Sunlight filters through the understory of a hardwood forest during autumn as the leaves are changing colors

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.

Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.

Fall Deadline December 1
Spring Deadline October 15
Summer Deadline December 1
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not required but may be considered if available.*
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

* Recommended for those seeking University Fellowship consideration.


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 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 restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

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.

Major Requirements


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

Mode of Instruction Definitions

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students typically take enough credits aimed at completing the program in a year or two.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 15 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Details can be found in the Graduate School’s Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) policy (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
This program follows the Graduate School's policy:
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.


Breadth Requirements
Category 1: Natural Science (see course list below) 16
Category 2: Social Science & Humanities (see course list below) 26
Category 3: Measurement & Analysis (see course list below) 36
Individual Program Focus & Research 412
Total Credits30

Students choose any biological sciences and/or physical sciences courses in the 300–999 range. This course list is not meant to be all-inclusive. Students are not restricted to the courses listed here. This is a sample of appropriate courses for this category that are offered through various departments/programs. At least three credits must be from UW-Madison.


Students choose any social sciences and/or arts & humanities courses in the 300–999 range. This course list is not meant to be all-inclusive. Students are not restricted to the courses listed here. This is a sample of appropriate courses for this category that are offered through various departments/programs. At least three credits must be from UW-Madison.


Students choose any measurement/analysis/tools/methods courses in the 300–999 range. This course list is not meant to be all-inclusive. Students are not restricted to the courses listed here. This is a sample of appropriate courses for this category that are offered through various departments/programs. At least three credits must be from UW-Madison.


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. At least six credits must be from UW-Madison (not including Research credits).

Category 1: Natural Science courses

AGROECOL/​AGRONOMY/​ENVIR ST  724 Agroecosystems and Global Change3
AGRONOMY/​ATM OCN/​SOIL SCI  532 Environmental Biophysics3
AGRONOMY/​BOTANY/​SOIL SCI  370 Grassland Ecology3
ANTHRO/​BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  410 Evolutionary Biology3
ATM OCN 425 Global Climate Processes3
ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST  355 Introduction to Air Quality3
ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST  520 Bioclimatology3
ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG  332 Global Warming: Science and Impacts3
ATM OCN/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG/​GEOSCI  335 Climatic Environments of the Past3
BOTANY 400 Plant Systematics4
BOTANY 500 Plant Physiology3-4
BOTANY 801 Advanced Plant Community Ecology4
BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  651 Conservation Biology3
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL  402 Dendrology: Woody Plant Identification and Ecology3
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL  455 The Vegetation of Wisconsin4
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  460 General Ecology4
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  672 Historical Ecology2
BOTANY/​GEOG  338 Environmental Biogeography3
BOTANY/​HORT/​SOIL SCI  626 Mineral Nutrition of Plants3
BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  725 Ecosystem Concepts3
BSE/​ENVIR ST  367 Renewable Energy Systems3
CBE 562 Special Topics in Chemical Engineering1-3
CHEM/​GENETICS  626 Genomic Science2
CIV ENGR 311 Hydroscience3
CIV ENGR 415 Hydrology3
CIV ENGR 500 Water Chemistry3
CIV ENGR 501 Water Analysis-Intermediate3
CIV ENGR/​G L E  421 Environmental Sustainability Engineering3
ENTOM 450 Basic and Applied Insect Ecology3
ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  302 Introduction to Entomology4
ENVIR ST 400 Special Topics in the Environment: Biological Aspects of Envir St1-4
ENVIR ST 401 Special Topics: Environmental Perspectives in the Physical Sciences1-4
ENVIR ST/​GEOSCI  411 Energy Resources3
ENVIR ST/​PHYSICS  472 Scientific Background to Global Environmental Problems3
ENVIR ST/​POP HLTH  471 Introduction to Environmental Health3
ENVIR ST/​POP HLTH  502 Air Pollution and Human Health3
ENVIR ST/​SOIL SCI  324 Soils and Environmental Quality3
F&W ECOL 379 Principles of Wildlife Management3
F&W ECOL 401 Physiological Animal Ecology3
F&W ECOL 655 Animal Population Dynamics3
F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  660 Climate Change Ecology3
G L E/​GEOSCI  627 Hydrogeology3-4
GEOSCI 376 Topics in Geology1-3
GEOSCI 731 Carbonate Geology2
HORT 875 Special Topics1-4
KINES/​POP HLTH  791 Physical Activity Epidemiology3
LAND ARC 668 Restoration Ecology3
M E 466 Air Pollution Effects, Measurements and Control3
M E/​N E  565 Power Plant Technology3
M&ENVTOX/​POP HLTH  789 Principles of Environmental Health: A Systems Thinking Approach3
MICROBIO/​SOIL SCI  523 Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry3
N E 571 Economic and Environmental Aspects of Nuclear Energy3
PL PATH 801 Teaching Biology: Special Topics1
PL PATH/​SOIL SCI  323 Soil Biology3
POP HLTH/​SOC  797 Introduction to Epidemiology3
SOIL SCI 322 Physical Principles of Soil and Water Management3
SOIL SCI 325 Soils and Landscapes3
SOIL SCI 622 Soil Physics3

