MS in Environmental Studies in Environmental Education

MS in Environmental Studies in Environmental Education

Be an Educational Leader and Change Agent

Learning the skills of powerful educational approaches equips you as a leader and change agent in nature centers and museums, classrooms and higher education, residential facilities, corporations, the media, municipalities, zoos, aquariums, farms, community organizations, and botanical gardens. Educating for sustainability, raising awareness about climate change, reconnecting children and adults to nature and their community, translating science into conservation education, employing conservation psychology techniques, and making sense out of the human footprint on the planet are all aspects of Environmental Education.

Learn more!

environmental educationGrounded in EE theory and practice, graduate students acquire an interdisciplinary understanding of the social, political, and economic aspects of human systems and how they impact ecological systems. Antioch graduate students learn natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. Principles of sustainability, justice and cultural competency are interwoven into our EE approach.

Being an environmental educator means understanding how people learn and what inspires people to change. This specialization balances knowledge about the learning process with a solid foundation in environmental sciences and acquisition of effective teaching methodologies and educational designs. Students learn to translate the complex web of earth systems science, sustainability, environmental issues, and environmental change for the public. Courses and internships highlight aspects of EE in urban and rural contexts while catering to the individual interests of students. Through innovative coursework, professional internships, and graduate capstones, students acquire the skills and confidence to be leaders in the field.

EE students gain hands-on experience in stewardship practices, positive youth and community development, program design and evaluation, conservation psychology and understanding ‘place’ as socio-ecological systems and dynamic classrooms for all ages. AUNE has a proven track-record of environmental education graduates who go onto serve as professional leaders across the globe. Our graduates work for environmental justice, reinvigorate environmental and science education in cities, guide communities in planning for climate change, and promote sustainable, just, inclusive practices in EE organizations, schools, and businesses.

Choose a Professional Science Master’s Option

PSM IconEnvironmental education students who want to build a stronger grounding in science can choose to earn a Professional Science Master’s Certificate in addition to their M.S. in Environmental Studies.

Program Delivery

  • 42 credits
  • Fall & Spring Entry
  • Classes Thursdays and Fridays plus a capstone project
  • 5 semesters to complete

Antioch University New England is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


As environmental educators, we are inventors and pioneers of a new educational approach. We facilitate learning that challenges people to rethink the way they relate to the world and the way they live within the world, rather than maintaining the status quo. How do we cultivate an educated citizenry which is guided by a sense of responsibility for the health and welfare of the planet? How do we create communities that are inclusive of difference and meet the needs and interests of all? We are challenged to consider the routes of knowledge about the environment, the origins of emotional involvement with the world, and the conditions under which environmental concern becomes expressed through action. As educators, lifelong leaders, and learners, we must be committed to learning methods that allow and encourage examination of values without threatening or alienating people from the learning process. Our work demands that we be holistic systems thinkers who are able to make interconnections across difference and seek solutions to the complex environmental challenges we witness today.

“This has been a profound,  transformative journey for me, an “Awakening”…I look forward to feeding new passions…and nurturing relationships and collaborative partnerships built here. And I am entertaining the idea of returning to AUNE to earn a PhD in Environmental Studies!”

Environmental Education Graduate, 2015 

There are lots of qualities that make Antioch’s environmental education programming unique and vital for anyone wanting to make a difference in this educational arena. Here’s a list of our top 8:

1.      Gain Leadership & Professional Experience

We value opportunities where EE students gain skills to be adaptive leaders who are creative, open to new ideas, and able to work in a variety of community contexts. As an EE student, you will engage in hands-on learning opportunities that enhance your classroom and professional experiences. EE students serve in leadership roles through AUNE initiatives like: Center for Tropical Ecology and Conservation, Community Garden Connections, Monadnock Ecological Research and Education, Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience, Glover’s Ledge, and Antioch’s student government. Make a positive difference while you’re engaged in graduate studies here!

2.      Make Meaning out of the World

Help people make meaning out of the world by challenging them to think critically, understand deeply, and translate knowledge into action. Our integrated, experientially-based program exposes you to a variety of techniques, educational settings, and curricular designs. Learn about effective facilitation techniques, school-relevant design, exhibit development, digital media, program evaluation, climate change education, research processes, and environmental communication approaches. Our work is to build a more ecologically literate population that makes decisions with the earth in mind, empowered by the knowledge and skills to work— individually and collectively—toward the solution of current environmental problems, and prevention of new problems through sustainable living.

