Northeastern University College of Science: Interdisciplinary Degrees, Employable Graduates

There are countless reasons why the brightest and most ambitious major in the sciences. For starters, this is a domain that is anything but static. In fact, it’s incredibly fluid thanks to technological advances that are constantly—and rapidly—adding more to what we already know. However, preparing to truly join the field requires an exploratory academic journey—specifically one provided at Northeastern University’s College of Science.

The College of Science uses an industry-focused approach to deliver quality, tertiary-level knowledge in areas such as bioinformatics, biotechnology, chemistry, nanoscience and marine and environmental science.

Source: Northeastern University

This integration of real-world experience with education, research, and innovation prepares students for future career opportunities—long before they even graduate.

Troy Langknecht chose a master’s degree in environmental science and policy not only because it was a rare combination of subjects in academia, but also because of the level of freedom that came with it. “I worked full-time in Rhode Island for most of my graduate program, so it was important to have a flexible schedule,” she says. “I was also allowed to tailor my courses to fill in gaps based on my previous experience.”

Jointly offered by the College of Science and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, the program is truly interdisciplinary. To develop a new generation of multifaceted environmental professionals, the 36-credit qualification draws from a variety of fields of study.

Each student takes nine hours over three semesters. In addition, they take two required seminar hours, two skills classes, and two faculty electives. They then move on to further tailor their journey by choosing three interdisciplinary courses from each college at Northeastern.

This structure is designed to allow students to expand their horizons in environmental science and policy while having control over how their newfound knowledge will be applied in their future careers.

“The aspects of the ES&P program that students like most are its flexibility and customization,” says program director and associate professor Benjamin Dittbrenner. “Students work with a faculty advisor to develop a program plan that reflects their interests and cultivates their intended career. Students have the opportunity to choose from over 100 graduate courses and opportunities to interact and research with faculty in a variety of disciplines.”

Langknecht, an alumna who still fondly remembers her Policy Analysis Techniques class, currently works for a US government agency investigating microplastics in the marine environment.

Greg Coppola, a graduate of the MSc in Environmental Science and Policy, currently works as a project manager in the field of energy. “We install solar panels on buildings for customers who wouldn’t be able to afford the plug-ins,” he explains. “I hope to continue working in this sector to ease the hardships of vulnerable groups in our fight against climate change.”

Coppola credits his professional success to Professor Joan Fitzgerald, who did much more than teach a compelling course on cities, sustainability and climate change. She is also responsible for giving Coppola the chance to make a name for himself as a professional long before he graduated. “During my third semester, I emailed Joanne to ask about potential opportunities to improve my resume as a student,” he recalls.

Northeastern University

Source: Northeastern University

Within two weeks of my initial email, she contacted the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority about potential internship opportunities. Her connection and referral opened the door to an amazing one-year paid internship.”

The current student is Hannah Crawford cooperation with her “dream organization” and already feels that her career prospects have greatly improved since her time in the program. “The projects I work on are diverse in skill, from writing grants, education papers, literature reviews and newsletters, to using GIS and making site visits to potential project locations,” she says.

Insights and opportunities like these were exactly why she chose a master’s program in environmental science and policy. Crawford, an ambitious change-maker, had no interest in taking the traditional thesis route. Instead, she wanted to have hands-on experience and interact face-to-face with professionals who are innovating solutions to climate change — which is exactly what she’s doing today.

To join and turn your interests into a career, you’ll need challenging academics and eye-opening work experience—a powerful combination that Northeastern University is well known for. Click here to apply today.

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