KU Edwards Adds Environmental Assessment Masters Degree

KUEC News Release

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – In a world that is becoming increasingly aware of its environmental footprint, the University of Kansas will be offering a professional science master’s degree in environmental assessment to address a growing industry.

The new degree launches this fall. Practitioners will support engineering firms and government and nonprofit organizations involved in developing our nation’s infrastructure and buildings.

“There has been a significant trend toward environmental consciousness in business and the community,” said Mark Jakubauskas, director of the environmental assessment program. “This degree is the only degree of its kind offered in Kansas or the region. It not only sets KU and KU Edwards apart from the crowd, but it also promotes economic growth in the Kansas City area.”

Broadly stated, environmental assessment professionals – geoscientists, environmental scientists and environmental science and protection technicians – identify adverse environmental effects of a development project or program and propose measures to minimize those effects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of environmental scientists and specialists is expected to increase by 28 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations.

David Kocour, infrastructure department manager at URS Corp., an engineering firm in Overland Park, said: “The KU Edwards Campus should be commended for adding the new degree program because it will provide both recent graduates and working professionals with advanced training in a variety of disciplines that are directly applicable to succeeding in this field.” Kocour is a member of an advisory board that helped develop curricula for the degree.

Within the Kansas City area, both private and public employers at the area’s leading engineering firms, technology-based companies, governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations are hiring in this field. The interdisciplinary program draws on training in biology, geology, chemistry, hydrology, and geospatial analysis and develops skills in project management and communications.

Course content and the overall curriculum are based upon best practices defined by the National Professional Science Master's Association, a collaborative of higher education and industry representatives committed to serving the academic needs of scientists who want to improve their skills in business. This program can be completed in its entirety at the KU Edwards Campus.

“Consistent with our mission, this and other new degrees will keep KU Edwards Campus ahead of the curve and equip students to take advantage of employment opportunities for the community and the region, “ said David Cook, KU Edwards Campus vice chancellor.

The program is expected to appeal to students who currently are working in engineering or environmental industry positions and hold bachelor’s degrees in the physical or natural sciences, environmental studies, civil or environmental engineering, and related fields. Residents in 11 western Missouri counties are eligible for the Metro KC Tuition Rate, which is the same in-state tuition charged to Kansas students.

More information about the new environmental assessment degree is available at the program webpage.

The KU Edwards Campus at 127th Street and Quivira Road in Overland Park brings the high-quality academic programs, research and public-service benefits of the University of Kansas to the greater Kansas City community in order to serve the workforce, economic and community development needs of the region.


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