3.      Engage in Cultural Competency & Justice

We value cultural competency, which requires  skills and motivation to engage in difference. As an EE student, you will explore how to create learning environments that are inclusive of class, race, ethnicity, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation and other socially constructed indicators of difference. We must also take into account that environmental hazards and climate change disproportionately impact marginalized individuals and communities. Cultural competency is essential as we learn alongside community members in meaningful ways toward a more just future.

4.      Get Individualized Attention in a Rigorous Learning Community

AUNE’s Environmental Education interdisciplinary graduate studies program focuses on justice, equity and sustainability in a vibrant learning community. Engage in a supportive learning community within which you develop a portfolio of educational approaches that identify and direct you to the best possible professional application of your education. Your capstone is a culminating academic experience that builds upon your graduate experiences and skills gained to tackle real-world issues. Students leave with a renewed sense of confidence, direction and competency to embrace new challenges. Come join the Antioch’s EE program and become a change agent for the world. Your journey and hard work will be as rewarding as the benefits of your degree.

5.      Look at the World in New Ways

We value a diversity of learners and embrace multiple ways of knowing. This requires that we challenge our assumptions, approach learning in holistic ways and recognize other ways of knowing besides cognition. Such ways of knowing may include aspects like emotional, spiritual, social, intuitive, and kinesthetic forms of expression. We must authentically create space for more voices– particularly youth, women, indigenous peoples—into the new solutions for a sustainable, just world.

6.     Seek Solutions & Enhance Resilience in the Age of Climate Change

We value a solutions-seeking mentality in the face of climate change. Our work demands that we be holistic systems thinkers who are able to make interconnections across difference and seek solutions to the complex environmental challenges we witness today. We must be adaptive leaders who are creative, open to new ideas, and able to work in a variety of community contexts. How can we engage people in practices that increase the resilience of social-ecological systems? What contributes to resilience in the face of climate change, food insecurity, energy descent, and associated environmental, social, and economic challenges? What practices can environmental educators employ to enhance resilience on multiple scales—personal, communal, and ecological? For example, you will learn about civic ecology, which examines the interactions among people, environmental stewardship practices, education and learning, and resilience. Examples of civic ecology practices include ecological restoration, urban greening, community gardens, citizen science, and community forestry.

7.      Take a Deep Dive into your Passions

Students may find themselves designing and delivering undergraduate experiences in field-based research or place-based learning. Some find their way to the Bronx Zoo in New York City or New England Aquarium in Boston working to design conservation curricula or develop interactive exhibits. Some work in organizations dedicated to making school food healthier and more sustainable, or creating garden projects to engage and empower communities. Others are integrating environmental science into outdoor adventure programming, designing programs for residential centers, assessing the sustainability of school campuses, or exploring international arenas of environmental education.

8.      Gain the Antioch EE Competitive Edge

A master’s degree in Environmental Education from AUNE opens doors not only to an interesting variety of job settings, but also to higher level positions and rates of pay. Established in 1972, the Environmental Studies Department at AUNE is the oldest environmental studies graduate program in the country.  The environmental educators program, launched in 1989, remains the only such program composed entirely of graduate level students.

But just what is it about this program that earns it such praise from its alumni and environmental experts? It boils down to five points that make up the AUNE Competitive Edge:

  • Oldest graduate level Environmental Studies department with one of the most recognized environmental education program in the country
  • Commitment to high standards
  • Multiple professional internship experiences
  • Extensive networking and mentoring opportunities
  • Experienced faculty with extensive professional networks, applied understanding of the field, and innovative scholarly interests. Our robust team collectively meets the needs of diverse students interested in sustainability, justice, and working with youth and adults in a variety of professional contexts. Check out the expertise of key EE faculty members: Jean Kayira, PhD, Libby McCann, PhD, Dave Chase, MEd, and Sue Gentile, MS.

In a survey of EE graduates, 100% of respondents reported that the EE program was effective in preparing them for work in the environmental field. Among the competitive advantages that make the program stand apart from other such programs is the integration of professional internship experiences that garner AUNE students more esteemed job opportunities after graduation.

“AUNE was a perfect fit for me. The Environmental Education concentration enabled me to build on my prior experience in the field by growing skill sets I wanted to expand. I came to the program with a specific list of professional goals. My in-class experiences, coursework, internships, and interactions with AUNE’s phenomenal faculty enabled me to accomplish all of my goals and so much more.”

