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New master's degree will focus on water and soil resources

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We are pleased to announce that our School of Geosciences now offers a master’s degree in environmental resource science. This interdisciplinary degree program complements the discipline-specific graduate programs offered in our college and is slated to begin in August 2017.

The new graduate program will produce highly trained environmental scientists who will address challenges primarily related to water and soil resources. Its focus is strategic for Louisiana and aligned with the state’s workforce needs.

Freshwater wetlands are critical to the seafood industry and mitigate coastal flooding and erosion. Like water, soil resources are fundamental to Louisiana’s agriculture and to coastal restoration efforts. Louisiana has 44 soil and water conservation districts that are dedicated to sustaining and conserving soil stability, croplands, woodlands and wetlands, and water quality of waterways throughout the state.

Dr. David Borrok, director of the School of Geosciences, noted that "Louisiana's core economic sectors are direct reflections of the natural resources available in our state, and some of our most critical resources are water and soil." While Dr. Durga Poudel, a professor in the School of Geosciences, noted that "our Gulf Coast setting in the hub city of Louisiana is the perfect location to study water and soil resources. With a strong agricultural industry, the petroleum industry, and the fact that our state hosts 40 percent of the nation's freshwater wetlands, there is no shortage of local research and career opportunities in environmental science."

Environmental resource science is a priority research area for UL Lafayette. This new master's program will contribute to the University's environment, energy, coastal, and water areas of excellence and will play an important role in Louisiana’s economic development efforts.  Dean Ackleh noted that this program will "further advance Louisiana as a national leader in environmental research and development."