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Cultural and Environmental Resource Management

College of the Sciences

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Dr. Patrick McCutcheon
Phone: 509-963-2075

Megan Walsh
Phone: 509-963-3699

Cultural and Environmental Resource Management

Master of Science in Cultural and Environmental Resource Management

Since 1983, the Cultural and Environmental Resource Management (CERM) Master's Program has offered students an interdisciplinary, resource management curriculum drawing from Geography and Anthropology, as well as Biology, Economics, History, Philosophy, and Political Science. Natural and cultural resources intertwine in several ways. Understanding the multiplicity of resource issues is critically important to making defensible decisions at all levels.

Central Washington University's interdisciplinary program leading to a Master of Science degree in Cultural and Environmental Resource Management offers two emphases: Cultural Resource Management and Natural Resource Management. Natural and cultural resources intertwine in several ways. First, natural resource exploitation triggers much of the human activity that creates cultural resources and current perceptions of cultural resources are modifying management of natural resources. Second, both areas are affected by a common framework of legislation, policy formulation, fiscal management and national and international systems. Understanding the multiplicity of resource issues is critically important to making defensible decisions at all levels.

In recognition of these interconnections, all students in the program take a common core of coursework, linking cultural and natural resources, as they pursue their more specialized interests. We believe that well prepared resource managers must be capable of understanding problems and opportunities associated with both cultural and natural resources. Program objectives include further qualifying students for management positions in resource fields and promoting wiser and more effective management of resources in the future.

Program Description

Overarching program goals include qualifying students for positions in resource fields, and promoting wiser and more effective management of resources in the future. Specifically, these include the following:

  1. introduce students to a suite of resource management issues in natural, cultural, and economic contexts, and the role of a resource manager as an analyst and administrator;
  2. examine the current status and perceptions of resource management, including the definitions of natural and cultural resources as well as resource management, systems, and conservation;
  3. familiarize students with the historical background of resource management issues and conflicts, including related laws and policies;
  4. expose students to various concepts, methods, and techniques commonly used in resource management to analyze and formulate policy choices from natural, cultural, and economic perspectives;
  5. introduce students to integrated resource management with an interdisciplinary and holistic focus;
  6. raise awareness of Native American and other cultural perspectives of resource management issues;
  7. develop critical thinking, research, writing, and presentation skills in a resource management context.

The program is truly interdisciplinary, with roughly 60% of current incoming students interested in natural resource management (e.g., fisheries, river systems, wetlands, wildlife), 30% interested in CRM (e.g., CRM archaeology, historic preservation, museums), and 10% interested in some combination of these two (e.g., GIS and CRM, tribal sovereignty and reservation resources). A good way to understand the composition of our program is to look at the graduate student roster that indicates each student's research interests, and the list of completed thesis titles. For more information on the principal host departments, see geography and anthropology.

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Students in the program are expected take a common interdisciplinary core of coursework that explicitly links cultural and natural resources; as a result, they become capable of understanding problems and opportunities associated with cultural and natural resource integration. Students interested primarily in either natural or cultural resource management enroll together in the seven required core classes, most of which are co-taught by faculty representing both natural and cultural resource interests, primarily from the geography and anthropology departments. As a result, all students are exposed to resource management issues, concepts, policies, and techniques from a truly interdisciplinary perspective. In addition, students and faculty alike benefit from the ongoing synthesis and juxtaposition of their various perspectives and backgrounds, whether through lectures, class discussions, or student presentations. We believe this truly holistic, integrated and applied focus promotes wiser and more effective management of resources; it is also the hallmark which makes our program unique.

At least six academic quarters of continuous full-time study will be required for completion of course work, field experience and research, and thesis writing. Core courses examine natural and cultural resource issues and how they are affected by ecological systems, management practices, political change and economic development. Required economics coursework reviews the advantages and disadvantages of market, command, and mixed economies in terms of human welfare and impacts on environmental equality. Elective courses in several fields can be chosen to explore important concepts or to fill knowledge gaps.

Graduate credit is given for courses numbered 500 and above; courses numbered at the 400 level may be accepted for credit toward a graduate degree provided that they are approved as part of the student's course of study. Courses numbered at the 300 level (or lower) will not be accepted for credit toward a graduate degree.

A maximum of nine (9) quarter hours of credit may be applied to the master's degree from other accredited institutions which offer graduate degrees, provided that the credits are approved as part of the official course of study and did not apply to another degree.

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Required Courses

Note: Minimum of 60 credits, by advisement, in the following categories.

