Master of Arts in Environmental Studies

The curriculum for the M.A. in Environmental Studies allows students to gain an understanding of ways to balance social and economic needs with environmental realities, to learn how to use resources imaginatively for sustainable development, and to become aware of the role of values in issue formulation and policy making. Objectives are to enable students to:

  1. develop basic literacy in the natural and social sciences and the humanities as they contribute to an understanding of environmental affairs;
  2. critically analyze environmental problems; and
  3. identify, research, and evaluate environmental problems.

Three concentrations are available:

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements
ENS 551Environmental Natural Sciences4
ENS 552Environmental Social Sciences and Humanities4
ENS 553Research Methods in Environmental Studies4
Concentration Courses 1
Select from one of the three concentrations below24
Select one of the following:4
Graduate Project
Capstone Closure
Total Hours40

Because Environmental Studies faculty consider that a period of time working in an environmental agency or organization can be a vital part of professional training, students may take ENS 530 (one to four hours) as an elective. However, students may not count both ENS 530 and ENS 550 toward their degree requirements. 


Sustainable Development and Policy (SDP)

This concentration explores theories of sustainable development and policy in order to:

  1. understand the historical context and critically evaluate the current framework of natural resources and environmental policy;
  2. gain a comprehensive understanding of the conceptual elements of sustainability;
  3. communicate and evaluate issues in sustainable development policies and practices; and
  4. examine how shifts in natural resources and environmental policy might contribute to sustainable development.
Required Courses
ENS 571Sustainable Development4
ENS 581Environmental Policy and Analysis4
ENS 587Natural Resources: Policy and Administration4
Elective Courses
Select electives in consultation with academic advisor12
Total Hours24

Environmental Planning and Management (EPM)

This curriculum prepares students for professional positions in environmental planning and management. Objectives are to enable students to:

  1. understand principles and practices of environmental planning and management;
  2. analyze United States’ environmental policies as they relate to environmental planning;
  3. apply tools and techniques for preparing and implementing effective environmental plans; and
  4. evaluate effectiveness of environmental management plans.
Required Courses
ENS 404Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems4
or ENS 503 Advanced GIS Applications
ENS 403Transportation: Problems and Planning Procedures4
or ENS 501 Land Use and Environmental Planning
ENS 587Natural Resources: Policy and Administration4
Elective Courses
Select electives in consultation with academic advisor.12
Total Hours24

Environmental Humanities (EH)

This concentration provides a broad-based humanities curriculum to enable students to:

  1. understand the ethical, social, communicative, literary, historical, artistic perspectives as they relate to ecological systems;
  2. examine historical development of theoretical perspectives from humanities on the interaction of social and ecological systems; and
  3. apply ethical criteria and critical thinking in the analysis of environmental issues.
Elective Courses
Select in consultation with academic advisor.24
Total Hours24