Ecosystem professional

Master of Professional Studies inEcosystem Management and Administration

Program summary

Go beyond the science of environmental resources to learn about the real-world, practical implementation of ecosystem management projects. This online degree program explores both the quantitative tools and social and leadership skills that are necessary to manage the world’s natural resources.

Application deadline

Apply by April 15 to start May 13

Credits and costs

30 Credits$1,017 per credit

Online Master's Degree in Ecosystem Management and Administration

There is a growing demand for professionals with the skills necessary to maintain efficient use of the world's natural resources in a wide range of environments — forests, wildlife communities, aquatic systems, soils, parks and other developed natural systems.

A master's degree in Ecosystem Management and Administration can help you keep up with rapid changes in applications and methodology and prepare you for higher-level positions in ecosystem management–related fields.

As a student in the program, you can develop the ability to apply quantitative tools — such as statistics, financial analysis, and geographic information systems — and a broader understanding of the economic, financial, legal, and policy context to managing and addressing natural resource problems and issues.

Course topics include:

  • spatial data and the use of geographic information management systems
  • how ecosystems are inventoried and monitored and how to analyze common natural resource data sets to support decision-making
  • project planning and management, including decision support systems commonly used in natural resource planning and management
  • communication, conflict resolution, negotiation, and leadership skills
  • natural resource economics principles and cost-benefit analysis to common natural resource management problems
  • the legal and policy framework within which ecosystem management decisions are made

Why Ecosystem Management and Administration at Penn State

Unlike many traditional environmental sciences programs, the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Ecosystem Management and Administration goes beyond studying the science behind environmental resources, and focuses on the real-world, practical implementation of management projects and programs. Learning and assignments are centered around your professional goals and directly applicable to your everyday work experiences.

Earning this advanced degree in ecosystem management from Penn State can prepare you to become an effective leader, decision maker, and manager at for-profit natural resources companies; local, state, and federal agencies; consulting firms; or select non-governmental organizations.

As a complement to the challenging, but rewarding, curriculum, the online courses provide you with the flexibility and convenience to study around your own schedule without sacrificing quality. You can skip the commute and prepare for more rewarding career opportunities without leaving the comfort of your home.

Courses

The Master of Professional Studies in Ecosystem Management and Administration is a 30-credit online program with course work that has been designed to help you enhance your quantitative and spatial data analysis skills, project management skills, communication and leadership skills, and understanding of finance, economics, policy, and law.

Most courses within the Ecosystem Management and Administration program are also available as individual courses for those looking to fulfill continuing professional development requirements. Read the instructions for how to register for Penn State World Campus courses to learn how you can enroll in any of the upcoming classes on an individual basis.

Required Courses (30 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Provides students with an overview of ecosystem monitoring methods and analyses. Students completing the course will have the ability to apply a quantitative approach to the monitoring of ecosystems.

    • Prerequisite

      STAT 500

  • 3
    credits

    This course provides a survey of the basic legal principles, regimes, and issues related to environmental protection and natural resource management. It gives students an overview of the fundamentals of environmental law and policy, including how the U.S. legal system works, as well as relevant principles of constitutional and common law.

  • 3
    credits

    Making decisions as an ecosystem manager requires knowledge of economics, planning, and finance. The course provides students with a solid understanding of the key finance, planning, and economic principles needed to manage a variety of natural resources and ecosystems.

  • 3–6
    credits

    Supervised, professionally oriented student activities that constitute the culminating experience for the program.

  • 3
    credits

    Case studies, student investigations, and projects reveal the scope, impact, and character of the Geospatial Revolution.

    • 3
      credits

      Development of behavioral skills associated with outstanding leadership of individuals, teams, and organizations through advanced information technology, experimental exercises, and case analysis.

    • or:
      3
      credits

      The course examines the continuing influence of social and environmental factors in shaping leadership and leadership development.

    • or:
      3
      credits

      This course explores the science and practice of leadership around the globe through pertinent scholarly literature and related instructional resources.

    • or:
      3
      credits

      Overviews scholarship relating to women in positions of leadership in groups and organizations, as well as obstacles to their success.

  • 3
    credits

    A problem-based, interdisciplinary course in project management skills and techniques needed to manage projects in a modern business environment.