Core Courses: 27 credits

  • CERM 501 - Introduction to Cultural and Environmental Resource Management (4 credits)
  • CERM 502 - Policy and Law in Cultural and Environmental Resource Management (5 credits)
  • CERM 505 - Research Design and Proposal Development (3 credits)
  • CERM 506 - Cultural and Environmental Resource Management Colloquium (1 credit; must be taken twice for 2 credits)
  • CERM 522 - Cultural and Environmental Resource Management Analysis (5 credits)
  • CERM 562 - Issues and Conflicts in Cultural and Environmental Resource Management (3 credits)
  • ECON 462 - Economics of Energy, Resources, and Environment (5 credits)
    Prerequisite for course

Seminars/Electives in Cultural or Natural Resource Management, and other supporting courses: 22-28 credits

Internship or Field Experience: 6-12 credits are available, but this is not required

Master's Thesis, Project Study, and/or Examination (CERM 700): 6 credits

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Elective Courses

CERM Electives:

  • CERM 540. Ecology and Culture (4 credits)
  • CERM 590. Internship (1-10 credits)
  • CERM 593. Resource Management Field Experience (1-8 credits)
  • CERM 595. Graduate Research (1-10 credits)
  • Other courses available as electives at the graduate level may include the following:
  • ANTH 410. Biological Anthropology: Theoretical and Research Issues (4 credits)
  • ANTH 411. Primate Conservation (4 credits)
  • ANTH 412. Long Term Primate Studies (4 credits)
  • ANTH 413. Research Methods in Primatology
  • ANTH 414. Forensic Anthropology: Cold Case Analysis (6 credits)
  • ANTH 415. Forensic Anthropology: Theoretical and Applied Issues (4 credits)
  • ANTH 416. Pongid Behavior (4 credits)
  • ANTH 418. Monkeys of Asia and Africa (4 credits)
  • ANTH 419. Lemurs and Lorises
  • ANTH 421. Archaeological Theory (4 credits)
  • ANTH 425. Zooarchaeology (4 credits)
  • ANTH 426. Stone Tool Analysis (4 credits)
  • ANTH/GEOG 440: Ecology and Culture (4 credits)
  • ANTH 442. Comparative Ethnology (4 credits)
  • ANTH 444. Ethnographic Field Methods (4 credits)
  • ANTH 446. Anthropology of Globalization (4 credits)
  • ANTH 449. Contemporary Native American Cultures and Issues (4 credits)
  • ANTH 451. History and Theory of Anthropology (4 credits)
  • ANTH 483. Sociolinguistics (4 credits)
  • ANTH 485. Method and Theory in Biological Anthropology (1-8 credits)
  • ANTH 486. Advanced Methods in Archaeology (1-8 credits)
  • ANTH 487. Field Linguistics (1-8 credits)
  • ANTH 488. Advanced Research in Cultural Anthropology (1-8 credits)
  • ANTH 492. Anthropological Teaching Experience (1-2 credits)
  • ANTH 493. Anthropological Field Experience (1-8 credits)
  • ANTH 496. Individual Study (1-6 credits)
  • ANTH 498. Special Topics (1-6 credits)
  • ANTH 499. Seminar (1-5 credits)
  • ANTH 521. Cultural Resources Management (4 credits)
  • ANTH 527. Environmental Archaeology (4 credits)
  • ANTH 596. Individual Study (1-6 credits)
  • BIOL 420. Environmental Microbiology (5 credits)
  • BIOL 444. Algology (5 credits)
  • BIOL 450. Ichthyology (4 credits)
  • BIOL 451. Herpetology (4 credits)
  • BIOL 452. Ornithology (4 credits)
  • BIOL 453. Mammalogy (5 credits)
  • BIOL 461. Community Ecology (3 credits)
  • BIOL 462. Wildlife and Fisheries Ecology (5 credits)
  • BIOL 463. Limnology (5 credits)
  • BIOL 464. Terrestrial Plant Ecology (5 credits)
  • BIOL 465. Biology of Animal Behavior (4 credits)
  • BIOL 466/566. Conservation Biology (5 credits)
  • BIOL 552. Aquatic Entomology (5 credits)
  • ECON 406 Business Analytics (5 credits)
  • ECON 424 Econometrics (5 credits)
  • ECON 425 Economic and Business Forecasting (5 credits)
  • ECON 426 Economic Research (5 credits)
  • ECON 463 Energy Economics (5 credits)
  • GEOG 404. GIS Analysis (4 credits)
  • GEOG 405. Advanced Planning (3 credits)
  • GEOG 409. Quantitative Methods (4 credits)
  • GEOG 417. Advanced GIS (4 credits)
  • GEOG 422. Food and Agriculture (5 credits)
  • GEOG 430. Remote Sensing (5 credits)
  • GEOG 440  Ecology and Culture (4 credits) (Crosslisted, ANTH 440/CERM 540)
  • GEOG 441  Climate Change
  • GEOG 442  Alternative Energy
  • GEOG 443. Energy Policy (5 credits)
  • GEOG 444. Mineral Resources (4 credits)
  • GEOG 445. Natural Resource Policy (4 credits)
  • GEOG 448. Environmental Resource Analysis (5 credits)
  • GEOG 449  Environmental Hazards
  • GEOG 450. Arid Lands (4 credits)
  • GEOG 451. Mountain Environments (4 credits)
  • GEOG 452. Coastal Environments (4 credits)
  • GEOG 453. Riparian & Wetlands Analysis (4 credits)
  • GEOG 454. Forest Environments
  • GEOG 455  Pyrogeography
  • GEOG 456  Recreation Geography
  • GEOG 458  People, Parks, and Public Lands
  • GEOG 460  International Trade
  • GEOG 461. Soils (5 credits)
  • GEOG 473. Watershed Analysis and Planning (4 credits)
  • GEOG 481. Urban Geography (5 credits)
  • GEOG 482. Hydrology (5 credits)
  • GEOG 483  Snow
  • GEOG 492. Applied GIS project (2-6 credits)
  • GEOG 498  Special Topics (Check for updates)
  • GEOG 546. Water Resource Development (3 credits)
  • GEOG 596. Individual Study (1-6 credits)
  • GEOG 599. Seminar (1-5 credits)

