Environmental Conservation Education

MA in Environmental Conservation Education

Our interdisciplinary approach draws on both theory and practice, integrating the natural and social sciences with education and fieldwork to help you gain an understanding of the profound effects of human activity on the planet, and the role of education in solving environmental problems. Opportunities for environmental conservation occur in multiple settings: in the heart of New York City, in tropical rainforests, and in informal settings. We are a diverse community and welcome students from all over the globe.

What you'll learn

You will work with faculty from a wide variety of disciplines, including education, history, philosophy, law, journalism, science, health, and the arts, and learn how to: 

  • Critique the profound effects of human activity on the planet
  • Identify and apply environmental theories and policies across a broad range of formal and non-formal settings, both locally and globally, such as schools, cultural institutions, government agencies, and non- and for-profit organizations
  • Describe national and local models of environmental education, analyze contemporary environmental issues, and implement environmental education as an interdisciplinary tool in fostering environmental literacy and sustainability
  • Develop competencies in environmental education, including program design, curriculum development, evaluation, grant writing, policy analysis, and non-profit management 

See the curriculum and requirements for this master's degree.

Read more about students and faculty in our program brochure

Read about the MA ECE thesis projects.

How you'll learn

Core Courses

Core courses in environmental thought, cities and their environment, and environmental politics will introduce you to the theories, policies, and ethics that have shaped public discourse and understanding of our environment. You’ll also take a core course in the theory and practice of environmental education, where you will examine national and local models of environmental education, analyze their relationship to contemporary issues of environmental literacy, and develop skills in planning environmental education programs. 

Flexible Study

Class sizes are small, with the majority offered in the evenings to accommodate working students. Full-time students typically complete the program in three semesters. Part-time students may take up to two years to complete the program.

Elective courses within the program and across other departments allow you to tailor your program of study to fit your particular conservation education interests in areas such as environmental justice, curriculum design, teacher education, policy studies, ecology, youth education, non-formal education, and sustainability. Electives may be taken within Steinhardt, the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and other units. 

Practical Learning Experiences

We have strong affiliations with Steinhardt’s Science Education program, the Wagner School for Public Service, and the Wallerstein Collaborative for Urban Environmental Education, providing you with opportunities to work closely with faculty on research, curriculum projects, and other environmental initiatives. Through required fieldwork, you’ll use New York City as your laboratory, gaining a unique urban experience in environmental education and making ample use of the city’s vast resources. You’ll get experience in sustainability education through our extensive network of internships, which often lead directly to jobs upon graduation. Internships take place at organizations including: 

Prepare for a career as a

  • Conservation educator
  • Environmental consultant
  • Program director or manager 

Graduates of NYU Steinhardt's Environmental Conservation Education program live and work in the United States and around the world. They direct projects, evaluate programs, consult, advocate for change, develop new policies, and create and run their own companies or nonprofit organizations – all in the name of educating the public about environmental conservation and sustainability.

They hold positions in:

  • City, state, federal, and international agencies
  • Parks, nature centers, zoos, and botanical gardens
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Public and private schools

Learn more about our alumni.

Program benefits for international students

If you’re an international student, you may be able to work in the United States after graduation for an extended period of time. Most students studying on F-1 visas will be eligible for 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) off-campus work authorization.

F-1 students in this program may also be eligible for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics) OPT extension, allowing you to extend your time in the United States to pursue degree-related work experience for a total of 36 months or 3 years

For more information on who can apply for this extension and how, see NYU’s Office of Global Services: STEM OPT.

For more information about our MA program, please contact

Dr. Mary Leou
Program Director

Dr. Raul P. Lejano
Associate Professor