Environment and Resources is a research program offering master’s and Ph.D. degrees based on the premise that solutions to environmental challenges require interdisciplinary approaches. Faculty and students are oriented to environmental problems rather than to disciplines. Students are encouraged to explore the specific area that interests them by drawing on the insights and methods of multiple disciplines. The focus is on gaining the knowledge needed to understand the intellectual context of their work and the skills necessary to conduct original research. The program fosters experimentation and innovation, not the mastering of a narrowly defined set of prepackaged competencies. The objective is to produce graduates who are prepared to function comfortably in the complex professional and social communities within which solutions to environmental problems must be found.
The program mandates interdisciplinarity through curriculum requirements, the structure of the student’s faculty advisory committee, and the research endeavor. Students are required to take some courses in diverse disciplinary topics and other courses that are intended to strengthen problem-solving skills. A thesis (M.S.) or a dissertation (Ph.D.) is required of all students. Each student’s faculty advisory committee must consist of persons who collectively ensure interdisciplinary support and evaluation. Students can pursue interests over the full range of environmental studies from more of a physical or biological science research project to those emphasizing more of the social sciences or humanities including policy, environmental history, community action, or social justice. Students who feel a need to follow a more structured course of study may also pursue certificates in Culture, History, and Environment or Energy Analysis and Policy. Any bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution may be acceptable.
Application materials for Environment and Resources must be received by December 1 for admission to the following summer session or fall semester and by October 15 for admission to the following spring semester.
Graduate School Admissions
Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic degree programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet requirements of both the program(s) and the Graduate School. Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.
Graduate School Resources
Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.
In most cases Environment and Resources is unable to guarantee any funding to students. However, many of our students obtain funding through other departments on campus, and we recommend that students contact faculty or departments directly if they have teaching or research skills in specific areas. Individual faculty members occasionally have their own sources of support for research or project assistants, though we strongly urge students not to depend on these as guaranteed sources of funding.
Minimum Graduate School Requirements
Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.
MODE OF INSTRUCTION
|Face to Face||Evening/Weekend||Online||Hybrid||Accelerated|
Mode of Instruction Definitions
Evening/Weekend: These programs are offered in an evening and/or weekend format to accommodate working schedules. Enjoy the advantages of on-campus courses and personal connections, while keeping your day job. For more information about the meeting schedule of a specific program, contact the program.
Online: These programs are offered primarily online. Many available online programs can be completed almost entirely online with all online programs offering at least 50 percent or more of the program work online. Some online programs have an on-campus component that is often designed to accommodate working schedules. Take advantage of the convenience of online learning while participating in a rich, interactive learning environment. For more information about the online nature of a specific program, contact the program.
Hybrid: These programs have innovative curricula that combine on-campus and online formats. Most hybrid programs are completed on-campus with a partial or completely online semester. For more information about the hybrid schedule of a specific program, contact the program.
Accelerated: These on-campus programs are offered in an accelerated format that allows you to complete your program in a condensed time-frame. Enjoy the advantages of on-campus courses with minimal disruption to your career. For more information about the accelerated nature of a specific program, contact the program.
|Minimum Credit Requirement||30 credits|
|Minimum Residence Credit Requirement||16 credits|
|Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement||Half of degree coursework (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (https://registrar.wisc.edu/course-guide/).|
|Overall Graduate GPA Requirement||3.00 GPA required.|
|Other Grade Requirements||Grades of BC or C may be counted toward program requirements if they are offset by equivalent AB or A grades in other courses. A 3.00 average must be maintained in the student’s breadth categories as well as their individual program focus category. With the exception of research credits, a maximum of 2 credits graded S may be counted toward program requirements if approved by the student’s thesis committee and the program chair. Courses that are audited or graded pass/fail or credit/no credit will not count toward program requirements.|
|Assessments and Examinations||All students must complete a program certification and a thesis. Students must pass a final thesis defense which constitutes the final examination.|
|Language Requirements||No language requirements.|
|Category 1: Natural Science 1||6|
|Category 2: Social Science & Humanities 2||6|
|Category 3: Measurement & Analysis 3||6|
|Individual Program Focus & Research 4||12|
Students choose any biological sciences and/or physical sciences courses in the 300–999 range.
Students choose any social sciences and/or arts & humanities courses in the 300–999 range.
Students choose any measurement/analysis/tools/methods courses in the 300–999 range.
Students choose any courses, in the 300–999 range, that pertain to their individual research and thesis endeavor. At least one graduate seminar (research or topical) is required, and up to six Research credits may be used toward this category.
Graduate School Policies
The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.
Graduate Program Handbook
The Graduate Program Handbook is the repository for all of the program's policies and requirements.
Graduate Work from Other Institutions
With thesis committee and program chair approval, students are allowed to count graduate coursework from other institutions. The number of such credits is determined on a case-by-case basis. Coursework completed five or more years prior to admission to the master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy graduate degree or graduate coursework requirements.
No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the program.
UW–Madison University Special
With thesis committee and program chair approval, students are allowed to count up to 15 credits of coursework taken as a UW–Madison Special student. Such credits from courses numbered 300 and higher can count toward graduate residency and graduate degree requirements. Such credits from courses numbered 700 and higher can count toward the graduate coursework (50%) requirement. Coursework completed five or more years prior to admission to the program is not allowed to satisfy graduate residency, graduate degree, or graduate coursework requirements.
The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.
- Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).
- Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee; specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status).
- Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).
ADVISOR / COMMITTEE
All students must assemble a three-member thesis committee that represents a minimum of two departments, preferably no later than their third semester in the program. To meet the interdisciplinary requirement the committee must include members tenured in one of the natural sciences divisions (Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences) and one of the social sciences divisions (Social Studies, Arts & Humanities). Two of the three committee members must be members of the Graduate Faculty. The third, subject to approval of the program chair, may be any qualified person, on or off campus, who holds at least a master’s degree.
CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED
Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.
Graduate School Resources
Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career.
summer writing retreat
A four-day weekend summer (early June typically) writing retreat led by emeritus faculty member Sharon Dunwoody is available to any student in the program who is in the process of undertaking a serious writing commitment like a thesis, dissertation, grant proposal, or class paper. There is a peer review component to this retreat, so all participants will share at least some parts of their work for feedback from the instructor and their peers.
1. Demonstrate master's level knowledge of interdisciplinary environmental studies.
2. Demonstrate master’s level knowledge of a substantive area of environmental studies, adequate to undertake their M.S. thesis.
3. Demonstrate master’s level knowledge of research methodology appropriate to their substantive area of focus and appropriate for preparing their M.S. thesis.
4. Demonstrate skill in synthesizing the above goals (1-3) through preparation of a master’s thesis.