Category 2: Social Science & Humanities courses

A A E 375 Special Topics1-4
A A E 635 Applied Microeconomic Theory3
A A E 643 Foundations of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics3
A A E/​C&E SOC/​SOC  340 Issues in Food Systems3-4
A A E/​ECON  477 Agricultural and Economic Development in Africa3
A A E/​ECON/​ENVIR ST  343 Environmental Economics3-4
A A E/​ECON/​ENVIR ST/​URB R PL  671 Energy Economics3
A A E/​ECON/​F&W ECOL  531 Natural Resource Economics3
AGROECOL 701 The Farm as Socio-Environmental Endeavor3
AGROECOL 702 The Multifunctionality of Agriculture3
AMER IND 450 Issues in American Indian Studies3
AMER IND/​ANTHRO  314 Indians of North America3
AMER IND/​ENVIR ST  306 Indigenous Peoples and the Environment3
AMER IND/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG  345 Managing Nature in Native North America3
ANTHRO 330 Topics in Ethnology3-4
ASIAN 630 Proseminar: Studies in Cultures of Asia3
C&E SOC/​SOC  541 Environmental Stewardship and Social Justice3
C&E SOC/​SOC  929 Seminar: Class Analysis and Historical Change3
C&E SOC/​SOC  948 Seminar: Environmental Sociology3
C&E SOC/​SOC/​URB R PL  617 Community Development3
COUN PSY 601 Best Practices in Community-Engaged Scholarship2
ECON 711 Economic Theory-Microeconomics Sequence3
ECON 713 Economic Theory: Microeconomics Sequence3
ECON/​ENVIR ST/​POLI SCI/​URB R PL  449 Government and Natural Resources3-4
ED PSYCH 551 Quantitative Ethnography3
ENVIR ST 308 Outdoors For All: Inequities in Environmentalism3
ENVIR ST 349 Climate Change Governance3
ENVIR ST 402 Special Topics: Social Perspectives in Environmental Studies1-4
ENVIR ST 404 Special Topics in Environmental Humanities1-3
ENVIR ST 922 Historical and Cultural Methods in Environmental Research3
ENVIR ST/​GEOG  337 Nature, Power and Society3
ENVIR ST/​GEOG  439 US Environmental Policy and Regulation3-4
ENVIR ST/​GEOG  537 Culture and Environment4
ENVIR ST/​GEOG  557 Development and Environment in Southeast Asia3
ENVIR ST/​GEOG/​HISTORY  460 American Environmental History4
ENVIR ST/​JOURN/​LSC  823 Science and Environment Communication3
ENVIR ST/​PHILOS  441 Environmental Ethics3-4
ENVIR ST/​POLI SCI/​PUB AFFR  866 Global Environmental Governance3
ENVIR ST/​PUB AFFR/​URB R PL  809 Introduction to Energy Analysis and Policy3
ENVIR ST/​URB R PL  821 Resources Policy Issues: Regional and National2-3
ENVIR ST/​URB R PL  865 Water Resources Institutions and Policies3
GEOG 538 The Humid Tropics: Ecology, Subsistence, and Development4
GEOG 930 Seminar in People-Environment Geography2-3
GEOG/​URB R PL  503 Researching the City: Qualitative Strategies3
HISTORY 901 Studies in American History1-3
INTER-HE 801 Special Topics in Human Ecology1-3
INTL ST 401 Topics in Global Security3-4
JOURN 812 Qualitative Communication Research Methods3
LAW 731 Constitutional Law I3-4
LAW 744 Administrative Law3
LAW 918 Selected Problems in International Law-Seminar2-3
LSC 625 Risk Communication3
M H R 710 Challenges & Solutions in Business Sustainability2-3
POLI SCI/​PUB AFFR/​URB R PL  874 Policy-Making Process3
PUB AFFR 860 Workshop in International Public Affairs3
SOC 441 Criminology3-4
URB R PL 590 Contemporary Topics in Urban and Regional Planning1-3
URB R PL 611 Urban Design: Theory and Practice3
URB R PL 741 Introduction to Planning3
URB R PL 781 Planning Thought and Practice3
URB R PL 814 Environmental and Alternative Dispute Resolution in Planning3
ZOOLOGY 405 Introduction to Museum Studies in the Natural Sciences2-3

