Graduate education in bioregional planning is designed to prepare the student for work within a trans-disciplinary environment providing better alternatives for environmental decisions, policy and implementation. The program is jointly administered by the departments of Environment and Society and Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. The graduate will be qualified to practice in both private firms and various public sectors, which may include offices of the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management; and various state, county, and community organizations.
The Intermountain region has experienced a significant net population increase over the past 10 years. Communities with populations less than 2,000 do not have the personnel or fiscal resources to engage professional planning assistance. In addition, they do not have the appropriate data for their communities environmental, cultural, and economic resources in a form to make appropriate physical planning decisions. A primary objective of the program is to provide community decision makers with that material, including the production and evaluation of alternative futures, from which they can make informed decisions concerning the quality of growth for their community. By taking advantage of the university's resources, these activities provide real-world learning experiences for students and allow their academic activities to make a tangible and beneficial contribution to the public domain. Students will interact directly with members of various federal and state agencies, Envision Utah, Association of Governments (counties), and local planning commissions.
A full range of traditional and new learning environments are used in order to offer the student the opportunity to be directly involved in assisting communities with their growth and development. Formal class work, seminars, special courses, and Extension workshops are just a few of the instruments which currently exist and will be used to address these concerns. New laboratories for learning will be articulated in order to provide real-life experiences as part of the students' education. These outreach laboratories, in conjunction with USU Extension, will allow students the opportunity to work with and assist community leaders and citizens in addressing major concerns of growth dealing with quality-of-life issues, regional open space, and environmental sustainability. The projects also provide continuing opportunities for the student in both basic and applied research allowing for new and innovative contributions to environmental planning, management, and policy.
The course of study for the two-year master of science degree program presents an interdisciplinary core of courses and faculty, for the purpose of addressing complex issues in the areas of bioregional planning and management.