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Master in Environmental Management (MEM)

Master in Environmental Management

Degree Type

Master in Environmental Management

Department

Clark Family School of Environment and Sustainability

Through experiential learning and project work with organizations in the Rocky Mountains and around the world, students earning Western Colorado University’s Master in Environmental Management degree enhance skills to tackle environmental problems and craft careers with government agencies, non-profits, and for-profit organizations.

Program Overview

Cultivate the knowledge you need to change the world.

Western’s Master in Environmental Management (MEM) is different from your typical graduate program. We offer a project and portfolio tailored to your environmental career vision and a commitment to immersive education through our unique block schedule. In the program, you have the opportunity to apply course theory and material to meet the needs of community and affiliated partners. We offer an abundance of opportunities to engage with professionals in the field, attend panels, workshops and events, and participate in immersive multi-day field experiences to establish your network.

Our curriculum is routinely updated to remain relevant to the demands of the market. We have an engaged community of students who choose either a residential or distance option, as our hybrid courses are accessible from anywhere in the world. We have three different tracks for students to choose from: Global Sustainability Integrated and Public Lands, and Sustainable and Resilient Communities  Through the dynamic curriculum and ENVS Network, you’ll develop a portfolio of skills to give you a competitive advantage in your field. Over 80% of MEM students receive some financial assistance through fellowships, internships and grants, and over 85% of MEM alumni are engaged in environmental management careers.

Learn more about the MEM program in our MEM Welcome video.

Research in our backyard

Western’s MEM program, on a campus surrounded by a living laboratory in the heart of the Rockies, offers interdisciplinary training for building environmental and community resilience.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

The Master in Environmental Management (MEM) is a professional terminal degree, specifically focused on the content understanding and methods necessary to manage environmental organizations, public lands agencies, and communities towards sustainable solutions. The program emphasizes entrepreneurial and systems-thinking approaches to environmental issues associated with increasing climate disturbances, natural resource demands, and socio-economic insecurity. The MEM offers a “hybrid” learning environment for full-residency students rooted in the learning laboratories of the Gunnison Country, combined with a low-residency option for select environmental professionals from all over the world.

Program Goals

  • Improving student understanding of environmental systems and services, of the human impact on those systems, and of the array of sustainable and resilient solutions to those impacts.
  • Developing students’ capacities for interdisciplinary critical thinking, entrepreneurial innovation, and collaborative environmental problem-solving with diverse stakeholders.
  • Enhancing career opportunities in environmentally related disciplines.

Student Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Understand the complex interactions among human, climate, and ecological systems.
  • Access and evaluate information about environmental issues.
  • Critically assess the fundamental elements of environmental problems.
  • Develop and apply diverse management and adaptation strategies to solve environmental problems.
  • Effectively communicate the complexity of environmental problems as well as appropriate solutions to diverse audiences.
  • Collaborate with and build partnerships among diverse stakeholders in order to complete major environmental projects.

Program Prerequisites

(For admissions requirements for “3+2” programs, please refer to the guidelines outlined in the undergraduate academic catalog under ENVS, POLS, SOC, ROE, and BIOL)

  • BA degree, BS degree, or Provisional Admittance to the graduate program is required.
  • Minimum Prerequisites must be completed by end of first MEM Fall term:
    • college-level statistics course.
    • two college-level natural or environmental science courses (BIOL, GEOL, ENVS, PHYS, CHEM, SCI), at least one course with lab or field component.
    • two college-level social science courses.
  • Integrative and Public Land Management Recommended Prerequisites
    • one upper-level Ecology course
    • one GIS course
  • Sustainable and Resilient Communities Recommended Prerequisites
    • one course in Economics (Micro or Macro preferred)
    • Financial Accounting
  • Faculty Mentor may recommend further coursework or certifications for students to complete before Master’s Portfolio is due in Spring II, depending upon student career ambitions and professional career standards.
  • Admissions Criteria: a holistic package balancing academic excellence with environmental leadership experience encouraged. Admissions packages will include: academic transcripts showing a recommended 3.0 undergraduate GPA or above in relevant courses; a portfolio outlining environmental employment, leadership and volunteer experience; a statement of purpose describing the student’s intellectual and professional interests in environmental management; and three letters of recommendation from professors or supervisors in related fields.
  • Provisional Admission to the Master in Environmental Management Program: An applicant who does not meet the requirements for full admission to the Master in Environmental Management Program may be provisionally admitted or may be required to submit additional materials in order to be considered for provisional admission upon the recommendation of the program director and approval by the Dean of Graduate Studies. A provisionally admitted student will have a maximum of one calendar year to complete any pre-requisite academic coursework. The program director or Dean of Graduate Studies may set additional timeline requirements.
  • International Students: see Graduate Academic Catalog section, Criteria for International Admission.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 46 credits is required for the MEM degree.

