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M.Ed. in Environmental Education

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Overview

The Bard M.Ed. in Environmental Education program prepares educators to create an informed and engaged citizenry supporting progress towards a just, prosperous, and sustainable future. Through intensive academic training, real world professional experience, and career development opportunities, the program enables graduates to pursue successful, high-impact careers in private schools, NGO’s, government land management agencies, private land conservation organizations, museums, environmental education centers, and consulting firms.
 

Classroom to Impact in 9 Months:

Engaging a rising generation now with critical sustainability challenges from climate to biodiversity loss, ocean pollution and air toxics is urgent work. Bard's MEd program uniquely enables students to begin high impact work after only nine months of study. Students spend an intensive two semesters at Bard, mastering the tools required to educate the next generation of environmental leaders.  In June of the second year, they then spread out across the US and internationally, creating impact through a required, 4-6 month high-level professional Internship followed by an outcome-oriented Capstone Project that typically builds on the internship. 

First Year: Academic Training

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Students pursuing the M.Ed. take a carefully curated program that combines environmental education classes with graduate courses from  the MS programs at the Center for Environmental Policy, the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program, and elective options from other Bard undergraduate and graduate programs, including the MBA in Sustainability.  In addition to a core classroom curriculum, an emphasis on experiential learning takes students outside into the mountains to complete a hands-on January-term intensive course focused on place-based and outdoor education. Throughout, there is a focus on environmental education within the places that students are living, from urban parks, wetlands and waterways, to rural farmlands and forest. 

First-year courses cover several key topics: 

  • Environmental Science of the Natural and Built Environment

  • Foundations of Environmental Education

  • Place-Based and Outdoor Education

  • Curriculum Development

  • Adolescent Identity, Culture and Learning

Second Year: High-Impact Career Training

Beginning in June of the second year, students explore their individual career interests through a required 4-6 month, full-time professional internship, and by researching and writing a Capstone Project.  Internships sites range from Australia to China, South Africa to Geneva, NYC to DC, and across the US. In the final semester, students complete a Master’s degree capstone project under the direction of a Bard faculty member, while attending capstone seminar classes on-line. Students gather at Bard for two, one-week residencies during this final term.

The two-year curriculum ensures that graduates develop broad and deep knowledge of environmental science and education pedagogy; a strong suite of analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills; tools for building education organizations; significant professional experience in their chosen field; and finally, specialized expertise on the particular topic of their research project. In short, Bard's Masters programs  are designed to deliver true mastery over the student's area of focus, providing a strong foundation for career success. 

Watch the recording from our webinar, Building a Career in Sustainability:Advice From Environmental Education Specialists:

med career webinar

 

 

Schedule a Meeting to Learn More

Distinctive program features:

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Integrated, Interdisciplinary Curriculum

Bard CEP features a unique, modular core curriculum where students explore issues like air and atmosphere pollution, biodiversity loss, or ecosystem service provision simultaneously in their science, education and policy courses. This unique structure creates a powerful dialogue across disciplines, always driving towards solutions. Traditional masters programs cannot deliver this level of interdisciplinary focus across classes, as students typically do not take the same courses together. Bard's core curriculum supports faculty to coordinate closely across classes, allowing the program to complete the delivery of the foundational educational toolkit in nine-months. This frees up the second year of study for the professional internship and capstone project.

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1:1 Faculty Engagement

The Bard MEd program offers every student individualized engagement with expert faculty on student research, writing, and communication. Our small class size and dedicated graduate faculty provide students with unmatched access to their professors and mentorship opportunities.

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High-level, Extended Professional Internships

All MEd students complete a 4-6 month, student-driven, full-time environmental education internship from June to January of the second year in the community (nationally or globally) of their choosing. 

The internship is a major item on our graduates' resumes, and supports development of their career networks. Between 30% and 50% of internships turn directly into jobs. The internship typically forms the basis for the students' Master's Capstone Projects. 

Bard helps students find internship opportunities with a variety of institutions, and is continuously expanding its list of internship sponsors. The internship allows students to follow their preferred areas of specialization locally, elsewhere in the United States, or abroad. The internship gives students an applied focus to their degree and an opportunity to learn in a professional setting the job-specific skills they will use upon graduation.

