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Student Research

Capstone Projects

 An important part of the GEP and NRSD Master's programs is the capstone research project, in which students analyze a contemporary environmental problem, controversy, or policy issue. Capstone projects, which are completed during the second year, give students the opportunity to apply what they have learned, to produce useful knowledge, and to demonstrate their abilities by writing a professional-quality report. Capstone research is conducted under the supervision of a faculty member, and may be done either individually or as part of a research team.

Click here to see example SRPs

Simon Nicholson and student

Click here to see examples of past practica

Professor Abitbol and students

Option 1: Individual Research

  • Choice A: Substantial Research Paper (SRP)
    • Students work on SRPs during their final semester in the program
    • Conducted under the supervision of a GEP faculty member
    • Culminates in a 50-60 page report that defines a question, applies one or more specific research methods to the question, develops findings, and discusses their implications and significance 
  • Choice B: Master's Thesis
    • Similar to SRP, but completed over the course of one year

Option 2: Practicum Team Research

  • Semester-long research project conducted in partnership with a professional organization active in the environmental field
  • Practicum Research Teams made up of six to eight students work with a faculty supervisor and an organizational partner
  • Students develop the focus of the research in consultation with the partner, design and execute the work, and write an integrated, publication-quality report
  • Some projects involve local or international research and/or travel

Other Student Research

 Students have many opportunities to hone their research and writing skills prior to completing their capstones.

In SIS-620: Building a Post-Carbon World, Professor Simon Nicholson's students created reports for the District Department of the Environment. Click here to view the reports.