The thesis track is considered essential for students with career goals in advanced research or academic fields. The thesis track entails 30 semester hours (sh), of which 15 must be at the 6000 level and may include up to 6 sh of thesis. The remaining hours must be 5000 level or higher. With approval from the faculty advisor, some of these hours may be completed outside of the department.
Research conducted by graduate students reflects the core specializations of the Department (coastal science, meteorology/climatology, geographic information science, hydrogeology, biogeography, and soils science). Within each of these broad areas, there are numerous opportunities for students to pursue their interests in collaboration with faculty. To learn about specific research areas, prospective graduate students should review the research interests of the faculty, and the descriptions of current graduate research opportunities.
Students should formalize, no later than the end of the second semester, their Thesis Advisor and Thesis Committee members. Completion of the thesis track is contingent upon identification of a suitable Thesis Advisor. Applicants who intend to pursue this track are strongly encouraged to contact faculty in their field of specialization during the application process to secure a Thesis Advisor. Once a faculty member has agreed to act as a Thesis Advisor, the student will submit a detailed Research and/or Course Plan (the Program of Study) to a Thesis Committee consisting of at least three faculty including the Thesis Advisor; at least two Committee members must be Environmental Studies faculty. The Thesis Committee guides students through their course of study and their research. The Committee will advise the student on the acceptability of the Program of Study and will decide on any further steps to be taken in shaping the thesis research project. Students are expected to maintain an active discourse with, and seek advice from, their Committee. Committee meetings should be scheduled by the student or Thesis Advisor as specific problems or accumulated research demands.
The non-thesis track entails 36 semester hours (sh), of which 15 must be at the 6000 level and may include up to 3 sh of internship. The remaining hours must be 5000 level or higher. With approval from the faculty advisor, some of these hours may be completed outside of the department.
Students who select or are advised into the non-thesis track must maintain an active discourse with, and seek advice from the Graduate Coordinator regarding program requirements. Non-thesis students will be given a Comprehensive Exam by the end of the student’s last semester of residence. Students will be required to demonstrate competence in their area of emphasis as well as ability to relate this competence to practical environmental problems.