  • 3
    credits

    A problem-based course that addresses techniques for planning the project development process, including securing resources and resource management.

    • Prerequisite

      MANGT 510

    • Note

      Students who do not take MANGT 520 must take EMGT 894 for six (6) credits.

    • 3
      credits

      Theory- and research-based communication skills for leaders dealing with work-related problems in contemporary groups and organizations.

    • or:
      3
      credits

      Application of theories of decision-making to work-related issues in groups and organizations requiring collective resolution and action.

    • or:
      3
      credits

      Theories and strategies important for conceptualizing, developing, and managing conflict negotiation, mediation, and third-party intervention.

  • 3
    credits

    Descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, power, estimation, confidence intervals, regression, one- and two-way ANOVA, chi-square tests, diagnostics.

    • Prerequisite

      one undergraduate course in statistics

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

Costs and Financial Aid

Graduate Tuition

Graduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.

2023–24 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2023, spring 2024, and summer 2024 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?Cost
11 or fewer$1,017 per credit
12 or more$12,203 per semester

2024–25 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?Cost
11 or fewer$1,027 per credit
12 or more$12,325 per semester

Financial Aid and Military Benefits

Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.

How to Apply

Deadlines and Important Dates

Your certificate application, including receipt of all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.

  • Summer DeadlineApply by April 15 to start May 13
  • Fall DeadlineApply by July 15 to start August 26
  • Spring DeadlineApply by November 15, 2024, to start January 13, 2025

Admission Requirements 

For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.

Specifically, as an applicant to Penn State's online MPS in Ecosystem Management and Administration program, you must have a bachelor’s degree in an ecosystem management–related field, such as forestry, wildlife or fisheries management, soils or water management, natural resource management, environmental science, or ecology.

What You Need

Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:

Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.

GPA and Test Scores — postsecondary (undergraduate), junior/senior (last two years) GPA is required. Applicants should have a minimum overall grade-point average of 2.75 and a 3.00 junior/senior average (on a 4.00 scale).

GRE scores are required for admission to the Master of Professional Studies in Ecosystem Management program. 

English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

References (3) — you will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names, email addresses, and mailing addresses of three references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program. Please inform all recommenders they must submit the form in order for your application to be complete.  

Program-specific questions/materials

Personal Statement — Upload a brief statement describing your academic goals, career interests, and special qualifications.

Start Your Application

You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.

Begin the graduate school application

  • Choose Enrollment Type: "Degree Admission"
  • Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus

Checking Your Status

You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form.

Technical Requirements 

Review the technical requirements for this degree program.

Ready to Learn More?

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Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State master's degree?

Apply by April 15 to start May 13. How to Apply 

Start or Advance Your Career

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You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.


Job Titles Related to This Degree

The following roles are often held by people with this type of degree:

  • Environmental Consultant
  • Environmental Policy Analyst
  • Environmental Programs Specialist
  • Natural Resource Manager
  • Resource Conservationist

Employment Outlook for Occupational Fields Related to This Degree

Estimates of employment growth and total employment are provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and are subject to change. While these occupations are often pursued by graduates with this degree, individual outcomes may vary depending on a variety of factors. Penn State World Campus cannot guarantee employment in a given occupation.

Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health

6.1%
employment growth (10 years)
77,270
total employment

Conservation Scientists

4.1%
employment growth (10 years)
22,880
total employment

Career Services to Set You Up for Success

Student having a virtual meeting on a laptop with a career counselor

From the day you're accepted as a student, you can access resources and tools provided by Penn State World Campus Career Services to further your career. These resources are beneficial whether you're searching for a job or advancing in an established career.

  • Opportunities to connect with employers
  • Career counselor/coach support
  • Occupation and salary information
  • Internships
  • Graduate school resources 

Contact Us

For general questions about Penn State World Campus or how to apply contact:

World Campus Admissions Counselors
Phone: 814-863-5386
Email: [email protected]

For questions regarding the program curriculum or your application status, contact:

Marc E. McDill, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Forest Management
310 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802-4301
Phone: 814-865-1602
Email: [email protected]


Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State master's degree?

Apply by April 15 to start May 13. How to Apply