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ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE GRADUATE STUDENTS

THE STUDY OF ENVIRONMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY
AND CONSERVATION BEHAVIOR

This page is for individuals interested in pursuing graduate studies at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment.

GRADUATE STUDIES

The study of the environmental psychology and conservation behavior is conducted within the behavior graduate program of the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE). This program is designed for graduate students interested in the behavioral aspects of natural resource and environmental stewardship issues. The program prepares students to pursue a wide variety of environmental careers.

SNRE has significant faculty strength in the behavioral and social sciences. Over one third of the School's faculty are social scientists with research expertise in such areas as environmental psychology, environmental sociology, environmental education, political science, and conflict management. In addition, The University of Michigan's excellence in the social sciences is reflected in its top-rated disciplinary departments as well as in world-renowned research centers such as the Institute for Social Research. The Behavior program benefits from this excellence both within the School and across campus.

Drawing from the disciplines of psychology, sociology, and anthropology and the applied fields of landscape architecture, education, public health and social work, the curriculum focuses on understanding individual and community behavior in order to develop effective environmental programs and policies.

For a short description of the field of environmental psychology.

GRADUATE ADMISSIONS

The SNRE homepage provides information relevant to prospective applicants. We encourage you to check with the SNRE Office of Academic Programs. You can call them at (734) 764-6453 or email them at gradteam@umich.edu for further information about our programs and application requirements. One thing to note is the emphasis we place on relevant work experience between completion of your undergraduate degree and the start of your graduate education.

To get application forms and information about graduate admissions click here. In your application cover letter let us know what you hope to learn and research during your studies -- a formal, full proposal is not needed nor appropriate at this stage, but please do provide a sense of the environmnetal issues that are bringing you back to school. It also helps to know what you hope to do once you graduate: where are you headed? What do you want to work on? With whom do you want to work? How will a degree from SNRE help? Providing answers to these questions is much more important than providing us with an autobiography.

GRADUATE RESEARCH

The SNRE Master's degree has an opus requirement that can be satisfied in several ways. These include an interdisciplinary group research project, a traditional individual research thesis and a research seminar. The group project typically involves 4-7 individuals in team problem-solving applied to a real-world problem (e.g., increasing recycling in multi-family dwellings). The individual research thesis typically involves work in a specialty area (e.g., implications of cognitive map theory for environmental decision making) and often requires a summer of research work. Students are usually accepted under the group research project requirement but can petition to do an individual research thesis.

GRADUATE FUNDING

Funding for graduate students has always been a challenge. More information is available from the SNRE financial aid webpage or from the UM financial aid webpage.

The SNRE has a number of teaching assistantships. Individual faculty members sometimes have grants that can provide hourly wages for research work and, more rarely, provide tuition waivers. Besides being rare, the latter are highly competitive and so it is difficult to predict an individual’s chance of success. Many of our students are able to find funding from a variety of sources, including serving as GSI's (Graduate Student Instructors) in SNRE as well as in other departments (e.g., psychology, anthropology, urban planning, biology). Usually, a determined, planful student finds support.

LIFE IN ANN ARBOR

Ann Arbor is a fantastic place to be a graduate student. Below are some websites that give a sense of the place:

Gown Resources
Town Resources
University of Michigan
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Last modified: 3/1/16