All MEM students must complete the 20-credit Core.

Core Courses
ENVS 601Introduction to Environmental Management5
ENVS 605Science for Environmental Management 23
ENVS 608Environmental Politics and Policy3
ENVS 611Integrative Skills for Environmental Management3
ENVS 612Introduction to Analysis and Assessment for Environmental Management 23
ENVS 615From Climate Science to Action3
Total Credits20
2

Students may take BIOL 606 Ecological Research Methods in lieu of ENVS 605 Science for Environmental Management and/or BIOL 613 Advanced Ecological Analysis in lieu of ENVS 612 Introduction to Analysis and Assessment for Environmental Management.

Integrative and Public Land Management Emphasis (beyond required Core courses)

ENVS 618Public Lands Management3
Select nine credits of the following (choose any combination within these areas):9
ENVS 623
Studies in Environmental Management
ENVS 625
Studies in Integrative and Public Land Management
Masters Project Requirement:
ENVS 690MEM Project Development5
ENVS 694Master's Project and Portfolio 19
Total Credits26
1

Students must take 3 cr of ENVS 694 Master's Project and Portfolio Fall II and 6 cr of ENVS 694 Master's Project and Portfolio Spring II

Sustainable & Resilient Communities Emphasis (beyond required Core courses)

ENVS 616Environmental Organization Development and Management3
Select nine credits of the following:9
ENVS 620
Studies in Sustainable and Resilient Communities
ENVS 623
Studies in Environmental Management
Masters Project Requirement:
ENVS 690MEM Project Development5
ENVS 694Master's Project and Portfolio 19
Total Credits26
1

Students must take 3 cr of ENVS 694 Master's Project and Portfolio Fall II and 6 cr of ENVS 694 Master's Project and Portfolio Spring II

Global Sustainability Emphasis (beyond required Core courses)

ENVS 617Global Sustainability3
Select nine credits of the following (choose any combination of global themes within these areas):9
ENVS 620
Studies in Sustainable and Resilient Communities
ENVS 623
Studies in Environmental Management
ENVS 625
Studies in Integrative and Public Land Management
Masters Project Requirement:
ENVS 690MEM Project Development5
ENVS 694Master's Project and Portfolio 19
Total Credits26
1

Students must take 3 cr of ENVS 694 Master's Project and Portfolio Fall II and 6 cr of ENVS 694 Master's Project and Portfolio Spring II

Faculty & Staff

Spotlight

Master in Environmental Management (MEM)

Rachel Weakland

Alumni

"Rachel Weakland has dedicated her professional efforts towards environmental education and creating global leaders here in Colorado and abroad."

Master in Environmental Management (MEM)

Melanie Armstrong, Ph.D.

Faculty

"Melanie Armstrong brings scholarly and applied political approaches to her work with Western’s School of Environment & Sustainability, where she also serves as Public Lands Coordinator."

Master in Environmental Management (MEM)

Lindsey Lunsford

Alumni

"Lindsey Lunsford's work towards a healthier community contributes to the rural south's reclamation of the "Carver Way of Life," impacting the health of many communities."

Master in Environmental Management (MEM)

Jonathan Coop, Ph.D.

Faculty

“We can produce high-quality research and publish papers in scientific journals with our students. We’re out on the cutting edge of our field learning the things we don’t know yet."

Master in Environmental Management (MEM)

Jade Swor

Student

"Jade Swor is exploring potential projects at the interface of tribal relations, mycology, and biomimicry."

Careers

Take the first steps toward your dream career.

Career preparation is the primary focus of every academic program at Western. Our professors and Office of Career Services will help you identify your strengths, hone your skills, define your goals, and prepare for a fulfilling role in hundreds of professional fields after graduation.

Ready to apply or learn more about Western today?

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Find Your Career

The data is automatically collected by Lightcast, a firm that sources job market data. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.

Fellowships

Master in Environmental Management (MEM) Fellowships

Western’s MEM program offers a suite of graduate fellowships to reduce tuition, enhance organizational partnerships, elevate the quality of projects and to improve career competitiveness for select students. If you have applied to the MEM Program, please indicate your interest in specific fellowships in an email to the corresponding faculty fellowship supervisor listed on the page below. The number of program fellows will be determined each year by the quality and quantity of the candidate pool.

Learn More

Making an impact

The Clark Family School of Environment and Sustainability focuses on resilience, adaptation and applying knowledge to enable our students to be change agents.

