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SUNY-ESF and the Peace Corps Master’s International Program

ESF, in cooperation with the Peace Corps, now offers opportunities for participation in five different Master of Professional Studies (MPS) and Master of Science (MS) degree programs, each of which incorporates Peace Corps volunteer service as an integral component of the graduate degree. Each of these degrees typically includes approximately 2 semesters of coursework here on the ESF campus, and then utilizes the Peace Corps volunteer service to meet the internship or capstone experience requirement of the MPS degree, or as a foundation for the research project requirment of the MS degree.  Students remain matriculated in both the MPS and MS degree programs during their 27 month Peace Corps service overseas, but incur no cost for tuition or fees for the 6 credit hours they will earn during this time. Following the completion of the Peace Corps service, students return briefly to campus to present a capstone seminar, and then graduate with their MPS degree. MS program students typically include one or more semesters additional time in residence upon returning to campus to prepare and defend the MS thesis.

Applying to ESF’s PCMI programs

Applying for entry into the Peace Corps Master’s International options for ESF’s Master of Professional Studies and Master of Science degree programs is among the options which may be selected within our regular application procedure using the on-line graduate admissions portal.

If you have additional questions about ESF’s PCMI program, please contact Scott Shannon, Dean of the Graduate School at sshannon@esf.edu, or if you have more generalized questions regarding Peace Corps service or the Peace Corps application process, please visit the Peace Corps website at www.peacecorps.gov.

Specific PCMI compatible degree programs:

On the following pages you will find ESF’s five current PCMI compatible graduate programs, each avaialble with an option to complete either a traditional Master of Science (MS) or Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree.  Each is identical to the regular MS and MPS programs described within the departmental sections of the ESF catalog, however, we have added the specific Peace Corps service component to illustrate how it fulfills the MPS internship or capstone experience requirement.

Environmental Studies Master of Professional Studies - Peace Corps Master’s International Option

The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree in Environmental Studies is a 39 credit hour experience blending academic and professional coursework with application to environmental affairs and sustainability. The Peace Corps Master’s International Option provides an opportunity for students to undertake a unique synthesis component in international volunteer service. The degree program will consist of at least 3 semesters of academic study, and at least 6 credit hours of Peace Corps service.

Core (18 credits)

  • EST 696. Peace Corps MI Pre-Service Seminar (0)
  • EST 600. Foundations of Environmental Studies (3)
  • EST 608. Environmental Advocacy Campaigns and Conflict Resolution (3)
  • EST 612. Environmental Policy and Governance (3)
  • EST 626. Concepts and Principles of Sustainable Development (3)
  • EST 640. Environmental Thought and Ethics (3)
  • EST 650. Environmental Perception and Human Behavior (3)

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 (3)
  • EFB 518 Systems Ecology (4)
  • EFB 523. Tropical Ecology (3)
  • EFB 600. Toxic Health Hazards (4)
  • EFB 611. Topics in Environmental Toxicology (3)
  • EFB 623. Marine Ecology (5) 

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 635. Multivariate Statistical Methods (3)
  • EFB 519. Geographic Modeling (3)
  • ERE 550. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (3)
  • EST 550. Environmental Impact Analysis (3)
  • EST 604. Social Survey Research Methods for Environmental Issues (3)
  • EST 605. Qualitative Methods (3)
  • EST 702. Environmental and Natural Resource Program Evaluation (3)
  • FOR 556. Introduction to Raster GIS Analysis (3)
  • FOR 557. Practical Vector GIS (3)
  • FOR 558. Advanced Topics in GIS (3)
  • LSA 500. Computer Graphics I (3)
  • LSA 501. Computer Graphics II (3)
  • LSA 552. Graphic Communication (3)
  • LSA 640. Research Methodology (3)

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 the Peace Corps MI synthesis experience.

Peace Corps MI Synthesis (6 credits)

  • EST 898. Professional Experience in the Peace Corps (5)
  • EST 796. Special Topics ‐ Peace Corps Capstone Synthesis Report & Presentation (1)

Environmental Studies Master of Science - Peace Corps Master’s International Option

The Master of Science (MS) degree in Environmental Studies is a 37 credit-hour program with an emphasis on developing research skills associated environmental affairs and sustainability. The Peace Corps Master’s International Option provides an opportunity for students to conduct research in international locations uniquely enabled by Peace Corps volunteer service. The degree program will consist of at least 3 semesters of academic study, and at least 6 credit hours of Peace Corps service. A thesis and oral defense is required.

