Society and the Environment

Society and the Environment is an interdisciplinary track for completing the Master of Humanities or the Master of Social Science. It emphasizes the human side of environmental issues, while also emphasizing that human issues are never separate from issues of ecology. It challenges students to apply knowledge from the social and biological sciences to environmental problems across a broad spectrum of institutional sectors and geographic locations. Applications include environmental hazards and disasters, environmental impact assessment, protected area management and interpretation, collaborative conservation, ecoregion conservation, conservation policy, and international development. This track provides students with courses in critical social theory, participatory qualitative methods, quantitative methods, human ecology, and topical issues. It also provides training in important technologies, especially geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, and digital film.

Target Audience
This program is relevant for students who are interested in future careers in environmental planning, the implementation of environmental programs, environmental impact assessment in the public and private sectors, or environmental policy making in government agencies and international development agencies. Students may go directly into the job market or use the track/option as background and stepping stone toward a PHD or other advanced degrees.

Suggested Advisors

Communication: Dr. Larry Erbert
Geography: Dr. Brian Page, Dr. Gregory Simon
MHMSS: Dr. Omar Swartz, Dr. Lorna Hutchison
Political Science: Dr. Sasha Breger-Bush
History: Dr. Dale Stahl

Master of Social Science Core Requirements
Required Core MSS courses
SSCI 5020 Foundations and Theories in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (every fall)
SSCI 5013 Methods and Practices in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (every spring)
SSCI 5023 Research Perspectives in the Social Sciences (every spring)

Society and the Environment Track Requirements In addition to the program’s core required courses, the following are required:
Required courses for this track total 18 credit hours. The core social science courses required of those admitted to the Master of Social Science Program comprise 9 credit hours. The remaining 9 credit hours consist of methods courses offered by several departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. All courses must be taken in residency at the University of Colorado Denver.

  1. In addition to the program’s core requirements, a minimum of 12 credit hours of society and environment related courses,
  2. A final project (3 credit hours) or thesis (6-credit hours) on a society and environment topic must be completed successfully.

Methods Courses (one course required from each category)
Qualitative (choose one)

ANTH 6063 Qualitative Methods in Anthropology
GEOG Geo-Humanities, GIS, and Critical GIS

Quantitative (choose one)
ANTH 5050 Quantitative Methods in Anthropology
ENVS 5600 Applied Statistics for the Natural Sciences

Technical (choose one)
GEOG 5060 Environmental Remote Sensing
GEOG 5080 Introduction to GIS
GEOG 5235 GIS Applications in the Health Sciences
ENVS 6200 Risk Assessment 

Suggested Elective Courses for the Track
Below is a list of pre-approved courses for the track. Be aware that it is not comprehensive and that departments change their offerings regularly. Always check with the department to see when a given course might be scheduled. Also check with your MHMSS Program advisor to discuss additional course oppurtunitites.

Social Perspectives
ANTH 5350 Anthropology of Globalization
COMM 5282 Environmental Communication
GEOG 5350 Environment and Society in the American Past
GEOG 5090 Environmental Modeling with Geographic Information Systems
GEOG 5230 Hazard Mitigation and Vulnerability Assessment
GEOG 5265 Sustainability in Resource Management
GEOG 5335 Contemporary Environmental Issues
GEOG 5420 Politics of Nature 
GEOG 5680 Urban Sustainability: Perspectives and Practice
GEOG 5440 Science, Policy and the Environment
Historical/Political Perspectives
ENVS 5010 Landscape Biogeochemistry
ENVS 5020 Earth Environments and Human Impacts
ENVS 5280 Environmental Hydrology
HIST 5616 Global History of Energy
PSCI 5057 Religion and Politics 
PSCI 5145 Indigenous Politics
PSCI 5217 Human Rights: Theory and Practice 
PSCI 5236 American Foreign Policy 
PSCI 5276 Conflicts and Rights in International Law 
PSCI 5354 Environmental Politics and Policy 
PSCI 5555 International Women's Resistance

For more information about this or any track within the Master of Humanities or Social Science degrees, contact:
Dr. Omar Swartz, MH/MSS Director: or
Dr. Lorna Hutchison, MH/MSS Assistant Director:
Office: Student Commons Building, 3203
Phone: 303-315-3565