional experience directly related to the intended area of study may apply for 6 credit hours of advanced standing in the M.P.S. program. Partial credit for experience cannot be awarded. When awarded for prior work experience, the 6 credit hours are applied toward the Synthesis requirement.
Plan of Study

Faculty work with individual students to develop a tailored plan of study to meet their specific goals. The plan of study is an opportunity for students to work out their learning, research and career objectives in narrative form and outline a sequence of courses and other learning experiences to help meet those objectives. The plan of study is also used by their major professor in order to provide effective advising on program, research, and internship choices. Guidelines for preparing the plan of study are available in the Environmental Studies graduate handbooks.

The Environmental Studies graduate program prepares students to address the emerging challenges of the environmental professions by enabling their abilities to critically investigate issues, analyze problems, and implement innovative approaches to environmental affairs and sustainability. As part of one of the world's foremost schools focused exclusively on environmental research and applications, the program is enhanced by SUNY-ESF's diverse expertise in the natural sciences and engineering, as well as by Syracuse University's extensive curriculum.

Degree Options

The Environmental Studies graduate program offers two degree options: the Master of Science (M.S.) or Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.). The requirements of each are outlined below. The M.P.S. and M.S. degrees may be completed in 1-1/2 to 2 years of full time study, respectively.

Master of Science (M.S.) in Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies M.S. degree program is a 37-credit-hour experience focused on advanced academic scholarship and research related to environmental affairs and sustainability. This degree requires the completion of a Master's thesis. Details on thesis proposals and expectations are available in the Environmental Studies M.S. graduate program handbook. All students must present a Capstone Seminar during their final semester. If necessary, the distribution of required credits may be adjusted to take into account a student's prior academic work and background.

Core (12 credits)

All students take:
  • EST 600. Foundations of Environmental Studies
  • EST 626. Concepts and Principles of Sustainable Development

All students also take at least two of the following:

  • EST 608. Environmental Advocacy Campaigns and Conflict Resolution
  • EST 612. Environmental Policy and Governance
  • EST 640. Environmental Thought and Ethics
  • EST 650. Environmental Perception and Human Behavior

Research Methods (7 credits)

All students take:
  • EST 603. Research Methods and Design
  • EST 797. Environmental Studies Seminar
    Students are required to take the specific section of this seminar that deals with research proposal preparation

All students also take one additional research methods course, typically from the following list and typically to support their thesis research needs:

  • APM 510. Statistical Analysis
  • APM 625. Introduction to Sampling Techniques
  • APM 630. Regression Analysis
  • APM 635. Multivariate Statistical Methods
  • CRS 602. Empirical Research in Social Communication
  • CRS 604. Qualitative Communication Research Methods
  • EST 604. Social Survey Research Methods for Environmental Issues
  • EST 605. Qualitative Methods
  • EST 702. Environmental and Natural Resource Program Evaluation
  • LSA 640. Research Methodology
  • PPA 721. Introduction to Statistics
  • PPA 722. Quantitative Aids for Policy Analysis
  • PSC 602. Public Policy Analysis
  • PSC 693. Introduction to Quantitative Political Analysis
  • PSC 694. Qualitative Political Analysis
  • SOC 614. Introduction to Qualitative Research

Generalized / Thematic Area (12 credits)

All students take four courses--typically in a thematic area--in consultation with their major professor. The thematic area should be used to substantively prepare the student for thesis work. EST 898 and EST 899 may not be included as thematic area courses.

Thesis Research (6 credits)

All students with an approved thesis proposal take at least six credits of:
  • EST 899. Master's Thesis Research

Year 1: Fall

 
COURSE TITLE Credits
EST 603 Research Methods and Design 3
EST 600 Foundations of Environmental Studies 3
Core Course 3
Area Course 3
Total Semester Credits
12
Year 1: Spring  
COURSE TITLE Credits
EST 626 Concepts and Principles of Sustainable Development 3
EST 797 Environmental Studies Seminar 1
Core Course 3
Thematic Area Course 3
Research Methods Course 3
Total Semester Credits
13
Year 2: Fall  
COURSE TITLE

Credits

EST 798 Problems in Environmental Studies* 3*
Thematic Area Course 3
Thematic Area Course 3
Total Semester Credits
9
Year 2: Spring  
COURSE TITLE Credits
EST 899 Master's Thesis Research
6
Total Semester Credits
6
Total Program Credits 37+3*

*This is an extra course, above program requirements, taken to maintain full-time status. Often a student preparing the thesis proposal enrolls in EST 798 to complete the literature review and proposal. If the student intends to do field work as part of his or her thesis research, it is typically undertaken in the summer between Years 1 and 2. In this case, EST 798 can be taken in the Semester of Year 1 and another Thematic course can be taken in the Fall of Year 2.

