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Master's in Environmental Management

Environmental Science and Management Program; housed in the School of the Environment in the College of Liberal Arts and Science; Master's in Environmental Management degree to be received upon graduation.

How many credits?

The course will consist of a minimum of 45 credit hours, typically 4 quarters of academic study, with 4 to 6 credit hours for Peace Corps service. While overseas the student will be responsible for completing the four credits in the project (ESM 506) and could also take an additional four credits as an elective course in ESM 501 (Reading and Conference) that is a discussion and analysis of relevant publications. Both these expectations require the student to have access to email at least every other week. Eight units of work over the two years in the field represents a commitment, on average, of approximately ten hours per month spent on these courses while overseas.

Pre-Peace Corps service coursework:

Portland State's Masters in Environmental Management (MEM) program teaches students how to analyze and manage natural environments for human benefit and ecosystem health. The MEM course curriculum is similar to that of the Master of Science (MS) degree with the difference being that MEM students must complete a project in a fixed number of terms instead of a thesis. The MEM curriculum is designed to develop scientists and managers who are able to analyze and understand environmental systems, predict environmental change, and participate in environmental management. Each student develops depth of knowledge/skills in a particular academic area and breadth through a set of core courses that include concepts in physical systems, ecological systems, and management. Guidelines for course selection are flexible, consistent with the program's interdisciplinary approach. The course of study is developed through discussions involving the graduate student, the student's advisor, and the MEM graduate committee. Elective courses are defined as part of the course of study in order to provide additional background, depth, and exploration opportunities. A reading and conference elective will help MI candidates prepare for an international Peace Corps service experience.

How would the Peace Corps experience be integrated into the students' academic program?

The overseas PC service experience would be a planned segment of each student's overall program. This includes:

  1. Course choices that prepare the student for the possible projects;
  2. The project practicum that outlines the specifics of the planned work;
  3. Work with other PCMI students which will help them appreciate other dimensions of possible development projects they might be involved in;
  4. Upon return, these students would be required to make an MEM presentation that would be attended by the department and the next cohorts of PCMI MEM students, they would be called upon for lectures in some of the courses, and they would play the role as a mentor for a student in the next cohort.

Upon completing Peace Corps service, what academic requirements would students need to meet to be awarded a degree?

After returning to Portland State, the students would have between one and ten credits to complete. However, the key requirement is that they complete the project. Completion will mean project presentation to the faculty and submission of the report. Even though this is only one credit it is an absolute requirement for the degree.

Recommended MEM Academic Program for PCMI Students:

12 credits of core courses from selected program list

3 credits ESM 507 Seminar (three terms)

4 credits Advanced Statistical Analysis

12 credits from an area of concentration

8 credits elective and supporting courses

6 credits project / practicum

The Project consists of 1 unit of ESM 509 Practicum taken as a cohort in the fall term to design and plan a project, 4 units of 506 during the project and 1 unit of 506 at completion of the presentation.

For more details of the MEM program, including a complete list of courses offered, please see the ESM departmental website ( and the PSU Bulletin. One core course is required in each of the following three categories: physical environmental processes, ecological processes, and environmental management. Course selection must be approved by an advisor.