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Wednesday, July 19, 2023

URI opening online Master of Environmental Management program

Application deadline for fall 2023 is Aug. 1
Tony LaRoche

The University of Rhode Island College of the Environment and Life Sciences is launching a fully online, accelerated master’s program in environmental management. The new program is a response to the growing need for professionals with environmental expertise in the public and private sectors.

There is a vast array of occupations under the umbrella of environmental management, and many of those occupations are expected to grow in the next decade. Such occupations as environmental scientist and specialist and conservation scientist are expected to see a 5% increase between 2020 and 2030, while jobs in fisheries management are expected to grow by 11%.

URI’s online Master of Environmental Management – one of the first of its kind in the United States – offers several avenues into numerous occupations in the fields of environment management. The program builds on three established graduate certificate programs that provide students with the core skills needed in such areas as effective data communication, resource management, and methods of environmental analysis.

“The program is geared toward working professionals who want to advance their careers or their skillset and people who are interested in science and are looking for a complete career change,” said Laura Skrobe, director of the master’s program and a research associate in aquaculture and fisheries. The online delivery mode fosters the flexibility needed by full-time workers while providing easy access to students around the U.S. and globe.

In the 30-credit master’s program, students will have the opportunity to complete two of three environmental science graduate certificates in Fisheries Science, Natural Resources and the Environment, and GIS and Geospatial Technologies. Each certificate consists of four, three-credit courses delivered in seven-week sessions – all led by experts in those fields.

The Fisheries Science certificate enables students to build core knowledge of sustainable fisheries management, such as fish stock assessment and fisheries ecology. The certificate includes an internship during which students can explore such agencies as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, said Skrobe, who instructs the fisheries courses.

“There is a huge need for fisheries scientists, especially as our fish stocks are changing,” she said. “Once you have these skills, you can basically get a job anywhere in the world that has a fisheries component.”

With the Natural Resources and the Environment certificate, students learn to manage natural resource challenges and gain expertise in analyzing, mapping and effectively communicating complex data issues. Courses include topics on sustainability and planning. The GIS and Geospatial Technologies certificate builds on URI’s long-standing reputation as an international leader in the field of geospatial technologies. The courses teach students to use the ArcGIS Online and ArcPro software to manage, analyze and visualize spatial data to answer questions relating to location, said Jason Parent, an assistant professor in the Department of Natural Resources Science.

“GIS is used in a wide variety of fields including natural resource and environmental management, emergency management, utilities, urban planning, business, and military,” said Parent, program coordinator for the certificate. “GIS is used by local, state and federal government entities as well as by businesses and consulting firms.”

Capping the master’s degree, students are able to focus on their leadership skills in the context of their chosen areas of interest, along with the ability to take a three-credit general elective in any online course offered by URI. In the three-credit Environmental Leadership in Practice course, students build a professional leadership plan as they learn about areas such as team building, goal setting and conflict resolution. “The course provides these skills that you wouldn’t get in a normal science class, like active listening,” Skrobe said. “These are important skills to become a leader in the industry.”

For more on the online Master of Environmental Management program, go to the program website. Applications for classes beginning this fall are due Aug. 1. Classes begin Sept. 5.