M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy

Area of Emphasis

One of the primary goals of the Environmental Science and Policy (ES&P) graduate program is to prepare technically competent and creative individuals for positions in the public or private sectors. Individuals with such career objectives will focus on environmental science course work in the emphases of Ecosystems Studies or Environmental Technology and Analysis. Another objective of the ES&P graduate program is to prepare highly skilled and imaginative individuals for management and policy-making positions in government, nonprofit organizations and the private sector. Individuals with such career objectives will focus on environmental policy course work in the emphasis of Environmental Policy and Administration. Students will be prepared to deal with a variety of environmental problems and to pursue further graduate work in similar or related areas. A fourth option is to develop a “personal program of study” more fitting to the career interest of the student. In addition to the general core requirements described above, students will select a program of study from one of the areas of emphasis described below.

Areas of Emphasis and Requirements

Area of emphases and credit loads are described in detail below (credits are unduplicated by the program core). Note that some undergraduate courses are cross-listed as graduate courses and require only graduate status to enroll. It is strongly recommended that a student speak with the professor assigned to the course prior to enrolling to ensure that the student is adequately prepared to succeed in the course. Personal programs of study must conform to Environmental Science and Policy program guidelines and be approved in advance by the student’s graduate committee, the Environmental Science and Policy program chair, and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Studies. These programs must include the entire 18-credit program core requirements, at least one 3-4 credit quantitative course ENV S&P 755 orENV S&P 760 and include a minimum of 34 total credits. It is possible, even necessary depending on area requirements, that students will include one or two four-credit statistics courses in their academic program. In those cases, only seven credits would be needed in one semester which could be satisfied by ENV S&P 715 or ENV S&P 795, or an independent study or internship. If a regular course is selected, the academic program would include a total of 36 credits.

Students must complete requirements in one of the following areas of emphasis:

  • Ecosystems Studies
  • Environmental Policy and Administration
  • Environmental Technology and Analysis
  • Personal Program of Study

Ecosystems Studies 

Students who select the Ecosystems Studies emphasis may study general features of ecosystems such as nutrient regeneration, productivity, or trophic relationships. They may also focus on specific questions related to endangered species, predation and competition. Natural, managed, and disturbed ecosystems are examined in classroom and field activities. Studies on aquatic systems take advantage of the University’s location on Green Bay, participation in the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Program, and the on-campus Cofrin Center for Biodiversity. The University’s proximity to large areas of northern forests and the Door County Peninsula provides convenient locations for the study of diverse ecosystems. The Ecosystems Studies area of emphasis prepares students to:

  • design and conduct scientific investigations;
  • collect, evaluate, and interpret data;
  • make responsible decisions to implement appropriate technologies and strategies to solve environmental problems; and
  • effectively communicate the results of environmental studies to other scientists, decision makers and the general public.

Graduates typically work as scientists, environmental specialists, or project managers with industry, commercial laboratories, engineering firms, or government agencies, where their work involves analysis, research, consulting, compliance, or enforcement. Students who pursue the Ecosystems Studies area of emphasis are expected to have completed biology courses beyond introductory courses, typically the equivalent to a minor or major in biology (taken elsewhere or prior to entrance). These courses should include an ecology course.

Ecosystems Studies

Emphasis Prerequisites

Students who pursue the Ecosystems Studies area of emphasis are expected to have completed biology courses beyond introductory courses, typically the equivalent to a minor or major in biology (taken elsewhere or prior to entrance). These courses should include an ecology course.