Liz Kautz ’15 moved to Keene to study at AUNE. She’s stayed in the area as Education Director at The Caterpillar Lab where she was hired full-time after completing a professional internship there.


Track 1: Students who choose Track 1 register for 4 courses in both their first Fall and first Spring semesters. This track provides students with an opportunity to schedule the entire Summer and/or Spring II semesters off campus. *This is the preferred sequence for those intending to do a Master’s Thesis or Master’s Project.

Track 2: Students who choose Track 2 register for a maximum of 3 courses per semester. This Track provides students with a more evenly paced sequence of coursework throughout their program.


Select any 3 out of 4 CORE courses

Core (C)9 credits; Concentration (T)6 credits; Methods: courses selected by student18 credits; Internship6 credits; Capstone Project3 credits

Track 1

Track 2

Fall I (12 credits)
Earth Systems and Climate Change (C)(3)
Community Ecology of the New England Landscape (C)(3)
Foundations of Environmental Education (T)(3)
Methods (3)
Fall I (9 credits)
Earth Systems and Climate Change (C)(3)
Community Ecology of the New England Landscape (C)(3)
Foundations of Environmental Education (T)(3)
Spring I (12 credits)
Political Economy of Sustainability (C)(3)
Program Planning and Design (T)(3)
Methods (3)
Methods (3)
Spring I (9 credits)
Political Economy of Sustainability (C)(3)
Program Planning and Design (T)(3)
Methods (3)
Summer (3 credits)
Internship I (3)
Summer (6 credits)
Internship I (3)
Methods (3)
Fall II (9 credits)
Leadership for Change (C)(3)
Methods (3)
Methods (3)
Fall II (9 credits)
Leadership for Change (C)(3)
Methods (3)
Methods (3)
 Spring II (6 credits)
Capstone Project (3)
Internship II (3)
Spring II (9 credits)
Capstone Project (3)
Methods (3)
Internship II (3)

Sample Method Courses include:

  • Advanced Topics in Environmental Education:
    • Program Evaluation
    • Urban Environmental Education
    • Teaching Teachers about the Environment
    • Educating for Sustainability
    • Educational Aspects of Green Building Design
  • Environmental Education Field Techniques:
    • Community & School-based Food Systems
    • Civic Ecology and Community Resilience
    • Teaching in the Outdoors
    • Interpretation and Exhibit Design
    • Environmental Service Learning
    • Learning Development and Theory
    • Conservation Psychology and Social Marketing

Additional Method courses include: 

  • Building Sustainable Organizations
  • Citizen Participation and Sustainable Communities
  • Climate Change: Resilience, Adaptation and Mitigation
  • Coastal Geoecology of New England (field study trip)
  • Conservation Biology
  • Cuba: Sustainability and the New Food System (field study trip)
  • Ecology and Management of Adirondack Mountains (Field study trip)
  • Ecosystems of Mount Desert Island (field study trip)
  • Energy and Materials Sustainability
  • Environmental Law
  • Environmental Assessment Techniques
  • Financial Administration
  • Geographic Information System (GIS)
  • Integrated Conservation of Tropical Ecosystems: Costa Rica (field study trip)
  • Land Use and Community Planning
  • Making Sense of Place
  • Natural Resource Inventory
  • New England Flora
  • Non Profit Organizations & Social Entrepreneurship
  • Organizing for Social Change
  • Ornithology
  • Principles of Sustainability
  • Proposal Writing and Project Management
  • Qualitative and Quantitative Research Design Techniques
  • Soil Ecology
  • Soils Mapping and Interpretation
  • Vertebrate Ecology: Mammalogy
  • Wetlands Ecology
  • Wildlife & Forest Management

Students of environmental education are expected to:

  1. Develop a working knowledge of natural history, earth systems science, social justice and environmental change.
  2. Understand the social-political-economic dynamics of environmental change.
  3. Develop competency in learning theory and educational design.
  4. Develop a portfolio of effective educational methodologies and communication strategies.
  5. Gain leadership, group process, and cultural competency skills to apply effectively in a variety of educational and community-based contexts.


Communication of ideas depends on clear and engaging discourse through writing. Assignments might include:

  • Succinct and directed research and reaction papers that critique existing theory and practice
  • Essays that identify personal and professional values and beliefs and support work in the field of environmental education
  • Observations and anecdotal records of behavior drawn from a diversity of cultural, social, or environmental situations
  • Text for exhibits, interpretive signs, public service announcements, radio scripts, and other venues of communication
  • Effective use of electronic media venues like websites, blogs, etc.

