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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

 

Master of Social Sciences Program

Society & the Environment Track


Advisors

Director: MSS: Dr. Omar Swartz
Director: MH: Dr. Margaret Woodhull
Anthropology: Dr. John Brett, Dr. Steve Koester
Geography: Dr. Brian Page, Dr. Deborah Thomas, Dr. Casey Allen
Political Science: Dr. Anna Sampaio 

Overview

Society and the Environment is an interdisciplinary track for completing the Master of Social Science that emphasizes the human side of environmental issues, while also emphasizing that human issues are never separate from issues of ecology.  It challenges students to apply knowledge from the social and biological sciences to environmental problems across a broad spectrum of institutional sectors and geographic locations.  Applications include environmental hazards and disasters, environmental impact assessment, protected area management and interpretation, collaborative conservation, ecoregion conservation, conservation policy, and international development.  This track provides students with courses in critical social theory, participatory qualitative methods, quantitative methods, human ecology, and topical issues.  It also provides training in important technologies, especially geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, and digital film. Required courses for this track total 18 credit hours. The core social science courses required of those admitted to the Master of Social Science Program comprise 9 credit hours. The remaining 9 credit hours consist of methods courses offered by several departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. All courses must be taken in residency at UC Denver. 

 

This program is relevant for students who are interested in future careers in environmental planning, the implementation of environmental programs, environmental impact assessment in the public and private sectors, or environmental policymaking in government agencies and international development agencies. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to enter the job market immediately, or they may use this track as a steppingstone toward a Ph.D. or another advanced degree.

Requirements -- 36 credit hours total

The core social science courses required of those admitted to the Master of Social Science Program comprise 9 credit hours.  The remaining 9 credit hours consist of methods courses offered by several departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  All courses must be taken in residency at UC Denver.

MSS Core Courses (9 credit hours):

  • SSC 5013 Philosophical Problems in the Social Sciences and Humanities
  • SSC 5020 Elements of Social Thought
  • SSC 5023 Research Perspectives in the Social Sciences

Methods Courses (9 credit hours, one course required from each category):

  • Qualitative (choose one):
    • ANTH 6063 Qualitative Research Design and Methods
    • PSC 5468 Research Methods in Political Science
  • Quantitative (choose one):
    • ANTH 4050/5053 Quantitative Methods in Anthropology
    • ENVS 5600 Applied Statistics for the Natural Sciences
  • Technical (choose one):
    • GEOG 4060/5060 Environmental Remote Sensing
    • GEOG 4080/5080 Geographic Information Systems

Thesis or Project on a Related Topic (3/6 credit hours)
Research project (3 credit hours) or thesis (6 credit hours) under the supervision of a three-member faculty committee.

Track Electives (12-15 credit hours, 4 or 5 courses)

Social Perspectives:
  • ANTH 5030 Ethnobiology
  • ANTH 5070 Culture and the Environment
  • ANTH 5170 Culture of Development and Globalization
  • ANTH 5220 Community in Global Context
  • ANTH 5450 Conservation and Development: Contemporary Issues
  • ANTH 5460 Conservation and Development: Theory to Practice
  • GEOG 3335/5335 Contemporary Environmental Issue*
  • GEOG 3350/5350 Environment and Society in the American Past*
  • GEOG 3411/5411 Globalization and Regional Development*
  • GEOG 4090/5090 Environmental Modeling with Geographic Information Systems
  • GEOG 4230/5230 Hazard Mitigation and Vulnerability Assessment
  • GEOG 4265/5265 Sustainability in Resource Management
  • PSC 5026 Global Political Economy I: Rich Countries
  • PSC 5036 Global Political Economy II: Poor Countries
  • PSC 5057 Religion and Politics
  • PSC 5135 Political Economy of Latin America
  • PSC 5145 Indigenous Politics
  • PSC 5217 Human Rights in Theory and Practice
  • PSC 5245 Gender in International Development
  • PSC 5276 Conflicts and Rights in International Law
  • PSC 5354 Environmental Politics and Policy
  • PSC 5555 International Women's Resistance

Ecology and Conservation Biology:

  • ENVS 5000 Biogeochemical Cycles
  • ENVS 5010 Air Pollution: Climate Impacts
  • ENVS 5020 Earth Environments and Human Impacts
  • ENVS 5030 Environmental Geology

* Course pending approval at the graduate level