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International Conservation & Development

Curriculum & International Opportunities

The ICD Option involves completion of a core curriculum (13 credits), additional coursework in an area of academic and professional interest, and completion of an international assignment with the Peace Corps Masters International program or an international conservation and development organization.
The core curriculum includes:

  • NRSM 571: International Conservation and Development (3 cr )
  • NRSM 575: Environment and Development (3 cr)
  • A Graduate Ecology course (e.g., Forest Ecosystem Analysis, Disturbance Ecology, Landscape Ecology or other approved course; 3 cr)
  • A Graduate Research Methods (quantitative or qualitative, 3 cr)
  • A Graduate Seminar (1 cr)

Specialized coursework is available within the College of Forestry and Conservation in broad disciplines of protected area management, environmental sciences, forest management, watershed management, wildlife biology, range management, recreation management, and remote sensing/geographic information systems. In addition, students can complete relevant coursework in any department or program at UM, including Anthropology, Biological Sciences, Conflict Resolution, Environmental Studies, Geography, and Sociology.

ICD courses are typically small, seminar in format and provide opportunities to pursue independent projects in preparation for international assignments. Students benefit from interacting with other graduate students pursuing similar studies, and work directly with faculty to identify and develop specific field projects and methods.

ICD students can pursue either the M.S. professional paper (36 credits) or M.S. thesis option (30 credits); the professional paper option is recommended due to its greater flexibility. Students are expected to complete two semesters of coursework prior to their international assignments, and one semester afterwards to complete the professional paper or thesis. Academic credit (1 credit/semester) is available for international work. Students interested in integrating graduate studies with Peace Corps service can specify a subject area of interest/expertise and a country in which they would like to serve when applying, and can review potential project descriptions in advance online. Individuals who have already served in the Peace Corps or have other international experience can build upon that work in their studies. Approximately half of ICD students complete international assignments with the Peace Corps while the others develop independent assignments with international conservation or development organizations, typically building upon previous experience.