Graduate Programs

The Center for Environmental Research and Education

The Center for Environmental Research and Education offers graduate-level courses to students pursuing a Master's Degree in Environmental Science and Management, as well as to students pursuing Professional Certificates in either Environmental Science or Environmental Management.

Master of Science in Environmental Science and Management

The Master of Science in Environmental Science and Management (ESM) features a core of classes in science, policy, and management that creates a strong foundation on which to build a customized degree program. Students then choose a concentration and a variety of electives that will help them attain their goals.

In addition to coursework, students must also complete non-credit requirements. These non-credit requirements include a graduate-level thesis OR two relevant internships with environmental agencies, companies, or organizations. Recent thesis publications include:

  • Water Quality Assessments Before, During, and After Unconventional Gas Extraction
  • Genetic Diversity of White-Tailed Deer Populations in Southwestern Pennsylvania
  • The Role of State Policy in the PA Renewable Energy Sector
  • Analysis of Microbial Diversity in Environments Impacted with Arsenic
  • The Effects of Constructed Wetlands in Passive Mine Remediation

Recent internship partners include:

  • Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium
  • Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc.
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
  • Covestro Environmental Analytics

If you are a current Duquesne University student interested in applying to the Accelerated Dual Degree program, please follow the instructions on this page.

Professional Certificate Programs

The Center for Environmental Research and Education offers two professional certificates for students who wish to acquire a base-level professional knowledge in environmental science or environmental management:

The professional certificates each require 18 credits. After completing six credits of required foundational coursework, students take electives for the remaining 12 credits. To succeed in this program incoming students must be proficient in algebra and trigonometry.

Conveniently Scheduled Classes

Courses are offered weekday evenings and occasional Saturdays for the convenience of working professionals. This program welcomes both full-time and part-time students. Part-time students who take two classes per semester can complete the degree in approximately two calendar years, though CERE offers flexibility in the number of courses required per semester.

Instructors from Academia and Working Professionals

The Center for Environmental Research and Education offers courses on a wide variety of subjects, from Public Policy and Environmental Politics to Terrestrial Field Biology. These courses are taught by a combination of instructors. Some courses will be taught by full-time faculty members at Duquesne University, while others are taught by working professionals who have experience from government agencies, consulting firms, law firms, non-profit organizations, and more. Students are able to learn topics from a multitude of perspectives and develop well-rounded skillsets. See our faculty list here.

Contact Us

Apply today! Learn more about the application process for the graduate and professional Environmental Science and Management programs here

Center for Environmental Research and Education
Duquesne University
600 Forbes Avenue331 Fisher Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15282

Phone: 412.396.4095


Course Descriptions

ENVI 501 Ornithology

This course will explain the evolutionary options, diversity, life history, behavior, ecology, anatomy, and physiology of members of the class Aves. An introduction to modern research methods and formal field observations will be provided through lectures, discussions of the scientific literature, and hands-on activities. Visual and auditory bird identification skills will be enhanced through field observations, audio recordings, and the study of museum specimens. Avian examples will be used to reveal general biological principles that can relate to a variety of living organisms. (3 credits) Fall only, even years.

ENVI 502 Plant Biodiversity

This course examines the contribution of plants to the overall biodiversity on Earth as well as the importance of plants in promoting the sustainability of ecosystems. Issues to be discussed in class include benefits derived from diverse plant communities, ecosystem services (e.g., nutrient cycling and storage), biological resources (e.g., food and medicine), and social benefits (e.g., recreation and tourism). The course will also cover energy and trophic structures, global biomes, biodiversity loss, and its impacts on human welfare. (3 credits). Spring only.

ENVI 503 Sustainable Agriculture

This course will explore the origin, forms, policies, and challenges to sustainable agriculture across the globe. In addition, the course will examine the significance of sustainable agriculture in the conservation of Earth's biodiversity through the protection of species and their habitats as well as the restoration of degraded ecosystems. Class discussions will explore different management practices being used to uphold ecological integrity, reduce costs, protect human and animal health, and promote environmental sustainability. Case studies, peer-reviewed articles, and digital media will be used to help students better understand the issues being discussed in the class. (3 credits) Fall only.

ENVI 504 Computer Tools for Scientists

As scientists, we seek data. Modern tools to analyze and visualize those data use computers. This class focuses on practical skills in data analysis; specifically, spreadsheets and programming packages (Microsoft Excel and R with RStudio will be featured prominently in the class). Students will learn how to import a wide range of data types and perform several important analyses and visualization tasks. Based on time and interest, other software packages may be included. (2 credits) Summer only.

