Texas Tech University

Professional Science Master's Degree

in Environmental Sustainability and Natural Resource Management

The Professional Science Master's degree (PSM) in Environmental Sustainability and Natural Resource Management, offered by the graduate school, is an interdisciplinary degree that prepares graduates for science careers in business, government, or nonprofit sectors, and focuses on sustainability science as it applies to natural resources and the environment.

Program Overview

The Professional Science Master's degree combines graduate study in science with training in management, teamwork, financial understanding, marketing concepts and communication skills necessary for a successful professional career.

  • Requires only 2 years of study after the baccalaureate.
  • Prepares you for a lifelong career with industry, governmental agencies or non-profits.
  • Engages you with advisory board members from respected established companies and agencies.
  • Is a stepping stone to management.
  • Is an online program, so you can participate from wherever you are with an internet connection.
  • Has more than 60% of its graduates historically employed upon graduation.
The curriculum includes multiple educational approaches
  • A selection of core courses from the graduate offerings of both the departments of Biological Sciences and Natural Resources Management
  • Preferred elective courses from both departments
  • Professional skills development through completion of a SkillSoft modular online curriculum or by completing the requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Essentials of Business offered by the Rawls College of Business.
  • Business/government/non-profit internships which include a final required project Preparation of a student portfolio that becomes part of the student's professional dossier.

The curriculum (30-34 credit hours) can be completed in two years of full-time study. The curriculum consists of graduate coursework in the departments of Biological Sciences and Natural Resources Management, completion of a Graduate Certificate in Essentials of Business from the Rawls College of Business, or completion of a SkillSoft business training curriculum, and completion of an internship or capstone course. A 12-16 week internship or capstone course (depending on the work experience of the student) is required.

The curriculum consists of two program tracks and the degree can be earned in one of two departments, one in the College of Arts & Sciences and the other in the College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources. You can earn your degree on either track, depending on your background, preparation and interests.

Track 1: Ecology and Environmental Sustainability.

The Biology and Environmental Sustainability degree path is designed for recent graduates and people with interest in implementing sustainable win-win solutions to decrease environmental footprints, for people interested in moving into positions with business, NGOs, local governments and environmental consulting that want to further their training in sustainability and business, and many other careers.

Track 2: Natural Resources Management.

The Natural Resource Management degree path is designed for agency biologists already in the field wanting to increase their potential for advancement, individuals in environmental consulting that want to further their training in natural resources and business, for people interested in moving into positions with NGOs focused on conservation and natural resources, and many other careers.

Although all students take courses from both departments, differences between the two tracks of study are primarily how many courses are elected from each department. Students with a background in ecology generally elect Track 1 whereas those with a natural resources and wildlife background generally elect Track 2. Students select the track they are interested in and apply though that department.

Program Coordinator:
Deborah Carr, Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor
Director, Professional Science Master's (PSM) in Environmental Sustainability and Natural Resource Management Degree Program
Texas Tech University
Biological Sciences, Box 43131
2901 Main St.
Lubbock, TX 79409-3131
Phone ( 806) 834-7734  Fax (806) 742-2963
deborah.carr@ttu.edu

Application Process

  • Although there is no application deadline, prospective students are encouraged to submit all application materials at least three months prior to projected initial enrollment.
  • Apply to Texas Tech University's Graduate School as a master's student.
    • Complete the Graduate application.
    • $60 initial application fee or $50 for each subsequent application (including changes of entry date, add/change program requests, or readmission requests).

    • Complete either the TTU Biological Sciences Department Application (Online) OR TTU Natural Resources Management Departmental Application (Online).
    • Information in the completed application forms to the Graduate School and to the department to which admission is requested (Biological Sciences or Natural Resources Management) will include:
      • GPA: All applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA (4 point scale) for the last 90 credits of coursework.
      • Transcripts and curricular preparation: A 4-year undergraduate degree in an area providing sufficient background to undertake graduate studies in either the Department of Biological Sciences or Natural Resources Management.
      • Statement of interest: This 1-2 page narrative should succinctly summarize your education, employment history, your long-term career goals, and how this degree program will help you achieve these goals.
  • International students must also submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score to the Graduate School. Scores must be less than two years old at the time of application. Learn more about International Graduate Applications 
  • This is an online degree that does not require residency and cannot be used to obtain a Visa.

