Program Information

You must send all application materials, including letters of recommendation, by the deadline:

September 15 - to be considered for the following Spring semester.
January 15 - to be considered for the next Fall semester.

Program Information

The Department of Social Sciences is home to three unique interdisciplinary graduate programs: MS in Sustainable Communities, MS and PhD in Environmental and Energy Policy, and MS and PhD in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology. All three programs involve interdisciplinary engagement across the social sciences, drawing on anthropology, geography, history, political science, and sociology, and using tools from geospatial sciences, archaeological sciences, statistical analyses, and ethnographic research to examine real-world problems impacting communities and their environments. We prepare students for professional opportunities that require interdisciplinary solutions in government affairs, industry, and academia.

These programs are unique because they:

  • are interdisciplinary and prepare graduates to understand and solve the world’s most-pressing problems.
  • offer funded opportunities for students. Many students in our programs are funded, with up to three years available for PhD students. MS students also have the opportunity to gain funding though tuition waivers and/or research assistantships funded by individual faculty grants. Funding is not guaranteed. 
  • are student oriented, allowing for direct and meaningful engagement with faculty.
  • provide opportunities for students to be involved in research, publishing, and professional development throughout their course of study.

Another program, the Graduate Certificate in Public Policy offers similar advantages, but in a condensed format that allows for certificate completion in as soon as a single term.

Download our brochures below

Environmental and Energy Policy

MS | PhD | Accelerated MS

Students conduct research helping frame and support our society's environmental and energy policy goals, strategies, decisions, and programs. They use tools from multiple disciplines for integrated, interdisciplinary assessment in sociology, geography, anthropology, political science, economics, history, sustainability science, and ecology.

Master's program students are prepared for private and public sector positions that require understanding policy in the context of citizen dynamics and wider societal issues.

PhD program students are prepared for research in government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and corporate settings, and to specialize in specific policy areas and environmental issues.

MS: Applicants must have taken at least one undergraduate-level course in all of the following areas before entering the program: environmental sciences, statistics, and microeconomics. If an applicant has not completed these courses when they apply for admissions, they should specify their plan for completing the courses before they start the program, if accepted.
PhD: Applicants must have a masters degree in a closely related field, three prerequisite courses (statistics, microeconomics, and environmental sciences), and a commitment from an advisor who has agreed to mentor the applicant. 

Watch Solar From the Ground Up video
Preview image for Solar From the Ground Up video

Solar From the Ground Up

Industrial Heritage and Archaeology

MS | PhD | Accelerated MS

Students work on heritage issues in industrial communities and post-industrial sites. Our unique program, based in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan's Copper Country, draws from interdisciplinary concepts and tools in history, archaeology, and anthropology. Our students work with communities to interpret, document, educate citizens, and answer significant social, historical, environmental, and economic questions about the impacts and legacies of industrialization on communities.

Master's program students are prepared for cultural resource management positions in government for the private sector.

PhD program students are prepared for research careers in heritage management in public and private sectors.

Watch More Than Bones in a Drawer video
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More Than Bones in a Drawer

Sustainable Communities


Students learn from and work alongside professionals and scholars engaged in research that drives solutions to address pressing societal, environmental, and resource sustainability challenges. Build skills in policy analyses, law, community engagement, and social data analysis. Gain training in cultural and industrial heritage, built environments, social justice, and comparative perspectives on sustainability.


Students train for careers in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

Public Policy


Students learn relevant skills and gain policy analysis expertise from professionals with significant real-world experience in public policy. The certificate program can be completed quickly in as little as a single term.


When combined with existing knowledge, the certificate can help to advance a career as a policy analyst and leader in public service; as a legislator, legislative analyst or campaign director in politics; or in government affairs/relations, communications, community relations, and regulatory affairs in the private sector.


Graduate Student Handbook [PDF]


Accelerated Master's Program

The department also offers the option for both its EEP and IHA programs by which students in a current BS/BA program can then take one additional year of graduate classes and receive an MS degree in EEP or IHA. See the links below for each program and also see the graduate school's page on the AMP for general information on the program. To create flexibility for our students during COVID-19, Spring 2020 graduates are now eligible to apply for the Accelerate Master's Program through August 2020.