ENVI 520 GIS for Environmental Professionals

The GIS for Environmental Science course will provide an introduction to environmental data management and analysis using geographical information system (GIS) methods. The objectives of this course are to introduce students to GIS theory/concepts, environmental data resources and formats, problem-solving, and data presentation using a GIS approach. A major component of this course will be introducing and using ESRI software for data management, analysis, and presentation. (3 credits) Spring only.

ENVI 521 Project Management

Project Management is a two-credit course that provides an overview of the project management process and project management principles found in the Project Management Institute (PMI) Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK). Topics covered in this course will include an overview of the traditional (waterfall) project management process, agile project management, risk management, project planning, crisis communication planning, launching and executing the project, communication skills, leadership, change management, and project management certifications. Project Management Professionals will also be invited to share their working experiences with students. (2 credits) Offered irregularly.

ENVI 531 Environmental Management

The course deals with environmental issues from a management perspective by focusing on how such issues potentially impact the corporation and how the organization should proactively deal with them. Basic business concepts related to environmental aspects will be covered, such as laws and regulations, manufacturing and market strategies, benefit-cost analysis, risk assessment, evaluation of evolving remediation technology, and competitive and international issues. The importance of environmental aspects to business and society will be stressed, and strategies toward sustainable development will be discussed. (3 credits) Fall and spring.

ENVI 533W Writing for Environmental Professionals

The course provides a practical and analytical approach to efficient technical writing, letters, memos, reports, press releases, articles, and presentations. Students will benefit from new abilities to write more quickly, clearly, and concisely. (3 credits) Fall and summer.

ENVI 537 Environmental Conflict Resolution & Problem Solving

The course will combine lectures, class discussions, and role-playing opportunities in simulated environmental disputes to explore the nature of environmental conflicts, alternative dispute resolution processes, and varying techniques that may be employed to resolve conflicts effectively. The course will emphasize practical rather than theoretical approaches. Class sessions will be designed to include substantial student participation. (2 credits) Fall only.

ENVI 540 Environmental Law

The course will introduce students to the regulatory process and the roles of the environmental agency, industry, and public interest groups. It will provide an overview of the federal environmental laws and their application. (2 credits) Fall only.

ENVI 542 Sustainable Business Practices

Sustainable Development (read environmentally sustainable economic development) has become the catchphrase for new thinking that tries to reconcile the seemingly antagonistic issues of environmental protection and economic growth. It is a term that has as many definitions as advocates and is difficult to measure and complicated to apply. The course examines definitions of welfare, well-being, economic growth, and social development along with their relationship to environmental quality and resource conservation. It looks at how such factors as development policy, the standard of living, energy use, technology, conservation levels, and public concern shape the sustainability debate. It uses a sectoral approach to capture issues such as employment in sustainable economics, energy use, supply, green designs, and a regional approach to capture differences between and among advanced industrial and less developed countries. (2 credits) Fall only, odd years.

ENVI 544 Public Policy and Environmental Politics

This course examines the interplay of scientific, political, and economic factors in the formation of environmental policy in the United States. It assesses the role of civic concern, political institutions, regulatory agencies, non-governmental organizations, scientific information, financial factors, and technology in environmental affairs. Lectures, readings, and films enable students to understand the principal issues in the field. The political process that generates environmental laws and regulations is reviewed. Also, real-world case studies cover controversial national and international policy issues are explored. The focus is on the role science plays in the policy process and on the sources of conflict among political and policy actors (elected officials, bureaucrats, legislators, and interest groups). (3 credits) Spring only.

ENVI 549 Fate & Transport

This course provides practical experience with three widely utilized public domain modeling tools: EPA's Estimation Program Interface for Windows (EPIWIN), which predicts the fate and ecotoxicity of organic chemicals; USGS's PHREEQC aquatic speciation, batch-reaction, one-dimensional transport, and inverse geochemical calculations; and CALTOX, the California EPA's environmental fate, and exposure risk assessment tool. These software tools, along with documentation and examples, are freely available on the internet. If you do not have internet access, an installation CD will be provided. In addition, DU has a site license for ChemDraw Ultra. This will serve as a valuable resource in support of the modeling tools. (3 credits) Spring only.

