Graduate Program

Overview

The Graduate Program in Environmental Sciences

The Department of Environmental Sciences (EVSC) is an academic department offering instruction and conducting research in the areas of ecology, geosciences, hydrology, and atmospheric sciences. This unique juxtaposition of several sciences in one department fosters cooperation and exchange among traditional disciplines that share similar methodological and philosophical problems. The research endeavors of both faculty and graduate students, whether disciplinary or interdisciplinary, deal largely with problems of fundamental scientific interest. Research fields include environmental biogeochemistry, coastal processes, hydrogeology, catchment hydrology, microbial ecology, wetlands ecology, terrestrial ecology, boundary-layer meteorology, atmospheric chemistry, and climatology. Initiatives involving groups of faculty in contaminant hydrogeology, global environmental change, and coastal ecosystems encompass a number of graduate research opportunities.

The department offers three graduate degree programs: The Master of Arts, Master of Science and the Doctor of Philosophy. The M.A. degree candidate must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours, including 24 credits of course work at the graduate level. The student’s M.A. program of study is developed in consultation with the candidate’s major professor and includes a thesis. Training in ecology, hydrology, atmospheric science, and geosciences is expected of the degree candidate. The M.S. program emphasizes new scientific research in addition to fundamental coursework. A degree candidate must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours including 24 hours of graduate level coursework. One course from each of the four core areas of the department (ecology, hydrology, geosciences, and atmospheric sciences) is required. The Ph.D. program degree emphasizes original research and independent study. The degree candidate is required to complete the four core-area courses as for the M.S., one additional 700-level course and a minimum of 54 credit hours including thesis research. Thesis committees are usually interdisciplinary and are composed according to the type of research to be conducted. Ph.D. candidates must pass a written and oral comprehensive examination administered by their dissertation committee within four semesters of entering the program.