MS in Environmental Studies

Green Mountain College

Year Founded: Jan. 1, 2010
Date Posted: Feb. 25, 2016
Submitted by: Monika Urbanski
Sustainability Topic: Curriculum
Content Type: Academic Programs
Program Type: Master's Degree
Completion: 2 years
Distance: Distance Education
Commitment: Full-Time


Green Mountain College's Master of Science degree in Environmental Studies (MSES) is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in environmental science, law, policy, and organizing principles. Its emphasis on practical application of knowledge prepares students for professional work and is applicable to students who are just launching their careers, seeking growth in an established position, or pursuing a career change altogether. The MS in Environmental Studies program is distinctive in its bioregional focus; students are asked to apply the skills and knowledge learned to issues and ecosystems in their local area. This enables our students to go beyond conventional education and learn to identify and solve problems facing their own communities. Classes will typically begin with a case study and then move to a relevant theory, before asking students to apply the theory to issues in their local bioregion. The program is taught by a diverse selection of Green Mountain College faculty specializing in disciplines such as history, biology, business and economics, geology, communications, philosophy, law, education, English, and natural resource management. As one of the nation's pioneer environmental liberal arts colleges, Green Mountain College is uniquely positioned to produce sustainability leaders equipped with the skills necessary to become agents of change and address environmental issues on a local, national, and global level. Typically completed in two years, the MSES program consists of 36 credits. Twenty-one of those credit hours represent a common core of courses that provides a background in the major fields associated with environmental studies. Building on this core are two concentrations: Conservation Biology and Writing & Communications. In exceptional cases, students may also chart their own course through a self-designed concentration, arranged in consultation with the Program Director. Courses are typically taken sequentially (elective course options are available after the core courses have been completed), in year-round study, with a one week break between each course. Students complete projects by applying the skills and knowledge acquired in the program and engaging with classmates and instructors in asynchronous discussions. Because of the program's sequential course progression, students will normally enter each core course with the same students who started in their cohort. This enables the development a sense of classroom community and establishes a level of collaboration that is often difficult to achieve in an online setting. The college fosters the communal identity of the program further by offering students the opportunity to attend an annual on-site residency here at the Green Mountain College campus in scenic Poultney, Vermont. Green Mountain College's commitment to environmental causes and organizational focus on sustainability serves as the backdrop which enables our students to graduate with a depth of knowledge, practical skills, and professional preparedness not replicated in any other graduate level Environmental Studies program.

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