Section 1: New SEAS Specialization in Sustainability and Development
Section 2: New MasterTrack Certificate in Sustainability and Development on Coursera
Section 3: Conservation Ecology now called Ecosystem Science and Management
Section 4: Environmental Informatics now called Geospatial Data Sciences
Section 1: New SEAS Specialization in Sustainability & Development (SusDev) for All Students
What are the major goals of this specialization for students?
- (1) Develop expertise in the analysis of trade-offs and co-benefits associated with sustainability and development, (2) understand the practices necessary to achieve sustainability transition through new institutions, policies, and behaviors, and (3) learn how to implement strategies and realize progress towards the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) developed by the United Nations.
How can I add this specialization as a current student?
- Current SEAS students can add this as a second specialization. It cannot be a primary specialization. Students need to complete the “change or add faculty advisor or specialization” form to add this as a specialization.
As a current student do I need to change my advisor if I add this specialization?
- Not necessarily. You can keep your current advisor if you would like, or you can add another advisor if it makes sense to do so. Students need to complete the “change or add faculty advisor or specialization” form to add this as a specialization.
As a SEAS student, will my specialization appear on my diploma?
- No. Your diploma will indicate that you have received a “Master of Science in Environment and Sustainability.” However, your official transcript will list your specialization.
What acronym will be used for Sustainability & Development?
- Sustainability and Development emphasizes international development and global issues of poverty, hunger, inequality, health, education, gender, as they affect human wellbeing. The SusDev specialization conceptualizes Sustainability and Development as co-equal fields of inquiry and action that seek to build bridges between the natural, social and applied sciences and the humanities. While SusDev uses the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a starting point, courses are not bound by them. SusDev courses are interdisciplinary and incorporate multiple viewpoints, theories, and methods from a diverse set of disciplines, agencies, organizations, and states.
- EPP focuses on the development, analysis, and implementation of policies, plans, partnerships, and collaborative decision-making processes that mitigate environmental problems, promote adaptation and resilience, and advance sustainability. EPP draws on a variety of ways to understand the human and institutional behaviors that underlie environmental problems, and highlights interventions from the local and state to the national and international levels.
How is the Sustainability & Development (SusDev) specialization different from the Sustainable Systems (SusSys) specialization?
- While SusSys has a stronger focus on engineering and business, SusDev focuses on issues around sustainability and development, which are separate but interconnected fields. SusDev acknowledges and integrates many different disciplines that contribute to addressing the most important social-environmental challenges that humanity faces. Topics include poverty, inequality, and economic development; hunger and sustainable food systems; health and well-being; clean water access; biodiversity conservation (marine and terrestrial); and climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
What skills will I gain from the SusDev specialization?
- Data analysis (spatial data analysis, remote sensing, GIS, machine learning, qualitative analyses), data visualization, impact evaluation, program evaluation, project management, fundraising, cost-benefit analysis, institutional analysis, life cycle analysis, negotiations, conflict management, job market preparation, introduction to organizations working on sustainable and development issues, gender analysis, sustainable intensification, participatory research, rapid rural appraisal, and knowledge brokering.
What jobs, job titles, and sectors of employment will I get with the SusDev specialization?
- Expected career opportunities in sustainability and development include diverse possibilities in government in and outside the United States (local, state, and federal levels), non-government and nonprofit organizations, small companies and large corporations, think tanks and policy centers, management and consulting firms, and international and domestic civil society organizations.
- Organizations may include: Tetra Tech, Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., Chemonics International, and development organizations such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, United Nations Development Program, United Nations Foundation, and Catholic Relief Services.
- Graduates with a focus on sustainable development for organizations such as: Rocky Mountain Institute, The BEA Fund, Pew Charitable Trusts, Energy and Environmental Economics Inc., and N. American Solar Finance. Additional organizations include foundations such as Kraft Heinz Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and Growald Family Fund.
- Job titles may include: Social Impact Analyst, Sustainability Practice Leader, Energy Analyst, Consultant, Conservation Social Scientist, Sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance Manager, and many more.
Who will talk to prospective students from the certificate program who want to go into the SusDev specialization?
- SEAS Admissions staff can connect prospective students with SusDev faculty since SEAS does not process the certificate application. Students with questions about the MasterTrack Certificate through Coursera should contact the U-M Center for Academic Innovation.
