Climate Justice Thesis

Students in the MA Resilient Leadership: Climate Justice track complete a formal thesis during their second and final year of the program. The thesis is designed for students to apply the theory and skill gained throughout the program into a thesis that is organized around a unique contention that brings together climate justice, leadership, and contemplative practice. With the thesis, students gain deeper skills in formal writing, innovative thought and application, and stepping into their authentic voice and leadership vision. The thesis component supports students who wish to pursue further scholarship, entering academic teaching, policy development, community organizing, and other forms of leadership and activism. In some cases students in the Sustainable Systems track choose to complete the Thesis instead of the Applied Leadership Project.

In the fall of the second course, students take the Applied Leadership Project course where they learn and start to apply diverse leadership methodologies and develop their thesis proposal. During this process they work with a faculty mentor as well as a peer and the final proposal must be approved by the MA Resilient Leadership faculty body prior to starting the Thesis course.

During the spring within their final semester, students take the 6 credit, online Thesis course where they write the formal thesis. This final form paper of up to 75 pages is centered upon a unique thesis statement and includes an introduction, a relevant review of literature gained through the program, a leadership approach to the issue, and a final discussion and recommendation. The student works with the course instructor as well as a faculty mentor and a student peer. At the end of the semester, the student gives a formal presentation of their research to the larger community. Since the Thesis course is the only course taken by Climate Justice track students during the final spring, they can complete this online course at a distance. They do need to come back to campus for both the Spring Intensive and final presentation.

Prerequisite to enrolling in the Thesis course

Completion of all theoretical graduate coursework; completion of Applied Leadership Skills course; successful approval of Thesis Proposal.

MA Resilient Leadership Program Goals that are embedded within this Thesis course

  • Goal 1. To provide a deep understanding of the ecological and social crisis through understanding ecological, social, historical, hierarchical, collaborative, and emergent resilient systems.
  • Goal 4. To foster strong relationships with self, nature, and community through contemplative and ecopsychological practices that foster students' personal capacity for reflective and participatory leadership.
  • Goal 5. To prepare students with applicable skills to work and lead in community and organizational settings.

MA Resilient Leadership Learning Outcomes that are embedded within the Thesis course

  • Students develop graduate level research, writing, and communication skills.
  • To prepare students with applicable skills to work and lead in community and organizational settings.

Specific Thesis Learning Outcomes:

  • Identify key issues in the field of climate justice and target an area for in-depth research
  • Write a formal research paper centered on a unique thesis statement
  • Integrate leadership skills approach to research contentions
  • Demonstrate skills for academic writing and teaching
  • Apply public speaking skills