Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you are not alone: many people confuse metrology with meteorology. Here is the difference. Metrology (new window) is the science of measurements. Since you can only prevent hazardous environmental exposures that you can measure and assess their health risk, environmental metrology is about how to make reliable measurements in identifying and quantifying chemical pollutants in environment, developing models to quantify human exposures to them via inhalation, ingestion, or/and dermal permeation, and assessing associated health risks. Meteorology, (new window) on the other hand, is “the branch of science concerned with the processes and phenomena of the atmosphere, especially as a means of forecasting the weather”.
How can the Master of Science (MS) in Environmental Metrology & Policy Program (EMAP) be described in about 50 words?
MS-EMAP is a 35-credit research intensive program (new window) accomplishable in 1.5 to 3 years (new window). Augmented with a program-funded summer internship, students learn experientially environmental policymaking utilizing best available environmental sciences and metrology (new window) for achieving optimal prevention, control, reduction, and elimination of chemical pollutions. It boasts a unique partnership with EPA, NIST and Agilent that maximizes career opportunities for students.
The niche of MS-EMAP deals with current environmental challenges posed by the ever-present and still worsening chemical pollutions encountered in our daily life. Using many EPA’s real-life policymaking cases as the blueprints, EMAP curriculum enlightens students about the comprehensive processes of environmental policymaking guided by the best available environmental sciences and metrology (new window) for achieving optimal management of harmful anthropogenic chemicals that pollute environment. Specifically, MS-EMAP focuses on the upstream activities of environmental endeavors with a mantra of “you can only prevent hazardous environmental exposures that you can measure and assess their health risk”. It boosts students’ analytical and critical thinking skills from the perspectives of quantitative measurements (metrology). As a comparison, most (if not all) other environmental science & policy programs focus on environmental ecologies and associated regulatory affairs in meeting the current statutory criteria imposed by existing environmental laws and regulations. These are mostly downstream activities of environmental endeavors. However, EMAP students will still become knowledgeable about the latter in the processes of learning policymaking because it includes necessarily the steps of evaluating the resulting impacts of these policy choices on reducing environmental risks.
What kind of careers can I have with a Master of Science in Environmental Metrology and Policy Program?
The cross-cutting and practical skillsets that EMAP students will have learned and become proficient at are broadly applicable and therefore will make them truly competitive on the job market. As such, the majority of the graduated EMAP students (new window) have been able to secure good jobs of their likes upon or soon after their graduation and gone on to work at state/federal government (environmental) agencies, chemical or environmental consulting companies, NGOs, or continue with PhD studies. However, the salient feature of where the EMAP graduates have found their career calling is that studying with EMAP is actually a proven gateway to careers in US federal agencies. See our alumni profile page (new window) for details.
I do not have a major in sciences or engineering, can I apply to and be successful in MS-EMAP program?
The answer is definitively a yes. MS-EMAP opens to people having background in all walks of life. In fact, the current and past EMAP students discover and feel strongly that the diverse backgrounds of the EMAP’s students body enrich greatly their learning and research experience with the program. For newly enrolled students who do not have basic college-level chemistry courses, the program offers a free 10-week summer intensive bootcamp to start their fun journey of scientific learning and training that will continue through their studies with EMAP. It will be challenging but very much achievable, as showcased by many success stories of EMAP alumni (new window) .
I am interested in a career that tackles global warming and climate change, how can MS-EMAP help me achieve it?
EMAP curriculum (new window) will prepare students to tackle issues of global warming and climate change from the angle of how environmental policymaking and implementation (new window) can and must help contain aggravated chemical pollutions caused by the latter, such as worsened pollutions of air, water, and soil quality by global-warming and climate-change-fueled wild fires, extreme weather events, and increasing temperatures, etc., which can be glanced in the EPA’s Climate Adaptation Action Plan (new window). Therefore, students will have ample opportunities to learn and appreciate that modern environmental policymaking and implementation on containing chemical pollutions have to address the consequences of global warming and climate change by which to influence the overall policies that intend to address global warming and climate change in US and world.
I am interested in a career that promotes environmental justice, how can MS-EMAP help me achieve it?
The worsening chemical pollutions experienced by people who live in fence-line communities across the world in general and US in particular than those who live in more affluent places are a key and contemporary issue of environmental justice. As such, how to assert and ensure environmental justice through environmental policymaking and implementation is a key topic of EMAP curriculum (new window). Therefore, students will have plenty of opportunities to learn and research the issues related to environmental justice in depth by which to prepare them for relevant careers.
We believe that students who have the following (but not limited to) traits will more likely be successful in EMAP and beyond: 1. They are truly inspired and thus motivated by a high calling of protecting environment. 2. They have a record of overcoming hurdles in life or/and their previous studies. 3. They are a good team player. 4. They work hard and perseveringly toward achieving goals they set, no matter how and where they started the journey. As such, applications that better showcase these traits in a whole story-telling package are more competitive. Mere high GPA alone would not be enough to make the cut. By the same token, low but still above-the-minimum-criteria GPA would not necessarily be detrimental. A strong application would have every part of it that contributes integratedly and positively, to the extent possible, to strengthening the whole package. A rising trajectory of the past, even it started low, would still make a compelling application.
No, EMAP application per se does not require GRE scores. But students are welcome to submit their GRE scores if they believe that it can strengthen their applications.
How much will it cost to attend the Master of Science in Environmental Metrology and Policy Program?
Unfortunately, the tuition cost to attend MS-EMAP is not low, currently at $2,278 per credit for academic year of 2021-22 plus living expenses in DC. For exact figures and updated costs, please visit the Financial Aid (new window) page. On the other hand, all EMAP courses are scheduled after 4 pm so that students can have the possibility of being employed full or part time while studying with EMAP. Moreover, the Greater DC area does offer more job opportunities than most (if not all) places in US.
EMAP currently does not offer teaching or research assistantships. However, it does offer a limited number (dependent of available budget) of merit-based tuition-aid scholarships for the first academic year. All applicants will be considered competitively for the scholarships based on the overall strength of their applications assessed during the admission evaluations. Therefore, no separate application is needed. The amount of a scholarship will vary case by case but will be at least equivalent to the tuition of 3 credits.