Master of Science (M.S.)

The Master of Science program is designed to develop advanced skills, critical thinking, and a sound understanding of the fundamentals in the disciplines of environmental chemistry, toxicology or environmental health.  The program prepares students for technical and analytical careers in the environmental sciences, working in the public or private sectors.

Coursework:

M.S. students are required to take a minimum of 36 graduate credits to complete the program.

Core courses represent 17 Credits and are expected to be completed in the first year of study. The core courses are as follows:

EHS 520 Principles of Environmental Chemistry (3 credits)
EHS 530 Principles of Toxicology (3credits)
EHS 590 Introduction to Environmental Health (3 credits)
EHS 675 Responsible Conduct of Scientific Research (1 credit)
EHS 780 Current Literature in Environmental Health (1 credit)
EPI 501 Principles and Methods of Epidemiology I (3 credits)
EPI 551 Introductory Applied Statistics (3) OR EPI 552 Principles of Statistical Inference 1 (3) (Toxicology and environmental chemistry students will take 551, environmental and occupational health students will take 552 and possible 553)

In addition to the core courses students are required to take EHS 790 Seminar (0) every semester, a minimum of 14 credits of EHS 699 Thesis Research and elective courses as approved by the advisor. Students may be required to take EHS 690 Lab Rotations if a mentor is not selected prior to entering the program.

Students are expected to maintain a minimum of a B average, a B- is the lowest acceptable grade for any coursework.

Other requirements:

Major Field Examination:

Masters degree students are required to take the Major Field Examination. This exam will be administered by the thesis committee, and will be in the student’s area of proposed research. The examination consists of an oral defense of a written research proposal prepared by the student. The proposal should outline the background and conduct of proposed thesis research, and include an abstract, specific aims, background and significance, preliminary data (if any), experimental designs and methods, and a bibliography. The research proposal will be judged on standard criteria, including, but not limited to, the student’s grasp of the field, significance of the proposed work, and feasibility of the experimental approach. The exam will be taken no later than the semester prior to the defense of thesis, and may be retaken once.

Thesis:

Masters students must complete a written thesis based on laboratory, field, or library research. The thesis has no page limitation and must present specific aims, background and significance, experimental designs and methods section, results section, discussion, conclusion, and references. The thesis is reviewed by the Masters Thesis committee, who will determine if the student understands the work done, interprets the results objectively, and can communicate the science effectively.
The research thesis is designed for completion in two years. Following laboratory or field rotations, students select a mentor in their proposed area of research. Students pursuing the research thesis must take the major field exam at least one semester prior to defense of the thesis. This exam will be in the student's area of proposed research, and will consist of an oral defense of a written research proposal prepared by the student. The scope of the proposed research will be narrower than that for a Ph.D. thesis. The proposal should outline the background and conduct of proposed thesis research, and include an abstract, specific aims, background and significance, preliminary data, experimental designs and methods, and a bibliography. The research proposal is judged on the student's grasp of the field, significance of the proposed work, and feasibility of the experimental approach. In the final semester, the student must make a public oral presentation based on the research thesis, followed by defense of the thesis before the thesis committee. It is expected that the findings of the thesis project will be publishable in a peer-reviewed journal in the student's area of research.

Seminar and Defense of Thesis:

M.S. students are required to present a public seminar based on thesis research and defend his/her work in a closed meeting of the thesis committee.

This information and a sample program of study can be found in our Program of Study.