The Master of Arts in Environmental Education program is designed as a challenging intensive experience in all aspects of environmental education. Your 11-month experience includes extensive time in the outdoor classroom, indoor discussions, teaching, field trips, projects and several weekend conferences and workshops. In your practicum, you will work with grades preK-12, as well as adult groups who are visiting our environmental learning center. At the same time, our curriculum develops your skills to work with schools, businesses, parks, federal agencies, non-profit advocacy groups, churches and/or communities with a long-term commitment in caring for creation. This is your opportunity to become a leader in education and to contribute to the care, restoration and preservation of our environment.
- Eight core courses
- Immersion in ecosystem studies
- Teaching practicum
- February on Andros Island, Bahamas (click here for more info)
- Leadership and program management training
- Multi-faceted research project that you design with a professor
- Completed degree in 11 months!
- Learning experiences throughout the region including parks, centers, schools & nonprofits in Indiana, Michigan, Chicago, and/or Detroit
A foundation of your experience is exploring and learning about our 1,189-acre preserve that contains wetlands, bogs, lakeshores, upland and lowland forests, prairies and meadows. Merry Lea is among the best-assembled land preserves in Indiana and the largest private preserve in the state. The area contains a diverse group of Indiana ecosystems that have been managed to provide both rare and typical Midwestern habitat.
Our approach depends on knowing and understanding systems thinking. We use a natural history, research methods and land management classes to understand ecological systems. Then in principles of environmental education, issues and history, and leadership we learn to work in social systems. In the faith and peacemaking seminar we think about how to communicate between world views, and in the Bahamas we put it all together.
The goal for us and our students, is to share our passion for the environment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the dates? The graduate program for Environmental Education runs from July to May during an academic year. For more information, see the semester schedule.
What is the application deadline? Check out the admission requirements page.
How many students are in a cohort? We are currently working with 6-9 students per cohort. The program may expand to 10-12 in upcoming years.
Who comes to the program? Since 2008 we have had students from 23-50 years old with backgrounds in: wildlife and fisheries, elementary education, environmental science, high school science, forestry, psychology, religion, ecology, art history, English, management, biology, Latino studies and photography.
Where do graduates go? Our graduates are pursuing a wide range of interests including: elementary and high school education, university outdoor programs, environmental education centers, camps, zoo education, community program administrator, federal land management agencies, and a couple of PhD’s.
Where are the courses delivered? Northern Indiana and 3 weeks in the Bahamas! We are based at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center about 30 miles southeast of Goshen, IN. Most of your classes in July-August are in the field exploring our nature preserve (1,189 acres). The practicum portion is teaching schoolchildren in K-12 grades entirely outside. Winter graduate classes are mostly inside. Andros Island Bahamas will be mostly in the forest and ocean, the spring land management class is half and half inside and out. Several field trips throughout the year combine indoor meetings and outdoor tour experiences.
How many credits would I earn? 33 credits for the six core courses, one seminar course, practicum, field experience and project.
Does it involve writing a thesis? This is a non-thesis master’s degree. Instead, we require project. Working with one or two professors, you will design a project that complements your lifelong aspirations and experience. The projects may focus on the process of learning, or the physical environment. All projects have a review of the literature, some data collection and an emphasis on curriculum for distribution to the public.
May I take only some of the courses and complete the degree in two years? No, the core courses are built around an extensive practicum and a project that cannot be truncated.
What does this degree course cost? Please visit the tuition and financial aid page for more information.
Are scholarships available? There are a limited number of scholarships available. For more information, please visit the tuition and financial aid page.
Does this include room and board? No, students are responsible for organizing their own housing but three farm houses have been remodeled to accommodate eight students. For more information, please visit the tuition and financial aid page.
My background is strong in science but weak in education; is this a problem? No, this program is designed for students from a wide variety of backgrounds. Most of your learning will be in education and communication.
My background is strong in education but weak in science; is this a problem? No, however there is a prerequisite of at least one qualifying undergraduate science class. We learn our natural history mostly through fieldwork so the science part of your education is exploratory and experiential. Some math and statistics skills are part of the experience and we have worked with the full spectrum from people who avoid math at all costs, to people who love nothing more than a good stats problem.
When I take this degree course, will I obtain my teaching certification? No. This can be obtained in a state-certified education program or through a transition-to-teaching program.
What is the time expectation? This is an intensive program as all the credits are earned within one calendar year. Typically students will be at Merry Lea Monday through Friday for classes, practicum and project research. There will also be four to six required weekend seminars or programs throughout the year and three weeks in the Bahamas.
Do I get paid for my teaching within the K-12 programs? No, this is your practicum and you will be receiving academic credit for this work. It is comparable to student teaching. The time teaching is about 280 hours and we emphasize tackling problems and issues in communication across many age groups. This is your opportunity to explore different learning styles and strategies. Your teaching is accompanied by a seminar.