environmental-conservation-grad

The Nelson Institute's professional programs offer environmental leadership training in areas of identified and emerging need across our sector, convening people and perspectives from around the world and equipping graduates with the necessary environmental knowledge to tackle their next career challenge. We have two professional master's programs. Within the Environmental Conservation master of science degree, students can select a named option in either Environmental Conservation or in Environmental Observation & Informatics.

Upon degree completion, graduates will receive an M.S. in Environmental Conservation with a named option in one of the above. The curriculum in our professional programs is designed in close consultation with leaders in environmental practice to meet emerging global challenges and demands. We offer our professional master's in an accelerated, 15-month blended curriculum with on-campus and remote experiences to accommodate working professionals and busy lives. Students are in Madison for the summer and fall semester—two of the most beautiful seasons in Wisconsin—and then have classes online in spring that can be taken wherever you are in the world. The final, fourth semester is spent completing the student's M.S. leadership project.

Learn more about:

Students apply to the Master of Science in Environmental Conservation through one of the named options:

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.

Program Resources

Because of the immersive nature of our programs, with condensed time on campus and remote experiences, Environmental Conservation students are not eligible for any campus appointments such as teaching assistantships, project assistantships, research assistantships, or fellowships. This applies to both the Environmental Conservation and the Environmental Observation & Informatics named options. We encourage all students to apply for our Environmental Conservation tuition assistance program, and to seek additional sources of grants, scholarships, or loans. Students in the Environmental Conservation program's named options are not permitted to seek double, joint, or dual degrees.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements 

Note: The major is currently non-admitting. Students are admitted through one of the named options (sub-majors) below.

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
No No No Yes Yes

Mode of Instruction Definitions

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement 32 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement See either the M.S. named option in Environmental Conservation (https://next-guide.wisc.edu/graduate/environmental-studies/environmental-conservation-ms/environmental-conservation-environmental-conservation-ms/#requirementstext) or Environmental Observation and Informatics (https://next-guide.wisc.edu/graduate/environmental-studies/environmental-conservation-ms/environmental-conservation-environmental-observation-informatics-ms/#requirementstext) for the requirement information.
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (16 credits out of 32 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.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements See either the M.S. named option in Environmental Conservation (https://next-guide.wisc.edu/graduate/environmental-studies/environmental-conservation-ms/environmental-conservation-environmental-conservation-ms/#requirementstext) or Environmental Observation and Informatics (https://next-guide.wisc.edu/graduate/environmental-studies/environmental-conservation-ms/environmental-conservation-environmental-observation-informatics-ms/#requirementstext) for the requirement information.
Assessments and Examinations All students must submit a leadership placement proposal and work plan, complete a professional leadership experience (independent practice) of at least eight weeks, followed by a substantial written report or deliverable for their host organization, and an exit seminar presentation.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required Courses

Select a Named Option for courses required.

Named Options (Sub-Majors)

A named option is a formally documented sub-major within an academic major program. Named options appear on the transcript with degree conferral. Students pursuing the Master of Science in Environmental Conservation must select one of the following named options:

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.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

A Graduate Program Handbook containing all of the program's policies and requirements is forthcoming.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

No credits from another institution are allowed to count toward the program.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

See either the M.S. named option in Environmental Conservation (https://next-guide.wisc.edu/graduate/environmental-studies/environmental-conservation-ms/environmental-conservation-environmental-conservation-ms/#policiestext) or Environmental Observation and Informatics (https://next-guide.wisc.edu/graduate/environmental-studies/environmental-conservation-ms/environmental-conservation-environmental-observation-informatics-ms/#policiestext) for the policy information.

UW–Madison University Special

See either the M.S. named option in Environmental Conservation (https://next-guide.wisc.edu/graduate/environmental-studies/environmental-conservation-ms/environmental-conservation-environmental-conservation-ms/#policiestext) or Environmental Observation and Informatics (https://next-guide.wisc.edu/graduate/environmental-studies/environmental-conservation-ms/environmental-conservation-environmental-observation-informatics-ms/#policiestext) for the policy information.

