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Department of Environmental Biology
Graduate Degrees

Master of Professional Studies — M.P.S.

The master of professional studies degree requires graduate coursework credits graduate seminars and professional experience (internship). The M.P.S. degree is designed to accommodate a great breadth of student goals and needs, including students desiring additional education following some experience in their field, and science teachers seeking the master's degree for permanent certification. As in all degree programs in EFB, the student will be guided through the M.P.S. by a steering committee.

Master of Science — M.S.

The master of science degree entails a research-based thesis (6-12 credits of thesis research) in addition to 18-24 credits of graduate coursework (including special research topics and at least three seminars) for a total of at least 30 graduate credits. Students earning a M.S. degree find a much wider range of job options that have greater responsibilities and compensation compared to jobs that require only a B.S. degree. Many jobs at the M.S. level require an ability to perform research. Students interested in research positions in government, non-profit organizations, and academic and industry settings should pursue a M.S., rather than M.P.S. degree. Additionally, although not required by many graduate schools, a M.S. degree is often a key step toward earning a Ph.D. The M.S. student presents a thesis proposal to the major professor and committee who will guide completion of the research and writing of the thesis. A capstone seminar and defense of thesis are required.

General ESF graduate school requirements and guidelines for M.S.*

Doctor of Philosophy—Ph.D.

The doctor of philosophy degree may be pursued directly from the bachelor’s level, or following a master's degree program. Doctoral study culminates in a dissertation (or its equivalent as refereed publications) based on original research. In many cases this work serves as a foundation for future studies and publications throughout the student's career. Research activity is often funded through extramural grants to the student’s major professor. Abundant opportunities exist to gain teaching experience during the doctoral program. A written and oral examination is required to proceed to doctoral candidacy, at least one year prior to the capstone seminar and defense of the dissertation. Of the 60 credits required, 30-48 are awarded for coursework (including special research topics and at least five seminars) and 12-30 credits for the dissertation.

ESF graduate school requirements and guidelines for Ph.D.