Both the Graduate School and the PSM Graduate Program need to approve your application. You must first apply to and be accepted by the Graduate School.

Program Requirements

Prerequisite: Bachelor's Degree

A. Course Credits

Students will complete a minimum of 30 credit hours in the Departments of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences and the Department of Natural Resource Management in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Management:

12-13 credits | Core courses plus an additional 3-6 HOURS of an internship or capstone experience, depending on the work history of the student. Students without work experience take an internship; those already employed in an agency in a position related to the PSM program training will sign up for the capstone experience. These will be experiences in industry, small business, a state or federal agency, or a non-governmental organization to build real-world skills.

15 credits | Preferred elective courses

B. Professional Skills

Experiences emphasizing oral and written communication, sustainable business practices, accounting and finance, leadership, management, strategic planning, marketing, operations, science and society, and ethics will be obtained in one of two ways. Either the student will complete the requirements for the Graduate Certificate in Essentials of Business offered by the Rawls College of Business (or will take approved course modules in the Business Education of the SkillSoft business series of online modules.)

See the "Plus" Experience tab for a list of business skills.

C. Student Portfolio

Each student will compile a Career Portfolio to serve as written evidence of the experience and expertise acquired during the course of completing the Professional Science Master's program in Environmental Sustainability and Resource Management. The portfolio is a vehicle describing the student's learning outcomes and emphasizing his or her broad competencies acquired throughout the program.

See Student Portfolio tab for more info.

D. Internship

Each student will complete either an internship or capstone experience. This must be arranged with an agency whose primary purpose is related to the student's area of concentration, i.e. environmental sustainability or natural resources management. For further information, see "Internship"

  • 30 credit hours in the respective department for the track chosen.
  • Coursework is completed online.
  • Admission requirements: bachelor's degree and 3.0 undergraduate GPA
    • Note: Students with less than a 3.0 undergraduate GPA are required to take the GRE.
  • Students are not required to enroll in a certain number of courses each semester, so completion time varies by individual. Learn more about the difference between part-time and full-time Student status..
  • Semester-based courses align with the Academic Calendar of Texas Tech University. New students may enroll at the beginning of any one of the four semesters throughout the year.

Required Courses for Both Track 1 & 2

(BIOL OR NRM 5000 (V3-6) Internship/Capstone Course
AND
AAEC 5314 Environmental Economics
NRM 5312 Ecology of Renewable Natural Resources
OR
NRM 5320 Natural Resource Biopolitics
Biol 5309 Leveling Advanced Ecology
OR
Biol 5401 Current Perspectives in Microbial Ecology
Biol 6301 Environmental Sustainability

Prescribed Electives (15 HOURS)

Track 1: Ecology and Environmental Sustainability

BIOL 5330 Advanced Landscape Ecology
BIOL 5401 Current Perspectives in Microbial Ecology
BIOL 5330 Advanced Landscape Ecology
Biol 7000 Research (V3-6)
NRM 5307 Wetland
NRM 5311 Wildlife Conservation and Management
NRM 5312 Ecology of Renewable Natural Resources
NRM 5309 Population Estimation and Dynamics
NRM 5320 Natural Resource Biopolitics

Track 2: Natural Resource Management

NRM 5307 Wetland Ecology
NRM 5309 Population Estimation and Dynamics
NRM 5311 Wildlife Conservation and Management
NRM 5312 Ecology of Renewable Natural Resources: Durham/Perry
NRM 5314 Advanced Upland Game Ecology and Management
NRM 5315 Advanced Studies in Range-Wildlife Habitat
NRM 5312 Ecology of Renewable Natural Resources
NRM 5320 Natural Resource Biopolitics
NRM 7000 Research (V3-6)

 

Internships/Capstone Experience

The required experiential component of Professional Science Master's degree is an internship-or capstone experience for those with relevant work experience - with an off-campus business, industry, government agency, or non-profit that is directly related to each student's PSM coursework background and interests. This should be a unifying experience in a real world work environment where technical problems are solved with teamwork, communication skills and decision-making involved in the process. This experience replaces the master's thesis requirement as the culminating part of the PSM graduate program, integrating what students have learned in the classroom with their ability to function appropriately in a professional environment.

A minimum of 3 credits of internship or capstone experience (PSM 5000), must be part of each degree program. This is equivalent to 3 months part-time work (i.e., 20 hours/week) or 240 hours of work required to complete the program. Internships taken during the summer may have to be conducted during both summer terms to complete the number of required clock hours.

