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Environmental Science

Course teaching tools:
Available on the Environmental Science website, and posted in SWR 221.C

Courses are typically offered once every two years, therefore if you have a required course that is offered, you need to take it then, as it won’t be offered again.

Degree planning tool:
Available on the Environmental Science website.

Use this: It will help you to see what you must take when it is offered. Most of the caveats or footnotes for each class are listed at the bottom of the tool, and they typically match the graduate catalog. In the event that there is a conflict between the planning tool and the catalog, the catalog wins.

Course substitutions can be recorded at the bottom of the degree planning tool. You must list course name and number, and have a graduate advisor sign off on the substitution. Keep up with this form, because when you file the intent to graduate the graduate director(s) can sign off and send to the Dean’s office as the final approval of your course substitutions. Without this signed form, you won’t be allowed to graduate if you have substitutions.


Use the College of Science & Engineering webpage for all deadlines regarding your graduation and thesis submittal. Those dates are not flexible and ENSC cannot negotiate on your behalf. We do not send reminders or schedules – you must reference the website.

Course scheduling:

Semester 1: If you are a thesis student, find your thesis topic & major advisor.

Semester 2: Take ENSC 60203 (Issues) and ENSC 60001 (Presentations).

Semester 3: Take ENSC 60011 (LOSR) by week two. If you are a thesis student, take ENSC 70980 (first semester thesis hours).

Semester 4: Take ENSC 60021 (Orals) in week 3 and no later than week 9. If you are a thesis student, take ENSC 70990 (second semester thesis hours).

Note: if you are a thesis student and will not finish in semester 4, you can enroll in ENSC 70990 for 2 hours instead of 3. You can then enroll in the final hour of ENSC 70990 during semester in which you graduate. Also, you MUST be enrolled in at least 1 hour of thesis to perform field work.

Thesis draft is due to the major professor by FEB 1 of semester 4, and to full committee by March 1.

Course-specific info:

The three one-hour courses that are required for all masters degrees in ENSC are designed to give the student experience in each of three categories: PowerPoint presentations, literature review and scientific writing, and oral presentations.

Presentations: for thesis students, you will present your thesis proposal in this course, complete with literature review and introduction. Non-thesis students will present any topic within the constraints of the course. Click here for the syllabus.

LOSR: You will be given a set of questions from which to choose. You have 48 hours to research and write a 2000-3000 word paper using scientific references. Your thesis statement is extremely important, so ensure you address the various components of the question that you choose. Your references should be mostly recent – past five years or so. Older references are allowed if they significantly contribute. Click here for the syllabus.

Orals: Your oral exam is your demonstration of your ability to synthesize information into a cohesive argument. It is based largely on your coursework and is structured similarly to ENSC 60203 (Issues). You also have a significant outside reading list that is included in the oral exam. While “nitty gritty” course details are not the focus, you should be well versed in the broad topics within environmental science. It does not include your thesis defense if you are a thesis student. Click here for the syllabus.


  • Start on the reading list early and write a brief synopsis of each book as you go. You can refer to these synopses when preparing for the oral exam.
  • Prepare study notes for each course you take as you take it. Refer to these when preparing for orals.
  • Read Dr. Slattery’s freshman text book: “Contemporary Environmental Issues.”
  • Plan to study and prepare for at least 2 months.

Thesis Defense: Separate from oral exam. Conducted in two sessions: the first is a closed door examination of your thesis with your committee. After passing that, you conduct a public presentation.

For help with writing a Scientific Paper or Thesis, click here.
For help with doing a literature review, click here.


Current Graduate Students

Student Name Major Office Advisor Research Area Email
Ackel, Alexis ENSC-MS SWR 221 (TA)
Anderson, Erik ENSC-MS SWR 221 (TA) Slattery
Bienz, Christina ENSC-MS SWR 221 (TA) Bennett Wildlife ecology
Chitsinde, Esther ENSC-MA SWR 221 (TA)
Jarzombek, Luyi ENSC-MS SWR 221 (TA) Bennett Wildlife ecology
Leonce, Burke ENSC-MS SWR 221 (TA) Harvey
Scott, Jonathan ENSC-MS SWR 221 (TA)
Yuen, Brad ENSC-MS SWR 221 (TA) Bennett Wildlife ecology