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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston to Open New School for the Environment


Robyn Hannigan is the current chair of the Environmental, Earth, and Ocean Sciences Department. She will direct the School for the Environment.

UMass Boston’s School for the Environment will be open for the Fall 2013 semester. The School for the Environment will grow out of the Environmental, Earth, and Ocean Sciences Department (EEOS), which was once the Geography Department. Professor Robyn Hannigan, the current chair of EEOS, will direct the school. She also hopes to hire three or four new faculty members, and to add new teaching assistant positions.

“Our students and faculty are very close with communities both in this area and globally,” Hannigan said. “Everybody has been super positive.”

The school will offer all of the same majors and courses as EEOS, but the major in earth, environmental, and ocean sciences will undergo a name change to “environmental sciences.” Four tracks within environmental sciences are awaiting approval: policy, earth and hydrologic sciences, marine sciences, and geographic information systems (GIS). A master’s degree in policy and planning is also being developed, and an undergraduate interdisciplinary minor in geospatial analysis and environmental modeling has already been approved.

When the School for the Environment opens, UMass Boston will be the only university in the world where students can earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in environmental science by taking classes in both the sciences and liberal arts.

At present, there are 250 undergraduate and 60 graduate students studying in EEOS, but that number is set to rise quickly. Hannigan said, “We are working with employers and also private donors to support some of the programs.”

According to Hannigan, most of students who graduated from EEOS in the past had job offers before graduation. Hannigan hopes to make internships with employers in the field of environmental science available to students in the School for the Environment. The National Park Service and Environmental Protection Agency currently work with EEOS students.