MA in Environmental Conservation Education

General

Program Description

tree, watering, child

Through an interdisciplinary approach, you’ll integrate the natural and social sciences with education and fieldwork to help you gain an understanding of the profound effects of human activity on the planet. Explore the role of education in solving environmental problems in multiple settings, from the city to the rainforest.

About

For more than 30 years, the 37-credit MA Program in Environmental Conservation Education prepares graduates for environmental careers in the broad field of environmental education. The program’s interdisciplinary approach draws on both theory and practice and integrates the natural and social sciences with education and fieldwork to help students gain an understanding of the profound effects of human activity on the planet and the role of education in solving environmental problems.

The program draws on faculty from a wide variety of disciplines within the University, including education, history, philosophy, law, journalism, science, health, and the arts.

Core courses in environmental thought, social ecology, environmental politics, and environmental education introduce students to the theories, policies, and ethics that have shaped public discourse and understanding of the environment.

Electives allow students to tailor their program of study to fit their particular conservation education interests in areas such as environmental justice, curriculum design, teacher education, policy studies, sustainable development, ecology, youth education, wildlife education, and sustainability. MA students can take electives within Steinhardt, the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and the Graduate School of Arts and Science.

The program also has a strong affiliation with the Program in Science Education in this department, and the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education at NYU provides students with numerous opportunities to study and work closely with science education faculty on research, curriculum projects, and other environmental initiatives. The integration of coursework with required fieldwork provides students with a unique urban experience in environmental education. The program makes ample use of the vast resources available in New York City, through which students study contemporary environmental issues and programs; evaluate, develop, or implement educational initiatives for children, youth, and adults; or undertake applied research in environmental education.

Students complete internships in a wide variety of organizations, including New York City Audubon, NYC Department of Environmental Protection, Jane Goodall Institute, New York City Soil and Water Conservation District, the United Nations, Rainforest Alliance, the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Coordination, Wildlife Conservation Society, High School of Environmental Studies, Harbor School, the American Museum of Natural History, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and Wave Hill.

The University’s own Sustainability Initiative provides additional opportunities for involvement and learning.

Career Opportunities

The program prepares individuals to assume leadership roles in schools, non-profit organizations, cultural institutions, and government agencies. Graduates work as educators, program managers, consultants, advocates, administrators, and community leaders. In addition to careers in education, students may pursue careers in policy, advocacy, the media, and numerous other professions in the public and private sectors.

Some graduates go on to law school or doctoral programs in environmental education, environmental studies, environmental science, and related areas. The University offers many opportunities to explore employment possibilities through the program’s internships and the extensive network of organizations with which the program is associated, including NYU’s Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education.

What You’ll Learn

You will work with faculty from a wide variety of disciplines, including education, history, philosophy, law, journalism, science, health, and the arts, and learn how to: 

  • Critique the profound effects of human activity on the planet;
  • Identify and apply environmental theories, ethics, and policies across a broad range of formal and nonformal settings, both locally and globally, such as schools, cultural institutions, government agencies, and non- and for-profit organizations;
  • Describe national and local models of environmental education, analyze contemporary environmental issues, and implement environmental education as an interdisciplinary tool in fostering environmental literacy and sustainability;
  • Develop competencies in environmental education, including program design, curriculum development, evaluation, grant writing, policy analysis, and nonprofit management.

How You’ll Learn

Flexible Study

Class sizes are small, with the majority offered in the evenings to accommodate working students. Full-time students typically complete the program in three semesters. Part-time students may take up to two years to complete the program.

Elective courses within the program and across other departments allow you to tailor your program of study to your interests in areas such as environmental justice, curriculum design, teacher education, policy studies, ecology, youth education, and more.

Practical Learning Experiences

Through required fieldwork, curriculum projects, and other environmental initiatives, you’ll use New York City as your laboratory, gaining a unique urban experience in environmental education and making ample use of the city’s vast resources. You’ll get experience in sustainability education through our extensive network of internships – which often lead directly to jobs upon graduation – at leading organizations such as the American Museum of Natural History, Audubon New York, the Jane Goodall Institute, the High School of Environmental Studies, the New York City Department of Sanitation, and the United Nations.

Careers and Outcomes

Graduates of NYU Steinhardt's Environmental Conservation Education master's life and work in the United States and around the world. They direct projects, evaluate programs, consult, advocate for change, develop new policies, and create and run their own companies or nonprofit organizations – all in the name of educating the public about environmental conservation and sustainability.

Our alumni hold positions as conservation educators, environmental consultants, and more in:

  • City, state, federal, and international agencies
  • Parks, nature centers, zoos, and botanical gardens
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Public and private schools
Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

NYU Steinhardt's one-of-a-kind integration of education, health, the arts, and media studies puts us at the heart of a movement: education for social change.

NYU Steinhardt's one-of-a-kind integration of education, health, the arts, and media studies puts us at the heart of a movement: education for social change. Read less