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Environmental Science and Policy

Overview

The environmental field in the 21st century is evolving fast to respond to complex interdependencies between the natural environment and human development.

Clark's innovative Environmental Science and Policy master's degree develops students' abilities to integrate natural and social sciences to respond to local and global challenges. ES&P's expertise in risk and vulnerability assessment, environmental justice, institutional dynamics, watershed stewardship, renewable energy, and capacity building resonate worldwide. Classes and experiential learning give students essential skills for analysis, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

As a member of a closely knit family of graduate programs including International Development & Social Change, Community Development & Planning, and Geographic Information Sciences for Development & Environment, our ES&P Program is unique. Students are exposed to multiple perspectives and creative, integrated thinking in the classroom and in research.

Hallmarks of Clark's ES&P Program:

  • A pioneering spirit: ES&P has been a leader in understanding the relationships among science, technology, environment, and society for three decades. Clark is world-renowned for its work on the human dimensions of global environmental change.
  • Global relevance: ES&P covers the globe, with courses, research, and field work that include the U.S. as well as transitional and developing countries. ES&P students gain practical skills by working on projects addressing issues in the U.S., Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.
  • Dynamic faculty-student research: As the smallest and one of the oldest U.S. research universities, Clark offers elbow-to-elbow research experience with professors who are recognized leaders in their fields.

ES&P graduates become highly sought-after cross-disciplinary professionals, able to bridge disciplines, interests and cultures to champion more sustainable futures in both developed and developing countries. They work with and between stakeholders to understand needs and priorities; to design and implement solutions that are flexible, cost-effective, and sustainable; and to monitor performance.

Visit the ES&P website to learn more about the program.

Eligibility Requirements

The Accelerated B.A./Master's Program provides more intensive graduate study of ES&P in combination with a liberal arts B.A. degree. Students in any undergraduate field are accepted for the M.S. degree, though ES&P undergraduate majors do have a significant advantage in preparation. Qualified ES&P majors can be admitted into the Accelerated BA/Master's Program without any additional requirements. Majors in other disciplines, however, may have to supplement their studies with a number of preparatory ES&P courses.

Students with a g.p.a. of 3.25 or better must apply for this program by the junior year to receive full tuition remission. A cumulative average of 3.25 or better must be maintained throughout the senior year.

A request for admission to the Accelerated Degree Program is made to the ES&P program advisor during the junior year and will be granted in the senior year on presentation of an acceptable program of undergraduate study. Both acceptance into the graduate program and the granting of full tuition remission for the fifth year are subject to the approval of the ES&P Graduate Admissions Committee and the Dean of Graduate Studies.

For more information, visit www.clarku.edu/departments/idce/programs/esp.

Minimum Requirements

For non-ES, non-science majors:

One introductory ES&P course: e.g. EN 101 or EN 120
One semester of statistics: e.g. Geog 110 or Biol 106
One introductory science course from the following list: Biol 101; Biol 102; Biol 103; Biol 216; Chem 101; Chem 102; Phys 110; Phys 102
Two elective science courses, chosen from the list of Science Electives for the undergraduate ES&P track or from the list of Natural Science electives for the undergraduate GES major.

For non ES science majors:

Two social science courses from the list of Social Science electives for the undergraduate ES&P track.

Program Fees

Students entering the fifth year are required to pay a one-time Program Fee of $1,000. This fee is assessed on the student's bill in the first semester of graduate study.

In addition, all graduate students pay a $15.00 activity fee from the Graduate School and a $25.00 activity fee in IDCE in the fall and spring semesters and a one-time Enrollment Fee of $100 in the first semester of graduate study.

Program of study

The Accelerated BA/Master's Program student enters the fifth year with up to three graduate course unites that transfer from the undergraduate degree into the MS program. These two can comprise either 300-level (graduate) courses and/or 200-level (advanced undergraduate) courses that also have 300-level number. These must be taken in the senior year.

Both acceptance into the graduate program and the granting of full tuition remission for the fifth year are subject to the approval of the ES&P Graduate Admissions Committee and the Dean of Graduate Studies. In the Accelerated BA/Master's, while the fifth year is tuition-free, students can extend their MS studies into subsequent semesters at their own cost.

