Print this page as a checklist for your M.S. graduate studies with BCT at UMass.

Student name: ______________________________  (Professional / Thesis)

Start date: ________________ Graduation date: _________________

__ Checked in with main office upon arrival


__ Min. 35 credits total
__ 21 credits from within major (broadly defined)
__ 8 credits from 600 level or above
__ Max. 6 graduate (500+ level) credits transferred from before

1 – Required Core Courses (take all – 8 cr)

__ ECO 601 – Research concepts (fall, 3cr)
__ ECO 697 – Analysis of environmental data (fall, 3cr)
__ ECO 791W – Written communication (spr, 1cr)
__ ECO 691A – Current research in environmental conservation (both, 1cr)

2 – Core Topic Areas (Professional M.S.: 21 cr; Thesis M.S.: 15 cr)

a) Environmental Science (1+ courses)

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__  ____________________________________________________________
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b) Quantitative Science (1+ courses)

__  ____________________________________________________________
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c) Human Dimensions (1+ courses)

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3 – Practicum (Professional M.S.) (6 cr) / Thesis M.S. (12 cr)

(suggested timing: after 2nd semester)

__  ____________________________________________________________
__ 1 publishable-quality paper (from practicum or thesis)

Other Requirements:


Through discussions with your major professor, pick an examination/advising committee (see “Examination/Advising Committee” in the ECo graduate handbook, page 27). Get their approval to be named to the committee. Have your major professor complete the committee appointment memo (committee.doc) and forward to the GCC for GPD signature and submission to the Graduate School. (suggested timing: 3rd semester)


For MS Professional degree students, your proposal must be signed by you, the sponsor (if an internship), and all committee members prior to the start of the practicum, but it does not require the signature of the GPD or Department Head and it does not have to be forwarded to the Graduate School. For MS Thesis and PhD degree students, this proposal must be approved and signed by all members of your Committee, the GPD, and the Department Head and forwarded to the Graduate Dean at least four months before the MS thesis defense or seven months before the PhD dissertation defense (proposal_cover.doc and proposal_memo.doc). (suggested timing: 3rd semester)


You must obtain tentative approval of the thesis/dissertation/professional paper as to subject matter and syntax by all members of the Committee before the defense can be scheduled. The Committee will inform you of any changes required in the thesis/dissertation/professional paper. All committee members and the Department Head (but not necessarily the Consultants) must sign your thesis/dissertation/professional paper in its final form (approval.doc). (suggested timing: 3rd/4th semester)


The Program requires all MS students to pass a Comprehensive Exam. The Comprehensive Exam is an ECo graduate faculty assessment procedure to determine whether you have met the academic standards of the program and shall proceed to the final stage of your program – the defense of your thesis or professional paper. You will not be eligible to defend your thesis or professional paper until you have passed the Comprehensive Exam. The written exam will be comprised of questions in four topic areas: 1) general, 2) your concentration within environmental conservation, 3) quantitative and physical sciences, and 4) human dimensions (see the Comprehensive Exam Study Guide). Each subject area of the written exam will be graded by a single faculty member, designated by the GPD, to ensure consistency in evaluation. Each question will be award 0-2 points: 0 = no credit; 1 = partial credit; 2 = full credit. A 70% score or greater is required to “pass” each topic area, and all four topic areas must be passed separately in order to “pass” the exam. After the evaluation of the exam, the GPD will send the results (PASS or FAIL) to your GCC for record keeping purposes (comp_outcome.doc). (suggested timing: 3rd/4th semester)


Specifically, at least one week before the thesis/professional paper defense is scheduled or four weeks before the dissertation defense is scheduled, all committee members must email the Committee Chair (typically your major advisor) confirming that they have read the thesis and approve you as ready for the defense. Your major professor must distribute an announcement of the defense to all faculty and graduate students in the program at least one week before the defense (defense_notice.doc). The announcement will include your name,  thesis/dissertation/professional paper title, the place and time of the defense, names of the examining committee members (and the Moderator, if there is one), and a list of your graduate courses. You will summarize your research in a seminar presentation in 30-45 minutes. You will be asked questions by each member of the committee (including Consultants). The entire defense will be 2-4 hours long.

