SHU to Inaugurate New Master's Degree in Environmental Systems and Management in Fall 2011

News Story: January 1, 2011

Responding to the explosive need for professionals in the environmental field, Sacred Heart University has expanded its scientific curriculum to include a new interdisciplinary graduate degree. The Master of Science in Environmental Systems Analysis and Management (ESAM) will launch in September 2011. It is grounded in the sciences, and will introduce students to the complex interactions between the living and non-living portions of the environment, and the dramatic role that human activity has on the future of our natural resources.

ESAM’s curriculum is heavily based on case studies and problem solving, involving intensive team work among the classes. Modern environmental analysis and assessment methodology are used extensively. Students will be engaged in a holistic, systems approach to learning, while balancing the economic and ecological issues of natural resource sustainability and pollution prevention.

With employment in the environmental industry projected to grow exponentially in the coming years, graduates from Sacred Heart’s ESAM program will be well-prepared for careers as managers, analysts, consultants and scientists in areas including field work and research, as well as work in environmental organizations, conservation groups, private industry, and government agencies.

The ESAM degree is affiliated with the Professional Science Master's (PSM) Initiative, which is committed to programs providing advanced professional training in interdisciplinary or emerging careers in applied science and mathematics.  One of only 190 PSM programs in the U.S., Sacred Heart's ESAM degree will prepare students directly for the best professional opportunities in the field. The PSM is an innovative, new graduate degree designed to allow students to pursue advanced training in science or mathematics, while simultaneously developing workplace skills highly valued by employers. PSM programs consist of two years of academic training in an emerging or interdisciplinary area, along with a professional component that may include internships and "cross-training" in workplace skills, such as business, communications, and regulatory affairs. All have been developed in concert with employers and are designed to dovetail into present and future professional career opportunities.

According to Dr. Kirk Bartholomew, who chairs the University’s Biology Department, the new graduate program is a natural for a Catholic college, given the Church’s growing emphasis on concern for the ecosystem. In fact, he said, Benedict XVI has been called the “Green Pope” for his teaching on environmental issues. “The great need for the future,” said Dr. Bartholomew, “is not simply addressing particular examples of environmental degradation in isolation, but unifying our approach so that we can promote sustainability” and true progress.

The ESAM graduate program will require 39 credits, which may be completed on a full-time basis in two academic years. The program will begin each year in the Fall semester. The ESAM core will include foundational courses and specialized training in such areas as hydrology and soils; field methods; and environmental sampling. The professional skills core involves nine credits in environmental analysis and problem solving, as well as organizational management and business communications. Students will be able to choose electives in subjects ranging from ecosystem ecology to hazardous waste management to environmental policy. A six-credit research project will cap the program.

For further information, contact Dr. Bartholomew at 203-371-7740 or bartholomewk@sacredheart.edu, or Alexis Haakonsen, dean of Graduate Admissions, at 203-395-4731 or haakonsena@sacredheart.edu .