While this experience usually is not undertaken until students have completed the first year of the PSM program, they should begin to consider possible internship opportunities as they begin their studies. Their major faculty advisor and other professional contacts can guide these efforts, but each student is responsible for finding and negotiating his or her internship.

Students with current or previous work experience in the area of sustainability or natural resource management may elect a capstone project in place of an internship where an unsolved problem, or a portion thereof, which is important to the capstone experience provider (this can be your current employer or another agency) will be addressed and a potential solution(s) provided. Generally capstone experiences address solvable problems for which time or funds have not been available to seek their solutions; teams of students may work on a capstone project as long as the contributions of each student are clear. The point of the capstone experience is to develop a possible solution, not to actually carry it out.

For all internships, students must submit a proposal, Intern Project Document Sheet, developed in collaboration with the industry supervisor, to the major advisor and graduate committee for approval. A Verification of Internship Form must also be completed by each student intern.

Students electing a capstone experience will complete and submit the same forms as those electing internships, with the exception that they will complete and submit a Capstone Project Document Sheet instead of the one used by interns.

Students are expected to keep in contact with their industrial internship sponsor at minimum on a weekly basis (depending on whether he or she is your daily supervisor), and student should contact their major advisors at least twice during the internship to ensure that the project is on-track as outlined in the proposal. Major revisions to an internship program may require a new proposal.

Industry intern supervisors are asked to complete the Supervisor's Evaluation Intern Form for the student intern at the end of the internship and return it directly to the student's major advisor either by fax or mail.

A written final report detailing internship duties and the student's evaluation of how they helped him or her develop professionally will conclude the internship experience (see Intern Final Report Checklist). This will be presented to the student's internship supervisor and major advisor for transmission to his or her graduate committee.

At the intern's supervisor's discretion, he or she may also be required to present a final oral report of the internship experience at the work place. Students also will be required to present such a final oral report to their graduate committee (which includes the major advisor) following acceptance of the written report as satisfactory by the student's graduate committee. Both written report and final oral presentations will help students develop skills in professional assessment of their experience, and help with business and technical skills in written and oral communication.

Further details pertaining to the internship and capstone experiences Internship Guidelines for the Professional Science Master's Degree Program

Student Portfolio

Each student will compile Student Portfolio to serve as written evidence of the experience and expertise acquired during the course of completing the Professional Science Master's program in Environmental Sustainability and Resource Management. The portfolio is a vehicle describing the student's learning outcomes and emphasizing his or her broad competencies acquired throughout the program as indicated by:

  1. Mastery of required and elective coursework
  2. Certificate of completion of the material presented in the Business Skills Computer-Based Training modules or completion of a Graduate Certificate in Essentials of Business (Rawls College of Business)
  3. Successful completion of a research experience (if elected)
  4. The results of the student's internship or capstone course (whichever is elected).

The material in student portfolios will provide evidence of accomplishments and activities across every aspect of a student's academic life to document growth as a professional in the area of environmental sustainability and natural resource management. Its purpose is to provide the student and future employers with a comprehensive portrait of academic training received, achievements, and accomplishments. It is a living document that can be modified over time as a student progresses professionally.

What to Include

The student portfolio must contain the following items, along with related documents to indicate mastery of coursework, business skills, a research experience (if elected) and successful completion of the internship or capstone experience.

  • Title page
  • Home Page including Goals and Objectives
  • Table of contents
  • Curriculum Vita, updated annually
  • Coursework summary as indicated on the Student Progress and Placement Template
  • Business Skills
  • Research Experience(s) – if applicable
  • Internship/Capstone Experience
  • Degrees/Certificates/Awards/Honors
  • Photos
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Students' work/Assessment
  • Professional Development
  • Faculty Review
Title Page

Your title page should be simply that: A title that introduces the student and the portfolio

Home Page (2 pages maximum)

Include:

  • A brief synopsis of student contact information
  • Educational summary and professional experience, if applicable
  • Volunteer experience, if applicable
  • Student's statement of educational and professional goals, achieved and perceived
Table of Contents

Self explanatory

Curriculum Vita

Check the Career Center web page for examples, or use the departmental web site; update annually.

