The MS Non-Thesis degree is for students who are seeking a practitioner or a professional degree. It was created to provide an opportunity for students to undertake an intensive course program in IE to prepare for or enhance employment in regulatory agencies, consultancies, natural resource management agencies, and related organizations. A thesis is not required for this degree, but students are encouraged to engage in research. The required technical paper is an exhaustive term paper involving the analysis and synthesis of existing knowledge. The non-thesis master's degree is not recommended for those desiring research credentials. The degree program can be completed in 18 months or, with an extreme course overload, 12 months.
The Interdisciplinary Ecology graduate degree program considers the Social-Ecological System the proper conceptual framework for understanding the full scope of complex, adaptive systems comprising humans in the natural world (see the curriculum webpage for a diagrammatic depiction). The degree program challenges students to understand both natural and human dynamics in order to obtain a holistic view and to foster the integration of human activities with natural resources and the environment. This is a remarkably difficult goal, but experience shows that the program works on two levels. First, students map their interests on the particular components and processes of the Social-Ecological System and select courses that provide formal training in important areas of connection. Second, the discipline of this program of study sets up a life-long habit of learning that enables alumni to continue to grow intellectually and adapt to changing needs encountered in their careers.
The ultimate responsibility for your degree program is yours, but the university empowers a Supervisory Committee of Interdisciplinary Ecology faculty to guide you and to decide whether you have met the program's requirements and achieved its learning outcomes. For M.S. non-thesis committee, please contact the SNRE graduate staff member as soon as possible to discuss. You only need a Chair/Faculty Advisor who is Graduate SNRE affiliate faculty. If you have additional members, the majority of your members cannot be from the same department/school, in order to make your committee interdisciplinary in nature.
At the end of your non-thesis master's project report defense, your Supervisory Committee will assess your achievement of the School's learning outcomes in the Interdisciplinary Ecology degree program. They will assess your program of study, defense of your thesis, and your professional behavior over the duration of your degree program based on the following:
Thorough understanding of the components, processes, and interactions of the Social-Ecological System.
Competence in research methodologies for applying the scientific method to the generation of new knowledge.
Professional Behavior Outcome: Interacting with professional peers with honesty, ethical behavior, cultural sensitivity, teamwork, and effective communication.