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Community Engagement, Place-Based Education, Peace Corps Option

Community Engagement

Throughout their time in the program, MEd students engage with local environmental organizations serving various communities in the Hudson Valley to learn about various forms of environmental education and outreach. Students also meet weekly with regional environmental education leaders to learn how they built their careers in the industry and gain insights into the field.

J-Term Immersive Field Course

In January of the first year, MEd students spend two weeks doing day trips and overnight expeditions into the Taconic Mountains to gain field education experience.

Peace Corps Option

Bard also offers students the opportunity to combine their graduate work with Peace Corps service - click here to learn more.

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Individualized Research Opportunities

At Bard, the Capstone Project provides the opportunity for students to develop true mastery in their chosen field of interest. Unlike at more traditional graduate programs, where a capstone project is derivative of a faculty member's research interest, at Bard, students develop their own capstone topics, often focused on addressing an educational opportunity identified during the student's internship. In these cases, students devote an entire year to practical work in the area in which they are passionate: six months of hands-on experience, coupled with six months of academic analysis and reflection through their capstone work. This kind of mastery provides a strong foundation for career success. Each Master's Project is carefully mentored by two Bard CEP Faculty members, including a primary and secondary advisor. 

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Career Focus

An environmental education career  is about "changing minds" to educate the next generation of sustainability leaders. In a typical year, close to 40% of students that graduate from the Bard MEd program already employed, primarily as a result of job offers arising from the professional internship. On average, 75-85% of graduates find work in the environmental education sector within six months of graduation.

Career Development

Students are thinking about career outcomes from day one at Bard. While studying environmental education methodologies, students are also exposed to work of various organizations (from local to global) and learn about the many career opportunities in the vast field of environmental education.

Career development exercises are also intentionally integrated into various coursework and include developing the following skills:

  • Resume and cover letter writing
  • Conducting informational interviews
  • Blog and memo writing
  • Professional networking
  • Personal branding
  • The "art of the ask"
  • Presentations - building decks and giving effective public presentations

To learn about the diverse careers our graduates are pursuing, please review our Alumni Profiles. 

 

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Download
A Guide to Getting a Master's in Environmental Education

 

 

Course Work


Students in the M.Ed program take a carefully curated program combining a core of environmental education pedagogy with environmental science and general teacher education through the MAT.  Courses emphasize analytical frameworks and basic principles through examples and case studies. Joint class sessions, field trips, guest lectures, and conferences expose students to the critical issues and contemporary practices of environmental education. Throughout, there is a focus on engaging a wide diversity of audiences with the core ideas of ecological literacy. The nine-month interdisciplinary curriculum, combined with the internship and the Capstone project in the second year, allow students to specialize in their chosen field of interest and launch a high-impact career changing minds. 

Course Descriptions View Faculty Members

 

Course Descriptions

Total Credits for MEd = 60

Year 1 (full-time students)*

*Students interest in part-time enrollment should contact the Admissions Team to learn about the part-time course of study

Environmental Science of Natural and Built Environments (Fall + Spring)

Good environmental management requires a basic understanding of physical and biological science concepts and principles. These courses are meant to provide you with that understanding—with the expectation that a scientifically savvy individual will make a better policy analyst, environmental activist, or entrepreneur. Given the breadth of the topic of environmental science, these courses cover information found in geology, soil science, hydrology, ecology, environmental chemistry, and atmospheric science classes. The classes are not just about facts; through the assignments and discussion, your understanding of the scientific method, comfort with scientific vocabulary, and ability to glean important information from literature will increase. Thus, the goal is not only to teach you about perturbations to global biogeochemical cycles, importance of redox and photochemical reactions, and threats to biodiversity—it is also to teach you how to think critically and solve problems.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understanding of the scientific method

  • Familiarity with scientific vocabulary

  • Ability to glean information from the literature

  • Means to think critically and solve problems

  • Develop scientific writing skills

Environmental Policy I (Fall)

This course analyzes the dynamic and complex relationship among various factors—legal, political, cultural, and ethical—that influence the environmental policy-making process. The courses use a case-study approach to introduce students to the core concepts of environmental policy making and environmental policy cycles that include defining the environmental problem, setting the environmental agenda, and presenting and implementing policy solutions. Students examine state and social responses to new and ongoing environmental problems. In the United States context, this includes taking into account the nature of state-federal relationships in developing and applying the environmental law, as well as the evolving role of technology, tensions between private and public interests, and equity considerations. In addition to U.S. environmental policy, the courses explore international environmental regime development, conflict resolution, and trans-boundary citizen networks that influence global environmental decision making.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Basic knowledge of qualitative policy analysis

  • Familiarity with key theories in international and comparative politics

  • Understanding of a range of concrete policy instruments related to environmental policy

  • Case-based analysis to identify critical policy problems and relevant policy or technical solutions

Curriculum Planning and Assessment (Fall)

This course emphasizes curriculum design and implementation by looking at how assessment protocols contribute to learning and focuses on essential questions about teaching practices. The course asks the question “What is it we teach in our subject area and how should we teach it?” Answering these questions prepares students for the work of instruction and planning as teachers in a variety of contexts.

