MS in Environmental Science and Policy

Environmental issues have multiple dimensions involving the natural, social, and physical sciences. Plymouth State University’s Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy program provides a foundation of knowledge about ecosystems, environmental science, and policy. You will have opportunities to engage in interdisciplinary, field-based applied research that will prepare you for a career as a scientist or research manager. Our graduates are working around the country at consulting firms, state and federal agencies (NH Department of Environmental Services, US Geologic Survey, US Forest Service), non-profit watershed associations (Squam Lakes Association, Newfound Region Lake Association), land trusts, and others have continued their education in PhD programs.

Working closely with faculty members with expertise in areas such as watershed and forest ecosystems, hydrology, climate change, ecological economics, and land use planning, your learning experience will give you the skills to address the relationships between science and policy, make decisions for social and ecological sustainability and resilience, and be an effective communicator of science. Please visit the MS Environmental Science and Policy Graduate Student Blog to read about students’ experiences in the program.

The degree requirements include a minimum of 30 total credits with either 24 course credits and 6 six credits for a thesis, or 27 course credits and 3 credits for a research project. There are two required courses in the program – Watershed Systems and Environmental Law and Policy. The objective of these core courses is to create a comprehensive foundation common to all students in environmental science and related policy issues. In addition, the program requires that students take either Science Based Research Design and Data Visualization or Environmental Outreach and Communication. For a full list of courses, visit the Course Catalog (graduate courses are ESP 5XXX).

As an Environmental Science and Policy graduate student, you will work with your advisor and a committee to determine the best courses for you and to develop a thesis or research project focusing on an issue important to you and the regional environment. Student research projects are varied and applied, and outreach components are encouraged to provide communication experience. Recent research projects include:

  • Understanding the hydrology of a forested watershed
  • Exploring the value ecosystem services in regions of New Hampshire
  • Assessing trends in water quality
  • Investigating climate change through researching lake sediments
  • Tracing metals through watersheds with different land uses

Environmental Science & Policy ClassWe also work closely with The Center for the Environment for expertise and knowledge in research and engaging on- and off-campus partners. These partnerships provide opportunities for you to work with faculty on thesis and research projects, many of which take full advantage of conducting research in northern New England’s lakes and forests, including Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, a premier ecosystem science watershed program.

On campus, the Boyd Science Center, a 76,000 sq. ft. research and learning facility, houses laboratories, teaching facilities, student offices, and academic departments.

For more information about admission and the MS in Environmental Science & Policy program, contact Program Coordinator Mark Green, (603) 535-3095.