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The thesis-based MS in Integrated Environmental Science (IES) is offered by the Department of integrated Environmental Science in the College of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (CSEM). The program seeks to adhere to the highest standards for academics and research, and in pursuit of these standards has set the following requirements and curriculum.
A program of this type is grounded in natural science but integrates information from other disciplines into it. As a result, students who have a decent science background plus some exposure to at least one non-science field would be best prepared for this program. Therefore, in addition to any university-wide graduate student requirements, a candidate for the Masters in IES must have the following background:
1) Required: A Bachelors degree in some aspect of natural or applied science or environmental policy, such as some form of biology, chemistry, natural resources (policy, management, or field oriented), wildlife management, fisheries, or similar. Alternatively, a student could enter with a different degree if their program of undergraduate study included 12cr hrs (or equivalent) of natural, physical, or environmental science including at least one lab and two courses of 200-level or higher, plus 9cr hrs of social science or humanities including at least one course of 200-level or higher, plus one course of any type focusing on environmental or resource issues from any perspective. A student wishing to pursue the program but with deficiencies in course background identified by a student’s advisor or advisory committee can be admitted conditionally to make up the undergraduate courses, and admitted fully to the program upon successful completion of the undergraduate courses. Courses taken to fill deficiencies cannot be used for graduate credit. Preferred: a major or minor in environmental science, environmental studies, resource management, resource economics, or similar environmentally-related program; an undergraduate research project/paper; at least one course in statistics or similar numerical analysis; computer skills.
As any graduate program should strive for the highest standards in student performance, candidates for the Masters in IES must also have:
2) A minimum GPA of 2.75 on a four point scale (or equivalent) for conditional admission, and a preferred GPA of 3.0 for full admission. Conditionally admitted students can be admitted fully after the successful completion of the first semester of graduate courses, and cannot begin thesis or research work until fully admitted.
3) GRE section scores in the upper 50 percent for each section. Students with lower scores (though with a minimum combined score of 300 or more) can be admitted conditionally, and can be shifted to full admission after the successful completion of the first semester of graduate courses. Conditionally admitted students cannot begin thesis or research work until fully admitted.
An MSIES graduate student must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 to remain in good standing in the program and to earn a degree, and must pass all courses with a grade of “B” or better. An MSIES student who earns less than a “B” in a listed course and/or receives a cumulative GPA below 3.0 will be given a grace period of one retake or one semester to correct the deficiency, or the student will be withdrawn from the degree program. A student may take advantage of a grace period only once as an MSIES student; a second occurrence will result in automatic withdrawal from the MSIES program. Any appeal for consideration of extenuating circumstances must be made in writing to the IES Department Chair and the Dean of the Graduate School within 60 days of the second occurrence. The decision of the Chair and Dean concerning reinstatement (and any associated conditions) is considered final.
Student Learning Outcomes
The Master of Science in Integrated Environmental Science uses a science core to train students in the critical thinking necessary to test and evaluate data, methodological courses to understand the behavior of natural systems and humanity’s role within them, and a set of increasingly integrated courses to teach students how to combine scientific data with other types of information necessary to address modern environmental issues.
Students completing the Master of Science in Integrated Environmental Science will demonstrate the following student learning outcomes. They will:
- Acquire, Analyze, and Critique Advanced Knowledge of the Structure and Function of Ecological Systems. Students will understand the organization of ecological systems and will be able to explain the interaction of organisms with other organisms from multiple perspectives and scales.
- Acquire, Analyze, and Critique Advanced Knowledge of the Structure and Function of Human Systems. Students will understand the organization of human socio-economic and urban systems and be able to explain the interaction of organisms with human socio-economic and urban systems from multiple perspectives and scales.
- Acquire, Analyze, and Critique Practical Knowledge of the Interaction between Human and Natural Systems as Pertains to Environmental Concerns. Students will understand the existing or potential impacts of human activities on ecological systems, both on smaller scales and holistically. Students will understand the impact of ecological systems and their changes on human actions, both on smaller scales and holistically. Students will utilize basic mathematical, analytical, and technological tools for characterizing and measuring environmental systems and understand, interpret, and critique arguments pertaining to environmental issues.
- Develop Methodological or Research-based Strategies to Address the Management and Mitigation of Human Impacts on Environmental Systems. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the various strategies used to evaluate the costs and benefits of human activities in order to make environmental decisions, including scientific, socio-economic, political, and ethical approaches. Students will understand approaches to the management and manipulation of human impacts, including their strengths and weaknesses, will apply the various environmental methods and theories learned within an application setting, and effectively carry out new research and/or application of existing methodology to an environmental issue.
Master of Science in Integrated Environmental Science=36 Credit Hours
Semester 1: Systems Structure and Function
Semester 2: Tools for Addressing Environmental Issues
Semester 3: Identifying Impacts and Issues
Semester 4: Management and Remediation of Impacts
ES 699 IES Thesis (1-9) may be taken during any semester when research is conducted. A minimum of four thesis credit hours are needed for graduation.
ES 550 Ecosystem Management
ES 605 Environmental Modeling
ES 631 Advanced Environmetrics
ES 641 Toxicology and Risk Assessment
ES 651 Environmental Restoration
ES 695 Special Problems in IES
30 credits coursework + 2 credits seminar + 6 credits (minimum) thesis = 38 Credits Minimum
- Course will link topics in the first two courses and identify impacts and feedbacks
- One of the two courses in each semester will be chosen for a service-based project, based on the best opportunity available for that semester/year.
- Curriculum involves both natural and social science perspectives
- Seminar 1 will be a way to expose students and faculty to researchers and practitioners working locally and across the country.
- All graduate students will be required to participate in all seminars every semester, but only the scheduled cohort of students will be graded.
The bulk of emerging professional environmental scientists are employed in municipal, state or federal agencies which are organized to protect our environment, be it as field scientists, policy developers, site managers, or public liaison officers. Similar opportunities also exist in the numerous NGOs that work on environmental issues. In addition, a better-informed general population is now also demanding more measurable corporate responses to environmental issues. Corporations, therefore, also are hiring or contracting for expertise in environmental science, policy, and management.
The IES Department already has functional connections with several national and state resource management agencies, including NOAA, USDA, and the state DEP. These agencies provide field opportunities, internships, and pathways to employment. The department’s local service learning field sites at Blue Spring State Park and Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve also provide local connections to employment opportunities.