Learning to teach is more than learning how to teach. At the center of teaching is a relationship between teacher and learner. To teach means to work from that center where action is borne out of the principles one holds about how and why people learn. To teach means to hold beliefs and understandings that are often evolving rather than static in response to such questions as:

  • What are the conditions that support learning?
  • Why are some teachers more effective than others?
  • What does effective mean?
  • How do I and my students come to see learning that has happened?
  • How do I create a curriculum that serves students’ learning needs?
  • How do my, the school’s, and society’s educational values come into play?

Teaching is a complex activity. It requires that we work with the seemingly infinite details of school life while holding firmly to our core knowledge about students, learning and curriculum. It requires that we have a passion about our students and what they learn, and that we do not lose that passion under the pressures for performance on tests or the demands of keeping up with the pace of the public school curriculum.

Foundations of Environmental Education (Fall)

Environmental Education Advisory (Fall + Spring)

Communication (Fall + Spring)

Communication Class at Bard CEP has two central goals. The first is to help students become confident, thoughtful and inspiring writers and speakers. The second is to prepare students for internship and capstone research and writing via a year-long lit review process. We cover both academic and professional written and oral genres (the blog post, memo, lit review, cover letter, slide presentation, interview). Students learn how to take audience and purpose into account in order to communicate complex science, economic and policy information.

Students will be able to:

  • retrieve relevant research and use it properly in their own work

  • ­frame writing/presentations for differing purposes and audiences

  • support a reader through a written argument via effective introductory/concluding material, coherent sections and paragraphs, thoughtfully placed transitions, precise word choice, and clear, concise, sentences

  • craft and deliver visually engaging, effectively structured, and memorable slide presentations

  • analyze the strengths and weaknesses of their own and their classmates’ writing/presentations and give and receive constructive feedback

Identity, Culture, and the Classroom OR Literacy and the Adult Learner (Spring)

Identity, Culture, and the Classroom

In this course, students consider what it means for them to teach-and for adolescents to learn-in the context of contemporary American society. The course focuses on identity development and how it is influenced by cultural power dynamics around such factors as race, gender, sexual orientation, class, ability, ethnicity, and language. Students begin by exploring the concept of identity in broad terms, drawing on Erikson's developmental model as well as numerous contemporary writings. The remainder of the course focuses on the ways in which specific identity-related issues affect adolescents' school experiences. Students investigate research topics including the black/white test score gap and the school-based risks faced by sexual minority students, as well as the work of researcher/theorists Gilligan, Ogbu, Steele, Tatum, and others. The purpose of the course is to move students toward a deeper understanding of the ways identity, culture, and schooling intersect so that they can develop a repertoire of reflective, analytical, and practical strategies to use in their ongoing work as teachers.

Literacy and the Adult Learner

This course is an introduction to the social, cultural, cognitive, and disciplinary aspects of literacy development, emphasizing the literacies of late childhood and adolescence. The course includes foundational readings in sociological theories of literacy and language rights, as well as cognitive research in language acquisition and reading comprehension. But as a course for classroom teachers, it will be most concerned with the kinds of activities and assessments that, taking these theories into account, best support adolescent students as they read, write, listen, and speak about content in the major subject areas of schooling—history, languages, literature, mathematics, and the sciences. Special emphasis will be given to the needs of students for whom literacy in English is difficult or unfamiliar.