Category 3: Measurement & Analysis courses

A A E 636 Applied Econometric Analysis I3
A A E/​CIV ENGR/​ENVIR ST/​URB R PL  561 Energy Markets3
A A E/​ECON/​ENVIR ST/​URB R PL  671 Energy Economics3
A A E/​ENVIR ST/​POP HLTH/​PUB AFFR  881 Benefit-Cost Analysis3
AGROECOL 702 The Multifunctionality of Agriculture3
AGRONOMY/​ATM OCN/​SOIL SCI  532 Environmental Biophysics3
ART 476 Intermediate Photography4
ATM OCN 310 Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Ocean I3
ATM OCN 311 Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Ocean II3
ATM OCN 575 Climatological Analysis3-4
B M I/​POP HLTH  552 Regression Methods for Population Health3
B M I/​POP HLTH  651 Advanced Regression Methods for Population Health3
C&E SOC/​ED POL/​SOC  755 Methods of Qualitative Research3
C&E SOC/​ENVIR ST/​SOC  540 Sociology of International Development, Environment, and Sustainability3
C&E SOC/​SOC  360 Statistics for Sociologists I4
C&E SOC/​SOC  361 Statistics for Sociologists II4
CIV ENGR 310 Fluid Mechanics3
CIV ENGR 716 Statistical Modelling of Hydrologic Systems3
CIV ENGR/​ENVIR ST/​GEOG  377 An Introduction to Geographic Information Systems4
CIV ENGR/​ENVIR ST/​LAND ARC  556 Remote Sensing Digital Image Processing3
COUN PSY/​CURRIC/​ED POL/​ED PSYCH/​ELPA/​RP & SE  719 Introduction to Qualitative Research3
CSCS 570 Community Based Research and Evaluation3
ECON 703 Mathematical Economics I3-4
ECON 709 Economic Statistics and Econometrics I3-4
ECON 710 Economic Statistics and Econometrics II3-4
ED PSYCH 551 Quantitative Ethnography3
ED PSYCH 760 Statistical Methods Applied to Education I3
ED PSYCH 761 Statistical Methods Applied to Education II3
ED PSYCH 763 Regression Models in Education3
ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  540 Theoretical Ecology3
ENVIR ST 922 Historical and Cultural Methods in Environmental Research3
ENVIR ST/​F&W ECOL/​G L E/​GEOG/​GEOSCI/​LAND ARC  371 Introduction to Environmental Remote Sensing3
ENVIR ST/​GEOG/​LAND ARC/​URB R PL  532 Applications of Geographic Information Systems in Planning3
ENVIR ST/​LAND ARC/​SOIL SCI  695 Applications of Geographic Information Systems in Natural Resources3
ENVIR ST/​PUB AFFR/​URB R PL  809 Introduction to Energy Analysis and Policy3
ENVIR ST/​PUB AFFR/​URB R PL  810 Energy Analysis and Policy Capstone3
F&W ECOL 655 Animal Population Dynamics3
F&W ECOL/​HORT/​STAT  571 Statistical Methods for Bioscience I4
F&W ECOL/​HORT/​STAT  572 Statistical Methods for Bioscience II4
GEN&WS/​GEOG  504 Feminist Geography: Theoretical Approaches3
GEOG 378 Introduction to Geocomputing4
GEOG 500 Qualitative Strategies in Geography3
GEOG 560 Advanced Quantitative Methods3
GEOG 576 Geospatial Web and Mobile Programming4
GEOG/​URB R PL  503 Researching the City: Qualitative Strategies3
INTER-HE 793 Research Methods3
JOURN 658 Communication Research Methods4
JOURN/​POLI SCI/​URB R PL  373 Introduction to Survey Research3
LSC 560 Scientific Writing3
POLI SCI 813 Multivariable Statistical Inference for Political Research3
POP HLTH 798 Epidemiologic Methods3
POP HLTH/​SOC  797 Introduction to Epidemiology3
PUB AFFR 818 Introduction to Statistical Methods for Public Policy Analysis3
PUB AFFR 819 Advanced Statistical Methods for Public Policy Analysis3
PUB AFFR 820 Community Economic Analysis3
STAT 303 R for Statistics I1
STAT 304 R for Statistics II1
STAT 305 R for Statistics III1
URB R PL 841 Urban Functions, Spatial Organization and Environmental Form2-3

