Spring 2017


Where Community and Environment Meet

Nathan Queener Environment & Community students learn about river and salmon restoration on the Mattole River as part of a weeklong immersion field course. Submitted

STUDENTS INTERESTED IN HOW COMMUNITIES INTERACT with their environment have a new opportunity to earn an undergraduate and master’s degree in just five years.

The Environment & Community M.A. in Social Science program at Humboldt State was initially developed in 2001. It’s a multidisciplinary social science program that looks at relationships between environment and community, with a particular focus on sustainability and social justice.

“The idea of the environment is all-encompassing—the so-called ‘natural’ as well as ‘built’ environment,” says Program Coordinator and Politics Professor Mark Baker. “Which is why we have people looking at graffiti in Mexico City and coffee fields in Jamaica. These are all different ways of looking at the environment.”

Baker says the program hopes to entice more students with the appeal of world-changing work and the new offering of a five-year master’s degree.

The dual degree pathway shaves a year off the normal time to earn two degrees and gets students more quickly into the workforce, where the fruits of their studies can have real-life effects.

“It’s a matter of streamlining the process for getting an undergraduate and master’s degree in a shorter amount of time with a carefully planned course of study,” Baker says. “They can start taking graduate seminars during their undergrad terms, and start working on their own thesis or project work.”

The requirements aren’t any different and the course load is the same. But it allows high-achieving and motivated students to seamlessly transition into the graduate program, reducing the stresses of grad school applications and tying their educational experience at Humboldt together.