Georgetown rolled out a new master’s program to teach students to measure levels of potentially harmful substances in the atmosphere and develop relevant environmental policy.
The environmental metrology and policy program, announced Oct. 25, is housed in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The two-year program, set to hold classes on nights and weekends to accommodate professional schedules, is accepting applications for fall 2019.
The degree is aimed at scientists and engineers who wish to better understand current environmental hazards and strong environmental policy-making. YuYe Tong, the director of EMAP and a chemistry professor, said the program intends for students to become proficient in quantitative analysis and explore the subsequent policy decisions driven by scientific evidence. The master’s program is a collaboration between Georgetown University, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Broadly speaking, the program is geared toward students who have proper undergraduate education (BS/BA) in STEM with prerequisites of certain chemistry courses as the program focuses on scientific and policy issues related to chemical pollutants in environment,” Tong wrote in an email to The Hoya.
The program is a result of Tong’s work exploring the possibility of combining the quantitative knowledge of chemistry with the qualitative work of other university departments such as the science, technology and international affairs program.
The program has been in development since 2013, when a team from the chemistry and the science, technology and international affairs departments applied to a training grant together, Tong said. Although the initiative was not successful, the experience encouraged Tong to keep working toward a collaborative program.
“Developing the Master of Science in Environmental Metrology and Policy (MS-EMAP) at Georgetown is really a product of several iterations of different ideas and attempts over a period of several years, driven by a deep aspiration of elevating Georgetown’s physical sciences to a level that is commensurate with its national ranking,” Tong wrote.
Students in the program will be taught not only by Georgetown faculty, but also by experts from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Environmental Protection Agency.
“There’s a gap in terms of education in chemical and biochemical metrology and even at NIST it can take several years to train people in terms of mastering the principles and methodologies in metrology,” Tong said in the Oct. 25 news release. “The new program will help address that issue and be convenient to full-time workers.”
The creation of the program comes at a time where there is a need for relevant research and policy to understand the environmental risk and impact of chemical pollutants. Tong said the education for students about quantitative analysis and policymaking makes the MS-EMAP an interdisciplinary program that is relevant to the current needs of the world.
“To ensure a secure and sustainable human society in which having a healthy environment is a key ingredient, the increasingly prevailing environmental chemical pollutants need urgently to be meticulously and constantly identified, characterized, quantified, assessed, regulated and managed,” Tong wrote. “It therefore also needs to involve a broad spectrum of policymakers and stakeholders that include representatives from industry, academia, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the general public.”
The program’s organizers expect it to provide opportunities for students to develop their careers and research skills through a funded summer internship and capstone research project. Tong said there are a multitude of career opportunities within the environmental sphere for students to explore both through the internship and after completion of the degree.
“EMAP graduates will have one of the broadest professional spaces in which to develop a rewarding career of great and lasting societal impacts for the betterment of the world,” Tong wrote. “There are many career opportunities for them in every sector of human society, be it government agencies, NGOs, research and academic institutions, or corporate entities.”