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.

When is the application deadline?
For the 2021-2022 cohort, the deadline is March 5. For more information, see the Admission Requirements page.

How many students are in a cohort?
There are typically 5-10 students per cohort, but that is not the limit. The program may expand in upcoming years depending on the number of applicants.

Who comes to the program?
Since 2008 we have had students from 22-50 years old with backgrounds in the physical sciences (environmental science, forestry, biology, ecology), teaching (elementary to high school), the humanities (psychology, religion, art history, English, Latino studies), and more.

Where do graduates go?
Our graduates are pursuing a wide range of interests including: teaching elementary and high school education, university outdoor programs, environmental education centers, camps, zoo education, community programs, federal land management agencies, and PhD’s.

Where are the courses delivered?
Classes are based at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center in northeast Indiana. Most of the classes and practicum in the fall and spring are in the field exploring our 1,189-acre nature preserve. In February, the cohort is based on Andros Island, Bahamas studying and teaching in the forest and ocean. Several field trips throughout the year combine indoor meetings and outdoor tour experiences.

How many credits would I earn?
33 credits total for the eight core courses, practicum, professional field experiences, and the year-long project.

Does it involve writing a thesis?
This is a non-thesis master’s degree. Instead, we require a year-long 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 Costs page for more information.

Are scholarships available?
There are a limited number of scholarships available. For more information, please visit the Scholarships and Aid page.

Does this include room and board?
No, students are responsible for organizing their own housing; however three farm houses on Merry Lea’s property have been remodeled to accommodate eight students. For more information, please visit the Tuition and Costs 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 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 a practicum and you will be receiving academic credit for this work: much like 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.