About the Master’s in Ecology (non-thesis option)

The non-thesis option is intended for students pursuing a professionally oriented program of study who do not require independent research as part of their portfolio: e.g., it expands training opportunities for students seeking careers in conservation, sustainability, or environmental management, consulting, policy, and law or related occupations that do not require peer-reviewed scientific publications.

The non-thesis MS is identical to the thesis MS except that we replace the research-based thesis with requirements that focus on strong quantitative and conceptual foundations in ecology, as well as a research exposure, while still retaining considerable flexibility via electives. In particular, the non-thesis MS replaces the thesis with 3 hours of a statistics course at the 6000 level or above, 3 hours of research experience, and 2 courses selected from ECOL 8000, 8100, 8310, and 8322. Electives make up the remaining 30-credit hour requirement (21 of the 30 credit hours must be in-class graduate instruction), and will be chosen in consultation with the student’s advisory committee. The degree can be completed in a single year. Non-thesis MS students will take an oral exam based on their program of study and administered by their advisory committee in the final semester of their program (in place of the thesis defense).