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Environmental Science Graduate Degree Programs

Candidates must fulfill the requirements of the College of Graduate Studies and of the Program in Environmental Science. See the College of Graduate Studies section for the general requirements applicable to each degree.

Master of Science. Major in Environmental Science. Each student will design a study plan in consultation with an advisor. The study plan is subject to approval by the director and the Graduate College.

There are five requirements for the M.S. degree in environmental science: (1) Depth requirement: the graduate program is structured around three option areas, biological science, physical science, or social science. A student must complete a minimum of 12 credits (thesis degree) or 15 credits (non-thesis degree) in one of the three option areas; (2) Breadth requirement: A student must complete a minimum of 3 credits at the MS level in each of the other two option areas; (3) A student must complete one course (3 cr) in appropriate research methods or statistics at the 500 level; (4) Three seminar credits, including at least 1 credit in EnvS 501; (5) EnvS 500 (6 cr., thesis degree) or EnvS 599 (3 cr., non-thesis degree). These requirements may be augmented to compensate for undergraduate deficiencies.

The thesis degree consists of at least 30 graduate credits, including at least 6 credits and a maximum of 10 credits of thesis and a minimum of 24 credits of course work. For the thesis option, at least 21 credits in the option and supporting area must be at the 500 level, including a minimum of 6 hours of research and thesis (EnvS 500). The non-thesis degree program requires at least 30 graduate credits, including a minimum of 3 credits of EnvS 599 (Non-thesis Master’s Research) and 27 credits of course work. For the non-thesis option, at least 21 credits in the option and supporting area must be at the 500 level. For both thesis and non-thesis options, a student can take up to 9 credits at the 400 level in the option and supporting area (one class can be at the 300 level in a supporting area with committee approval). The thesis or non-thesis research part of the program for each student consists of a substantial project in which the student demonstrates ability to do rigorous independent work.

Professional Science Master. Major in Natural Resources and Environmental Science. Contact the Director of the Program in Environmental Science for information regarding this degree.

Doctor of Philosophy. Major in Environmental Science. Admission to the doctoral program is based on the compatibility of the student’s research interests with those of the major professor, the availability of research support, and the student’s academic record and potential. Applicants are expected to have the prerequisites as specified for the M.S. degree. The student develops a graduate program of at least 78 semester hours in consultation with his or her major professor and supervisory committee. The student is expected to actively participate in one or more seminar presentations during the course of his or her graduate career. Teaching experience is required and is obtained through participation in the program’s course offerings. Qualifying examinations are required for those students entering the Ph.D. program without a master’s degree. Preliminary examinations are required prior to admission to final candidacy for the degree. All candidates prepare a formal dissertation reflecting original thought and independent investigation and defend it during an oral presentation as a final step toward their degree. Publication in the peer-reviewed, scientific literature is expected. Contact the program office for specific program requirements and procedures.

Distance Education. The M.S. with a water science emphasis is available in Idaho Falls, Coeur d’Alene, and Boise and nationwide as part of our distance education offerings. The M.S. degrees in waste management, and policy and law are also available in Idaho Falls. The Ph.D. degree is offered in Moscow and in Idaho Falls.

Concurrent J.D./M.S. Environmental Science Degrees. The concurrent J.D./M.S. degree program offers students an opportunity to combine the study of scientific, social, philosophical, and legal aspects of environmental issues. This program equips students for jobs in which the technical knowledge offered through the Environmental Science Program and the professional expertise provided by the College of Law would be beneficial.

Students must apply separately to and be admitted by the College of Graduate Studies/Environmental Science Program, the College of Law, and the Concurrent J.D./M.S. Degree Program. Admission into the concurrent degree program is dependent on a demonstrated ability to excel in an intense, interdisciplinary educational environment.

Students must complete the requirements set out above for an M.S. degree in environmental science and the requirements for a J.D. (see the College of Law section), subject to the following conditions. The first year of study will be exclusively in the College of Law. Because the concurrent degree program requires an M.S. thesis, the fourth year of the program will be primarily in the Environmental Science Program. Up to 12 hours of M.S. graduate credit will be allowed toward the J.D. degree and up to 6 hours of law credit will be allowed toward the M.S. degree from pre-approved lists of classes. This will permit a student to complete the concurrent degree program in as little as four years. If a student fails to complete the master's degree program, no more than 6 credits will be allowed toward the J.D. degree; if a student fails to complete the law program, the student will be required to satisfy all requirements of the Environmental Science Program before receiving the M.S. degree. See the College of Graduate Studies and the College of Law sections for additional information on the graduate/law concurrent degrees.

Questions regarding the concurrent degree program should be addressed to the Environmental Science Program coordinator (208/885-6113) or to the College of Law (208/885-6423).