Students with a GPA of 3.25 or better must apply for this program by April 1 of the junior year to remain eligile for tuition remission. A cumulative average of 3.25 or better must also be maintained throughout the senior year. A request for admission to the combined Accelerated BA/Master's program is made to the ES&P program advisor during the junior year and will be granted in the senior year on presentation of an acceptable program of undergraduate study.

The Accelerated BA/Master's student enters the fifth year with up to three graduate course units that transfer from the undergraduate degree into the MS program. These two can comprise either 300-level (graduate) courses and/or 200-level (advanced undergraduate) courses that also have 300-level number. These must be taken in the senior year.

Master's Degree Requirements

The master's degree in Environmental Science & Policy requires a minimum of 12 graduate course units. these include five required core courses, two skills courses, and five elective courses to provide breadth and dept. The electives typically focus on a topic reflecting the student's particular environmental interest. The ES&P program culminates in a final project or a thesis based on research participation with ES&P faculty or approved affiliated faculty.

    ES&P Required Courses (5)
    IDCE 363 Decision Methods for Environmental Management
    IDCE 382 Management of Environmental Pollutants
    IDCE 30205 Climate Change, Energy and Development
    IDCE 30287 Fundamentals of Environmental Science
    IDCE 30213 Final Project Course

    Skills Courses (2)
    A sampling:
    IDCE 30209 Thesis Research Development for ES&P (half-course)
    IDCE 305 Qualitative Research Methods: Skills and Application
    IDCE 310 Introduction to GIS
    IDCE 347 Intermediate Quantitative Methods
    IDCE 332 Sustainable Development Assessment and Planning
    IDCE 349 Advanced Topics in Spatial Analysis
    IDCE 357 Dynamic Environmental Modeling
    IDCE 366 Principles of Negotiation and Mediation
    IDCE 367 Quantitative Modeling
    IDCE 371 Digital Image Processing
    IDCE 372 Groundwater Hydrology and Management
    IDCE 388 GIS and Local Planning
    IDCE 395 Participation and Environmental Management
    IDCE 30290 Participatory Research Methods
    IDCE 30245 natural Resources Management

Elective Courses (5)

Elective courses provide students the flexibility of designing much of their coursework to suit their own needs and to provide depth in a chosen area of focus. Students may take courses offered by the other three graduate programs in IDCE (International Development & Social Change, Community Development & Planning, Geographic Information Sciences) or in other departments, as approved by the ES&P Graduate Program advisor. These courses might include: Applied Ecology; Limits of the Earth; Environmental Law; Corporate Environmental Management; Watershed Stewardship; Cancer: Science and Society; Environmental Toxicology; Environmental Chemistry; Economics of Natural Resources; Urban Ecology; GIS and International Development; Community Planning; Tropical Ecology; Environment & Development in the Middle East; Gender, Environment and Development; Social Movements, Globalization and the State; Development Theory and others. Electives may be formal courses or directed research that supports the student's final research project.

Directed Research/Directed Study and Internships:
In addition to formal courses to fulfill the 6 elective units, students can take two units of directed research/readings or guided internships with a specific faculty member who agrees to guide the independent work (students may petition to take more than two unite). Students often elect to register for a directed study or guided internship unit as part of their work on their final project (see below for a description of the options for Final Project). Students completing a professional project typically take one directed research or guided internship course. Students choosing the thesis option typically take two directed research courses.

Options and Guidelines for ES&P Final Project

The final project is the culmination of the ES&P Master's program and should reflect, integrate and synthesize what students have learned in the program. The final project is the capstone of the ES&P Master's curriculum; it is viewed as a significant and rigorous work commensurate with the completion of a graduate degree.

The goals of the ES&P final project are: (1) to develop skills in designing and conducting an independent project and in presenting the results in a written report; (2) to focus in depth on a specific area of interest to individual students, and (3) to creative a culminating, synthesizing experience whereby students can integrate the knowledge and perspectives that they have learned and to apply them to a specific questions, issue, area, or organization. In the final project, students are required to demonstrate an ability to analyze and synthesize data and concepts, to reach conclusions and/or recommendations about the chosen topic, and to communicate in writing with clarity and supporting evidence. The ES&P program provides three options for the independent final project: (1) MA Research Project, and (2) Practitioner Project and (3) a Thesis.

