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Coursework and Requirements

General EH Academic Requirements

The EH program of study requires a minimum of 33 semester hours consisting of 27 hours of coursework and six hours of thesis credit. A maximum of six credit hours may be transferred from another institution. Neither coursework taken to reach proficiency in a language for the MA requirement, nor undergraduate-level courses, nor coursework related to Writing pedagogy may be counted toward the final program of study. 

MA & MS Requirements

The primary distinction between the two Master's degrees offered by the Program is that the Master of Arts degree requires standard proficiency in an approved language, while the Masters of Science requires students to complete three research methods courses approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. Again, please note that courses taken to achieve standard language proficiency do not count toward the Environmental Humanities program of study, (though they do qualify for a tuition benefit for funded students).

Coursework Planning

Students ought to consult the key timelime to plan and monitor their progress in the Program. With details on major touchstones and a coursework outline, this plan provides the roadmap for students to graduate in four semesters. We encourage students to take coursework from departments and programs within the College of Humanities during their first year. This provides students with the opportunity to take courses from prospective supervisory committee members, and to develop academic relationships with students outside the cohort and in the College.

Independent Study classes are limited to 25% of a student's course work

Required coursework

Six courses, plus thesis hours* must be successfully completed by all students:

  • EHUM 6101 (3) Foundations of Environmental Humanities
  • EHUM 6102 (3) Field Methods in Environmental Humanities
  • EHUM 6103 (3) Ecology of Residency
  • EHUM 6105 (3) Environmental Humanities Writing Seminar
  • EHUM 6850 (3) Issues in the Environmental Humanities Seminar - required for two semesters
  • EHUM 6804 (1) Tertulia - Discussion/reading group for the first three semesters
  • EHUM 6970 (6) Thesis Research - For thesis, or project research, *not exam preparation

Expected Standards of Performance

Students must maintain a 3.3 GPA throughout their program. Further, grades lower than a "B-" will not be counted toward degree credit.

All work for the Master's degree must be completed within four consecutive calendar years. In rare cases deserving special consideration, the student's supervisory committee can petition the Dean of the Graduate School for a time extension. Students who take longer than the four-year period will undergo seperate assessment and may be required to take additional course work at the Program Director's discretion.


Upon admission to the Environmental Humanities Graduate Program, the Director is assigned as the temporary advisor who mentors students for the first two semesters. By the end of semester two, students should have at least 2/3 of their supervisory committee set including the chair who then becomes the student's advisor.

Student Assessment

The Program faculty reviews the progress of each graduate student at the end of each spring semester. The purpose of the review is to assess the overall progress of each student in the program, and to identify means by which the faculty can assist each student to achieve success in the Program.

Prior to the review, each student is responsible to show he or she is in good standing in the Program. The student should meet with his or her advisor to discuss particular concerns or areas of difficulty, and to provide information that can be usefully shared with the faculty at large during the review session. Second year funding is not guaranteed without at least the Chair and one member of the supervisory committee appointed by the end of semester two. The entire three-person committee must be set and appointed by the beginning of semester three. Students select at least two members from our approved core faculty, and may include one outside member. While supervisory committees are formally approved by the Dean of the Graduate School, each student is responsible for the selection of the committee.

Final Work Requirements

All students are required to complete and defend a prospectus by the middle of semester three. The goal of the prospectus is to provide an clear overview of the final thesis/project.

  • Thesis

Students electing the thesis option often are planning to further their academic work after EH. Thesis writers are required to complete a minimum of 27 hours of course work and six hours of thesis credit. Students prepare a thesis prospectus in consultation with his or her adviser and the supervisory committee, and after approval, files appropriate paperwork and a copy of the prospectus with EH. During the final semester, a public presentation and defense of the thesis is required. Once the student has made the revisions suggested by the supervisory committee, students have an additional 6 weeks to submit their properly-formatted thesis, including Final Reading Approval forms to the  Thesis Office for their release before graduation. Thesis writers should be very familiar with the Handbook for Theses and Dissertations

  • Project

Students who select the project option are required to complete at least 27 hours of course work and six hours of thesis credit and completion of a creative or applied project.  Students prepare a project prospectus in consultation with his or her adviser and the supervisory committee, and after approval, files appropriate paperwork and a copy of the prospectus with EH. A public presentation and defense of the project is required in the final semester. Once the student has made the revisions suggested by the supervisory committee, a bound copy of the project must be filed in Environmental Humanities.

  • Exam

Students who select to take an exam must complete at least 33 hours of course work and pass a comprehensive examination administered by the supervisory committee. Election of the exam/non-thesis option must be made and approved by the supervisory committee prior to the completion of 24 hours of course work. The comprehensive examination consists of a six-hour written examination and a two-hour oral examination or defense. The written examination will test the candidate's knowledge and understanding of the theoretical foundations of humanities-based inquiry of environmental phenomena, the major methodological approaches in humanities-based research, and the research literature in the candidate's area of specialization.

A formal decision of "pass" or "fail" of the written examination will be made by the supervisory committee before proceeding with the oral examination. The committee will not allow an oral examination until the candidate has passed the written examination and the committee has filed the appropriate form with the Graduate Adviser.

Last Updated: 2/20/19