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Areas of Emphasis

After students have chosen a Degree Option, they will have the opportunity specialize their degree even further by selecting an Area of Emphasis. The following 4 options are available:

Keep reading to learn more about each area of emphasis and find which one best fits your goals for your graduate school experience and your future professional career. 

Ecosystems Studies

Students who select this 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.

With this Area of Emphasis, you will be prepared to:
  • Design and conduct scientific investigations
  • Collect, evaluate, and interpret data
  • Make responsible decisions to implement appropriate technologies and strategies to solve environmental problems
  • Effectively communicate the results of environmental studies to other scientists, decision-makers, and the general public 

For more information on prerequisites, required courses, and future careers related to the Ecosystems Studies Area of Emphasis, along with general information for the emphasis, click here.

Environmental Policy & Administration

Students who select this emphasis may study the characteristics and operation of government; organizational policy, design, and evaluation; and substantive policies in regulation, environmental protection, science and technology, and energy and natural resources. Courses 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.

With this Area of Emphasis, you will be prepared 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
  • Effectively communicate the results of policy analyses and evaluations to diverse audiences, including environmental scientists, policy-makers, and the general public

For more information on prerequisites, required courses, and future careers related to the Environmental Technology & Analysis Area of Emphasis, along with general information for the emphasis, click here.

Environmental Technology & Analysis

Students who select this emphasis may study concepts of:
  • Environmental modeling and remediation
  • Municipal, industrial, and agricultural waste transformation, utilization, and disposal
  • Alternative energy systems and energy efficiency
  • 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.

With this Area of Emphasis, you will be prepared to:
  • Design and conduct scientific investigations
  • Collect, evaluate, and interpret data
  • Make responsible decisions to implement appropriate technologies and strategies to solve environmental problems
  • Effectively communicate the results of environmental studies to other scientists, decision-makers, and the general public 

For more information on prerequisites, required courses, and future careers related to the Environmental Technology & Analysis Area of Emphasis, along with general information for the emphasis, click here.

Personal Program of Study

The Personal Program of Study provides students with the flexibility to develop the individual skill sets needed to pursue unique or emerging fields within the broader area of environmental science and policy. This Area of Emphasis may be of particular interest to those interested in pursuing an entrepreneurial career. Part-time students, especially those seeking professional advancement through their current employer might also consider this emphasis.

Personal programs of study must:
  • Conform to the Environmental Science and Policy program guidelines
  • Be approved by the student's graduate committee, the ES&P Program Chair, and the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Director of Graduate Studies

For information on required courses and other requirements for the Personal Program of Study Area of Emphasis, click here.