ENVI 551 Principles of Environmental Science

Environmental science is the study of the interaction between humans and the environment. This course will employ lectures, reading discussions, and films to enable students to recognize the complex array of facts and theory that comprises this multi-disciplinary field. Students will understand the key elements of the physical and social sciences that make up this discipline and apply quantitative and qualitative research methods to the analysis of environmental issues present in today's society and economy. (3 credits) Fall only.

ENVI 552 Environmental Chemistry

The course provides the fundamental background and theory of environmental chemistry, including correlation, interpretation, and analysis of related topics and issues in environmental modeling as evaluative and predictive tools for assessing environmental outcomes. Additional topics include basic principles of aqueous interactions, phase interactions with water, soil, and air, and applications of simultaneous equilibria in environmental settings. (3 credits) Spring only.

ENVI 556 Water, Environment and Development

In this course, students will examine the complex issues around water security around the globe. Topics will include fundamental concepts such as the water cycle, water chemistry, and hydrology as well as applied concepts such as potable water supplies, agricultural water management, and transboundary water issues. Additionally, policy and regulation will also be considered along with the roles of individuals, community leaders, governments (state/national), financial institutions, and non-governmental organizations and aid agencies. (3 credits) Fall only.

ENVI 566 Terrestrial Field Biology

This applied ecology course is designed to present an overview of field and laboratory methods used by ecologists to describe and analyze plant and animal aggregations and their environments. The course focus is on the principles and practice of various ecological procedures with an explanation of how to collect, record, and analyze data. The course reviews the basic concepts of ecology that are needed to understand the various methods and their significance. The course material is presented as a combination of lecture, laboratory, and field sessions. (3 credits) Summer only.

ENVI 570 Fundamentals of Air Pollution Prevention & Control

This course will provide the skills required by environmental professionals to deal with Federal and State Air Quality Standards. The course will be structured to blend technical, social, and political air quality issues into real-world activities in the air pollution field by enabling students to recognize key air quality issues and how to best deal with them. Students will also be grouped and asked to work as a team to submit and review air quality plan approval and permit applications. In addition to the traditional classroom setting, two classes will be held at site locations to enhance the learning experience. (3 credits) Spring only.

ENVI 571 Fundamentals of Water Pollution Prevention & Control

This course is designed to provide the student an overall understanding of the science, law, regulations, and technologies associated with the protection of surface and ground waters. It is a non-engineering course that prepares students to understand and deal with water pollution issues in the workplace. The course begins with a review of the basic science associated with the properties and behavior of water. It then progresses to an examination of the various types of water pollution and their sources. The legal framework for water pollution control in the United States is addressed via a review of the structure and requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA). This is followed by an examination of regulatory requirements, including ambient water quality criteria, effluent limits, permitting, and other topics. The latter half of the course focuses on water conservation and water pollution control and prevention technologies. (3 credits) Fall only.

ENVI 572 Fundamentals of Solid and Hazardous Waste Pollution Prevention & Control

This course will help develop skills required by today's environmental professionals to effectively cope with compliance and management issues related to both federal and state environmental requirements for solid and hazardous waste management. The class will cover both regulations and technologies pertinent to the subject. Students will be required to understand and apply pertinent regulations. (3 credits) Spring only.

ENVI 580 Fluid Mechanics

Fluid mechanics investigates hydrostatics and dynamics, and the basic equations of incompressible flow. The specific examples that will be considered include potential flow, static and dynamic forces, viscous flow, shear forces, steady pipe flow, and open channel flow. We will rely on dimensional analysis, calculus, and physics. Special topics will include turbulence and include group laboratory activities. (2 credits) Offered irregularly.

ENVI 591 Environmental Hydrogeology

The course is designed to study the movement and impacts of surface (streams, wetlands, lakes, estuaries, etc.) and groundwater (porosity, permeability, flow paths, Darcy's Law, etc.) and the relationships to environmental planning. Concepts dealing with water management, pollution, remediation, and prevention will be covered. Use of topographic and geologic maps will be included as well as groundwater modeling computer programs. DEP & EPA guidelines, policies, and laws are covered in conjunction with allowable contaminant concentrations (soil, water, and vapor intrusion) and Statewide Health Cleanup Standards (used and non-use aquifers and site-specific). Sampling procedures are covered along with the proper use of field equipment, a chain of custody reporting, sample containers, and holding times. Real-life case studies are covered along with field trips to give hands-on experience. (3 credit) Offered irregularly.

