Environmental Science

The Master of Science in Environmental Science (MSES) is a two-year program designed for students who wish to pursue graduate study on a full or part-time basis so they can balance professional and personal goals. Courses are primarily held in the evening and occasionally on Saturdays. Graduate students in the Department of Natural Sciences are talented and often have significant professional experience. Graduate faculty are highly qualified and experienced, and the educational culture is one in which learning, teaching, and research are emphasized. Pursuing a graduate degree in Environmental Science at UM-Dearborn will result in substantial growth in knowledge, skills, and long-term career potential.

With approximately 40 students enrolled, we stress personalized, individual attention to graduate student education and research. The program provides a choice between emphasizing the environmental aspects of biology, chemistry, or geology, or a more broadly focused approach involving courses in each of the above fields.  Faculty and students are engaged in the research of environmental issues including: wetlands delineation; the treatment of nitrate contaminated groundwater with microbiological techniques; the impact of land use on groundwater and surface water quality; the use of phytoremediation in the cleanup of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon contaminated soil; brownfield investigation and restoration; migration behavior and ecology of birds, and behavioral ecology of spiders and other arthropods; microbial source tracking; the use of microorganisms in biofuel synthesis; and  microbial community dynamics and diversity in marine and freshwater sediments.

Research Facilities

The Department of Natural Sciences has extensive networked computing facilities, including scanners, digitizers and plotters, GIS and groundwater modeling software, GPS equipment, ICP-MS and labs for preparation and chemical analysis of environmental, biological and geological samples. We also have extensive mineralogic and paleontologic collections as well as the Merritt Geode Collections, one of the finest in the world.  A focal point for the environmental program on the Dearborn campus is the Environmental Interpretive Center that opened in May, 2001. Rouge River Bird Observatory (RRBO) studies the importance of urban areas to birds, especially migratory birds. We are the longest-running, full-time urban bird research station in North America.

Admission and Prerequisites

Admission to the MSES program requires a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, environmental science or geology from an accredited institution with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.1 or higher (based on a 4.0 scale). Candidates with degrees in other fields may be conditionally accepted into the program with the understanding that additional prerequisites may be required. Entering students should have completed a field course in biology or geology; one course in biology, geology, physics, and statistics; two courses in calculus; and three courses in chemistry. Deficiencies may be satisfied by completing prerequisite courses at UM-Dearborn or at another school with the approval of the graduate program committee.

Application instructions can be found at:  umdearborn.edu/gradapplynow

Each applicant should submit the following:

  1. Official transcripts from all universities attended.
  2. A one-page statement of purpose describing the applicant’s career goals and personal objectives in pursuing the program.
  3. Three letters of recommendation.
  4. Students whose native language is not English are also required to satisfy the English Language Requirements for Admission which can be found in the General Information section of this catalog.

For more information, visit the MSES website at casl.umd.umich.edu/envsci_ms/   or call 313-593-5148.

Advanced Standing

Up to six graduate credit hours (grade of B or better) may be transferred from another accredited institution as specified in the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies regulations.  Up to one-half the minimum number of credit hours required for your master's or professional degree from U-M/non-Rackham departments and programs (including Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint) may be transferred.

Degree Requirements

The general master’s degree requirements on the Rackham School of Graduate Studies website rackham.umich.edu/policies/academic_policies/  are to be considered as degree requirements. In addition, the MSES degree requires 30 semester hours of graduate coursework with a cumulative grade point average of B or better. The 30 hours must meet the requirements below, be selected from lists of approved courses, and be approved by the student’s graduate advisor.

Three Options for a MSES Degree

  • Plan A. Thesis Option 24 credit hours (500 level or above) plus ESCI 699. A thesis will be based on original research. (Preferred by the environmental consulting industry)
  • Plan B. Project Option 27 credit hours (500 level or above) plus ESCI 698. A project will be based on library/field/laboratory research or classroom exercises demonstrating analysis and interpretation of scientific data.
  •  Plan C. Coursework Option 30 credit hours (500 level or above) (Not recommended for students interested in doctoral degrees).

Specific Course Requirements

Core Courses
BIOL 514Applied Ecology3
CHEM 548Environmental Chemistry3
ESCI 572Environmental Communications3
GEOL 550Glacial Geology3
ESCI 574Watershed Analysis3
Electives
Select fifteen credit hours from:15
Department of Natural Sciences:
Invasive Species Ecology
Aquatic Ecosystems
Limnology
Behavior and Evolution
Biology of Spiders
Restoration Ecology
Med & Env Toxicology
Behavioral Biology
Advances in Cell Biology
Topics in Biology
Topics in Chemistry
Environmental Education
Field Studies in Env Science
Soil in the Environment
Spatial Analysis and GIS
Topics in Environmentl Science
Off-Campus Independent Study
On-Campus Independent Study
MSES Master's Project
MSES Master's Thesis
Engineering Geology
Geochemistry
Urban Watersheds
Contaminant Hydrogeology
Geology Field Methods
Groundwater Modeling
Topics in Earth Science
Applied & Environ Microbiology
Other Departments:
Ecological Economics
Applied Regression Analysis
Reliability & Survival Analys
Environmental Statistics
Total Credit Hours30

ESCI 504     Field Studies in Env Science     2 Credit Hours

A systematic analysis of the environment. This course will focus on the analysis of the Rouge River Watershed as an ecological unit. The student will make intensive analyses of the river water and the surrounding land surface at selected sites. The results will provide a composite of the water quality and land use of the various tributaries. Emphasis will be placed on proper sampling and testing techniques, field and lab safety procedures, aquatic chemistry, biological organisms as indicators of pollution, and the role of wastewater dumping on the watershed.

