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Columbia Campus    
2016-2017 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) 
  May 22, 2024
2016-2017 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) [Archived Catalog]

Earth and Environmental Resources Management, M.E.E.R.M.

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The Master of Earth and Environmental Resources Management (M.E.E.R.M.) degree is offered through the Environment and Sustainability Program.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students are required to demonstrate knowledge of business and policy by taking a minimum of twelve hours of courses from selectives offered and examine the scientific and engineering principles that govern this complex field by completing at least twelve hours of courses from selectives offered in these fields.
  • Students, upon completing the program, should be able to demonstrate that they can effectively integrate business and/or policy concepts with scientific information.
  • Students enrolled in the thesis option must successfully defend a thesis proposal which demonstrates an understanding of the interactions between earth resources, business, policy and the environmental concepts. 
  • All students must demonstrate that they comprehend and can apply the integrated concepts developed within the courses completed by successfully completing a writing which indicates their proficiency in this integration.


Requirements for admission conform with general regulations of The Graduate School including satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination and successful academic performance at an accredited institution. Applicants whose native language is not English are also required to submit a satisfactory score on the TOEFL or the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam. The minimum acceptable score on the TOEFL is 230 (computer-based) or 570 (paper-based). The minimum acceptable overall band score on the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam is 6.5. Attention will be given not only to the applicant’s academic record but also to relevant scientific and administrative experience.

Requests for further information should be addressed to: Graduate Director, Earth and Environmental Resources Management Program, School of the Environment, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208; or contact us by phone, 803-777-9153, or e-mail,

Degree Requirements (36 Hours)

This master’s degree program is focus-based on students’ backgrounds and interests. Electives are available in geological, biological, marine, and environmental health sciences; geography; chemistry and biochemistry; chemical, civil, and environmental engineering; environmental law; policy; and business administration, based on the background and needs of the student. At least one-third of the course work must be in earth and environmental resources and at least one-third in management, finance, policy, and economics, but no more than 50 percent in either field. Students will be required to complete six hours of integrative seminars. Courses exist in business administration for graduate students with nonbusiness backgrounds. Students will be required to demonstrate sufficient background in one or more fields, gained by academic study or experience, to qualify for graduate courses in earth or environmental resources.

Additional Information

Additional course offerings will be tailored to the individual’s interests and background of experience and education. Students will enroll in existing courses in the Environmental and Sustainability Program (formerly School of the Environment); geological, biological, or marine sciences; chemical, civil, or environmental engineering; environmental health; chemistry or biochemistry; geography; business administration; and other disciplines. The integrative seminars serve the purpose of relating science and nonscience subject matter. A program of study will be developed with the student’s interdisciplinary committee according to the guidelines established by the coordinating committee and will be approved by the student’s advisor and by the graduate director. Theses will be supervised by an appropriate advisor and interdisciplinary committee based on the student’s research topic.

The program requires a total of 36 credit hours, which includes 6 hours of thesis credit or, with director’s approval, 6 hours of approved electives in lieu of a thesis. There is no foreign language requirement.

All candidates for a degree in the MEERM graduate program must complete a comprehensive examination followed  by a comprehensive assessment that is distinct from program course requirements. A comprehensive assessment requires the student to sythesize and integrate knowledge acquired in coursework and other learning experiences and to apply theory and principles in a situation that approximates some aspect of professional practice or research in the discipline. It must be used as a means by which faculty judge whether the student has mastered the body of knowledge and can demonstrate proficiency in the required competencies. Since the MEERM degree has three paths to degree (traditional thesis, traditional non-thesis, and internship), each distinct path has a separate comprehensive assessment model. Students in the traditional thesis track need only successfully defend their thesis and provide a copy of the approved thesis as evidence of successful completion of the comprehensive assessment. Similarly, traditional non-thesis students should petition the Director of the MEERM program for non-thesis status and provide evidence of scholarly research, including, but not limited to, an applied research project, comprehensive manual or other major written work. Students admitted into the traditional non-thesis track will be required to present a detailed public seminar prior to graduation that integrates this scholarly work with knowledge acquired in MEERM coursework. This integrated seminar may be used as evidence of successful completion of the comprehensive assessment. Internship track students ordinarily present a detailed, public seminar that outlines the internship experience after the internship has been completed. As the internship advisor, faculty advisor, all other committee members and the Graduate Studies Director are required to attend and critically evaluate this seminar, the internship seminar will be used as a means to judge the student’s grasp of relevant knowledge and ability to synthesize coherently a swath of MEERM disciplines. Satisfactory completion of the internship seminar will be used as evidence for successful completion of the comprehensive assessment.

It is expected that students with demonstrated course work in earth or environmental resources and pertinent experience should be able to complete the program in two years.

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