Philosophy Statement and Portfolio

Formulating a succinct and comprehensive statement of the values and beliefs that underlie your professional choice as an environmental educator into a set of directives for action is one focal point of the program. Students write a paper stating the ‘whys’ that support their environmental values and actions, life-style choices, advocacy, and professional goals. This is a personal statement that helps one return to their core beliefs when encountering the jungle of possibilities and controversies that define this work. It is a professional directional arrow. The statement and a portfolio of exemplary work are updated throughout the program and culminate as a professional portfolio in the final semester.

Tree of Environmental Education

This assignment is a seminal activity in the Foundations of Environmental Education class and uses the metaphor of a tree to capture each student’s personal and professional evolution as an environmental educator. It is a good example of the use of art and alternative forms of exhibiting learning used in this program. The ‘roots’ represent the supportive foundation of values, beliefs, and actions that have led students toward this professional choice. Information listed here might include mentors, parents, books or academic coursework, epiphanies, and significant transformative experiences. The trunk contains the dynamic flow of transitions, transformations, controversies, and interchanges with significant others that occur as the influence of the ‘roots’ lead to behavioral changes. The branches and leaves contain the fruition of the rooted values and transformative experiences in the kinds of work, life-style or recreational choices, participation in advocacy or activism, and educational pursuits one chooses.

Program Planning and Design for Formal and Non-Formal Audiences

Environmental education takes place in public institutions and community-based settings like museums, nature centers, residential learning centers, zoos, governmental offices, universities, farms and for-profit businesses, as well as in public and private schools. Knowing how to develop of a course of study in a variety of settings is essential. Students have created curriculum design projects like:

  • The Appalachian Mountain Club’s Mountain High Classroom (a week-long residential program for 5th and 6th grade school children)
  • Revised the Rainforest Alliance curriculum for their website
  • Evaluated and researched curriculum for the CEEonline website
  • Created curriculum for public schools in place-based bioregional education
  • Designed teacher training curricula using the environment as an integrating context for all grade levels
  • Sustainability education programs for municipal leaders and city planners

Environmental Communications and Media

Students actively learn to communicate about environmental issues, ecological events, and life-style choices through a variety of media venues. Classes may include a focus on:

  • Writing for the Real World of magazines, newspapers, and journals
  • Learning techniques for radio journalism and TV
  • Writing children’s books
  • Designing websites and videos
  • Conservation psychology and social marketing

Interpretive Trail and Educational Exhibit Design

Classes may involve students in the development of rich and engaging educational and interpretive projects for the public. This demands capturing an environmental concept like the essence of a landscape or the state of a particular habitat in a one-minute lesson. Whether in a zoo or museum setting or the construction of a nature trail, grabbing the attention of a person who wants both a recreationally entertaining and an educational experience in a short-shot is a challenge. Students work through the creation of a Big Idea into tactics and learning strategies to inspire curiosity, provocative questions, and conceptual understandings that enhance ecological literacy and educate about environmental change and responsible action. Examples of sites where classes have made significant contributions on-site include: Bronx Zoo, Harris Center for Conservation Education, the Appalachian Mountain Club huts, Children’s Museums, urban parks, Audubon-certified golf courses, and nature centers.

Educating for Sustainability

Courses and projects challenge the student to explore new fields of ecologically responsive design and the creation of ‘ecologically sustainable living and learning centers.’ Students have opportunities to participate in designing learning experiences that guide public and private teachers through the comprehensive ‘greening’ of their schools, or that help nature centers practice what they teach in their own building facilites. Students may be involved in projects that organize more local foods in school cafeterias, community-sustained gardening, or urban food projects.

Community-based Environmental Education

Engaging stakeholders and enhancing authentic participation within and among diverse youth and adult groups is essential to solving complex environmental challenges. Effective environmental educators have the facilitative leadership skills to collaborate effectively within a variety of community contexts. Through coursework and professional internships, students hone their group process skills and enhance their cultural competencies. Students can explore community-based efforts through the lens of citizen science as well. Across the globe, citizens are actively involved with biological monitoring, ecological restoration, and other conservation efforts. How can we best empower and engage community members in biomonitoring and restorative practices? Students may explore the individual, communal, and organizational impacts of citizen science and other community-based efforts among youth and adults. Antioch students have developed ecological restoration workshops for K-12 teachers, actively participated in national restoration-based education initiatives, and implemented local teacher workshops for developing rain gardens on school grounds and other community sites. Students are engaged in other locally based initiatives, including Antioch University New England’s Monadnock Ecological Research and Education Project and Cheshire County’s Monadnock Farm and Community Connection, which works to ensure a healthy community rooted in sustainable agriculture.

