GSU will offer master’s and doctoral degrees in environmental science
The College of Science and Mathematics (COSM) at Georgia Southern University now offers a master’s degree in environmental science and will begin recruiting for the first class of environmental science doctoral students for the entering class of fall 2023.
Postgraduate degrees complement the recently approved bachelor’s degree in sustainability science. Housed at the James H. Oliver, Jr., Institute for Coastal Plain Science, each college department will play a role in this interdisciplinary trio of programs. The first master’s degrees are expected to be awarded in the spring of 2024, along with the first doctorate. degrees will likely be awarded in the spring of 2027. Will Lynch, Ph.D., Acting Dean of COSM, believes this will provide opportunities for students to grow and discover academically and perform cutting-edge research that will have a major impact on the environmental vitality of southeastern and coastal Georgia as well as many other areas of environmental significance.
“There are a number of opportunities for students to study the dynamics of water, land, ecosystems and oceans, but also to contribute to the effective management and long-term resilience of our coastal plain. and our environment,” he said. “These are the sort of focus areas around which research will be linked, but certainly other areas, such as green science, sustainability issues and improved recycling and recovery methods, will also part of the programs.”
Research opportunities are available to students in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs. The doctoral program also offers opportunities for teaching and research assistant positions, which are dependent on funding.
With a degree in this field, alumni would be qualified for a variety of roles within different government agencies as well as in the private sector. Lynch says there is a growing demand for skills such as problem solving, creativity, innovation and critical thinking, each being built into the curricula.
“Globally, there is renewed and urgent interest in solving environmental issues related to a changing world,” Lynch said. “The measurements show that science is moving from traditional scientific disciplines to interdisciplinary programs that provide students with the scientific knowledge of multiple disciplines as well as the opportunity to engage with a team tackling a global issue as part of a a multi-faceted team.”
Jobs in the green sector have exploded over the past decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, soil and plant science and green technology occupations are expected to be among the fastest growing sectors of the economy over the next 10 years.
Recruitment for these new programs has begun and students have the opportunity to find their way to graduation.
“If your interest lies in STEM disciplines and the environment, there is a place for you as a member of these programs,” he said. “It is designed in a very flexible way so that students’ interests are addressed through coursework or research. That’s the beauty of this program.