About This Masters Degree
Employers in the field increasingly recognize the need for broadly trained environmental scientists who can bridge the gap between the social science (geography, planning, land use) and physical science (geology, hydrology, geomorphology) aspects of natural systems. To this end, the master’s program in geoenvironmental sciences is designed to produce broadly trained scientists with a holistic understanding of the environment, with an emphasis on geotechnology (GIS and GPS) and practical experience like field research and internships.
The Geoenvironmental Studies Program
Shippensburg designed its Master of Science degree in geoenvironmental studies to provide scientists, planners, researchers, and educators with skills in four areas of emphasis:
- A broad understanding of the environment
- Technical and managerial skills needed to solve environmental problems
- Experience with geotechnology (GIS, GPS, and related field techniques)
- Practical field experience
Geoenvironmental Studies Internships
A large number of degree candidates opt for an internship with benefits such as:
- Exposure to the environmental problems and activities of a state or community as seen from the perspective of the agency or organization with which you are placed.
- An introduction to the environmentally related activities and projects of the agency or organization with which you work.
- Application of GIS in the workplace.
- Responsibility for completing a worthwhile project.
- Opportunity to apply geographic and environmental theory, techniques, and knowledge to real-life practices.
- Opportunity to gain professional experience in an applied area of the environment where deficiencies might exist.
- Opportunity to make contacts in the work force.
The high caliber of the work done by Shippensburg interns has enabled the university to establish and maintain internships with such governmental and private agencies as:
- Chesapeake Bay Foundation
- Bucks, Cumberland, & Franklin County planning commissions
- Departments of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) and Environmental Protection (DEP)
- Greenhorne & O’Mora
- National and state parks
- National Audubon Society
- Sierra Club
- U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Agriculture
- Environmental and engineering consulting firms such as Martin & Martin, Skelly & Loy, KCI Technologies, and Gannett Fleming
- National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA)
In some cases, an internship develops into an offer of employment after graduation. This has happened with agencies such as KCI Technologies, Weston and Associates, and the Pennsylvania Departments of Environmental Protection, and Conservation and Natural Resources.
Geoenvironmental Studies Thesis
The thesis option is available for those students who plan to continue their education or who are interested in developing a research topic. Recent thesis titles have included:
- The Ability of a Spring-Fed Wetland to Lower Nitrate Concentrations in an Agricultural Area
- Floodplain Management Programs in a Tri-State Regional Area: A Comparison of Elements and Implementations
- Population Characterization as a Determinate of Urban Form: A study of Harrisburg Pennsylvania
- Reconstructing the Cultural Landscape of Pennsylvania's Cumberland County: 1765-1775
- Ischemic Heart Disease Mortality and Priority Air Pollution in Pennsylvania
Geoenvironemental Studies Special Resources
At Shippensburg, you will find the Department of Geography-Earth Science is well equipped with facilities including two GIS-oriented computer laboratories, a faculty/student research laboratory, soils laboratory, rock and mineral laboratory, climatological, and micrometeorological station, and air photo and map library. There is a wide range of field equipment and instrumentation including a total station and global positioning systems for topographic remote sensing, geologic, land use, meteorologic, hydrologic, soil, and subsurface surveys.
Students can access geographic data services, work with aerial photographs and satellite images, and make professional- quality maps. Other equipment includes Trimble GPS receivers and software, color printers and a large format plotter.
Shippensburg University campus is ideally located for fieldwork and internships related to geoenvironmental studies.
Geoenvironmental Studies Career Opportunities
Graduates of the program are at every level of government, teaching at every level of education, and working with many types of consulting firms and industry. They hold positions such as physical scientist, environmental planner, conservationist, city planner, senior hydrogeologist, solid waste planner, GIS manager, and environmental scientist. Others pursue a doctorate in preparation for college teaching or positions in public or private enterprises.
Geoenvironmental Studies Admission Requirements
To be eligible to pursue a Master of Science degree in geoenvironmental studies, you must:
- Have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university
- Present an official transcript showing at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA for your undergraduate studies
- Students with a GPA below a 2.75 must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) prior to admission
- And you must have completed:
----12 undergraduate credit hours in geography, or
----12 undergraduate credit hours in earth science, or
----Combined total of 18 undergraduate credit hours in the two fields, or
----15 undergraduate credit hours in the social sciences (including 6 hours in geography) and 15 undergraduate credit hours in the natural sciences (including 6 hours in the earth sciences).
If you lack the required undergraduate credit hours, you may be granted conditional admission. After you complete the necessary undergraduate credits and have successfully completed 6 hours of graduate study, you will be granted full admission.
Have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university (See course description for additional information)