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Environmental Sustainability Graduate Programs

Jan 16, 2018

Individuals who would like to earn a graduate degree in environmental sustainability can pursue either master's degrees or doctoral degrees. We will discuss these programs in greater detail by looking at common course requirements and admission standards.

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Students who have a particular interest in how sustainable practices can be applied to the environment may wish to consider enrolling in a graduate program in environmental sustainability. These programs allow students to further their knowledge in this field and often give them the opportunity to focus specifically on one area, which may help them improve their job prospects upon graduation. Below, we will look at graduate programs in environmental sustainability in closer detail by exploring common courses found in these programs and admission requirements.

Graduate Programs in Environmental Sustainability

At the graduate level, students can enroll in master's degree programs and Ph.D. programs in environmental sustainability. While there are some programs that are specifically focused in environmental sustainability, there are other closely-related or even equivalent programs that go by similar names, like environment and sustainability, earth sciences and environmental sustainability, and sustainability science. Many of these programs, especially at the doctoral level, allow students a high degree of personal choice when selecting elective courses or choosing a concentration according to their own interests. Below, we will look at five courses that are common components in a graduate program in an environmental sustainability curriculum.

Sustainability Management and Leadership

Programs in environmental sustainability often include a course that is focused on how to be an effective leader in the field and how to run and manage projects. This course may focus on helping students develop leadership skills that they could apply to a wide variety of sustainability projects in the future.

Sustainability and Environmental Policy

In environmental sustainability programs, students will typically take at least one course that focuses on the policies and laws that are related to the environment and various sustainability measures. Students will explore the policy-making process and the roles that both governmental and non-governmental actors can play. In addition, students may study various theories, like environmental political theory, and how they apply to the current environmental and sustainability landscape.

Aquatic Environments and Sustainability

Many programs also offer a course that is specifically focused on sustainability as it applies to aquatic environments. Students will learn about the types of environmental problems that are unique to aquatic environments, like water pollution, contaminated water, and how human activity affects the freshwater supply.

Global Environmental and Sustainability Topics

This course will focus on topics in sustainability and the environment on a global scale. Students will learn about how global politics and international issues are connected to different environmental problems. In this course, students may be asked to critically examine a number of key environmental issues and then explore a number of possible solutions from both a national and international standpoint.

Research Methods

These programs often require that students take a course that is focused on research methods in environmental science. In this class, students will be exposed to various types of research methods that are employed when working in the field. They may be expected to conduct their own research using these methods in order to satisfy the course requirements.

General Admission Requirements for Graduate Programs in Environmental Sustainability

Admission standards for environmental sustainability programs may differ to some extent depending on the school where you are applying and as to whether you are applying for admission at the master's or doctoral level. Master's degree programs require that applicants have a bachelor's degree before beginning graduate study. Some programs, depending on their specific focus or concentration, may require that you have an educational background or bachelor's degree in a subject that is pertinent to environmental sustainability, while others may not specify a prior field of study. Ph.D. programs often require that students have a prior graduate degree in a field like earth sciences or environmental sciences before beginning the doctoral program, though some Ph.D. programs may accept applicants who only have a bachelor's degree, but these students would likely have to take an increased number of courses during the program.

When submitting an application to either a master's or doctoral program, there are a number of components that you must make available. These typically include an application form, past educational transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and results from the GRE test. Doctoral programs may also require that you already have identified a faculty advisor before beginning or applying to the program.

In summary, students have several options with possible areas of specialization to choose from if they are interested in enrolling in an environmental sustainability graduate program, including both master's and doctoral degrees.

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