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University of Rhode Island — Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
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Reasons to Go
Why should I consider graduate school?

There are so many reasons to consider graduate school. The two very obvious and common ones are: perfecting your skills and knowledge in the field you are passionate about and augmenting your opportunity for more interesting and rewarding jobs. But there is much more than that. More so than undergraduate school, and certainly to a different level, graduate programs present themselves with a wealth of extracurricular activities such as conferences, symposiums, national and international research trips, and calls for papers. These professional events not only provide you with ample opportunities to present your ideas to—and exchange information with—people sharing the same professional interest as you, but also form friendships and social networks that will help you later in your career. Graduate school is a unique experience that only few people get to go through. It may be the final step in one’s education and it can be an unbelievable journey in getting to know yourself and test your personal and professional limits.

In our graduate programs, you will have the opportunity to work on applied and theoretical issues in the area of natural resource economics, with an emphasis on coastal and marine resource development and management. As part of your journey, you will expand standard models and frameworks to situations with multiple, unique, or idiosyncratic challenges. You will develop and test new methodologies for all levels of analysis and use state-of the art statistical models for complex datasets. Also, you will evaluate emerging policy approaches, particularly those operating with—or through—a market or current or future legislation concerning climate or energy. Importantly, as your Master of Science thesis or dissertation, you can choose the environmental challenge you are most passionate about and apply the concepts and tools learned to develop innovative solutions. In doing so, you will benefit from the invaluable resources we have here to help you along the way.

In 2007, the Department of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics was ranked the fourth most productive research department in the country. In 2008, our department was ranked eighth nationally for “Best Places to Go to Graduate School” among Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics Departments. In 2009, the National Research Council ranked ENRE’s faculty sixth nationally for research productivity among Ph.D. granting departments in agricultural and resource economics. And again, in 2010, the National Research Council ranked our Ph.D. program sixth in the nation for research, student support, and outcomes combined.

The success of ENRE graduates in winning dissertation and thesis awards and in securing professional positions, including many as tenure track faculty at the top universities in the nation, reflects the exceptional mentoring being done by ENRE faculty. Additionally, ENRE’s scholar-teachers have consistently won teaching awards, including three in the last ten years.

Our faculty members are well known for their research in environmental economics and in fisheries economics, including management, marketing, and international trade. There is a special focus on marine pollution, water quality, and other resource use issues in the coastal zone. The faculty includes recognized experts with national and international reputations who have played key roles in the academic profession and in the formulation of regional, national, and international policies.

The cumulative result of a long history of our department’s excellence is that in 2008-2009 alone, we had seven graduates of our Ph.D., all of whom obtained high quality professional positions, which is particularly notable in a year of economic downturn. Two of these graduates went directly on to tenure-track faculty positions (University of Florida and Goucher College) with no intermediate stop as a post doc. ENRE Ph.D. alumni hold positions as tenure track faculty members at prestigious universities such as University of Florida, University of Maryland, North Carolina State University, Oregon State University, University of Alaska, Boston College, Providence College, University of Tulsa, and many others.

In terms of great tools to support your quest for finding a path to a green economy, the Department of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics' Policy Simulation Laboratory (SimLab) was created to apply interactive tools based on modern computer technologies to help understand the consequences of policy actions. The SimLab is a set of networked rooms designed to work together as a flexible, integrated facility to study decision making and to help communities make wise choices.  The future of a community is determined by choices made by a large number of individuals, businesses, and government officials. However, it is difficult for community members to understand how today’s choices affect their future. Policy Simulation uses visualization tools created with emerging computer technologies, like digital imagery and virtual reality, to create interactive tools that depict the consequences of policy changes.

Hence, if you aspire to become the best in this field, you are looking in the right place since we have the best tools and team to help you through this extremely challenging and rewarding process.

For a testimonial of Ms. Kristina DiSanto, a URI college graduate with a major in environmental economics who decided to join our graduate program, as a master’s student, read the Student Profiles.

For more information about our graduate programs, please go to ENRE’s Graduate Programs. For some humor, please see below.