Dig deep in a program designed just for you.

The MA in Earth & Environment is a two-year, research-driven degree, culminating in a thesis that derives from your interests. The degree offers deep knowledge of the Earth’s physical systems, social systems, and the interactions between the two. The MA in Earth & Environment provides students with an interest in geosciences, geography, remote sensing and geospatial science, energy, environmental analysis and policy, and sustainability an opportunity to build their expertise and gain new knowledge through coursework and applied research. The MA in Earth & Environment permits customization of coursework to allow students to obtain depth and breadth of knowledge in Earth and environmental topics.

Degree Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate intermediate knowledge of the fundamental concepts and topics in a specific sub-field of Earth & Environment.
  • Demonstrate understanding of key research questions, the research design process, and the quantitative and/or qualitative methods used in a specific sub-field of Earth & Environment.
  • Communicate research questions and results to the scientific community and communicate about problems in Earth & Environment to a broader audience.
  • Integrate, synthesize, and apply scientific knowledge to societal problems, such as the sustainable use of energy and water resources, the identification and mitigation of risks posed by climate change and natural hazards, and the consequences of human activities on the environment.

Degree Requirements


Students must complete 32 credits at the graduate level (8 courses at the 500-level or above), selected in consultation with a faculty advisor.

Professional Development

The MA in Earth & Environment requires that all student engage in professional development activities. This requirement may be satisfied in a variety of ways such as presenting research at conferences, engaging with professional or community organizations, or other activities approved by the student’s adviser.


While students will enter the program with a primary adviser, during the course of their studies each student will build a thesis committee comprised of the adviser and two additional thesis readers from the department faculty. Upon completion of the written thesis in the final semester of study, the thesis committee will conduct a formal thesis defense during which the student will present their research and answer questions from the committee to demonstrate mastery of the research area.

Selecting a Thesis Topic and Faculty Adviser

Those considering applying to the MA in Earth & Environment will have academic and professional goals related to the broad realms of Earth and environmental science. A typical applicant will be interested in the human dimensions of the environment, the physical systems of the Earth, and/or the intersection of the two.

Those considering applying to the program should have a target research area that they plan to study and are encouraged to contact faculty with whom the applicant is interested in working on the thesis project. Students will be admitted with a preliminary thesis adviser; however, it is possible to change advisers as coursework and research progresses.

Please contact Director of Master’s Programs Dr. James Baldwin or Graduate Program Coordinator Matt DiCintio for further information.