Graduate Program Requirements
The M.S. in Environmental Studies is flexible; students, with their academic advisors, design their own study programs by choosing from courses within Environmental Studies and throughout the University. Within this diversity of choice, and because we believe a well-rounded perspective and range of skills are needed to be an effective environmentalist, a limited number of foundational courses are required. (Note: Not all courses are offered every year, please see Current Area Offerings for this years offerings.)
Natural Systems Ecology
A biologically grounded ecology course taken either as an undergraduate or while in residence at Environmental Studies.
Examines methods and limits of scientific inquiry and critical analysis of information. One 3-credit course is required:
- ENSC 501 Scientific Approaches to Environmental Problems
- ENSC 551 Environmental Field Study
- ENST 555 Research Methods for Social Change
- ENSC 594 Environmental Health of Indigenous Communities
Examines socioeconomic and political processes. One 3-credit course is required:
- ENST 510 Environmental Issues of Indigenous Communities
- ENST 560 Environmental Impact Analysis
- ENST 580 Politics of Food
Thought and Writing
Explores environmental writing, literature and relationships between humans and the natural world. One 3-credit course is required:
- ENST 505 The Literature of Nature Writing
- ENST 530 The Greening of Religion
- ENST 570 Ethical Issues in Ecological Restoration
- ENST 573 Environmental Writing
Develops leadership, organizational and participatory skills through civic and other forms of hands-on involvement:
- ENST 519 Foundations of Change -- required during first semester
Plus, one 3-credit course:
- ENST 520 Environmental Organizing
- ENST 531 Citizen Participation in Environmental Decisions
- ENST 542 Transboundary Environmental Issues
OR a 3cr Internship with significant Engagement component approved as such by Advisor;
OR a 3cr course from the following list approved as a Project Course by Instructor of course:
- ENSC 501 Scientific Approaches to Env. Problems
- ENST 502 Env. Law for Non-Lawyers
- ENST 521 Foundations in Env. Education
- ENST 525 Teaching Env. Science
- ENST 535 Local Climate Solutions
- ENST 595 Supervised Internship: Ethnobotany & Native Plant Stewardship
- ENST 590 Supervised Internship PEAS (Summer Only)
Students have three options for demonstrating their critical and analytical abilities and their written communication skills: thesis, professional paper or portfolio. The formulation of a topic is encouraged by April of the first year of study.
Development of a substantive scholarly work that includes either the collection and analysis of data to answer a research question (as in original field or laboratory research in the natural sciences or survey research in the social sciences) or the production of an innovative, interpretive or critical work (as in the humanities or fine arts).
Professional Paper Option:
Development of a substantive report that targets a specific audience and demonstrates the student's ability to participate in professional discourse.
In consultation with an Environmental Studies advisor, students select courses of classroom study, internship experience(s) and portfolio projects directed toward specific career goals. Portfolios include three discrete portfolio pieces, one of which usually involves an internship experience, and demonstrated coherence between these pieces, the student's course of study and the student's goals. Upon completion of the portfolio, students are given a one-hour oral examination that focuses upon the integrity of each portfolio piece and coherence between the pieces.
Credits required for graduation:
- Thesis: 33 semester hours
- Professional Paper: 33 semester hours
- Portfolio: 36 hours
Environmental Studies graduate students who do either a thesis or a professional paper must register for a minimum of three thesis or professional paper credits. They must register for at least one of those credits in the semester that they defend. The minimum number of credits required for graduation with a thesis or professional paper is 33.
Portfolio-option students must take a total of 36 credits, but there are no semester specific credit requirements nor any portfolio credits per se. Their only requirement, which applies to all students, is that they must abide by the continuous registration rule of the Graduate School, registering for at least three credits each semester.
The UM Graduate Student Advising Guidelines, designed to help both students and faculty and to offer best advising practice resources, are available for review and reference at Graduate Student Advising Guidelines.
In consultation with the graduate advisor, the student will recruit a graduate committee. For the thesis and professional paper options, the graduate committee must have at least 3 members (at least one from outside EVST). The Portfolio option committee must have at least 2 members (one must be an EVST faculty member, the other could be from EVST or from outside the department). The committee must be composed of Montana University System faculty (including emeritus/retired faculty) and/or relevant professionals who serve as faculty affiliates.