General Core Requirements9
Perspectives in Environmental Science and Policy
Choose one of the following repeatable courses( 2 credits)
Seminar in Ecology and Evolution
Special Topics
Environmental Science
Ecology and Management of Ecosystems
Environmental Technology and Analysis
Public Policy
Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
Environmental Policy and Administration
Required Quantitative Course4
Environmental Data Analysis
Choose one of the following required ecology courses:3
Conservation Biology
Ecology and Management of Ecosystems
Landscape Ecology
Additional Courses - complete 9 credits9
Choose any combination from the courses listed here or above.
Biology:
Plant Biodiversity
Plant Physiology
Mycology
Field Botany
Environmental Microbiology
Ornithology
Mammalogy
Entomology
Marine Biology
Fish and Wildlife Population Dynamics
Advanced Microbiology
Wetland Ecology
Environmental Science:
The Soil Environment
Hydrology
Stream Ecology
Limnology
Glacial Geology & Landscapes
Environmental Policy and Planning:
Environmental Planning
Environmental Law
Global Environmental Politics and Policy
Public and Nonprofit Budgeting
Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
Environmental Policy and Administration
Math and Statistics:
Social Research Methods
Applied Regression Analysis
Design of Experiments
Seminar and Special Topics:
Seminar in Ecology and Evolution
Special Topics
Stable Isotopes in the Environment
Internship or Thesis Option:6-9
Capstone in Environmental Science and Policy
and Internship
Thesis
Total Credits31-34

Environmental Policy and Administration

Students who select the Environmental Policy and Administration emphasis may study the characteristics and operation of government institutions; organizational policy, design and evaluation; and substantive policies in regulation, environmental protection, science and technology, and energy and natural resources. Courses emphasize environmental problem analysis and planning, policy analysis and formulation, environmental law and implementation, program evaluation, statistical analysis and the application of social science research methods to environmental issues. Studies benefit from interaction with the Center for Public Affairs and the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity.

The Environmental Policy and Administration area of emphasis prepares students to:

  • identify and analyze policy-relevant problems of major importance;
  • collect, assess, and interpret policy-relevant data;
  • design, evaluate, and implement strategies and programs for addressing such problems; and
  • effectively communicate the results of policy analyses and evaluations to diverse audiences, including environmental scientists, policy makers, and the general public.

Graduates typically enter governmental agencies at the national, state or local level, or nonprofit organizations, where their work involves policy analysis, planning, or administration. Some prefer positions in legislative bodies, environmental organizations, or industry where administrative or analytical work is combined with politics, public relations, education or advocacy.

Emphasis Prerequisites

Students who pursue Environmental Policy and Administration come from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds such as economics, engineering, environmental planning, environmental policy, political science, public administration, sociology, or more traditional science disciplines. The appropriate undergraduate course preparation is dictated by the prerequisites for the courses to be included in a program of study and the thesis topic area. It would normally be expected that students would have the equivalent of one year of undergraduate course work in political science, public administration, or economics.

General Core Requirements9
Perspectives in Environmental Science and Policy
Choose one of the following repeatable courses (2 credits)
Seminar in Ecology and Evolution
Special Topics
Environmental Science
Ecology and Management of Ecosystems
Environmental Technology and Analysis
Public Policy
Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
Environmental Policy and Administration
Required Courses - complete 6 credits:6
Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
Environmental Policy and Administration
Social Research Methods
Administrative Organizations and Processes - complete 3 credits:3
Organizational Theory and Behavior
Intergovernmental Relations
Administrative Law
Environmental Law
Natural Resource Policy, Law, and Administration
Public and Nonprofit Budgeting
Public Policy - choose 3 credits:3
Economics of Sustainability
Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
Congress: Politics and Policy
Regulatory Policy and Administration
Environmental Planning
Water Resources Policy and Management
Environmental Law
Natural Resource Policy, Law, and Administration
Global Environmental Politics and Policy
Public Policy Analysis
Additional Courses4
Select any combination from the courses listed here or above.
Research Methods:
Environmental Data Analysis
Design of Experiments
Cost Benefit Analysis
Environmental Science
Hazardous and Toxic Materials
Ecology and Management of Ecosystems
Landscape Ecology
Environmental Technology and Analysis
Environmental Systems
Pollution Control
Pollution Prevention
Resource Management Strategy
Ground Water: Resources and Regulations
Environmental Planning and Geographic Information Systems:
Advanced Geographic Information Systems
Seminar and Special Topics:
Seminar in Ecology and Evolution
Special Topics
Internship or Thesis Option:6-9
Capstone in Environmental Science and Policy
and Internship
Thesis
Total Credits31-34

Environmental Technology and Analysis 

Students who select the Environmental Technology and Analysis emphasis may study concepts of: environmental modeling and remediation; municipal, industrial, and agricultural waste transformation, utilization and disposal; alternative energy systems and energy efficiency; or chemical, biological and geological aspects of ground or surface water systems. Students may be involved with evaluating alternative technologies and strategies for effective planning and policy implementation for the future. Principles and techniques of quantitative and qualitative analysis are applied to problems of supply, distribution, and utilization of natural resources and to the optimization of treatment and management costs in the context of public agencies, consulting firms and industries.

