Thompson Rivers University’s MEEM and MScEEM tackle environmental economics and management issues.
Increasingly, global economic growth in the 21st century—regardless of the business or industry—is linked to the call for sustainability and environmental stewardship.
It follows, then, that business leaders who understand how to balance economic demands with stewardship will be in high demand—and that’s precisely why Thompson Rivers University (TRU) developed its new master’s degrees in environmental economics and management, now in the second year of deployment.
Peter Tsigaris, professor and senator at TRU, says: “We began developing the graduate programs four years ago for students with an undergraduate degree in business. The content we formulated would equip them to deal with environmental issues and, at the same time, help them improve the success of the businesses in which they would be involved.”
Tsigaris, whose research interests range from environmental economics to taxation policy and design, adds that “the program is a great connection to our MBA program—and students without an undergraduate business degree can start in the graduate foundation business year which is shared by MBA students.”
There are two program options.
The Master in Environmental Economics and Management (MEEM) is a one-year, course-based program, providing graduates with a broad knowledge of the business environment, advanced management skills and specialized knowledge in environmental economics and sustainability.
The Master of Science in Environmental Economics and Management (MScEEM) provides graduates with an understanding of the business environment, specialized knowledge in the emerging area of sustainability as well as academic and applied research expertise through the completion of a graduate thesis or project.
“Eight economics classes are at the core of both programs, and topics include environmental and natural resource issues; policy and regulation; cost benefit analysis and non-market valuation techniques such as placing a value of increasing biodiversity as well as sustainable economic development at the community, national and global level. Students in the MEEM are also required to take four related courses from the MBA program, including project management and consulting,” says Tsigaris.
“The MEEM takes three semesters (one calendar year) to complete—four courses per semester—the MScEEM students take nine courses over a calendar year and may take an extra semester with a research project, while a thesis route may take longer.”
Ten students enrolled in MEEM and MScEEM when it was first offered last year; a similar number enrolled in 2018 and next year the number is expected to increase. “What’s really interesting is that about 70 percent of our enrollees are international students, meaning they may be taking what they learn from programs back to their home countries to apply in the professions of their choosing,” he says. “It’s nice to think that while the graduate programs are a home-grown idea, its influence could be international.”
Businesses, non-government organizations and the public sector are increasingly incorporating sustainability practices into their planning, and Tsigaris expects that the programs will enable his students to make major contributions to the field of economic sustainable management.
“There’s a big market globally for business graduates with this kind of education and we expect the programs to continue to grow in popularity,” he says.