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To better understand the potential impact of a Master of Environmental Management (MEM) program at Boise State University, Idaho Policy Institute (IPI) was asked to assess peer programs across the nation, as well as employment opportunities for individuals with this skill set. IPI’s analysis included a review of peer program websites, interviews with peer program directors, an online survey of PhD program directors in related fields, analysis of job listings, and both an online survey and interviews with potential employers.

Key findings of IPI’s analysis include:

  • Peer programs tend to target working professionals who are interested in advancing their existing careers, thus serving as a terminal degree. MEM students that go on to pursue a PhD are typically self-directed.
  • Programs situated near public policy hubs (e.g., state capitals, industry centers) are well suited to leverage that proximity into program opportunities, such as internships, policy clinics, or project-based activities.
  • Communication skills are highly valued by employers in today’s market. Jobs in the environmental field increasingly call for collaborative approaches that are effective in communicating complicated material to diverse audiences.
  • Peer programs emphasize the importance of diversity, both in course offerings and growing their student base.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in realignments among employers, requiring a flexible workforce that is able to adapt to changing circumstances and assume additional responsibilities. The more an MEM program can prepare students to adjust to these realities, the better off they will be in the job market.


This report was prepared by Idaho Policy Institute at Boise State University.

This report was made possible by the NSF Idaho EPSCoR Program and by the National Science Foundation under award number OIA-1757324.