Master's Project Information for Host Organizations (Clients)

What is a master's project?

Master's projects are interdisciplinary problem-solving experiences conducted by interdisciplinary teams of 4-7 master's degree students as the capstone of their academic programs at the School of Natural Resources and Environment.

Projects provide students with a team experience that approximate a future work environment while also providing client organizations with solutions to complex environmental issues and useful products. These projects focus the substantial capabilities of our students and faculty on problems faced by real-world clients. Project ideas are developed by faculty, students, or clients.

Master's Project FAQ

Master's Project Client Fairs: January 

  • Clients will be invited to participate in the client fair on January 15, 2015 in the SNRE Commons to meet with small groups of interested students.
  • The client fair is designed to provide students with more information from clients/ project representatives to help them determine which project team they will join.

What's expected of client organizations?

  • Attend (or participate remotely in) key planning meetings with the master's project team or representatives.
  • Provide at least one main contact person who can represent the organization for the duration of the project.
  • Attend the client fair (in January) to talk with students about your idea, attend final project presentation (April 2016 - International clients are not expected to attend).
  • Review draft documents in a timely fashion.
  • Help the team with access and/or referrals to important contact people and organizations.
  • Help the students in conceptualizing the project and interpreting its findings.
  • Desirable: Help with funding connections and with other resources, such as office space, tools, in-kind support, local lodging facilities, etc.

Client Expectations

What client organizations are saying about SNRE's master's projects:

 "This project ("Corn Ethanol and Wildlife") helped to shed light on a very important conservation issue, through an unbiased, scientific assessment.  By getting the results out broadly, it is now helping to inform public policy on corn ethanol expansion. The National Wildlife Federation is thankful to the SNRE Masters Project members for helping to inform our policy positioning on this issue."  

- Julie Sibbing, National Wildlife Federation

"My colleagues and I were very impressed with the work of the SNRE team. The team went to great lengths to ensure that their product would be useful to us. We are incorporating the products of their work into our own conservation strategies for the Grayling Outwash Plain."

- Douglas Pearsall, The Nature Conservancy in Michigan

"This was an extremely ambitious project. I was very pleased with the students' ability to stay focused. I have a great deal of confidence in the quality of the results." 

- Ellen Brody, NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary Program

"The final product was great and has been widely distributed among wildlife agencies and partner organizations. Many wildlife agency directors expressed personal praise for the final product. The work of the group is already playing an instrumental part in the development of wildlife funding campaigns in several states."

- Dave Chadwick, The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Approximate project timeline:

December 1, 2014: Final deadline to Submit a Master's Project Idea.

January 2015: Winter term starts and students begin to formally review project ideas and are enrolled in an SNRE master's project planning course which facilitates the project selection process and culminates in the development of project research work plans by April 2015.

January 15, 2015: Master's Project Client Fair (clients are invited to meet with students to answer questions about their proposed project and to get student input).  Held as a part of the SNRE Master's Project planning course, clients are invited to attend the Client Fair either in-person or remotely.

February 2015: Master's Project teams finalized

Mid-April 2015:  Students submit workplans, project budgets, classes end, and students begin work on projects.

Summer 2015: Student teams travel on-site to begin research.

Fall and Winter: Student teams begin analyzing their data and writing up their results.

April 2016: Most student teams finish their project work and present final results at SNRE's Master's Project Symposium.

How to submit a master's project idea

  • Click here to learn how to submit an SNRE master's project idea.