Coursework
  1. Student Progress and Placement Template indicates which courses the student has completed, which are underway and which ones are to be completed as part of the PSM program.
  2. Information as follows concerning each completed graduate course:
    1. Explain the requirements for passing the course (use syllabus)
    2. Include copies of exams (w/o answers) with the explanation that an average grade of X% on a total of Y exams had to be attained to achieve a passing grade of B or better.
    3. Synthesize or summarize the course's content [and how it affected personal growth/understanding]. For example: NOTE: CLOSE UP SPACING – LEAVE NO SPACE
      1. What I learned from this course
      2. What I took away from this course
      3. How this course changed by thinking about ________
    4. Students are to include copies of reports, projects, term papers, etc. that were part of the course requirements and a brief evaluation of how these assignments contributed to their understanding of the course material.
Business Skills

Certificate of Completion of the required 25-30 hours of Business Skills SkillSoft Computer-Based Training modules or completion of a Graduate Certificate in Essentials of Business offered by the Rawls College of Business. Students are to provide information for items a-c below if they completed the SkillSoft modules, OR d-e if they completed the Graduate Certificate.

  1. Include the titles of the SkillSoft modules completed if this option was elected.
  2. Provide an evaluation of each module including what useful business information was learned from it.
  3. Include an electronic copy of the certificate of completion for the entire set of modules.
  4. If Rawls Graduate Certificate in Essentials of Business was completed, place a copy of the certificate in the portfolio.
  5. For each course in the certificate program, complete the coursework evaluations, a-d under the heading "Coursework" above.
Research Experience(s)

if undertaken as part of the student's program. Include the following information in the portfolio:

  1. Proposed topic
  2. Proposed research summary (abstract)
  3. Materials and methods
  4. Results
  5. Conclusions
  6. References
  7. A reflection on the effect the research experience had on the student's personal growth/understanding
  8. Research advisor's evaluation of student's research performance
Internship/Capstone Experience

If the student has not had significant work experience in the area of sustainability and natural resources management, part of the educational experience in the PSM program is to complete an internship. If student have held one or more positions in this area, they may elect to complete a capstone project.

The internship/capstone experience must be arranged with an agency whose primary purpose is related to the student's area of concentration, i.e. environmental sustainability or natural resources management.

Documents to be completed from an internship experience which are to be included in the student portfolio are:

A second document the student will prepare for inclusion in the portfolio is a final written project report. This document will include the information listed below. Details can be found in the tab entitled: Internship/Capstone Experience.

_______ Page one - Intern Final Report Checklist
_______ Page two - Title Page
_______ Page three - Current Resume
_______ Page four - Any Evaluations Received from Site
_______ Page five - Supervisor's Evaluation of Intern Form
_______ Section One - Description of Facility/Organization
_______ Section Two – Copies of Documents: Completed Verification of Internship Site form Intern Project Document Sheet
_______ Section Three – Project Description
_______ Section Four – Duties
_______ Section Five – Equipment
_______ Section Six – Summary & Evaluation
_______ Section Seven – General Comments

A record of the student's final oral presentation and defense of the internship experience is to be included in the portfolio, demonstrating knowledge in area of concentration acceptable to internship provider, and graduate committee which includes the faculty advisor.

"Plus" Experience - Business skills

Offered by the Information Technology Division and the Technology Support Department. A "Certificates of Satisfactory Completion" will be issued upon documentation of satisfactory course knowledge of 25 modules.

An alternative way to satisfy the "Plus Experience" requirement is to complete the requirements for the Essentials of Business Graduate Certificate offered by the Rawls College of Business.

Below are listed the computer-based Business curricula, each one consisting of multiple units. The specific units which are to be completed include units on leadership, management, communications, ethics, human resources, finance and accounting, personal development, and team building.

  • Administrative Support Curriculum
  • Business Analysis Curriculum
  • Business Law Curriculum
  • Communication Curriculum
  • Consulting Skills Curriculum
  • Customer Service Curriculum
  • eLearning Curriculum
  • Finance and Accounting Curriculum
  • Foundation Skills Curriculum
  • Human Resources Curriculum
  • Industry Foundations Curriculum
  • Knowledge Management Curriculum
  • Leadership Curriculum
  • Management Curriculum
  • Marketing Curriculum
  • Operations Curriculum
  • Personal Development Curriculum
  • Program/Portfolio Management Curriculum
  • Project Management Curriculum
  • Sales Curriculum
  • Strategic Planning Curriculum
  • Team Building Curriculum

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