  • Required Courses (minimum of 31 credit hours of graduate coursework), including:
    • EST 696 - Peace Corps MI Pre-Service Seminar (0 credit hours)
    • EST 600 – Foundation of Environmental Studies (3 credit hours)
    • EST 626 – Concepts and Principles of Sustainable Development (3 credit hours)
  • Two of the following courses:
    • EST 608 – Environmental Advocacy Campaigns and Conflict Resolution (3 credit hours)
    • EST 612 – Environmental Policy and Governance (3 credit hours)
    • EST 640 - Environmental Thought & Ethics (3 credit hours)
    • EST 650 - Environmental Perception & Human Behavior (3 credit hours)
  • A minimum of 7 credit hours of research methods
  • A minimum of 12 credit hours of focused coursework to be selected in consultation with the Major Professor and Steering Committee
  • Peace Corps MI Synthesis (6 credit hours)
    • EST 899. Thesis Research/Peace Corps Service  (minimum of 6 credit hours) including capstone seminar and thesis defense

Environmental Science Master of Professional Studies - Peace Corps Master’s International Option

The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree in Environmental Science is a 39 credit-hour experience aimed at professional applications of environmental knowledge. The Peace Corps Master’s International Option provides an opportunity for students to combine a blended academic/professional degree program with a unique synthesis component in international volunteer service. The degree program will consist of at least 3 semesters of academic study, and at least 6 credit hours of Peace Corps service.

Required Courses (21 credits):

  • ENS 696 - Peace Corps MI Pre-Service Seminar (0)
  • Applied Social Sciences in the following categories: environmental policy and regulation, and democratic processes. (9 credits)
  • Environmental Science (6 credits)
  • Methods Courses emphasizing applications of technical knowledge (6 credits)

Area of Study (12 credit hours) Environmental Communication, Environmental Policy and Democratic Processes, Environmental and Community Land Planning, Environmental Systems and Risk Management, or Water and Wetland Resource Studies.

Peace Corps MI Synthesis (6 credits):

  • ENS 898. Professional Experience in the Peace Corps (5)
  • ENS 796. Special Topics ‐ Peace Corps MI Capstone Synthesis Report & Presentation (1)

Environmental Science Master of Science - Peace Corps Master’s International Option

The Master of Science (MS) degree in Environmental Science is a 30 credit-hour program with an emphasis on developing research skills associated with interdisciplinary approaches to solving environmental and resource-related problems. The Peace Corps Master’s International Option provides an opportunity for students to conduct research in international locations uniquely enabled by Peace Corps volunteer service. The degree program will consist of at least 2 semesters of academic study, and at least 6 credit hours of Peace Corps service. A thesis and oral defense is required.

  • Required Courses (minimum of 18 credit hours of graduate coursework)
  • ENS 696 - Peace Corps MI Pre-Service Seminar (0 credit hours)
  • 15 credit hours selected within a focus area of study identified in consultation with the major professor and steering committee
  • At least 6 credits of research methods
  • Peace Corps MI Synthesis (6 credit hours)
    • ENS 899. Thesis Research/Peace Corps Service  (minimum of 6 credit hours) including capstone seminar and thesis defense

Forest Resources Management Master of Professional Studies - Peace Corps Master’s International Option

The Master of Professional Studies (MPS.) degree in Forest Resources Management is a 30 credit-hour coursework-based degree that enables students to increase, define, and integrate their natural science and social science knowledge and expertise in forest and natural resources management. The degree is designed to be the first professional degree in forest and natural resources management. It is appropriate for students with a baccalaureate degree in a natural resources-related discipline interested in enhancing their knowledge of forest and natural resources management, and for students with other baccalaureate degrees seeking an expertise in forest and natural resources management. At least 24 course credits must be taken in residence at ESF. The Peace Corps Master’s International Option provides an opportunity for students to combine a blended academic/professional degree program with a unique synthesis component in international volunteer service. The degree program will consist of at least 2 semesters of academic study, and at least 6 credit hours of Peace Corps service.

Required Courses (15 credits)

  • FOR 796 - Peace Corps MI Pre-Service Seminar (0)
  • FOR 560 Principles of Management (or equivalent) (3)
  • FOR 690 Capstone in Natural Resources Management (3)
  • Environmental or scientific writing or demonstrated writing skills (3)
  • Graduate Statistics (3)
  • Research Methods (3 credits) Statistics, Quantitative Methods, or GIS

Area of study or concentration courses (15 credits)

  • Course work can be chosen from one of 4 areas of study: 1) Ecology and Ecosystems, 2) Management, 3) Economics, Governance and Human Dimensions, and 4) Monitoring, Analysis and Modeling
  • FOR 898 - Professional Experience in the Peace Corps (5)
  • FOR 796. Special Topics ‐ Peace Corps MI Capstone Synthesis Report & Presentation (1)

      Forest Resources Management Master of Science - Peace Corps Master’s International Option

