The curriculum for the Master of Science degree allows students to gain a strong scientific understanding of ways to study, evaluate, and interpret environmental realities and their impacts, as well as to manage and mitigate environmental problems.
Students will gain an understanding of ways to evaluate the impact of human activities on the environment and human health, to balance social and economic needs with environmental realities, to learn how to use resources imaginatively for sustained yields, and to become aware of the role of values in issue formulation and policymaking.
The curriculum for the M.S. in Environmental Sciences allows students to gain a strong scientific understanding of ways to study, evaluate, and interpret environmental realities and their impacts, as well as to manage and mitigate environmental problems. Objectives are to enable students to:
- Develop a basic literacy in the natural and social sciences and the humanities as they contribute to an understanding of environmental issues;
- Critically analyze environmental problems;
- Identify, research, and evaluate environmental problems; and
- Compare, contrast, implement and manage short- and long-term solutions to environmental problems. The department recommends that students interested in the Environmental Sciences degree have prior knowledge of chemistry, algebra, statistics, and biology.
General Environmental Sciences
This concentration provides students with competency in research and management of interactions among physical, chemical, and biological systems in the environment.
The curriculum for the Master of Arts degree 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 policymaking.
Sustainable Development and Policy (SDP)
This concentration explores theories of sustainable development and policy in order to:
- Understand the historical context and critically evaluate the current framework of natural resources and environmental policy;
- Gain a comprehensive understanding of the conceptual elements of sustainability;
- Communicate and evaluate issues in sustainable development policies and practices; and
- Examine how shifts in natural resources and environmental policy might contribute to sustainable development.
Environmental Planning and Management (EPM)
This curriculum prepares students for professional positions in environmental planning and management. Objectives are to enable students to:
- Understand the principles and practices of environmental planning and management;
- Analyze United States’ environmental policies as they relate to environmental planning;
- Apply tools and techniques for preparing and implementing effective environmental plans; and
- Evaluate the effectiveness of environmental management plans.
New online students must complete orientation online. With the academic advisor assigned to them, students must prepare an educational plan before or during the completion of the first semester of study. The educational plan is submitted to the department chair for final approval.
This concentration provides a broad-based humanities curriculum to enable students to:
- Understand the ethical, social, communicative, literary, historical, artistic perspectives as they relate to ecological systems;
- Examine the historical development of theoretical perspectives from humanities on the interaction of social and ecological systems; and
- Apply ethical criteria and critical thinking in the analysis of environmental issues.
Select in consultation with an academic advisor 24 credit hrs.
Online Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems
This is a 12-hour program administered by the Department of Environmental Studies. The purpose of the certificate is to give students the opportunity to gain valuable GIS knowledge and skills that can be applied to careers in both academia and practice. Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and meet campus requirements for admission to graduate study. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is required for admission. Students not meeting this level may still apply but will need to write a letter to the GIS Admissions Committee justifying their ability to complete graduate-level coursework (such as having significant work experience in the area). Consult UIS about this opportunity.
Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a scale during their course of study. A maximum of four hours of C (2.0) grades (a grade of C- or lower will not be acceptable) is applicable to an ENS degree, provided each hour of C is balanced by an hour of A (a grade of A- will not be accepted), and an approved Student Petition is on file in the Office of Records and Registration. Failure to maintain an overall graduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher will result in the initiation of academic dismissal by the Department of Environmental Studies. Courses that are offered on a letter-grade basis must be taken for a letter grade.
M.S. and M.A. candidates, with the assistance of their advisors and graduate committees, are required to complete one of the three available closure options. Requirements and options are available on the UIS website.
Student’s Educational Plan
Development of an educational plan is a key activity through which student and academic advisors identify coursework appropriate for the student’s background, aspirations, and needs.
A minimum overall GPA of 3.00 is required in the applicant’s undergraduate work, along with the completion of a 300-level or higher ecology course with lab, with a grade of B or better. The applicant’s undergraduate or work background must be sufficient for advanced coursework in environmental sciences. Applicants should submit an academic essay following online guidelines: Two informative letters of recommendation from professors or employers addressing applicant’s academic ability, work ethic, and personal integrity.
About the School
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