Duke University: Distance Learning Programs In-Depth

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Duke University

Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences Duke Environmental Leadership Program

Durham, North Carolina


Through the Duke Environmental Leadership (DEL) Program, the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences offers a rigorous online and on-campus Master of Environmental Management (M.E.M.) degree program designed specifically for midcareer environmental professionals and business executives. The DEL M.E.M. is an innovative, two-year program made up of courses taught through a combination of written and electronic formats, case studies, and weeklong, intensive place-based sessions. Driven by a broad perspective of interdisciplinary and global themes, strategic approaches to environmental management, communication, and effective leadership, the DEL M.E.M. offers an alternative to traditional full-semester courses, allowing students to update their education while maintaining a commitment to their jobs and families.


The DEL M.E.M. uses advanced interactive technologies to complement the face-to-face sessions on campus. Students use the Blackboard platform as their learning portal to complete individual and group course work and to participate in chat sessions and online meetings. In addition, DEL-sponsored bulletin boards, videoconferences, and conference calls reinforce the curriculum, and Duke e-mail accounts are available through Duke's Office of Information Technology.

Students must arrange network access with a local Internet service provider and are strongly encouraged to have broadband access to the Internet via a cable modem, DSL, or satellite connection.


The DEL M.E.M. is a two-year, 30-credit program. Requirements include the orientation course at the Duke campus (1 credit); core modules, including ecosystems science and management, economics of environmental management, environmental policy and law, and program management for environmental professionals (12 credits); focused modules developed around more specialized themes (12 credits); an environmental leadership module, which involves prominent leaders from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in Washington, D.C. (1 credit); and a master's project directly related to the student's current employment (4 credits).

Through the DEL Program, students can also enroll in 1-credit intensive short courses and 10-credit certificate programs. More information on the short-course program and a list of upcoming courses can be found online.


DEL M.E.M. students receive complete student services at a distance and while on campus during place-based sessions. These include registration, academic advising, library resources, and access to the bookstore. Technical support is available online or, for personal support, via e-mail and telephone during business hours, with limited hours during weekends and evenings. The IT orientation during the first place-based session introduces students to the programs and packages preinstalled on the DEL-leased laptop computers. Much of the curriculum during the first session aims to help students gain familiarity with online education and master new learning techniques.

Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University is at the heart of a world-renowned center of excellence in medicine, research, high technology, and education, incorporating a sophisticated and unique blend of history, culture, and ethnic diversity. Noted for its magnificent Gothic architecture and its academic excellence, Duke is among the smallest of the nation's leading universities, having a total enrollment of about 12,000. Its spacious campus is bounded on the east by residential sections of Durham and on the west by the Duke Forest.

The Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences is one of the world's premier graduate and professional schools for the interdisciplinary study of the environment, combining resources from the biological, physical, and social sciences. Located in the heart of the Duke campus, the School functions as an environmental forum, an intellectual hub drawing input from all disciplines at Duke—law, business, medicine, science, and engineering. The goal is to develop critical and creative leaders who will shape tomorrow's Earth. No other university—and no other environmental school—takes such a broad approach to environmental science and policy.


Credit from other institutions may be considered on a case-by-case basis; however, due to the nature of the DEL M.E.M. program, acceptance of transfer credits is unlikely.


The Nicholas School is known for the strength of its faculty members, as measured by their scholarly achievement, commitment to high-quality education, and impact on the most important environmental and natural resource challenges. More than 50 faculty members hold primary or joint appointments in the School, and a large number have secondary or adjunct status with other units or institutions.


The admissions committee seeks the following in the selection process: five years of relevant work experience, evidence of leadership potential and an established background in fields directly related to the environment, self-motivation and commitment to learn at a distance, a working knowledge of personal computers for word processing and data analysis, an undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year college or university, written sponsorship from the applicant's employer, and proficiency in English.


In summer 2004, tuition was $46,600 for four semesters. Tuition includes books, other class materials, and various Duke student fees, including a required technology fee that provides a leased laptop computer and technology support. Tuition does not cover travel to and from the campus, lodging, or meals during the place-based sessions.


At this time, the DEL Program does not award scholarships or grants to students. However, financial aid is available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents through various student loan programs.


Duke Environmental Leadership Program Office
Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
Levine Science Research Center, Room A106
Duke University, Box 90328
Durham, North Carolina 27708-0328
Telephone: 919-613-8082
Fax: 919-613-9002
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.nicholas.duke.edu/del


Candidates are requested to apply online by March 1, but applications may be accepted after the final deadline on a space-available basis. A complete application includes an application form; official GRE scores; three letters of recommendation; a sponsor letter written on company letterhead stating that the employer endorses the applicant's participation in the program and grants the necessary time off to attend classes; completed essay questions; official, confidential transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended, including official English translations if the original is not in English; official TOEFL scores for applicants whose first language is not English; and a nonrefundable application fee of $65 if the application is submitted prior to March 1 or $75 after March 1. Submitting a resume is optional.

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