DANBURY — In a collaborative graduate studies program offered through the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, Western Connecticut State University and Southern Connecticut State University recently introduced the master of science in integrative biological diversity degree.

The program seeks to educate students about research methods used to measure the health and diversity of organisms and their environments. Students will learn to apply ecological, molecular and spatial tools to examine, quantify and describe biodiversity.

“The Master of Science in Integrative Biological Diversity requires that all students engage in biodiversity monitoring as a component of stewardship, and learn to communicate the importance of diversity to human health and the conservation of resources,” the mission statement said.

Coordinated by WCSU Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences Dr. Theodora Pinou, the new M.S. program offers a 30-credit curriculum. Faculty from the WCSU Biological and Environmental Sciences Department and the SCSU Biology and Environment, Geography and Marine Sciences departments participate as course instructors and research mentors.

The program has accepted 14 students since its launch in January and applications received through June 30 will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for enrollment this fall.

Dr. Pinou explained that the recently released report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has raised public awareness of a crisis in rapidly diminishing species diversity that researchers in the field have recognized as a serious and growing global problem for decades.

An important aspect of the biodiversity master’s degree program is to provide the opportunity for M.S. candidates to collaborate with a wide range of corporations, educational institutions, conservation and wildlife organizations and other partners where students can apply their skills and knowledge to real-world experiences in the exploration and monitoring of biodiversity.

Dr. Pinou remarked that through hands-on research in monitoring species diversity, habitat conservation, environmental threats to organisms and other issues, students will gain valuable experience for future careers that contribute to advancing resilience and sustainability.

Those interested may direct inquiries to Dr. Pinou at Pinout@wcsu.edu. Application requirements and additional details about the program curriculum may be obtained at http://wcsu.edu/biology-msbiodiversity/ and at http://catalogs.wcsu.edu/grad1819/master-of-science-in-integrative-biological-diversity/.

Those seeking additional information may contact Dr. Pinou at Pinout@wcsu.edu or the Office of University Relations at 203-837-8486.

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