The Environmental Technology and Analysis area of emphasis prepares students to:

  • design and conduct scientific investigations;
  • collect, evaluate, and interpret data;
  • make responsible decisions to implement appropriate technologies and strategies to solve environmental problems; and
  • effectively communicate the results of environmental studies to other scientists, decision makers and the general public.

Graduates typically work as scientists, environmental specialists, or project managers with industry, commercial laboratories, engineering firms, or government agencies, where their work involves analysis, research, consulting, compliance, or enforcement.

General Core Requirements9
Perspectives in Environmental Science and Policy
Choose one of the following repeatable courses (2 credits)
Seminar in Ecology and Evolution
Special Topics
Environmental Science
Ecology and Management of Ecosystems
Environmental Technology and Analysis
Public Policy
Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
Environmental Policy and Administration
Required Quantitative Course:4
Environmental Data Analysis
Additional Courses - 12 credits12
Choose any combination of the following courses listed below:
Chemistry
Thermodynamics and Kinetics
Therymodynamics and Kinetics Laboratory
Biochemistry
Biochemistry Laboratory
Advanced Organic Chemistry
Advanced Organic Chemistry Laboratory
Instrumental Analysis
Environmental Science:
Environmental Microbiology
Environmental Systems
Pollution Control
The Soil Environment
Pollution Prevention
Hydrology
Water and Waste Water Treatment
Solar and Alternate Energy Systems
Hydrogeology
Resource Management Strategy
Ground Water: Resources and Regulations
Atmospheric Pollution and Abatement
Hazardous and Toxic Materials
Ecology and Management of Ecosystems
Environmental Technology and Analysis
Geoscience Field Trip
Glacial Geology & Landscapes
Environmental Policy and Planning:
Water Resources Policy and Management
Environmental Law
Global Environmental Politics and Policy
Public and Nonprofit Budgeting
Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
Environmental Policy and Administration
Math and Statistics
Social Research Methods
Applied Regression Analysis
Design of Experiments
Seminar and Special Topics:
Seminar in Ecology and Evolution
Special Topics
Stable Isotopes in the Environment
Internship or Thesis Option:6-9
Capstone in Environmental Science and Policy
and Internship
Thesis
Total Credits31-34

Personal Program of Study 

Personal programs of study must conform to Environmental Science and Policy program guidelines and be approved in advance  by the student’s graduate committee, the Environmental Science and Policy program chair, and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Studies. These programs must include the entire 18-credit program core requirements, at least one 3-4 credit quantitative course ENV S&P 755 or ENV S&P 760 and include a minimum of 34 total credits.

It is possible, even necessary depending on area requirements, that students will include one or two four-credit statistics courses in their academic program. In those cases, only seven credits would be needed in one semester which could be satisfied by ENV S&P 715 or ENV S&P 795, or an independent study or internship. If a regular course is selected, the academic program would include a total of 36 credits.

General Core Requirements9
Perspectives in Environmental Science and Policy
Choose one of the following repeatable courses (2 credits)
Seminar in Ecology and Evolution
Special Topics
Environmental Science
Ecology and Management of Ecosystems
Environmental Technology and Analysis
Public Policy
Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
Environmental Policy and Administration
Required:3
Environmental Data Analysis
Social Research Methods
Pre-approved individual courses: 113
Personal programs of study must conform to Environmental Science and Policy program guidelines and be approved in advance by the student’s graduate committee, the Environmental Science and Policy program chair, and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Studies.
Internship or Thesis Option:6-9
Capstone in Environmental Science and Policy
and Internship
Thesis
Total Credits31-34