Probation

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). This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School. The status of a student falls into one of the following three categories:

  1. Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).
  2. 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).
  3. Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).

ADVISOR / COMMITTEE

Every student in the program will be required to have an advisor. Program staff will work with the student to identify an advisor during the fall semester. Once an advisor has been identified, the student is expected to maintain communication with their advisor to ensure they are making satisfactory progress toward their degree.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

15 credits

Time Constraints

See either the M.S. named option in Environmental Conservation (https://next-guide.wisc.edu/graduate/environmental-studies/environmental-conservation-ms/environmental-conservation-environmental-conservation-ms/#policiestext) or Environmental Observation and Informatics (https://next-guide.wisc.edu/graduate/environmental-studies/environmental-conservation-ms/environmental-conservation-environmental-observation-informatics-ms/#policiestext) for the policy information.

Other

Because of the immersive nature of our program, with condensed time on campus and remote experiences, Environmental Conservation students are only eligible for campus appointments that total 30% time or less, or hourly work. We encourage all students to apply for our Environmental Conservation program scholarship, and to seek additional sources of grants, scholarships, or loans. Students in the Environmental Conservation program are not permitted to seek dual degrees.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

1. Apply the principles of conservation science and sustainability to real world environmental problems. (Environmental Conservation Named Option)

2. Explain the interconnections between environmental conservation and human well-being, and identify social, economic, and institutional conditions that favor sustainability. (Environmental Conservation Named Option)

3. Conceptualize, strategize, design, and implement innovative environmental problem-solving techniques. (Environmental Conservation Named Option)

4. Demonstrate competence in core professional skills related to conservation practice, including: written, verbal, and visual communication; conflict resolution; interdisciplinary team building and problem definition; conservation planning; and program evaluation. (Environmental Conservation Named Option)

5. Recognize and apply principles of ethical and professional conduct in environmental conservation. (Environmental Conservation Named Option)

6. Apply the principles of conservation science and sustainability to real world environmental problems. (Environmental Observation and Informatics Named Option)

7. Explain the interconnections between environmental conservation and human well-being, and identify social, economic, and institutional conditions that favor sustainability. (Environmental Observation and Informatics Named Option)

8. Choose and apply the most appropriate and powerful platforms and technologies to address environmental challenges related to both human activities and natural dynamics. Interpret remotely-sensed earth observation data and apply those data to complex environmental problems. (Environmental Observation and Informatics Named Option)

9. Construct models of environmental phenomena to better understand natural processes and human actions, to predict and project future outcomes and scenarios, and to quantitatively evaluate those scenarios to enable more informed management and policy decisions. Conduct robust statistical analyses to examine quantitative model output and distributed environmental data, and interpret resulting patterns and trends. (Environmental Observation and Informatics Named Option)

10. Drive strategic thinking to design and manage the use of observation technologies to advance policy and program direction, and engage with organization leadership. (Environmental Observation and Informatics Named Option)

11. Conceptualize, strategize, design, and implement innovative environmental problem-solving techniques. (Environmental Observation and Informatics Named Option)

12. Demonstrate competence in core professional skills related to earth observation practice including written, verbal, and visual communication; conflict resolution; interdisciplinary team building and problem definition; mission planning; and program evaluation. (Environmental Observation and Informatics Named Option)

13. Recognize and apply principles of ethical and professional conduct in environmental observation and informatics. (Environmental Observation and Informatics Named Option)

Faculty executive program committees

Environmental conservation program committee

Janet Silbernagel (Program Chairperson), Robert Beattie, David Drake, Thomas Eggert, Holly Gibbs, Evelyn Howell, Harvey Jacobs, Timothy Van Deelen, Alberto Vargas, Paul Zedler (Ex Officio)

environmental observation & informatics program committee

Annemarie Schneider (Program Chairperson), Mike Koutnik (external consultant), Mutlu Ozdogan, Janet Silbernagel, Stephen Ventura, Paul Zedler (Ex Officio), Jun Zhu