 

Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) in Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies M.P.S. degree program is a 39-credit-hour experience focused on advanced academic scholarship and its application to environmental affairs and sustainability. This degree requires the completion of a synthesis experience which frequently, though not always, involves a professional internship. Details on internships and other synthesis options are available in the Environmental Studies M.P.S. graduate program handbook. All students must present a Capstone Seminar during their final semester. If necessary, the distribution of required credits may be adjusted to take into account a student's prior academic work and background.

Core (18 credits)

Required:

  • EST 600. Foundations of Environmental Studies (fall)
  • EST 626. Concepts and Principles of Sustainable Development (spring)

Required, four of the following:

Recommended, as the fundamental knowledge and skill set for Environmental Studies:

  • EST 608. Environmental Advocacy Campaigns and Conflict Resolution
  • EST 612. Environmental Policy and Governance
  • EST 640. Environmental Thought and Ethics
  • EST 650. Environmental Perception and Human Behavior

Alternatively, the following may also be used to meet this requirement:

  • EST 606. Environmental Risk Perception
  • EST 609. Collaborative Governance Processes for Environmental and Natural Resources Management
  • EST 635. Public Participation and Decision Making
  • EST 645. Mass Media and Environmental Affairs
  • EST 660. Land Use Law
  • EST 797 Environment and Natural Resources Policy Analysis

Other courses may be identified in collaboration with the student's adviser

Natural Sciences (3 credits)

All students take one natural science course. Typically this would be one of the following courses, though alternatives may be considered in consultation with the major professor.
  • EFB 516. Ecosystems
  • EFB 518. Systems Ecology
  • EFB 523. Tropical Ecology
  • EFB 600. Toxic Health Hazards
  • EFB 611. Topics in Environmental Toxicology
  • EFB 623. Marine Ecology

Research / Technical Methods (6 credits)

All students take two research or technical methods courses, typically from the following list and typically to support their learning objectives:
  • APM 625 Introduction to Sampling Techniques
  • APM 630 Regression Analysis
  • APM 635. Multivariate Statistical Methods
  • ENS 519. Spatial Ecology
  • ERE 550. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
  • EST 550. Environmental Impact Analysis
  • EST 603. Research Methods and Design
  • EST 604. Social Survey Research Methods for Environmental Issues
  • EST 605. Qualitative Methods
  • EST 702. Environmental and Natural Resource Program Evaluation
  • FOR 556. Introduction to Raster GIS Analysis
  • FOR 557. Practical Vector GIS
  • FOR 558. Advanced Topics in GIS
  • LSA 500. Computer Graphics I
  • LSA 501. Computer Graphics II
  • LSA 552. Graphic Communication
  • LSA 640. Research Methodology

Generalized / Thematic Area (6 credits)

All students take two courses in consultation with their major professor. The thematic area should be used to substantively prepare the student for capstone synthesis work. EST 898 and EST 899 may not be included as thematic area courses.

Synthesis (6 credits)

All students take the equivalent of two courses of:
  • EST 798. Problems in Environmental Studies
  • EST 898. Professional Experience
Year 1: Fall  
COURSE TITLE Credits
EST 600 Foundations of Environmental Studies 3
Core Course 3
Core Course 3
Generalized/Thematic Area Course 3
Total Semester Credits
12
Year 1: Spring  
COURSE TITLE Credits
EST 626 Concepts and Principles of Sustainable Development 3
Core Course 3
Core Course 3
Natural Science Course 3-5
Total Semester Credits
12-14
Year 2: Fall  
COURSE TITLE Credits
Synthesis 6
Total Semester Credits
6
Total Program Credits 30-32

 


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