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Natural Resources and Sustainable Development

The Natural Resources Sustainable Development (NRSD) Dual MA program offers students the opportunity to gain a macro-level perspective in Washington, DC, at American University's School of International Service for a semester before transitioning to a year of sustainable development and natural resource management studies at the University for Peace outside San Jose, Costa Rica.

In their first semester, NRSD students take courses alongside Global Environmental Politics MA (and other SIS) students. In addition to taking the required Environment and Politics seminar (SIS 660), students typically take an economics course — often Environmental Economics (ECON 579) or Intro to Economic Theory (ECON 603) — and either an international development course or a substantive GEP seminar in water governance, political ecology of food and agriculture, or climate change politics. NRSD students also take a non-credit course in Spanish, unless they have attained fluency. 

During the second and third semesters, which are spent at the University for Peace, NRSD students choose from an array of required and elective UPeace course offerings. At UPeace, students typically take one course at a time, offered during 3-week modules, and they may also take additional Spanish coursework. Courses range from Disaster Risk Reduction to Management of Coastal Resources.

In addition, NRSD students satisfy an experience requirement for UPEACE and American through a mandated summer internship identified with support from AU and UPEACE faculty in a geographic and focal area of their choice. These internships take students across Latin America and even to other continents.

Upon returning to AU in their fourth semester, NRSD students finish their course requirements with three seminars and also fulfill their capstone research requirement, either through an individual significant research paper or a team research practicum.

See the Courses page for sample list of courses routinely offered by American and UPEACE. To better understand the academic track and opportunities for an NRSD student, click here.

Course plans are worked out in consultation with SIS advisors and faculty in order to meet the student’s interest as well as graduate requirements. Official requirements and degree descriptions are available through the Graduate Advising Office.

University for Peace

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The U.N.-affiliated graduate school of peace and conflict studies.

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