Course Goals
Students will know and understand how

  • Current research defines “literacy,” including the social, cultural, cognitive, and discipline-specific aspects of becoming “literate”
  • Language affects learning within and across the disciplines, with particular emphasis on vocabulary acquisition for academic purposes
  • People learn to read and read to learn—the stages of reading development, models of comprehension, specific demands of reading in the disciplines, and problems in reading
  • Writing supports learning within and across the disciplines—the stages of written language development and the principles of writing-to-learn
  • Technology has shaped and extending reading, writing, and other literacy practices

Students will be able to

  • Plan literacy-rich lessons in their disciplines, with goals, activities, and assessments that advance students’ reading, writing, listening and speaking
  • Differentiate for students who need additional support with reading, vocabulary, and writing in English
  • Address issues of interest and motivation in the literacy-rich environment

Outdoor and Place-Based Education (January)

2 Approved Electives (Spring)

MAT STEM Lab (Fall)

In this four-quarter course, MAT math and science students bring their learning in graduate discipline courses and their educational studies into conversation through a series of investigations that explore teaching and learning from various perspectives. Past personal teaching and learning experiences will be the basis for thinking about
curriculum planning, the math/science classroom, and the sources of learning difficulties some students experience. Current academic conditions may also allow working in local summer school programs as tutors providing further opportunity to engage in practice. Readings, videos, case studies, and classroom observations provide the context for student-focused study of teaching and learning. Explorations in approaches to mathematics and science teaching, including the uses of current available technologies, provide a further basis for thinking about how students in public schools can engage in disciplinary thinking and develop essential skills and knowledge. MAT Students also study standards, curricula, and curriculum materials, paying particular attention to the experiences of underrepresented groups in math/science, and to the sometimes competing demands of state- and national-level tests and established
learning standards. Developing useful perspectives and priorities as teachers that facilitate an instructional focus on authentic forms of learning is a primary goal of these explorations. By the end of this course sequence, students should have a firm grasp of key issues and questions in math/science education, a well-informed perspective, and a
repertoire of practices to apply to the work of teaching that begins full during the field experiences.

 

Year Two (all students)

Master's Internship (Summer + Fall)

Extended Professional Internship

The extended professional internship is a unique feature of the Bard MEd program. In the second year of study, all students complete a four-to-six month, high-level internship serving the community of their choice

The internship typically forms the basis for the students' Master's Capstone Projects. Between 30% and 50% of internships turn directly into jobs. The internship is a major item on our graduates' resumes, and supports development of their career networks. 

Capstone Proposal (Fall)

Students can pursue two different Master’s Capstone avenues: (1) the Thesis, which is designed to help students understand evidence-based education research by generating a research question, developing its proof and communicating these ideas to a potential policymaker audience, and (2) the Project, which is designed to replicate a professional experience, either in the form of a consulting project or a communication piece.

Students begin to formalize capstone ideas the summer after their first year, in consultation with an advisor on the faculty. The internship allows students to explore environmental education issues and usually serves as the springboard for the capstone.

Capstone Project + Seminar (Spring)

The Capstone Seminar offers a platform for students to present successive iterations of their capstone research. Students discuss the policy problems and methodological challenges they encounter in their work, along with different ways of dealing with them. The seminar also offers students the chance to receive feedback from their peers and the Bard CEP faculty, and to focus on effectively communicating the results of their research. 

Student-Driven Capstone 

At Bard, the Master's Project provides the opportunity for students to develop true mastery in their chosen field of interest, ranging across topics such as water, energy, biodiversity, toxic pollution, and environmental justice. Unlike at many other schools where a capstone project is derivative of a faculty member's research interest, at Bard, students develop their own capstone topics, typically focused on solving an environmental policy problem identified during the student's internship. In these cases, students devote an entire year to practical work in the area in which they are passionate: six months of hands-on experience, coupled with six months of academic analysis and reflection through their capstone work. This kind of mastery provides a strong foundation for career success. Each Master's Project is carefully mentored by two Bard CEP Faculty members, including a primary and secondary advisor. 

How the Master's Project works:

Project Options

Students can pursue two different Master's Capstone avenues: (1) the Thesis, which is designed to help students understand evidence-based policy formation by generating a research question, developing its proof, and communicating these ideas to a potential policymaker audience; and (2) the Project, which is designed to replicate a professional experience, either in the form of a consulting project or a communication piece. Drawing on knowledge from the first-year coursework, students integrate aspects of the natural and social sciences in their capstone analysis and policy recommendations.

Project Timing

Students begin to formalize capstone ideas the summer after their first year, in consultation with an advisor on the faculty. The internship allows students to explore policy issues and usually serves as the springboard for the capstone. During the internship period, a formal proposal is presented to the student’s advisor, who chairs the student’s Capstone Committee, which is composed of three members (at least two of whom are Bard CEP faculty). An outside expert is often included to provide specialized advice on the capstone.