Can students talk to a faculty member in the SusDev specialization?
How many faculty members are part of the SusDev specialization?
- Primary faculty members are: Arun Agrawal, Bilal Butt, Ivan Eastin, Pam Jagger, and Maria Carmen Lemos.
- Secondary faculty members are: Jose Alfaro, Paige Fischer, Rebecca Hardin, Meha Jain, and Ivette Perfecto.
Will this impact faculty general advisor assignments?
- No. Faculty members can advise students outside of their specialization.
Who are the specialization coordinators for SusDev?
- Arun Agrawal (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Bilal Butt (email@example.com) are the co-coordinators for Fall 2020 and Winter 2021.
Section 2: New MasterTrack Certificate in Sustainability & Development on Coursera
Why is this program called the MasterTrack Certificate (MTC)?
- If a student successfully completes this online certificate, and is then admitted to our on-campus Master of Science in Environment and Sustainability program, then the student can earn up to 6 credits of acceleration in the graduate degree program.
How is the MTC program unique or different from other certificate programs?
- The Sustainability and Development MTC from the University of Michigan offers a world-class education from a top-tier university. The MTC is a globally recognized credential that is co-branded by U-M and Coursera.
The MTC program offers learners an excellent introduction to the main theoretical currents in sustainability and development as a field of study with an in-depth understanding of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the methods and skills necessary for designing innovative solutions to sustainability and development problems.
The U-M MTC program also provides an accelerated pathway for learners into the in-residence master’s program on our campus, and allows admitted learners to receive 6 credits towards a full Master of Science in Environment and Sustainability.
What kind of certificate will I get upon completion of the MTC program?
- A formal certificate will be issued to learners upon completion of the program. The certificate will be issued as a digital credential and will be co-branded by U-M and Coursera. It will be signed by the faculty members who teach the courses as well as by university leadership.
If a student successfully completes the MTC, is admission to the on-campus master’s degree programs guaranteed?
- No. Completing the Sustainability and Development MTC itself does not guarantee admission to the on-campus programs in any way. A student must meet all the admission criteria for those degree programs in order to be admitted. However, as noted above, if admitted, a student who has completed the MTC may be eligible for up to 6 credits of acceleration in the on-campus graduate degree program.
How much does the MTC cost?
- The Sustainability and Development MTC costs $2,100 USD. This amount covers the entire program and provides access to all the courses.
Are there any scholarships or financial aid offered to students enrolled in the MTC?
- Unfortunately, at this time there are no scholarships or financial aid of any type available from U-M to support applicants to this online certificate. However, Coursera provides an installment plan.
Can the courses be taken in any order?
- In general, courses related to the UN Sustainability Development Goals in the program may be taken in any order. However, it is required that learners take the methods and skills course as well as the capstone after completing the initial four courses and preferably proceed in the sequence of the cohort that they are enrolled in.
Can I only enroll in individual classes or do I have to sign up for the whole program?
- The MTC is currently offered only as a full program. The certificate is issued to learners only after completion of all required courses. Learners also would have access to the content of all the other courses in the program. An informal milestone certificate is also issued upon completion of each of the courses.
Can I see detailed outlines of topics for the courses?
- Yes, outlines of the course topics are provided on the MTC page.
Are the classes live (synchronous) or pre-recorded (asynchronous)?
- All classes are pre-recorded and can be viewed by learners at their convenience. Some classes will have several sessions of live interaction with the teaching assistants as necessary.
How long does the MTC take to complete?
- The Sustainability and Development MTC can be completed in approximately four to six months.
What prerequisites or admission requirements are there for the MTC? Do learners need to have an undergraduate degree before enrolling in this program?
- The Sustainability and Development MTC does not have any admissions requirements; however, we recommend that learners have some familiarity in engaging with scholarly texts and critically discussing their implications in written form. Although a basic understanding is expected, you will learn strategies for developing these skills throughout the program. An undergraduate degree is not required for enrolling in this program.
What admission requirements are there for the Master of Science in Environment and Sustainability program?
- Completion of the MTC does not guarantee admission to a full master’s degree program. Information about the admissions requirements for the full degree programs offered by the School for Environment and Sustainability can be found on this webpage: https://seas.umich.edu/academics/master-science
If you have any questions about any aspect of the application process, please contact our Admissions Coaches via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Is this a full master’s degree program?