ESCI 525     Soil in the Environment     3 Credit Hours

The study of soil in the environment, including its formation, classification, physical attributes and engineering properties with an emphasis on soil-water statics and dynamics, chemical attributes and processes. Students are expected to have background knowledge of physical geology. The course will include field trips and field work, including the collection of soil samples from the Universities natural area. The course will also include a laboratory component in which students will perform a variety of test, e.g. bulk density, engineering properties on the soil samples collected. the course will typically be team taught. (S, AY)

Prerequisite(s): GEOL 118

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Level is Rackham or Graduate
Can enroll if College is Education, Health, and Human Services or Arts, Sciences, and Letters or Business or Engineering and Computer Science

ESCI 572     Environmental Communications     3 Credit Hours

Preparation and presentation of both oral and written technical abstracts and reports, including environmental newsletters, thesis, and media releases. Professional scientists must be able to effectively communicate ideas and concepts to other scientists and to the general public. This course will provide the foundations in learning how to communicate ideas effectively and succinctly. (F, YR)

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Senior or Graduate
Can enroll if College is Arts, Sciences, and Letters

ESCI 574     Watershed Analysis     3 Credit Hours

An interdisciplinary study of watersheds, the most commonly used bio-regional unit. The course integrates the analysis of many factors which contribute to the character of watersheds, including bedrock and surficial geology, surface and groundwater hydrology, social history, land use history, water quality analysis, biological diversity, laws and regulations, management models, drinking water and wastewater systems, best management practices, and educational programs. The Rouge River watershed will serve as the primary case study.

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Graduate

ESCI 585     Spatial Analysis and GIS     3 Credit Hours

Application of the principles of Spatial Analysis and the use of Geographic Information Systems as a research tool in Environmental Science. Emphasis will be placed on the use of commercially available software including: ESRI's ArcView GIS, Golden Software's Surfer and Adobe PhotoShop. Emphasis will also be placed on the use of the Michigan spatial data warehouse program and the Michigan geographic framework program for metadata specific to Michigan. (AY).

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Graduate

ESCI 595     Topics in Environmentl Science     3 Credit Hours

Problems or readings on specific topics or subjects in environmental science. (YR)

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Senior or Graduate
Can enroll if College is Arts, Sciences, and Letters

ESCI 595G     Topics in Environmental Sci     3 Credit Hours

Topic: Soil in the Environment. A study of the textural and chemical classification of soil as well as the biologic, engineering and geologic aspects of soil science including applications to agriculture and agronomic science. The course will explore topics such as soil formation, soil-water statics and dynamics, soil-energy balances, soil fertility and plant nutrition, biodiversity, soil and water management, soil pollution and remediation.

ESCI 597     Off-Campus Independent Study     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Provides opportunity for qualified graduate students in the MSES program to pursue independent research under the direction of a graduate faculty member off campus. A written proposal describing the project (including the nature of the project itself, dates, where the project will be done and the faculty member supervising the project) must be approved by the MSES program director/committee before the student can register for the course. Project must be appropriate to the student's chosen track. It must be designed to produce a scholarly paper, papers, or other evidence(s) that reflect significant results from the course (F, W, S).

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Graduate

ESCI 599     On-Campus Independent Study     1 to 3 Credit Hours

Provides opportunity for qualified graduate students in the MSES program to pursue independent research under the direction of a graduate faculty member. A written proposal describing the project (including the nature of the project itself, dates, and the supervising faculty member) must be submitted to the Program Director/committee for approval before the student can register for the course. Project must be appropriate to the student's chosen track. It must be designed to produce a scholarly paper, papers, or other evidence(s) that reflect significant results from the course. (F, W, S).

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Graduate

ESCI 698     MSES Master's Project     3 Credit Hours

Intended for students who present a plan for a project using methods of intellectual exploration and analysis. Possible projects include gathering data through laboratory or field based studies, using interviews and survey instruments to gauge human responses. They should involve creative representations, writing, and other forms of interdisciplinary analysis. To be carried out under the general supervision of a member of the graduate faculty in Natural Sciences. Project plan must be approved by the MSES Program Director/committee before student registers for this course. (F, W, S).

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Graduate

ESCI 699     MSES Master's Thesis     1 to 6 Credit Hours

MSES students electing this thesis option in the last stage of the program will work under the general supervision of a member of the graduate faculty in Natural Sciences, but will plan and carry out the work independently. Prospectus and thesis plan must be approved by the MSES Program Director/committee before student registers for this course. (F, W, S).

Restriction(s):
Can enroll if Class is Graduate

 
*

An asterisk denotes that a course may be taken concurrently.

Frequency of Offering

The following abbreviations are used to denote the frequency of offering: (F) fall term; (W) winter term; (S) summer term; (F, W) fall and winter terms; (YR) once a year; (AY) alternating years; (OC) offered occasionally