Option 1. Final MA Research Project

The final MS research paper presents the results of student research on a specific theme, argument, questions or problem defined and identified by the student's interests, drawing from their course work, field work, or professional experiences. The paper may be based on primary or secondary research, and the research methodology should be clearly described. A critical part of the final MS research paper is a review of the existing literature, and an appropriate placement of the student research findings in the context of the literature.

Option 2. Final MA Practitioner Project

The final MS practitioner paper reports critically on an innovative, applied project carried out by the student. The project should contribute to a professional process or organization, and the final MS practitioner paper should describe and reflect upon an original contribution that the student has made. Examples include, for IDSC, a capacity-building project, or an attempt to improve monitoring and evaluation of a specific organization. For ES&P examples include conducting an environmental impact assessment or an energy audit, or developing new environmental management software. The student is solely responsible for making contacts and establishing the necessary relationships with organizations associated with the project.

Option 3. Final MA Thesis

Graduate students demonstrating high academic achievement and a capacity for completing original independent research may apply for approval to write a thesis as their final MS project. To be eligible for pursuing the thesis option, students must develop and submit a thesis proposal to the IDCE Director for approval before the end of the student's second semester of graduate studies. For the thesis option, students need to find a primary faculty research advisor within their IDCE program to oversee and guide the research. Students may petition to have an advisor from another program within IDCE or from another department. An oral defense is required.

Peer Review Requirement: All students are required to work with a fellow ES&P graduate student to serve as a peer reviewer on their final written report. No written work should be submitted to a faculty member without prior peer review

Coursework Timetable

The ES&P Master's degree requires 12 course credits. the Accelerated BA/Master's student enters the fifth year with two or three graduate course units that transfer from the undergraduate degree into the MS program. These can comprise either 300-level (graduate) courses and/or 200-level (advanced undergraduate) courses that also have 300-level numbers. These must be taken in the senior year. The remaining 9-10 courses are comprised of: required core courses, skills courses, and electives.

Up to two course credits may be earned for internships (post-BA). Two course credits may be taken in two ways:

Option 1: One internship taken in the summer before the MS program, and one in the summer after the Spring semester of the fifth year (options F and G below);

Option 2: A year-long academic internship after the senior year can be undertaken and counted as two course credits toward the Accelerated BA/Master's if that internship is apart of a funded academic fellowship through Clark, such as year-long Fulbright, a Compton Mentor, or Boren Fellowship. This year-long internship must have prior approval from the University's Graduate School for the returning student to remain eligible for an Accelerated BA/Master's with the fifth year scholarship. This is option H below.

Options G and H allow for completion in the 5th year (with tuition scholarship), with option G including a summer internship that the student registers for in the preceding spring.

Students register for Summer internships in the Summer session

Accelerated BA/Masters Students
*Please note: classes taken after the fifth year are charged full tuition
Option Senior Year Summer Fall Yr. 1 Spring Yr. 1 Summer Fall Yr. 2 Spring Yr. 2
A 2 0 3 3.5 0 3.5* -
B 2 0 4 4 1 1* -
C 2 0 4 4 1 1* -
D 2 1 4 4 0 1* -
E 2 1 3 4 0 2* -
F 2 1 3 4 1 1* -
G 2 1 4 4 1 - -
H 2 2 4 4 - - -
I 3 0 3 3.5 0 2.5* -
J 3 0 4 4 1 - -
K 3 0 4 4 0 1* -
L 3 1 4 4 0 - -
M 3 1 3 4 0 1* -
N 3 1 3 4 1 - -
O 3 1 4 4 - - -
P 3 1 4 4 - - -
Regular MA Students
A - - 3 3.5 0 3.5 2
B - - 3 3.5 1 3.5 1
C - - 3 4 0 4 1

Program Advisor

For more information please contact:

Professor Sam Ratick
Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Environmental Science and Policy
sratick@clarku.edu

Student profiles:

  • Michael Miller (ES&P M.A. '02) is a corporate environmental health and safety engineer at Textron, Inc., where he is involved with environmental metrics development, systems work for data, policy compliance, and remediation management.
  • Kevin Moran (ES&P B.A. ‘01) is founder of Moran's Environmental Service, which conducts environmental health and efficiency auditing and planning for public buildings and private residences.
  • Anna Makri(ES &P M.A. '99)is a research associate at the Center for Risk Science and Public Health at George Washington University.