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

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With thesis committee and program chair approval, students are allowed to count up to 15 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Students must have at least three UW-Madison credits in each of the three breadth categories, and at least six UW-Madison credits in the individual program focus category (not including Research credits). 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.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

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.


This program follows the Graduate School's Probation policy.

  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).


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.


15 credits

Time limits

This program follows the Graduate School's Time Limits policy.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

This document was reviewed by the Graduate Student working group and approved by vote of Nelson Institute Governance with subsequent review by campus HR; please note that this was prior to the revision of GAPP by campus in 2019-20, as well as present and expected changes in 2020 after to Title IX, Office of the Dean of Students, etc.


Any student who feels that they have been treated unfairly by a faculty or staff member has the right to seek redress and to receive a hearing of the grievance following these procedures. It applies only to grievances about those persons who are employees of the Nelson Institute, who teach for the Nelson Institute or otherwise are subject to administrative oversight by the Institute. The complaint may concern course grades, program admission, classroom treatment, hostile or intimidating behavior, or any other issue. Note that these procedures are for students bringing grievances to the Nelson Institute, they do not cover issues relating to the classroom behavior of students which must be referred to the Dean of Students.

The procedures outlined below are used in the Nelson Institute to ensure a prompt and fair hearing of complaints, and to protect the rights of both the student and the person at whom the complaint is directed. These policies describe formal procedures. A student is free to bypass these procedures if they do not wish for an Institute sanctioned resolution. 

A complaint covered here may involve issues that either require or that would benefit from being directed to one of the campus programs or offices addressing complaints and grievances. See and (Accessed Oct. 2020). Please review the most recent information on Title IX on campus, as guidelines and contacts may change. Graduate students should review information at (Accessed Feb. 2019) Undergraduate students may wish to review information available in the undergraduate course catalog. There they will find this option presented: “For assistance in determining options, students can contact the on-call dean in the Dean of Students Office, 608-263-5700, Room 70 Bascom Hall, Monday– Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.”

Also, students should know that academic administrators may be required to report instances of sexual harassment or violence in accordance with university policy and the Clery act. (See: Accessed Oct. 2018). 

State law contains additional provisions regarding discrimination and harassment. Wisconsin Statutes 36.12 reads, in part: "No student may be denied admission to, participation in or the benefits of, or be discriminated against in any service, program, course or facility of the system or its institutions or center because of the student's race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, disability, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status or parental status." In addition, UW–System prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression. Students have the right to file discrimination and harassment complaints with the Office for Equity and Diversity.

Questions about Nelson Institute procedures can be directed to the Associate Dean for Research and Education.