The Chair will notify the Graduate Dean of the date and results of the defense by a memorandum to be co-signed by the GPD (defense_outcome.doc). If you pass the defense, you must complete and sign the Degree Eligibility Form, obtain the required signatures, and deliver it to the Graduate School (Office of Degree Requirements) along with the required fees. For MS Thesis and PhD Degrees, you must also submit your thesis/dissertation and the accompanying signature page to the Graduate School and see that bound copies are provided for the Department (delivered to the Main Office) and your major professor. (suggested timing: professional masters 4th semester, thesis masters: 4th-6th semester)

More details:

Building Systems Handbook

List of acceptable courses:

a. Environmental Science

  • ARCHDES 620 Building physics II: architectural lighting (fall, 3cr)
  • BCT 530 Mechanics of building materials (spr, 3cr)
  • BCT 597g Energy and Buildings (fall, 3cr)
  • NRC 597 Urban natural resource management (fall, 3cr)
  • NRC 597 Global change ecology (fall, 3cr)
  • ECO 621 Landscape ecology (spr even yrs, 4cr)
  • ECO 697 Conservation biology (fall odd yrs, 3cr)
  • ECO 697 Urban ecology (fall, 4cr)
  • ENVIRSCI 504 Air pollution & climate change biology (fall, 3cr)
  • PUBHLTH 590N Indoor environment & health (fall, 3cr)
  • PUBHLTH 562 Air quality assessment (spr, 3cr)
  • PLNTSOIL 555 Urban plant biology (fall, 3cr)

b. Quantitative Science

  • BCT 540 Design of wood structures (fall, 3cr)
  • BCT 597 Sustainable building & LEED certification (fall, 3cr)
  • BCT 697 Studies in building information modeling (spr, 3cr)
  • CE-ENGIN 590A Sustainable aspects of civil & environ. eng. (spr, 3cr)
  • M&I-ENG 570 Solar & dir energy conversion (spr, 3cr)
  • PUBHLTH 565 Environmental health practices (both, 3cr)
  • NRC 577 Ecosystem modeling & simulation (fall odd yrs, 3cr)
  • NRC 587 Digital remote sensing (spr odd yrs, 3cr)
  • NRC 592 GIS for natural resource management (both, 3cr)
  • ECO 697 Building Energy and Environmental Systems (spr, 3 cr)
  • ECO 697 Multivariate statistics for environmental cons. (spr odd yrs, 4cr)
  • ECO 697 Intermediate statistics for environmental cons. (spr, 4cr)
  • ECO 697 Advanced statistics for environmental cons. (fall even yrs, 4cr)
  • ECO 697 Analysis of environmental data – lab (fall, 2cr)
  • ECO 791 Building Energy Modeling – lab (fall even years, 2 cr)
  • GEO-SCI 595A Advanced GIS (spr, 3 cr)
  • PLNTSOIL 661 Intermediate biometry (fall, 3 cr)

c. Human Dimensions

  • BCT 597 Bldg a formal plan for green market positioning (spr, 3cr)
  • NRC 597 Water resources management & policy (fall even yrs, 3 cr)
  • ECO 597 Ecological economics and sustainability (spr odd yrs, 3cr)
  • ECO 697 Federal environmental law & regulation (spr even yrs, 3cr)
  • ECO 697 Natural resources policy & administration (tbd, 3cr)
  • LANDARCH 691E People & the Environment (fall, 2-3 cr)
  • POLSCI 784 Environmental policy (tbd, 3 cr)
  • REGIONPL 591B Sustainable cities (spr, 3cr)
  • REGIONPL 591F Green urbanism (spr, 3cr)
  • REGIONPL 553 Resource policy and planning (spr even yrs, 3 cr)
  • REGIONPL 575 Environmental law & resource management (tbd, 3 cr)
  • RES-ECON 720 Environmental & resource economics (fall even yrs, 3 cr)
  • RES-ECON 721 Advanced natural resource economics (fall, 3 cr)