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, conservation science, climate change, 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.

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, Policy, and Management. 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 a skills based course in Science Based Research Design and Data Visualization or Geographic Information Systems or Environmental Outreach and Communication.

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:

  • Exploring how Eastern Brook Trout respond to habitat improvements
  • Assessing trends in water quality in the White Mountain National Forest
  • Investigating climate change through researching lake sediments
  • Reviewing composting policy to help reduce food waste in New Hampshire

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 the MS in Environmental Science & Policy program, contact Program Coordinator June Hammond Rowan.

*Note: We anticipate changes to the MS in Environmental Science & Policy curriculum in academic year 2020-2021. The changes we are developing are designed to provide students with a variety of options for courses and focused study on research.