Frequently Asked Questions

How does your limited residency program work?

Goucher's MAES program is designed to accommodate working professionals, non-traditional students, and students recently graduated from undergraduate programs. Students and faculty gather at the beginning of each semester for a nine-day intensive residency on campus in a retreat-like setting. The residency has a three-week online follow up. Following the residency session students can begin new classes in a fully online 14-week (3 credit) or 7-week (1.5 credit) session as part of the semester (see graph). Students are required to attend at least two residencies and most attend three. The distance learning format allows us to draw a very diverse student and faculty population that is flexible and able to fit around their daily lives. By taking classes at a distance or “from home,” students may research, partner with, and develop resources with their communities, while being connected to a supportive, insightful, and resourceful group of peers and mentors. One of the distinctive features of our program is our interactive and engaging approach to the limited-residency experience. Living and learning together, our students form lifetime connections that enrich their online learning and networking opportunities for the future. The residencies are spent not only in the classroom but also include site visits to urban and rural communities. This deep engagement with each other and with the communities we visit is invaluable.

How large are the classes?

Both residency and online classes are designed to be small (6 - 20 people) and interactive. Students often work in small groups in which there is consistent engagement with faculty.

What are the residencies like, and when do they occur?

Our residencies are periods of intense engagement. Activities vary from classroom seminars, guest lectures, playful activities, hands-on site visits and fieldwork in the region. You will meet new students in the program, reunite with your friends and colleagues, and share your work face to face with faculty and peers. Residencies occur twice a year. Fall semester begins with a residency at the end of July and spring semester begins with a residency in early January. Because of the intensity of the residency students are encouraged to begin course readings a month prior to start in order to be prepared for in-class discussions and activities. Course material and an online orientation is made available to students one month ahead of the start.

Where can I stay during the residency?

Students are responsible for their own housing during residency. Lunch and dinner will be provided in the dining hall as part of the room and board fee. Students have full access to Goucher’s campus, including an excellent food-service, library, and athletic facilities. The campus offers a variety of amenities including a gym, swimming pool, and hiking trail. The campus is also an easy walk to restaurants, shops, grocery stores, and movie theaters.

What kind of equipment will I need for the distance learning program?

 If possible, students should plan to bring their laptops to campus during the residency. Students will also want to have a camera (cell phone is sufficient) for documenting activities on our site visits, etc.

Technology Requirements

How long will it take to get my degree?

 Most students take three years to complete the required 45 credit hours to graduate. However, a student could take 6 credits during the residency session and 6 credits during the online session to complete all but their 6-credit Capstone in three semesters. Students are encouraged to complete their Capstone over two semesters, especially projects that involve community-based research or application. Students must take at least one course per semester, and have a maximum of five years in which to complete all requirements. Students who are working full time will often take a lighter load.

Who are the faculty?

Program faculty are working professionals with both practical expertise in government and NGOs and academic degrees and experience in the fields of environmental science, economics, anthropology, geography, and business. They come from all over the country and bring a depth of experience that is invaluable to students. Because faculty members in the MAES program are currently working in their chosen fields, they bring both practical experience and a network of professionals to our students. 

MAES Faculty

How much does the program cost? Is there any financial aid?

Goucher MAES students are eligible to apply for federal student loans, outside grants and scholarships.

Tuition & Financial Aid

What qualifications do I need for the MAES program and how do I apply?

Admission to the program is granted to selected applicants who demonstrate a clear understanding of what environmental studies means to them, good communication skills, and success in self-directed graduate study. Students who are citizens of or in residence in other countries must have the ability to function successfully in English. Applications are accepted twice a year, in April and October. 

Apply Now

Do I need to take the GRE or other graduate-level entrance exam for admission to the program?

No. We do not require GRE scores, though if you would like to submit them with your application, you may. Our admissions are based on past academic history, recommendations, your essay, and your overall goals.

Can I begin the program in the middle of the school year, without attending a residency?

Generally no. New Student Orientation and some of the core prerequisite classes are offered each semester so a student can begin a course of study either in late summer or January.

What is environmental studies? Do I need a science background?

Environmental studies is an interdisciplinary field defined by the broad scope of natural and built environments in human interaction and employing academic disciplines and perspectives to focus on identifying and solving complex problems that arise from these interactions. It uses the disciplinary tools of economics, ecology, anthropology, communications, geography, and other physical and social sciences to explore these problems and issues. At Goucher, the MAES program approaches the field through social science perspectives, enabling students to engage community voices, design research projects, develop scientific literacy, and manage multi sector projects. A science background may be helpful but is not required.

What will I be able to do with my degree?

Our degree program is intended for those with the initiative to apply disciplinary tools and theories of change to seeking solutions to real-world environmental problems. Anyone who is interested in careers in environmental or sustainability management, compliance, administration, communications, or research other issues affecting the world today can benefit from this degree. Those currently working in nonprofits, who seek to make a change upward or outward in their careers, will benefit from the tools we offer and from the education and credentials of the master’s degree. Those just out of college, looking for the next big step in their lives, will benefit from entering the job market with a master’s degree in an area that is quickly becoming recognized as essential to sustainability and compliance. Our graduates will be future directors of nonprofits, community and labor organizers, communicators and activists, teachers and change agents of all kinds.

Where is Goucher, and what is the campus like?

Goucher is an independent, selective, coeducational liberal arts college located on 287 beautiful acres just north of the city of Baltimore. Goucher enrolls more than 1,400 undergraduate and 1,200 graduate students. It was founded in 1885 and is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Goucher offers a wide variety of undergraduate majors, and all undergraduates are required to participate in at least one international study program, testing and enhancing classroom learning through real, firsthand experience in the world. Graduate programs based on Goucher’s undergraduate strengths and institutional mission include the same close interaction with faculty that is a cornerstone of a Goucher education. Goucher’s strong belief in the importance of staying connected to the world outside campus through community action, intercultural awareness, and international exploration is in clear evidence throughout the curriculum of our Master of Arts in Environmental studies program.