After admission to the PhD program but prior to enrolling, prospective students will be encouraged to meet with the program director and faculty in order to refine the statement of research interest and identify an appropriate faculty mentor. If the entering student has not self-selected a faculty mentor based on research interests, then the program director will assume the role of the “temporary” advisor to the student. In his role as a temporary mentor, the program director will advise the student in selecting a course of study that supports the student’s goals and objectives and serves as a resource for the student as she or he progresses through the initial stages of the program. Once a student has developed a research focus, the program director will help the student in identifying her or his research advisor, who will then assume the research mentoring functions. Prior to completion of core courses, the student, in consultation with her or his mentor, will select a dissertation advisory committee (see the dissertation section on the dissertation below). This committee will support the direction and advising of the student as well as development and administration of written and oral qualifying exams and dissertation defense.
The major milestones for the degree program include:
- Identification of a Chair of the Dissertation Committee
(Recommended: Within Semester 1** for FT students within Semester 2 for PT students)
- Identification and approval of a complete Dissertation Committee
(Recommended: Within Semester 2 for FT students, within Semester 3 for PT students)
- Completion of the research course sequence
(Recommended: Within Semester 2 for FT students, within Semester 4 for PT students)
- Completion of core courses
(Recommended: Within Semester 2 for FT students, within Semester 4 for PT students)
- Qualifying written and oral examination administered by Dissertation Committee
(Recommended: Within Semester 3 for FT students, within Semester 5 for PT students)
- Defense of dissertation proposal
(Recommended: Within Semester 4 for FT students, within Semester 6 for PT students)
- Completion of elective courses and Admission to Candidacy
(Recommended: Within Semester 6 for FT students, within Semester 8 for PT students)
- Enrollment in Dissertation courses
(Recommended: Within Semester 5 for FT students, within Semester 7 for PT students)
- Enrollment in Sustainability Seminar Series
(Every semester in residence; waived only for approved “leave of absence”)
- Submission and acceptance of at least one manuscript for publication
(Recommended: Within Semester 7-8 for FT students, within Semester 10-12 for PT students)
- Dissertation defense and Dissertation approval
(Recommended: Within Semester 8 for FT students, within Semester 12 for PT students)
**”Semester” indicates Spring or Fall, not Summer, i.e., for students enrolling in Fall 2009, Semester 2 is Spring 2010, and Semester 3 is Fall 2010.
Students with a bachelor's degree will need to take a minimum of 72 semester hours for the Ph.D.: 12 semester hours of core courses, 6 semester hours of research preparation courses, 6 semester hours of research colloquium, 18 semester hours of elective coursework, and a minimum of 30 semester hours of dissertation research. This course of study is entirely consistent with Ph.D. programs in environmental management offered by other US Universities. Up to 12 credits of previous graduate work may be applied towards the doctoral program when appropriate. The program director and faculty mentor, in consultation with incoming students will determine which previously earned graduate credits will be accepted, with final approval of the Graduate Dean. All students are required to take the core courses unless they can demonstrate previous graduate work that is substantially similar. Prerequisites for all courses listed as core courses, or approved as electives, must be met prior to enrolling. After a course of study has been determined for the student, undergraduate and graduate transcripts will be evaluated to determine if other courses need to be taken in addition to the program requirements.
The program is organized around a set of core courses that are designed to foster intellectual inquiry and scientific reasoning, as well as to provide the breadth of natural and social scientific background needed to approach interdisciplinary environmental management research topics. These courses focus on the principles of environmental management and natural science using actual environmental problems to initiate the development of problem-solving skills for improved understanding. These core method and decision-making courses focus on the development of skills necessary for logical reasoning, problem solving and decision-making within the environmental fields.
Required Core Courses (12 semester hours – Full course descriptions in Appendix VI)
- ENVR 770 - Earth Systems Science
- LSLW 590 - Environmental Law and Policy
- BIOL 570 - Ecology
- ENVR 760 - Organizational Environmental Management
Beyond the core courses, students select, in consultation with their faculty advisor and program director, an elective course of study relevant to the student’s professional and research interests. The range of doctoral elective courses relevant to Environmental Management comes from a broad spectrum of disciplines, including, but not limited to: anthropology, biology, chemistry, economics, environmental studies, geography, geology, legal studies, management, marketing and mathematics. These courses allow students to examine subject matter relevant to environmental management in much greater depth than the broader core courses and develop strengths in an area of environmental management appropriate to their interests.
Students entering with no prior graduate work must complete 18 semester hours of elective courses and satisfy all prerequisites of the core and selected elective courses. Any of these courses, or other relevant courses, may be transferred from prior graduate work up to a maximum of 12 total credits with approval of the program director and faculty mentor. The student and advisor, with the approval of the program director, prepare a work program (courses, research, responsibilities to any assistantship, etc.) outlining the elective courses that best fit the student’s goals.
Please see the Curriculum at-a-glance PDF for a list of electives. Other courses at the University may also be selected if appropriate, and approved by the student's advisor and Program Director. Note: Students must meet the prerequisites for those elective courses that require them.
