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Number 31, December 2001

Education Highlight

New Environmental Studies Graduate Program at the University of Colorado

In the fall of 2002 the University of Colorado will admit its first class of graduate students to its Environmental Studies Program. The graduate program is designed to educate students at the professional level to address complex environmental issues. The emergence of humans over the past few decades as major agents of change in nearly all aspects of earth systems from local to global scales (for example, water, nutrients, climate, land use, etc.) necessitates a new paradigm in graduate education in the environmental field. To be effective problem solvers in this field, physical scientists must understand human behavior (policy, law, economics, etc.). In turn, social scientists must understand how the physical earth systems function in order to make reasonable policy and achieve a sustainable and robust economy. In addition, all scientists need to be more effective at working in cross-disciplinary teams, as well as at communicating their ideas and findings to the public. To maintain focus and employability for the graduates, the Environmental Studies graduate degree program has a number of different tracks:

  • Climate and Atmospheric Chemistry
  • Water Sciences
  • Environmental Policy and Sustainability
  • Waste Management and Environmental Remediation
  • Biogeochemical Cycles

Faculty in the program are drawn from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Schools of Law and Journalism. Interdisciplinary research opportunities also exist with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), the Natural Resources Law Center, the Institute for Behavioral Science, and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP). The presence of leading laboratories in the environmental sciences in Boulder, including the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the NOAA Environmental Research Laboratories, provides additional opportunities for a rich educational experience.