  1. If possible, the student (complainant) should first talk with the person against whom the grievance is directed to advise them of their complaint and to determine if resolution is possible.
  2. If the student is not satisfied, or if they do not feel comfortable addressing the person to whom the grievance is directed, they should ask to speak to the immediate supervisor of the person involved. If the complaint is directed against a teaching assistant, the student should talk to the TA's supervisor, who is usually the course professor. If the student grievance concerns a faculty or staff member in Nelson, the next formal step is for the student to meet with the Associate Dean for Research and Education. If the complaint is not resolved at this level, the student may continue to the next step (4).
  3. It is recognized that a student may be reluctant to bring their grievance to the person against whom the complaint is directed, or to their supervisor, or to anyone else in the administrative hierarchy. In that case, the student should seek out a person who can guarantee confidentiality to the extent allowed by the law and university policy and provide non-judgmental advice as to appropriate next steps. Note that if criminal activity is involved confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. If a student does not know of any suitable person, they may approach any member of the Nelson Institute Academic Programs staff who will be able either to serve as a confidential discussant or who will be able to direct the student to someone who can assure confidentiality. Their role is to be that of Ombuds, meaning that they are not to take a position with respect to the validity of the grievance. Their role is to advise the student as to appropriate next steps.
  4. To start a formal grievance process, the student must submit the grievance in writing to the Nelson Institute Associate Dean for Research and Education (hereafter Associate Dean) as soon as possible. An email for which receipt is acknowledged will be considered a written submission.
  5. On receipt of the written complaint, the Associate Dean will acquaint themselves with the issues. This may involve face to face meetings or other means of establishing the facts in dispute. The Associate Dean will have the option of proposing a resolution. If the proposed resolution is accepted by parties directly involved, the matter will be considered settled at this level. Relevant documents will be archived by the Office of the Assistant Dean for Administration. At any point in the proceedings after the receipt and acknowledgement of the grievance by the Associate Dean, the complainant or the compliance will have the option of requesting that the matter be referred to an ad hoc committee. This request must be submitted in writing and acknowledged by the Associate Dean.
  6. If the matter cannot be settled through the mediation of the Associate Dean, or if the Associate Dean has concluded that the case merits further attention, or if the complainant has requested that the matter be referred to an ad hoc committee an ad hoc committee will be appointed by the Dean of the Nelson Institute or their designee. The committee will consist of at least three members. Within 10 working days, the student will be allowed to revise the complaint or to add material to the complaint document to be provided to the committee. The complainant may request a change in committee membership, but the final decision on the committee will remain with the Dean. The committee may request a written response from the person toward whom the complaint is directed. This response shall be shared with the person filing the grievance. The ad hoc committee will meet to discuss the case. They are authorized to seek additional information if they feel it is necessary. They will convey their written decision regarding the case including any recommendations for remediation or mediation to the Associate Dean within 30 working days from the charge to the committee. The Associate Dean will provide a copy of the committee’s written decision to the student regarding the case within 10 working days of receiving the committee’s report; the Associate Dean will also confirm that the past record on file of any grievances regarding the parties involved has been investigated; and, the Associate Dean will provide the student a statement outlining the formal plan of steps that will be taken officially on the part of the Nelson Institute.
  7. The complainant then has the option of taking their grievance to the university level. There are several options available. Consult websites referenced above.  
  8. The written documents relevant to the grievance will be archived in hard copy and electronic form as appropriate in a “Grievance Record” by the office of the Assistant Dean of Administration and will be maintained for a minimum of five years.
  9. The cumulative record involving any of the parties to a grievance will be reviewed each time a formal grievance is presented as in Step 4, above, in order to determine whether the pattern of grievance, such as past filings, indicates any actions are warranted.



Graduate School Resources

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

Program Resources

summer writing retreat

A four-day weekend summer (early June typically) writing retreat 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.

faculty executive program committee

Sara Hotchkiss (Program Chair), Robert Beattie, Holly Gibbs, Leah Horowitz, Marty Kanarek, Christopher Kucharik, Mutlu Ozdogan, Paul Zedler, Steph Tai (Ex Officio)