With a new graduate program, Tennessee Tech University is helping to meet a national need to better protect the environment.
Between 2008 and 2018, the national need for environmental scientists and other specialists is projected to grow nearly 30 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. To help meet that need, this semester the university began offering a professional science master’s with a concentration in environmental informatics.
The program focuses on the use of business, geographic information systems and statistics tools in environmental data management. The degree will qualify graduates for jobs as environmental scientists and specialists.
“As environmental issues become more complex due to population growth and limited natural resources, this degree will prepare students well for careers to help protect the environment,” said Dennis George, program director and director of TTU’s Center for the Management, Utilization and Protection of Water Resources. “These are big problems that we will be training students to confront, so the blend of programs and hands-on experience will help them to think outside the box to find innovative, interdisciplinary solutions.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey and private industries, including manufacturer McWane and ESRI, a company that provides GIS technology to help organizations make responsible environmental solutions, have expressed an interest in hiring TTU students.
The program is a hybrid, with courses offered online and on campus. Students will be required to have a culminating capstone project, and they will be encouraged to complete internships and develop original research.
It is the first environmental informatics-focused program offered in a public university in the state, and enrollment is expected to grow to about 20 students within the next four to five years.