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Facilities and Equipment

Facilities for the CERM program are housed in the departments of Anthropology and Geography. Our well-appointed laboratories include:

  • Aquatic Systems and Hydrology Laboratory
  • Cultural Anthropology Laboratory
  • Forensics Laboratory
  • GIS Laboratory
  • Geomorphology and Soils Laboratory
  • Human Osteology Laboratory
  • Molecular Anthropology Laboratory
  • Paleoecology Laboratory
  • Rendering Laboratory
  • Special Anthropology Projects Laboratory
  • Visual Anthropology Laboratory
  • Zooarchaeology Laboratory

The CERM program has 11 offices that each has space and a desktop computer for 3 students. In addition, the GIS Laboratory includes office space and a computer for one CERM student. We provide office space to all funded graduate students. We also try to provide space for non-funded students on a space available basis.

The CERM program is a cooperating member of the CWU Center for Spatial Information, the Central Washington Archaeological Survey, and other related programs and research projects that are headquartered at the University.

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Admission Requirements

The Cultural and Environmental Resource Management Program admits a select group of students on a competitive basis each Fall quarter. Minimum entrance requirements are an earned Bachelor's degree and minimum 3.0 GPA for the past 90 quarter credits or 60 semester credits. Additionally, you must be able to meet the guidelines for undergraduate degree preparation outlined on the web page, including strong language (reading, writing, and comphrension) skills, basic statistics, knowledge of microeconomic principles, and proficiency with computers. Students lacking undergraduate coursework in statistics or economics may be accepted but will be required to take remedial courses in the first year. Letters of reference are important, as is your own letter of application/statement of purpose. We make our decisions based on letter of application/statement of purpose (clarity of purpose and quality of writing), GPA, letters of recommendation, appropriateness of undergraduate degree and/or past experience, and match of student interests to the interests and expertise of the Cultural and Environmental Resource Management faculty. If possible, visiting us is a great way to make contact with faculty and students in the program and to see our facilities. We also recommend that you take and submit the GRE, but do not require this for your application packet.

The admission packet can be completed on-line at (1) Application for Graduate Admission; and (2) Recommendation for Graduate Studies (one for each of 3 references). We also recommend you submit the third form on that page (3) Assistantship Application Form. In addition to these forms, you will need to submit: (4) application fee; (5) a statement of objectives or purpose of up to 500 words (detail goals and specific academic interests, and how you plan to reach those goals); (6) official transcripts.

For priority consideration (including assistantships), apply by February 1st, but applications are accepted through April 1. Applications received after April 1 are considered on a space-available basis.

We render decisions on admission usually by mid-March. There are a number (10) of graduate assistantships available each year, including tuition waivers. You may apply for an assistantship as part of your Graduate School application process. Graduate assistants may be assigned to assist with teaching (e.g., GEOG 107 laboratory), lab supervision (e.g. GIS lab), or collaborative research with faculty. There may be research assistantships available funded by external grants available each year as well. Additionally, residents of 14 western states participating in the Western Regional Graduate Program are automatically eligible for a waiver of out-of-state tuition funded by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. (Participating states are AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, NM, ND, OR, SD, UT, WA, and WY. Please note that you are applying as a WRGP scholar if you are a resident of one of these states)

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