Capstone Project

Graduate students in the environmental studies master’s programs have four capstone options for demonstrating their knowledge, skills, and competencies in environmental studies (ES). These options include:

  • Thesis
  • Master’s Project
  • Student Teaching Practicum
  • Collaborative Service Initiative

Students may find themselves at the Teton Science School designing and delivering undergraduate educational experiences in field-based research or place-based learning. Some find their way to the Bronx Zoo in New York City or the New England Aquarium, designing conservation curricula, developing interactive exhibits, or facilitating educational programs for youth and adults. Some work in organizations dedicated to making school food healthier and more sustainable or creating local gardens in the community to supply food for the educational facilities. Others are integrating environmental science into outdoor adventure programming or assessing the sustainability of school campuses. Still others work in community non-profits, city municipalities, or private businesses to enhance their sustainability efforts through effective education and communication strategies.

The following represent some of the recent internship sites of students in the Environmental Education program:

  • Audubon International: Assisted in the Audubon certification of Baker Hill Golf Club in Newbury, NH, including wildlife and habitat management, integrated pest management, water conservation, outreach, and education
  • Grafton Nature Center, Grafton, VT: Designed and implemented environmental education curriculum focused on watersheds
  • Lake Sunapee Protective Association, Sunapee, NH: As Watershed Protection assistant, assisted water quality restoration projects, prepared environmental education materials, and answered local citizen’s questions about the watershed
  • Living on Earth, Somerville, MA: Researched, produced, and edited weekly environmental issues show on public radio
  • National Environmental Education and Training Foundation, Washington, DC: Provided upcoming program support including a new page on the Classroom Earth website and a new educational partnership with NOAA
  • New England Wildflower Society, Framingham, MA: Assisted in teaching second and fourth grade public school classrooms about local flora
  • Pitcher Mountain Community Supported Agriculture, Keene, NH: Worked on the CSA farm including planting, harvesting, watering, and building raised beds
  • Seeds of Solidarity, Orange, MA: Developed and taught a garden program for teenagers, developed a handbook for local schools on how to create and maintain school gardens
  • Stonewall Farm, Keene, NH: Environmental educator for grades PreK-6, led classes including wildlife in winter, ice harvesting, and maple sugaring
  • Tanglewood 4H Camp and Learning Center, Lincolnville, ME: Coordinated and trained summer staff, developed environmental education curriculum, coordinated and taught day camp program
  • Ashuelot Valley Environmental Observatory, Keene, NH: Designed and co-facilitated educational workshops relating to citizen science initiatives
  • Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, Waterbury, VT: Developed and led youth conservation crew experiences, designed and implemented a plan for a pilot AmeriCorps program at the VYCC
  • Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, NY: Exhibit design and interpretation projects at the Bronx Zoo; researched and evaluated existing exhibits at the zoo
  • Conservation Psychology Network/Antioch Environmental Studies Department, Keene, NH: Created book prospectus, including sample activities, for conservation psychology activity book for use by formal and nonformal educators to teach and apply principles of this growing field
  • Whole Terrain, student editor, Keene, NH: solicited authors and crafted Antioch University New England’s journal of reflective environmental practice from “zero to press”
  • Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY: Completed research interview process with children to gain a deeper understanding of ecoliteracy
  • Cool Monadnock (Partnership between Antioch New England Institute & Clean Air Cool Planet), Keene, NH: Collected energy and fuel data for municipality’s buildings to create town greenhouse gas inventory reports. Created communications plan for Cool Monadnock Neighbors Helping Neighbors program
  • Student Conservation Association, Seattle, WA: Served as crew leader for high school students doing trail work at Mt. Rainier National Park
  • U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development: Worked with president on wide-variety of projects, ranging from marketing and writing articles to fundraising efforts and web creation to support creation of this international organization.
  • Life Is Good Company, Hudson, NH: Designed educational programs on site to enhance sustainability efforts
  • International Crane Foundation, Baraboo, WI: Developed and led interpretive tours and programs associated with crane exhibits, nature trails, ecological restoration, and other site features