The graduate program leading to an M.S. or a Ph.D. in Environmental and Conservation Sciences (ECS) rests on an integrative curriculum and a multidisciplinary team approach. The program emphasizes the common ground shared by all sciences, and seeks to bridge methodological and philosophical boundaries that might hinder interdisciplinary communication and cooperation.
ECS builds on established research strengths across several colleges and provides a collaborative framework to integrate research and education across disciplines to resolve complex environmental issues facing North Dakota, our nation and the international community in the new century. The ECS graduate program comprises an integrative curriculum that emphasizes the common ground shared by all sciences. There are 3 tracks: Conservation Biology, Environmental Science and Environmental Social Science.
Track 1: Conservation Biology
Conservation Biology offers a new philosophy of looking at complex problems. This discipline focuses on the loss of regional and global biodiversity, but considers the human element, as well, in its approach to conservation. As an example, conservation biologists integrate a variety of sub-disciplines such as molecular ecology, landscape ecology and conflict resolution to conserve biodiversity.
Track 2: Environmental Science
Areas of Environmental Science, such as climate change, groundwater, hazardous waste, and water chemistry require broad training across discipline lines for successful application. To better predict anthropogenic environmental impacts, the engineering, earth material, chemical and biological data have to be considered in an integrated manner.
Track 3: Environmental Social Science
Environmental Social Sciences discipline looks at interactions between humans and the environment which tend to be complex and often require interdisciplinary efforts to understand and manage. Environmental policy, environmental economics, environmental history, environmental communication, environmental sociology and human ecology are examples of the fields of study.
One cornerstone of the ECS curriculum is a weekly Greenbag Seminar series that provides opportunity for students to interact with professionals "in the trenches." Local professionals as well as nationally recognized experts provide seminars, workshops and mini-courses to ECS students.
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