Message from the Director

Carol A. MacLennan

Thank you for your interest in our two distinctive MS/PhD programs: Industrial Heritage and Archaeology (IHA) and Environmental and Energy Policy (EEP). Our students learn to apply the tools of the social sciences to these inherently interdisciplinary fields of inquiry. In both programs, qualified students receive teaching or research assistantships that include tuition and a stipend and for two years (MS students) or three to four years (PhD students).

At the MS level, each program prepares you to work in professional positions within your field of interest. If you are interested in applied community work, the OSM/VISTA program allows you to pursue their degree while gaining the experience you desire. At the PhD level, both programs guide students into original research projects that benefit from interdisciplinary inquiry and scholarship, preparing you for research positions in government, non-profits, the private sector, and academe.

Both programs emphasize the real-world experiences and interdisciplinary training needed to contribute fresh perspectives on 21 st century challenges. Industrial heritage is a diverse, multidisciplinary field practiced around the world that gives students experience in the interpretation of industrial landscapes at a community scale in a post-industrial world. Environmental and Energy Policy develops students’ understanding of issues related to environmental, resource, and energy use and provides them with professional and research skills associated with addressing these issues. Our graduate experience facilitates interactions between students in both programs, with one particular point of overlap being efforts to address environmental and land use concerns at the community scale. We also have an active graduate student organization, Social Science Graduate Society, that organizes social events, professionalization workshops, and works with the Graduate Director on program matters. Both PhD programs also encourage the practice of collaborate research and publishing.

Industrial Heritage and Archaeology

Industrial archaeology is a diverse, multidisciplinary field practiced around the world. Industrial archaeologists record, interpret, and preserve industrial and engineering-related artifacts, sites, systems, and landscapes in their cultural and historical contexts. Heritage specialists consider the broader social, economic, and environmental legacies of industrial society. Michigan Tech students have studied sites and communities worldwide, including 17th-century iron forges, 19th-century coal and copper mines, and as recent as 20th-century sugar factories. Our interdisciplinary approach fuses archaeology, historic preservation, labor studies, the history of technology, material culture studies, ethnography and oral history, environmental history, policy and planning, sociology, and architectural history.

The Master of Science in Industrial Archaeology is a professional degree that emphasizes the tangible and intangible heritage of industrial society. Students participate in fieldwork, including archive research and management, surveying and excavating archaeological sites, recording historic architecture, and ethnographic and oral history research. Our graduates build varied careers in areas including curation and administration at historic sites and museums; heritage and cultural resources management; field archaeology; public history; preservation and planning; education; and community and government service. Through rigorous course work emphasizing relevant, hands-on opportunities, our curriculum instills in students both a solid theoretical grounding and a practical skill set. Student theses, which are often developed in conjunction with outside sponsors, incorporate real-world situations concerned with proposal preparation; site identification, interpretation, preservation, and management; and community-based research and management.

The PhD in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology developed as a logical extension of our MS in Industrial Archaeology. This interdisciplinary, research-based degree is designed to afford intellectual maturity to students pursuing careers with a high level of responsibility in heritage management and/or policy and in research. Our PhD program does not fit neatly into the conceptual framework of typical degree programs in more established disciplines; thus, students work closely with their faculty mentors to establish a professional identity appropriate to their career goals. We expect our doctoral students to assume leadership roles in the international community of industrial heritage specialists.

Environmental and Energy Policy

Our interdisciplinary degree exposes students to the methodological approaches of a variety of social science disciplines: sociology, geography, anthropology, political science, ecology, history, and sustainability science. Students use the tools of these fields to examine various aspects of environmental and energy policies, including the interactions of these policies with the communities and groups they affect. Students learn to utilize the tools of social science to analyze these policies from multiple perspectives and to work in various policy settings.

Environmental Policy began at Michigan Tech in 1996 as a hands-on Master of Science degree that provided students from backgrounds ranging from engineering, ecology, and social science the tools to enter professional environmental positions. Interdisciplinary training and a focus on community-scale environmental problems guide the curriculum. MS Graduates have found jobs in non-profits, environmental consulting firms, state government, and many have gone on to pursue a PhD. The PhD program started in 2010, with an additional focus on energy policy, to prepare students for research careers in to government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and corporate stings. They specialize in specific policy areas and environmental issues and develop original research projects and publications.

The MS in Environmental and Energy Policy degree allows students an opportunity to focus on environmental and energy policies within a broad social science framework. They apply qualitative, quantitative, and GIS methodologies to analysis of policy with the aim of informing decision-makers and improving policy outcomes. Students complete a thesis or a report that focuses on a specific policy-related environmental problem or a specific policy issue, providing preparation for organizing and carrying through projects in the professional world. Students have engaged in projects that investigate biofuel policies in Michigan, Alberta’s tar sand policy process, endangered Manatees in Florida, science policy at the EPA, fish consumption advisories in Lake Superior to name a few. Our curriculum provides the necessary overview of policy process, major environmental and energy policies and laws, methodological training, and experience in collaborative projects.

The PhD in Environmental and Energy Policy is a unique degree that trains research scientists in social science analysis of environmental and energy policies and prepares them as scholars who can work in advanced research settings that analyze policy from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students specialize in a specific policy area and train in multiple methodologies necessary to complete original research on a question that advances knowledge useful to decision-makers and communities dealing with major environmental problems. We emphasize collaborative research with non-social scientists, train students to work in community and policy settings, and make it possible to complete a degree (post Masters) in three to four years. We encourage our PhD students to explore the wider dimensions of policy making and implementation using social science tools that enable interpretation of the larger societal processes that direct policy governance and outcomes.