- No. The Sustainability and Development MTC is a series of courses designed to introduce you to the main theoretical currents in sustainability and development as a field of study with an in-depth understanding of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the methods and skills necessary for designing innovative solutions to sustainability and development problems. However, it does not reach the same depth of study as a full master’s degree program.
How many credits is the MTC worth?
- The specific number of credits available to those who complete the Sustainability and Development MTC and are admitted to the corresponding master’s degree program on campus is up to 6 credits.
How much will the full master’s degree program cost if I complete an MTC first?
- The cost of a full master’s degree program will be dependent on how much time the student spends on campus, which can change according to a number of factors. The cost of tuition per semester for international and domestic students can be found at the U-M Registrar’s website.
How do I register for the MTC?
- You can register for the next cohort in the Sustainability and Development MTC by visiting this website and clicking “Enroll Now.”
Does the MTC transfer credit only apply to the Sustainability and Development specialization within the SEAS master of science program?
- Yes, the MTC transfer of credit does not apply to any other specialization within SEAS. The transfer of credits does not apply to students who later decide to switch or add the specialization.
For more information, contact the SEAS MasterTrack Team at email@example.com.
Section 3: Ecosystem Science and Management (ESM)
As a current student, will my specialization switch to the new specialization name?
- All students admitted prior to 2021 will be able to choose whether they would like to keep the existing name or adopt the new name. Students wishing to retain the existing name will need to complete a survey from Jennifer Taylor by December 1, 2020; otherwise, they will graduate with the new specialization name.
Why did SEAS change the name from Conservation Ecology to Ecosystem Science and Management?
- “Conservation Ecology” is no longer reflective of the courses that are offered. For example, 45 percent of the specialization’s courses are not focused on ecology. Faculty are concerned about misleading potential students. In addition, faculty believe that “Ecosystem Science and Management” presents a more suitable vision for our still relatively new SEAS, including one that will be similar, yet distinct from one of our main competitors’ sub-plans, i.e., Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment’s “Ecosystem Science and Conservation.”
Will new courses be offered?
- No. Currently, coursework will remain the same.
How does this impact my job search?
- There should not be any impacts on a student’s job search. If anything, the broader title should make graduates appeal to a broader range of employers.
What specialization can I include on my resume and job search documents?
- The most important information to include on one’s resume is the name of the degree program, Master of Science in Environment and Sustainability. Students probably also want to include the specialization name on their resume (which, in turn, will depend on the title they chose; see the previous question). Depending on the circumstances, a student may want to also include some of the specific coursework that relates to a particular job description.
Section 4: Geospatial Data Sciences
As a current student will my specialization switch to the new specialization name?
- All students admitted prior to 2021 will be able to choose if they would like to keep the existing name or adopt the new name. Students wishing to retain the existing name will need to complete a survey from Jennifer Taylor by December 1, 2020; otherwise, they will graduate with the new specialization name.
Why did SEAS change the specialization name from Environmental Informatics to Geospatial Data Sciences?
- We believe the new name will help recruit students who seek skills in GDS and want to merge these skills with environmental justice, policy, and engineering expertise. Because of its distinct features (see Table further below), GDS will benefit U-M students interested in adding a spatial context to their existing work and in the intersections with environmental justice as well as environmental management and policy for problem-solving. Surveys of current EI (18, 42 percent response rate) and SEAS student leaders (18, 49 percent response rate) revealed 72 percent and 78 percent support for the new name.
Will new Geospatial Data Sciences courses be offered?
- We are offering three new courses that fulfill the elective requirement within GDS. EAS 501.015 and 501.019, “Geovisualization of Environment and Society,” which is a two-part course with an intro seven-week session and an advanced seven-week session. We are also offering EAS 501.077, “Multivariate Statistics for Environmental Science.”
How does this impact my job search?
- The new name Geospatial Data Sciences may imply a somewhat broader foundation to many audiences, implying a clear link to data science, and is a more up-to-date name for the field.
What specialization can I include on my resume and job search documents?
- The most important information to include on your resume is the name of the degree program, Master of Science in Environment and Sustainability. Some students also choose to include the specialization name on their resume, while others choose to list key courses they have taken and key skills they have developed. If you are seeking jobs related to geospatial data science, It is always a good idea to list a variety and depth of computer skills on your resume, including a range of advanced computer skills.