Doctoral dissertation research requires the student to demonstrate the abilities to question, discover, integrate, apply, communicate and disseminate knowledge at the highest standards. The research component of this program is uniquely structured to provide students an opportunity to develop many of these needed skills prior to initiating independent dissertation research. An incoming student will be exposed to a research environment right after enrollment via participation in an Environmental Management research colloquium where they will get to hear and interact with the best scientists in their areas of interest, as well as get an opportunity to present their own research experience. Prior to admission to candidacy and initiation of dissertation research students are required to take a six credit, two-semester course titled Research Project in Environmental Management that trains the students on the fundamentals of doctoral research, starting from brainstorming potential research ideas to developing them into viable research projects. Following successful completion of the Part-I (development of a research proposal) and Part-II (implementing part of the research proposal to generate a research report) of the two-semester course, a minimum of 30 semester hours of dissertation research will be required for the degree. Students are required to participate in the Research Colloquium every semester; a maximum of 6 hours will be applied to the degree.
- ENVR 895 - Research Project in Environmental Management I (3h)
- ENVR 896 - Research Project in Environmental Management II (3h)
- ENVR 704 - Special Topics – Colloquium in Earth and Environmental Studies (1h x 6 = 6h minimum)
- ENVR 900 - Dissertation Advisement (3h x 10 = 30h minimum)
Once students have acquired 30 credits of ENVR 900 Dissertation Advisement, they must enroll in 1 credit of ENVR 901 in every semester in which they intend to work on the dissertation up to and including the semester of their defense. Credits are reported as IP (In Progress) while the dissertation is being written. At the conclusion of the dissertation defense, a final grade of pass or fail will be recorded. ENVR 901 may be repeated until the time limitation for completion of the doctoral program as specified in the Doctoral Policy Manual has been reached.
Each doctoral dissertation in the Environmental Management program addresses an environmental problem in an integrative, transdisciplinary, original and unique manner. The dissertation must include the discovery of new knowledge relevant to the environmental question, integration of new and prior knowledge and finally synthesis of this knowledge to the analysis of the question. The dissertation must communicate the discovery, integration and application effectively in a form that can be readily disseminated to the environmental management community and must yield several manuscripts for peer reviewed journals. Submission and acceptance of at least one substantive manuscript from studies reflecting dissertation research and with the student as first author, in a significant (approved by dissertation committee) national/international peer reviewed journal prior to dissertation defense is required.
A wide range of dissertation topics is possible in the field of Environmental Management. Given the wide variety of faculty expertise available, research involving transdisciplinary approaches to local, national or global environmental problems and issues is expected. Although the management aspect will be integral to the research projects, students will not be allowed to pursue research that entails proprietary information, hence, cannot be released for publication.
Students will select a principal research advisor, and then, in conjunction with the advisor, a dissertation advisory committee to help develop a research proposal prior to completion of coursework. The committee will be chosen to reflect the transdisciplinary nature of the research, and will comprise of at least 4 members, 3 of whom must be from Montclair State University. The chair needs to be a core doctoral faculty member in the PhD program in Environmental Management. The Ph.D. program will require participation of an external (outside Montclair, outside academia) professional member (e.g., industry professionals, regulatory agency personnel) in the advisory committee to ensure the student’s exposure to “real-world” environmental management scenarios. Committee members from outside the university must be approved according to existing Graduate Council policy. The research proposal will contain a section on management implications of the proposed environmental research and must be presented and defended before the student’s dissertation committee. Following acceptance of a research proposal, the student will register for a minimum of 3 credits of dissertation research with their principal research advisor for consecutive semesters until the dissertation is defended. A public defense of the dissertation must be completed in accordance with current Graduate Council policy. The dissertation chapters will be developed in appropriate manuscript format for submission to leading national/international peer-reviewed journals within the discipline.
A maximum of 12 prior graduate credits, 1/6 of the total required for the degree, may be accepted towards the requirements of this program. No course in which the student earned lower than a B grade can be accepted for credit. Only courses taken at the 500-level (graduate courses) or above may be transferred into the program. The faculty mentor assigned to each student and the program director will determine which credits can be transferred. Transfer of credits follows the Graduate Policy Manuals policies and procedures approved for doctoral programs by the Graduate Council.
The program’s structure and advisement practices ensure that all students make continuing and regular progress toward their degree. As such, students must complete all core courses (12 core course hours, 6 hours of research seminar, 6 hours of research preparation) and elective courses (minimum 18 semester hours) within the first 3 years following matriculation. Following completion of core courses and after passing the comprehensive examination, a minimum of 30 credits of dissertation research must be completed within 3 years. Once research has started, the student will complete a minimum of 3 credits of research each fall and spring semester until the dissertation is successfully defended. Doctoral program policies approved by the Graduate Council require a year of full-time residency, defined as registration for 9 credits per semester. For a student with a graduate assistantship, full-time study is 9 semester hours per semester. An alternative planned experience, outlined by the graduate advisor and approved by the program director and the College Dean, may fulfill the residency requirement. Participation in a research community as described above is an example of an alternative experience. The immersion in a preparatory research project for a year with regular peer and mentor support and feedback satisfies the intent of residency.
Students will be expected to maintain an overall 3.3 (out of 4.0) grade point average in all courses. Students must take a written qualifying exam appropriate to their course of study after completion of the core courses. This exam is developed and graded by the students’ dissertation committee. The format (closed book, open book, in class, take home) is up to the students' committee, but each committee member must give one exam to the student, who must pass all exams to qualify for orals. Failing in one or more committee member's exam will require the student to repeat the written qualifiers. The written qualifiers can be repeated only once. After passing the written qualifiers, the students also must pass an oral examination prior to enrolling for dissertation credits. After passing the qualifiers, students will need to write and defend their dissertation proposal in front of their committee. After finishing the remaining coursework, the student will gain admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Once research has started, students must register each fall and spring semester for a minimum of 3 credits of dissertation research. Research credits can also be acquired during the summer semesters; full-time students will be expected to continue their research activities in summer.