Master of Science Environmental Science
Guam and the Western Pacific offer exceptional professional training and career opportunities
The purpose of the professional track is to produce competent credentialed professionals prepared especially for employment in government, industry, or education. Students following the professional track may select one of the three options described below: internship, project, or additional coursework. The professional track options demand the same mastery of basic knowledge and skills required of the research-track students, including communications skills. These options, however, accommodate students planning professional careers in the private or public sectors rather than scientific research careers, and whose circumstances (such as already being employed full time and/or having parental or other family commitments) may preclude them from undertaking thesis research. Each option culminates with a written report or paper (of no fewer than 20 pages, double-spaced, 12-point Times Roman, inclusive of figures and references). The report or paper should be suitable, in accordance with the topic, for local and/or on-line publication as a technical report, users manual, review paper, or educational pamphlet. Each option also requires a comprehensive oral examination following submission of the report or paper. Following the oral examination the student corrects or revises the report or paper, based on the committee’s review of it. The grade (Pass or Fail) is based on the committee’s evaluation of the final report or paper and the outcome of the oral examination. General requirements for capstone activities are described in the Graduate Bulletin.
In lieu of a thesis, students taking the professional track may select one of the following options. Each option culminates with a written report or paper (no fewer than 20 pages, double-spaced, 12-point Times Roman, inclusive of figures and references). The report or paper should be suitable, in accordance with the topic, for local and/or on-line publication as a technical report, users manual, review paper, or educational pamphlet. Each option also requires a comprehensive oral examination following submission of the report or paper. Following the oral examination the student corrects or revises the report or paper, based on the committee’s review of it. The grade (Pass or Fail) is based on the committee’s evaluation of the final report or paper and the outcome of the oral examination.
Internship Option. This option consists of a semester-length six-credit-hour internship (EV698) with an environmental firm (profit or non-profit) or government agency, under collaborative supervision by an academic advisor and work supervisor. The internship must include work on a specific project, product, or set of projects and products. These are agreed upon in advance by the student and committee (which includes the work supervisor), and approved by the program chair. At the completion of the internship, the student prepares and presents a written report, as specified above, on the project or projects undertaken during the internship, with the purpose and content of the report agreed on in advance by the student and the committee. Following submission of the report the student stands for a comprehensive oral examination.
Example: The student is employed with the environmental office of the local US Navy Facilities Command. As part of his work he is required to coordinate the production of an Environmental Impact Assessment for a proposed relocation of wetlands on Navy property. In consultation with his academic and professional supervisors, he prepares an intership project proposal, which he presents to his committee, and ultimately prepares a detailed report on the specific insights gained and lessons learned that might apply to the relocation of wetlands in general, and on Guam or similar islands, in particular.
Project Option. This option consists of a semester-length six-credit-hour project (EV690) agreed upon by the student and committee, and approved by the program chair. This would be a project other than scientific research that would nevertheless be of value to environmental practice or education. An example might be the development of a website containing animations, databases, and informative or instructional material on a selected local or regional environmental problem. The student prepares a proposal agreed upon by the student and committee, and approved by the program chair. At the completion of the project, the student prepares and presents a written report, as specified above, and stands for a comprehensive oral examination before his or her committee. The student may elect, or the committee may require, that the examination include an exhibit or demonstration of the project.
Example: The student is employed as an instructor in environmental science at the Guam Community College. She prepares a website and supporting instructional materials accessible to secondary school teachers and other community college instructors on Pacific Island water resources, including animations of groundwater infiltration, storage, flow, and discharge in the different types of aquifers that are characteristic of Pacific islands. To meet the writing requirement, the student prepares a comprehensive guide and user’s manual for the website, including appropriate scientific/technical background and references, suitable for publication and distribution to website users.
Coursework Option. This option requires twelve hours of additional coursework equivalent to a second major sub-discipline. The student selects two of the three concentrations in environmental science (Biology-Ecology, Geosciences-Engineering, Economoics-Management-Law) or one concentration in environmental science and another from a relevant inter-disciplinary field, such as Mathematics, Micronesian Studies, or Business Administration. Thus, in addition to selecting 12 hours for the first sub-discipline concentration, the student selects courses comprising 12 additional hours in an appropriate field in lieu of the 6 thesis hours required for the research-track or the 6 internship or project hours required for the other professional track options. Examples of such courses include probability and statistics and numerical analysis from Mathematics; physical geography, health and human adaptation, or economic development in Micronesia from Micronesian Studies; or management and economics courses from Business Administration. These courses may include no more than one special topic or reading/conference course in or related to the field. The committee must include members with expertise in the two concentrations selected, and agree on the curriculum proposed by the student. The student also prepares a proposal for a research paper, as specified above, which must address a topic related to one or both of the two selected concentration areas of coursework and make a judgment or present a case, drawing on a comprehensive review of the current scientific literature. The topic must be agreed upon by the committee and approved by the program chair. On completion of the coursework, the student submits the paper to the committee and stands for a comprehensive oral examination.
Example: The student is employed as an instructor at the College of Micronesia. He selects Geology-Engineering as his first major sub-discipline concentration, comprised of Hydrology (EV542), Hydrogeology (EV543), Pacific Island Geologic and Climatic History (EV547), and Tropical Climate and Climate Variability (EV535). For the second sub-discipline concentration field he selects Micronesian Studies, with Physical Geography of Micronesia (EV/MI506), Health and Human Adaptation in Micronesia (EV514), Economic Development and Change in Micronesia (EV520), and Readings in Micronesian Studies (EV599) in which he will search, read and study the literature pertaining to water resources on Micronesia and similar islands. For the research paper, the student conducts a comprehensive literature search and prepares a paper on the historical incidence of El Nino-related droughts in Micronesia, its effects, and the human responses to them.
The capstone options for the professional track are intended to be equivalent to the thesis requirement for the research track in terms of the knowledge and skills required, but more closely aligned with the needs and circumstances of those who are training for careers in industry, government, or education. Thus, each capstone option requires a written paper and oral presentation, which is graded (Pass or Fail) by the Advisory Committee.