Program Description

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. The program offers three tracks: Environmental Science, Conservation Biology and Environmental Social Sciences. The Environmental Science track focuses on abiotic environmental issues, such as water, air, and land pollution. The Conservation Biology track focuses on biotic issues, such as the preservation of biodiversity and ecosystem function. The Environmental Social Sciences track emphasizes environmental economics and policy.

The interdisciplinary nature of this program is reflected by the participation of faculty from across the campus, including the Colleges of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources; Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Engineering; and Science and Mathematics.

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 must be considered in an integrated manner.

Conservation Biology

Conservation Biology focuses on the loss of regional and global biodiversity, but considers the human element as well in its approach to resource issues. As an example, conservation genomics, community ecology, invasion ecology, endangered species management, and human-wildlife conflicts are themes for ECS Graduate Students.

Environmental Social Sciences

Environmental Social Sciences focuses on Natural Resources Economics; Environmental Economics as related to Environmental policy.

Admissions Requirements

To be admitted to the Environmental and Conservation Sciences program, the applicant must meet the Graduate School requirements. Further, applicants are only considered after an ECS affiliated faculty member has agreed to to admit the student to her/his lab and make arrangements of stipend and research funding. Thus, applicants should contact ECS faculty members who share their research interests. https://www.ndsu.edu/ecs/index.php/people/faculty

Financial Assistance

The applicant should contact a prospective mentor to identify sources of financial aid. Teaching and research assistantships may be available through funded research or participating departments. Applicants are considered on the basis of scholarship and potential to undertake advanced study and research. Contact the office of Financial Aid and Scholarships for information and applications regarding scholarships.

Program Administration

The graduate program is administered by the ECS Steering Committee. The committee is composed of ECS graduate faculty members representing the participating colleges: Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources; Engineering; and Science and Mathematics. The committee also includes a student member which is nominated annually by the ECS Graduate Student Association.

The ECS Program Director presides over ECS Steering Committee meetings. The duties of the ECS Steering Committee include:

  1. review of requests to join the ECS faculty and
  2. program review and administration.