      The Master of Science (MS) degree in Forest & Natural Resources Management is a 30 credit-hour program with an emphasis on developing research skills associated with solving practical problems in forest and natural resources management. The Peace Corps Master’s International Option provides an opportunity for students to conduct research in international locations uniquely enabled by Peace Corps volunteer service. The degree program will consist of at least 2 semesters of academic study, and at least 6 credit hours of Peace Corps service. A thesis and oral defense is required.
  • Required Courses (minimum of 24 credit hours of graduate coursework)
  • ENS FOR - Peace Corps MI Pre-Service Seminar (0 credit hours)
  • A minimum of 12 credit hours must be taken in courses at the 600 level or higher
  • A minimum of 2 graduate seminars, including at least one FOR 797 topical seminar
  • Peace Corps MI Synthesis (6 credit hours)
      • FOR 899. Thesis Research/Peace Corps Service  (minimum of 6 credit hours) including capstone seminar and thesis defense

Environmental Resources Engineering Master of Professional Studies - Peace Corps Master’s International Option

The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree in Environmental Resources Engineering is is a 30 credit-hour program designed to enhance technical and problem-solving skills in applications including brownfield development and management of hazardous wastes, solid waste, energy resources, and water resources. The Peace Corps Master’s International Option provides an opportunity for students to combine traditional environmental engineering coursework with business management and environmental law or policy.  This program provides breadth and perspective for the student aspiring to managerial responsibility in public or private employment, with a unique synthesis component in international volunteer service.  The degree program will consist of at least 2 semesters of academic study, and at least 6 credit hours of Peace Corps service.

Required Courses (24 credits)

  • Engineering (12 credits)
  • Natural Sciences (3-6)
  • Resource Management (3-6)

Peace Corps MI Synthesis (6 credits)

  • ERE 898. Professional Experience in the Peace Corps (5)
  • ERE 796. Special Topics ‐ Peace Corps MI Capstone Synthesis Report & Presentation (1)

Environmental Resources Engineering Master of Science - Peace Corps Master’s International Option

The Master of Science (MS) degree in Environmental Resources Engineering is a 30 credit-hour program with an emphasis on developing research skills associated with solving environmental, ecological, and resource-related problems. The Peace Corps Master’s International Option provides an opportunity for students to conduct research in international locations uniquely enabled by Peace Corps volunteer service. The degree program will consist of at least 2 semesters of academic study, and at least 6 credit hours of Peace Corps service. A thesis and oral defense is required.

Required Courses (minimum of 18 credit hours of graduate coursework:

  • ERE 696 - Peace Corps MI Pre-Service Seminar (0 credit hours)
  • At least 2 credits from graduate seminars

Peace Corps MI Synthesis (6 credit hours):

  • ERE 899. Thesis Research/Peace Corps Service  (minimum of 6 credit hours) including capstone seminar and thesis defense

Conservation Biology Master of Professional Studies ‐ Peace Corps Master’s International Option

The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degreein Conservation Biology is a 36 credit-hour experience aimed at professional applications of environmental knowledge to conserving biological diversity. The Peace Corps Master’s International Option provides an opportunity for students to combine a blended academic/professional degree program with a unique synthesis component in international volunteer service. The degree program will consist of at least 3 semesters of academic study, and at least 6 credit hours of Peace Corps service. A comprehensive examination is not required.

Required Courses (minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate coursework)

  • EFB 696 - Peace Corps MI Pre-Service Seminar (0 credit hours)
  • At least three credit hours each from the five focus areas: Organismal Diversity, Applied Conservation Biology, Human Dimensions, Communications, and Technical Skills.
  • At least 2 credits from graduate seminars related to biodiversity conservation.
  • No more than 3 credits of EFB 798 (Research Problems) may count toward this requirement.

Peace Corps MI Synthesis (6 credit hours)

  • EFB 898. Professional Experience in the Peace Corps (5 credit hours)
  • EFB 796. Special Topics ‐ Peace Corps MI Capstone Synthesis Report & Presentation (1 credit hour)

Conservation Biology Master of Science ‐ Peace Corps Master’s International Option

The Master of Science (MS) degree in Conservation Biology is a 30 credit-hour program with an emphasis on developing research skills associated with conserving biological diversity. The Peace Corps Master’s International Option provides an opportunity for students to conduct research in international locations uniquely enabled by Peace Corps volunteer service. The degree program will consist of at least 2 semesters of academic study, and at least 6 credit hours of Peace Corps service. A thesis and oral defense is required.

Required Courses (minimum of 18 credit hours of graduate coursework)

  • EFB 696 - Peace Corps MI Pre-Service Seminar (0 credit hours)
  • At least three credit hours each from the five focus areas: Organismal Diversity, Applied Conservation Biology, Human Dimensions, Communications, and Technical Skills.
  • At least 2 credits from graduate seminars related to biodiversity conservation.

Peace Corps MI Synthesis (6 credit hours):

  • EFB 899. Thesis Research/Peace Corps Service  (6 credit hours) including capstone seminar and thesis defense

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