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  • Master of Science in Environmental Science and Ecology


    Environmental problems are among the most urgent issues facing our civilization. In order to manage Earth's environment well, we must understand the processes that shape its surface; control its air, water and soil chemistry; and produce the biological and other resources upon which humans depend. We must also understand the interactions of animals, plants, and other living organisms with their physical and chemical environments.

    The Master of Science in Environmental Science and Ecology is a demanding, thesis-based experience. The curriculum is designed to challenge students to think critically, independently, and creatively, while providing the intellectual depth and breadth necessary to support the research formally developed in the thesis proposal. The curriculum, with a common core and an individual course of study, allows graduate candidates to develop the conceptual knowledge and technical skills necessary to understand and solve environmental problems in ecology, chemistry, and the earth sciences. The fields of study encompassed by the program include:

    • "green" and water chemistry
    • watershed analysis
    • limnology
    • fisheries and wildlife science and management
    • conservation biology
    • wetland ecology
    • ecosystem ecology and global change
    • aquaculture

    Graduates in environmental science and biology have been very successful in gaining admission to doctoral programs or finding professional employment in their chosen field.

    Admission to the Program

    Each student pursuing the MS is supervised by a faculty member in the Department of Environmental Science and Ecology or by an "associate" faculty member from the Departments of Earth Sciences or Chemistry. At the time of the production of the Catalog, faculty outside of the Department of Environmental Science and Ecology supervising students in this program include Mark Noll, Jim Zollweg, and Paul Richards.

    The thesis advisor monitors the student's academic progress and is responsible for directing the student's academic program, including the thesis proposal, oral comprehensive examination, thesis project, and thesis defense. Whether or not the applicant can be accepted will depend on his or her credentials and intended area of specialization, and the ability of a faculty member to accept a new MS advisee. Before a student is admitted to the MS program in Environmental Science and Ecology, a faculty member must be willing to serve as the student's thesis advisor. More detailed information on the program may be found in The Graduate Handbook.

    For more information about applying for graduate study at SUNY Brockport, please contact the Center for Graduate Studies.

    Program Requirements

    The MS program in environmental science and biology is designed so that the student can complete all coursework in two years. The program requires a minimum of 30 credits; at least 15 of these must be taken at the 600- or 700-level.

    Major Departmental Requirements (8 credits)

    • ENV 704 Thesis (1 credit)*
    • ENV 705 Introduction to Graduate Study (1 credit)
    • ENV 706 Experimental Design (1 credit)
    • ENV 707 Graduate Seminar in Scientific Writing (1 credit)
    • ENV 708 Professional Development (1 credit)

    ONE course chosen from the following list:

    • ENV 537 Biostatistics (3 credits)
    • ENV 538 Ecological Data Analysis in R (3 credits)
    • ENV 614 Multivariate Statistics (3 credit)

    *ENV 704 (Thesis) is taken in the second, third or fourth semester after matriculation; a minimum of 1 and maximum of 6 credits can be taken.

    Additional Requirements for the degree: (≥ 22 credits)

    At least 23 credits should be chosen from the list below; total number of credits in the program must equal at least 30, including at least 15 at the 600 and 700-level. Occasionally, other 500-, 600-, or 700-level courses taught at SUNY Brockport or other institutions may be deemed appropriate for the student's course of study.
    • ENV 500 Plant Diversity (4 credits)
    • ENV 504 Stream Ecology(4 credits)
    • ENV 506 Wildlife Ecology (4 credits)
    • ENV 507 Invasion Ecology (3 credits)
    • ENV 513 Topics in Plant Ecology
    • ENV 519 Limnology (4 credits)
    • ENV 527 Animal Behavior (3 credits)
    • ENV 530 Ornithology (4 credits)
    • ENV 535 Northern Wetlands (3 credits)
    • ENV 538 Ecological Data Analysis in R (3 credits)
    • ENV 539 Conservation Biology (3 credits)
    • ENV 540 Herpetology (4 credits)
    • ENV 544 Plant and Ecosystem Ecology (3 credits)
    • ENV 546 Wetland Ecology (4 credits)
    • ENV 548 Restoration Ecology (3 credits)
    • ENV 552 Environmental Laws and Regulations (3 credits)
    • ENV 559 Mammalogy (4 credits)
    • ENV 562 Aquatic Toxicology (4 credits)
    • ENV 564 Aquaculture (3 credits)
    • ENV 566 Great Lakes Issues (3 credits)
    • ENV 576 Animal Ecophysiology (3 credits)
    • ENV 577 Field Biology (4 credits)
    • ENV 583 Aquatic Invertebrates (4 credits)
    • ENV 584 Fisheries Science and Management (4 credits)
    • ENV 586 Fish Biology (3 credits)
    • ENV 616 Multivariate Statistics (3 credits)
    • ENV 621 Water Chemistry (4 credits)
    • ENV 692 Graduate Internship (1-3 credits)
    • ENV 695 Topics in Environmental Science (1-3 credits)
    • ENV 699 Independent Study (1-3 credits)
    • PAD 679 Grant Writing/Grants Management (3 credits)
    • PAD 680 Public Policy (3 credits)
    • ESC 512 Hydrology (4 credits)
    • ESC 515 Physical Meteorology (3 credits)
    • ESC 517 Dynamic Meteorology (3 credits)
    • ESC 518 Watershed Science (4 credits)
    • ESC 520 Radar and Satellite Meteorology (3 credits)
    • ESC 521 Air Pollution Meteorology (3 credits)
    • ESC 531 GIS Environmental Applications (3 credits)
    • ESC 555 Soils Science (3 credits)
    • ESC 562 Hydrometeorology (3 credits)
    • ESC 575 Web GIS (2 credits)
    • GEL 511 Stratigraphy and Sedimentology (3 credits)
    • GEL/CHM 557 Geochemistry (4 credits)
    • GEL 562 Ground Water (4 credits)
    • BIO 515 Molecular Biology (3 credits)
    • BIO 526 Recombinant DNA (3 credits)
    • BIO 567 Biochemistry I (3 credits)
    • BIO 568 Biochemistry II (3 credits)

    Other courses may be approved by the Thesis Advisory Committee.

    Total Credits Required (≥ 30 credits)

    Additional Degree Requirements

    • Minimum GPA of 3.0

    Other Requirements

    1. Establish a Thesis Advisory Committee early in the first semester after matriculation.
    2. Complete a Graduate Plan of Study, as determined by the Thesis Advisory Committee in consultation with the candidate, by the end of the first semester after matriculation.
    3. Complete and successfully defend a Thesis Research Proposal acceptable to the Thesis Advisory Committee by the end of second semester after matriculation, generally before thesis research begins.
    4. A minimum of 15 credits at the 600- and 700-level.
    5. A minimum of 30 credits of graduate credit with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in all graduate courses taken at SUNY Brockport.
    6. Present a public seminar on their thesis research.
    7. Successfully complete a Defense of the written thesis administered by the Thesis Advisory Committee.
    8. Submit three properly formatted copies on approved paper and one electronic copy of the successfully defended thesis to the department secretary.

    Student Learning Outcomes

    Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

    1. Explain advanced environmental science topics and policies, biological processes, and ecological principles.
    2. Design and execute an original research study involving data collection.
    3. Summarize, analyze, and interpret scientific data, using relevant quantitative skills and applying major environmental concepts.
    4. Summarize, organize, and communicate scientific data and analyses in oral/or written formats.
    5. Employ decision-making and problem-solving skills, such as evaluating competing explanations or applying scientific knowledge to environmental problems.
    6. Develop professional skills necessary to succeed in the environmental science and ecology fields.