Master's Seminar

The Master's Seminar offers a platform for students to present successive iterations of their capstone research. Students discuss the policy problems and methodological challenges they encounter in their work, along with different ways of dealing with them. The seminar also offers students the chance to receive feedback from their peers and the Bard CEP Faculty, and to focus on effectively communicating the results of their research.

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Leadership and Careers Environmental Education Advisory (Spring)

Teaching Certification

The Bard M.Ed. in Environmental Education degree does not lead to a teaching certification. If a student is interested in a teaching certification, they should consider either the dual MS/MAT or MEd/MAT degree options.

View Dual Degree Options

2021-2022 Academic Calendar*

August 23-27, 2021

Workshop Week

August 30, 2021

Fall Semester Classes Begin

October 11-12, 2021

Fall Reading Days

November 22-26, 2021

Thanksgiving Reading Week

December 13-17, 2021

Exam Week

   

December 20, 2021 - January 14, 2022

Winter Recess

   

January 17-28, 2022

M.Ed. Outdoor and Place-Based Education Course

January 31-February 4, 2022

Research & Writing Week

February 7, 2022

Spring Semester Classes Begin

March 21-25, 2022

Spring Reading Week

May 23-27, 2022

Exam Week

May 26-27, 2022

Capstone Presentations

May 28, 2022

Commencement 2022

 


Fall 2021 Semester: August 20 - December 13
Spring 2022 Semester: January 28 - May 23
*Dates subject to change.

Sample Weekly Schedule

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Environmental Science
10:00-11:30am

  Environmental Science
10:00-11:30am
   
  Communication
11:30am-1:00pm
  Advisory
12:00am-1:00pm
Brown Bag Series/
National Climate Seminar

12:00-1:00pm

 

Environmental Policy 
1:30-3:00pm
Foundations of Environmental Education
1:30-3:00pm
Environmental Policy 
1:30-3:00pm
 

MAT STEM Lab
6:00-9:00pm

       

 

Campus Visits

Whether you are hoping to better understand class structure, make connections with faculty and current students, or get a feel for campus culture - visiting campus is the best way to find out if Bard Center for Environmental Policy is the right fit for you.

When you register for a campus visit, our Bard Graduate Programs in Sustainability admissions staff work with you to customize an on-campus experience, which may include attending class, having lunch with current students, meetings with faculty, and taking a tour of campus.

Learn More and Pick a Date to Visit

History

Founded in 1999

The Bard Center for Environmental Policy was created in 1999 to promote education, research, and public service on critical issues relating to both natural and human-made environments. Its primary goal is to improve environmental policies by facilitating the use of the best available scientific knowledge in the policy-making process at the local, regional, national, and international levels. The Center’s premise is that in order to be effective in addressing environmental problems and pursuing sustainable patterns of natural resource use, scientists, economists, lawyers, ethicists, and policymakers must be able to understand one another’s perspectives and values. The general public should be a companion in these discussions as well.
 
 

A History of Leadership

The founding director of the Bard Center for Environmental Policy, Joanne Fox-Przeworski, developed the Center in order to raise awareness of the environment and engage the public through programs such as the Open Forum lecture series. Fox-Przeworski brought to Bard her deep commitment to interdisciplinary environmental education, in particular international studies, as well as her experience as former director of the United Nations Environment Programme.

Since joining Bard CEP as director in 2009, Eban Goodstein has built on the success of the Center’s interdisciplinary educational model, adding his passion for the issue of our time, climate change. In 2010 Goodstein launched a new MS degree in Climate Science and Policy. Goodstein built on previous national efforts to raise awareness and encourage action on climate change issues by expanding the Center’s public programs to offer the National Climate Seminar and the C2C Fellows Network. In 2012 Goodstein founded the Bard MBA in Sustainability (now ranked as the #1 Green MBA) and in 2016, expanded Bard CEP offerings to include a MEd in Environmental Education degree. In 2020, Goodstein further expanded CEP's public programs with the launch the Solve Climate by 2030 initiative, now a global program.

Want to learn more?
Let's chat!

We love to chat one-on-one with aspiring change agents. Our team is happy to schedule a call to discuss your sustainability career goals and tell you more about our various programs. We can also get you connected with an alum, professor, or student doing work you are interested in learning more about.