Funding Opportunities

Graduate teaching assistantships, which include stipends and tuition waivers, fund up to three years for PhDs. Research assistantships are also available through individual faculty research programs. The admissions committee makes funding decisions only once per year. Applications must be submitted by January 15th to be considered for funding. 

Office of Surface Mining VISTA Master's Programs

OSM/VISTA Master of Science degree programs blend practical field research and experience with community service in historic mining communities. We help students transform these pivotal experiences into professional careers. Offered through Michigan Tech's partnership with the program operated by the United States Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) and the AmeriCorps Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) program, the program includes volunteer preparation, one year of service, and a return to campus, where students can earn a master's degree in industrial archaeology or environmental and energy policy.

Admissions Timetable For All Grad Programs

Applications are accepted twice a year; All application materials, including letters of recommendation, must be submitted by the deadline. Only applications that are complete and submitted by the deadline will be reviewed. 

Application Cycle Timelines

Completed Applications Due  January 15  September 15

Program Admissions Decisions

March 15 November 15

Funding Decisions

March 15

March 15

Student Commitment Required By

April 15 December 15


Program Director 

Mark Rouleau head shot

Mark D. Rouleau

Associate Professor of Social Sciences
Graduate Director


Each of our graduate programs is oriented toward collaborative, interdisciplinary research experiences. As a masters student, you will complete an independent thesis research project in collaboration with a faculty advisor, which strengthens your ability to work with a variety of stakeholders in your professional field. The PhD programs prepare you to conduct critical research that informs policy and management decisions regarding heritage, energy, and/or the environment. The Department of Social Sciences is unique in its ability to provide opportunities for intensely collaborative work across a wide range of disciplines on a variety of projects grounded in community well-being, social justice, and improved management of natural and cultural resources.
We aim to provide funding support to graduate students in both MS and PhD programs through teaching and research assistantships or other arrangement. If you are interested in integrating your MS work with applied, community-based work, the OSM-VISTA program provides a way to enhance your experience and support your studies while obtaining a degree.
I welcome your questions about the opportunities available here at Michigan Tech, and thank you for your interest in our programs.

About the Area

Houghton and Michigan’s famous Copper County and Keweenaw Peninsula are ideal locations to study industrial heritage. Faculty and students rely upon the superb holdings of the Michigan Tech Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections in the University’s J. R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library. The industrial archaeology graduate programs also maintain close ties with the Michigan Historical Center, Keweenaw National Historical Park, and Isle Royale National Park, as well as Hiawatha, Ottawa National Forests, and several state parks, wilderness areas, and heritage sites. Faculty and students work within several academic organizations. Of particular note, Michigan Tech provides leadership and programmatic support for the Society for Industrial Archeology (SIA) and The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCIH).

Course Spotlight

MEG: Mentoring Experiences for Graduate Students (SS6005)

Empowering Graduate Students through Cross-Generational Research and Mentoring Experiences
Are you a Social Sciences graduate student looking to gain valuable research and mentoring experience? Consider leading a MEG: Mentoring Experiences for Graduates (SS 6005). Sign up for credits to serve as a research mentor to an undergraduate student on a project that aligns with your interests. Gain practical skills in mentoring, research design, and collaboration while making a meaningful contribution to your field. With a structured mentorship model and the support of a dedicated faculty advisor, you'll have everything you need to succeed. Don't miss this opportunity to take your career to the next level - apply to lead a MEG today!

MEG: Mentoring Experiences for Graduates (SS 6005)MEG: Mentoring Experiences for Graduates (SS 6005) is a dynamic research and mentoring program designed to empower graduate students with the skills they need to succeed in both academic and non-academic careers. By providing cross-generational mentoring and research opportunities, MEG fosters an inclusive environment for collaborative research design, experiences, and training. Through a structured mentorship model and a semester-long research experience, students develop practical skills in research and mentoring, preparing them for future success. With a formal mentorship structure and dedicated faculty advisors, MEG offers a unique opportunity for graduate students to make a meaningful contribution to their field while gaining valuable skills and experiences.

The Course is 'On Demand' (1-3 credits) and requires prerequisites (SS 6002 Research Design) and RCR Training. Contact Mark Rouleau, Graduate Director ( for more information!

Download our brochures

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Social Sciences Viewbook Cover EEP Viewbook IHA Viewbook cover Sustainable Communities viewbook cover