ENVI 592W Stream Field Biology

This course is the study of the functional relationships and productivity of freshwater streams as they are affected by their physical, chemical, and biotic environment. The course material is presented as a combination of lecture, laboratory, and field sessions. Weekly writing assignments, a written final report, and a poster presentation make this a writing-intensive course. There is a built-in Community Engaged Learning Project. (3 credits) Fall only.

ENVI 594 Environmental Sampling & Analyses

Explores the fundamentals of sample collection from experimental design and chain of custody, to methods used for obtaining environmental samples from air, water, and sediment in addition to biological sampling. The class lectures are augmented with trips to field research stations and a river excursion with RiverQuest to obtain environmental samples. Sample analysis includes microscopy and spectrometry, as well as biological and molecular techniques. (3 credits) Summer only, odd years.

ENVI 597 Applied & Environmental Microbiology

This course takes an in-depth look at microbial biogeochemical cycling and the application of microbial processes for biotechnology and bioremediation. Topics include biogeochemistry, natural attenuation, fermentation, and water treatment in addition to current issues in environmental science. Lecture. Offered spring only, odd years. (3 credits) Spring only, odd years.

ENVI 599 Microbial Ecology

In this course, the interaction of microorganisms, primarily prokaryotes, with each other, plants, animals, and fungi, and the environment is explored. The course takes a systematic approach, examining these interactions at the ecosystem, organismal, subcellular, and historical levels. Topics include microbial primary production and photosynthesis, biogeochemical cycling, the structure of microbial communities, modeling, symbiosis, and microbial evolution. (3 credits) Spring only, even years.

ENVI 600-603 Internships

Students will work with an environmental agency, industry, organization, or education group for at least 150 hours. Forms and reports are required. Work with the Program Administrator to complete all paperwork. Students are encouraged to explore suitable internship opportunities on their own. The Program Director is also available to assist in arranging internships and interviews with potential sponsors. (0 credits) Every semester.

ENVI 650 Conservation Biology

This course will provide an overview of the current concepts and issues. Topics that will be covered include threats to biodiversity, life tables and reproductive strategies, population structure and metapopulation dynamics, population viability analysis, gap analysis, conservation genetics, habitat restoration, propagation programs, and recovery plans for imperiled species. (3 credits) Summer only.

ENVI 670 Environmental Toxicology

The course is designed to examine the toxic effects of air, water, and soil pollutants on humans and the environment. Practical applications and environmental problems are presented, using specific pollutants, such as respiratory tract irritants, asphyxiants, pesticides, heavy metals, and organic solvents. Extrapolation of toxicological data from animals to humans is presented. The effects of environmental legislation and hazard evaluation of environmental toxicants are emphasized. (3 credits) Spring only.

ENVI 672 Environmental Biology

This three-credit course provides an overview of the human impact on other life on Earth. Basic biological principles are examined in the context of this interaction with the biosphere. Topics covered in this course will include critical thinking about the environment; human population and the environment; ecosystems; biogeochemical cycling, climate change; biological diversity and ecological restoration; agricultural impacts; energy; and water. The course is appropriate for biology majors, environmental science management majors, and nonscience majors with a strong science background. (3 credits) Fall only.

ENVI 690 Independent Study

The student will work with a faculty advisor to complete an independent study. Must be approved by CERE Director. (1-6 credits) Every semester.

ENVI 693 Environmental Science Experience in Belize

This course provides an in-depth three-week scientific and cultural experience in Belize, with a focus on the Africa Diaspora, the contemporary and ancient Maya, and how human activity affects the development of cultural landscapes and influences environmental change. Students will travel to several sites in Belize, complete readings, and participate in on-site lectures to develop a deep understanding of how humans and "the land" co-exist. (3 credits) Summer only.

ENVI 700 Thesis Research

Students who wish to write a thesis should consult a faculty member for advice about selecting the topic. During the preparation of the thesis, the student will have a thesis advisor and at least one other faculty reader (the student's "Thesis Committee"). After the outline of the thesis proposal is approved by the thesis advisor and submitted to the Program Director, students register for "thesis credit" (ESM 700). After the defense of the thesis, a final draft must be approved by the student's committee. Two copies, signed by the advisor and the reader(s), must be deposited with the Director. Two copies of the abstract of the thesis must also be submitted. (Thesis preparation instructions are available from the Dean's Office.) (0-6 credits) Every semester.