Help solve complex human-driven changes affecting Earth system sustainability, including
shaping environmental policy and integrating environmental and resource economics.
Human activities are generating changes to Earth’s land surface, oceans, coasts and
atmosphere, biological diversity, water cycle, and biogeochemical cycles that demand
graduate-level research and technical expertise. The M.S. program is intended for
those primarily interested in the science of the Earth’s systems, as well as how that
science can be integrated into programs of action that lead to sustainability.
Est. time to complete:
Why study earth system science and policy?
Study the planet's different systems — hydrosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere, biosphere
and anthroposphere — as an integrated Earth system. The M.S. prepares you for a wide
variety of opportunities that touch many industries and government agencies, as well
research that focuses on the sustainability of environmental-human interactions within
the greater context of the Earth System.
In the M.S. graduate program, you'll gain valuable foundational and technical knowledge
to help solve problem areas related to Earth sustainability and global change. Participate
in cutting-edge research in vital areas such as glaciology and glacio-hydrology, agro-ecology,
theoretical ecology and macroecology, renewable energy, physical earth processes,
oceanography, public policy, environmental economics, Earth systems modeling, and
Earth System Science and Policy at UND
Prepare for a range of careers related to environment, earth, and sustainability.
Benefit from a curriculum that gives you a broad and holistic knowledge of Earth system
science and policy.
Learn from a student-structured curriculum, a multi-disciplinary teaching approach,
and experiential learning environments.
Participate in research that is driven by urgent societal needs and values.
Environmental Scientist Careers
Median salary range for an environmental scientist and specialist
Those with the technical skills and knowledge to be able to assess, analyze and research
earth systems have opportunities in many industries and fields, both private and government.
Environmental issues touch upon many of today's fastest growing fields, including
government compliance and regulations, climate change research, energy explorations
(both alternative and conventional) and more.
UND graduates can expect exciting opportunities to a wide range of professions, including:
Earth system scientists
Environmental and geospatial consultant
Environmental project manager
City sustainability coordinator
Governmental agency careers
When You Earn a Master's Degree in Earth System Science & Policy
An Earth System Science & Policy degree gives you the strategic skills you need, including:
Geographic Information Systems
ArcGIS (GIS Software)
UND Earth System Science & Policy Alumni
Earth System Science and Policy alumni have gone on to a variety of successful careers
Advanced Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc.
Human interactions with the Earth system are often managed through policy and science. This course will introduce students to concepts, ideas, practices, and challenges at the nexus of policy, science, and the environment. Students will examine the human dimensions of environmental problems and the different roles of policy and science in helping us address them. F.
ESSP 504. The Biosphere. 3 Credits.
The Biosphere (ESSP 504) introduces students to the concept of the biosphere as articulated by Vladimir Vernadsky in the 1920s and 1930s, and examines the concepts and roles of nutrient cycling, biodiversity, evolution, ecology, and ecosystem productivity on Earth. The overall course is framed around the Drake equation and walks students through critical steps in the formation of the solar system, habitable zones around stars, evolution and proliferation of life on Earth, the interconnected nature of inorganic nutrient cycling and ecosystem function, and human's impact on all these systems, culminating with the final variable of the Drake equation--the longevity of civilizations--and humanity's active role in the Anthropocene. F.
ESSP 505. Energy Issues and Earth Systems. 3 Credits.
This course is about contemporary complex energy issues. It gives an overview of energy history, the last century trends and the achievement in energy production. It also discusses energy systems and energy "linkages" with society. It then examines the pros and the cons of both fossil fuels and alternative fuels. Finally it considers the future of energy in low-carbon energy systems. F.
ESSP 506. Ecosystem Services: Valuing Nature in a Market Society. 3 Credits.
Analyzes the services and goods provided by natural and human-made ecosystems with a primary focus on the agroecosystems and grasslands of the northern Great Plains. Explores the scientific framework of ecosystem services, their disruption or disturbance, economic and ecological values, methods of analyzing these values, and policy implications. S.
ESSP 507. Earth Systems Processes and Vulnerability Analysis. 3 Credits.
Earth Systems Processes and Vulnerability Analysis (ESSP 507) will explore how humans exist on an active landscape. The course focuses on an understanding of the integration of the processes of physical Earth systems and the human vulnerability to hazards and Earth system syndromes related to these processes. The course also explores human vulnerability by analyzing spatial, numerical, and historical data, through spatial and statistical techniques. S.
ESSP 508. Hydrological Cycle in Earth Systems. 3 Credits.
Hydrological Cycle in Earth Systems (ESSP 508) will introduce the processes of the hydrological cycle in the Earth system. The course focuses on an understanding of fundamental chemical and physical properties of water and processes of water movement within the Earth system through physical, biological and human controls. The course also aims to help students develop an understanding of how the hydrological cycle interacts and affects the energy balance and biogeochemical cycle in the Earth system. S.
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