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The concentration in Environmental Thought and Culture is an individually-designed Master’s degree for motivated students who seek to pursue a broad and transdisciplinary curriculum of graduate work in environmental studies, with a strong foundation in the ethical and philosophical traditions that inform environmental theory and action. The concentration balances depth in the student’s research area with breadth in the range of skills and approaches required for skillful engagement with environmental issues.
With its emphasis on transdisciplinary research (drawing on the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences) and on critical thinking, integrative analysis, and strong written and oral communication skills, the concentration provides students with a well-rounded understanding and capacity for addressing real-world environmental issues and problems.
Possible areas of study, based on current faculty research and teaching areas, include the following:
Applications of participating faculty members’ work have included education, critical analysis, policy, planning, organizational management and decision making, philosophy, and activism, related to such issues as sustainable community development, public lands and protected areas, tourism, forests, mining, indigenous issues, development of religious responses to environmental issues, and arts and media communication.
Students will work closely with their advisors and members of their studies committee to develop a program of coursework (which may include internships) and a final project or research thesis that strengthens their understanding and professional competency in some aspect of environmental thought, study, and action. Students’ programs of study will be self-designed in close consultation with their advisor and studies committee. Final project or research theses may be applied or theoretical, and may involve such methodologies as social surveys, ethnography, action research in organizational settings, discourse and policy analysis, document research, multi-criteria assessment for environmental decisions, organizational strategy development, media or artistic communication techniques, ethical or philosophical analysis, and others.
Through their work in this concentration, graduates will be able to contribute to society’s responses to environmental problems through their understanding of the relationship between human behavior, cultural values and worldviews, social institutions, and scientific knowledge. They will be well positioned for work in public, private, or non-profit settings, facilitating processes of environmental conflict resolution, planning and decision-making, citizen activism, and sustainability initiatives.
For more information, please contact:
General requirements and additional information in the UVM online catalogue