News & Research

Danielson headshot

Danielson Honored with Antioch’s Horace Mann Award

Read More about Danielson Honored with Antioch’s Horace Mann Award
MEM student doing fieldwork

Conservation Grant Helps Fund Recreation Management Project

Read More about Conservation Grant Helps Fund Recreation Management Project
environment & sustainability school aerial

New Name for Environment & Sustainability School

Read More about New Name for Environment & Sustainability School
colleges that offer hands on learning

Western Among Best Colleges that Offer Hands-on Learning Experiences

Read More about Western Among Best Colleges that Offer Hands-on Learning Experiences
Western's reusable solution to disposable containers

Reusable Solution to COVID-19 Disposable Container Problem

Read More about Reusable Solution to COVID-19 Disposable Container Problem
Mountaineers Solar Panels

Mountaineers Recycle Solar Panels to Save Money, Expand Access

Read More about Mountaineers Recycle Solar Panels to Save Money, Expand Access
School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies announces recipients of Dean’s Award for Inclusive Excellence

Read More about School of Graduate Studies announces recipients of Dean’s Award for Inclusive Excellence
Western professor publishes book focused on sustainability in business

Western professor publishes book focused on sustainability in business

Read More about Western professor publishes book focused on sustainability in business
Western staff member featured in CBS Denver news story

Western staff member featured in CBS Denver news story

Read More about Western staff member featured in CBS Denver news story
New partnership helps Red Rocks Community College students earn accelerated master’s degrees

New partnership helps Red Rocks Community College students earn accelerated master’s degrees

Read More about New partnership helps Red Rocks Community College students earn accelerated master’s degrees

Additional Resources

Apply

Apply to the MEM program now.

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Fellowship Opportunities in MEM

Fellowship Opportunities in the Master in Environmental Management (MEM) Program Western’s MEM offers a suite of graduate fellowships to reduce tuition, to enhance organizational partnerships, to …

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ENVS Network

The ENVS Network documents people, organizations, and projects involved with the School of ENVS. Each year, Master in Environment Management students complete a 600 hour project, connecting people and organizations worldwide.

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Alumni Careers

We encourage MEM students to create a livelihood based on their values and since the first cohort graduated in 2016, over 200 alumni have done just that. Over 90+ percent of our alumni are engaged in careers in the field of environmental management and sustainability.

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Residential and Distance Options

Globalizing a sense of place The MEM program at Western Colorado University offers a globally informed, place-based, environmental leadership education to its students. The MEM presents a hybrid …

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Tuition & Financial Aid

Learn more about the Master in Environmental Management program tuition fees and ways to offset these costs through financial aid opportunities.

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Center for Mountain Transitions

Empowering students to advance just and sustainable mountain communities, from the Rockies to the world.

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Center for Public Lands

The Center is a hub for cross-boundary land management work and study.

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Center for Cold-Climate Food Security

The School of ENVS seeks funding for the Center for Cold-Climate Food Security to amplify experiential educational opportunities around high-alpine and cold-climate food production, while addressing hunger in the Gunnison Valley.

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Program Prerequisites

All three tracks (Global Sustainability, Integrative and Public Land Management and Sustainable and Resilient Communities) requires a B.A. or B.S. degree and the following prerequisites which must be…

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Our Curriculum

Our Curriculum Description of the Master in Environmental Management Program Your academic journey begins in an online ENVS 601 summer class through dialog with your faculty mentor considering …

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Community Events

The Headwaters Conference Every fall, Western Colorado University hosts a gathering of scholars, writers, poets, journalists, public officials, community activists, social and natural scientists and …

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Peace Corps Fellowship

All RPCV’s who are interested in developing projects in conjunction with organizations abroad may be considered for the Global Sustainability Peace Corps fellowship.  The Fellowship comes with up …

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MEM Sponsor/Partner Testimonials

Matt Feier Director of Planning at Crested Butte Mountain Resort “I had the opportunity to work with a group of Western MEM, developing a sustainability proposal for Crested Butte Mountain …

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Sustainability Professionals

According to the International Society of Sustainability Professionals, a “…sustainability practitioner [is] a professional who works to advance sustainability in organizations and communities. …

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MEM Writing Workshop

Writing Workshop Tutors Writing Workshop tutors offer assistance at any point in the writing process: brainstorming, outlining, polishing a final draft, or preparing a piece to submit for publication …

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Dean

John C. Hausdoerffer, Ph.D.

Dean, Clark Family School of Environment & Sustainability

Program Facilitator

Lindsay Dolezal

Program Facilitator - Clark Family School

Contact Information

970.943.2248

ses@western.edu

Campus Location

1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81230

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