College of Natural and Health Sciences
Welcome to the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (TCBES) Graduate Program! The TCBES program is emerging as a center of excellence in the Pacific that is capitalizing on Hawaii’s unique natural resources that are integral to the state’s cultural, economic, and scientific enterprises, and by extension, to those of the entire nation and other Pacific nations. The TCBES Program mission is to provide MS-level graduate education that: a) fosters knowledge of theory and techniques in conservation biology and environmental sciences, including basic, applied, and socio-ecological research, and b) promotes scholarly activities in marine and terrestrial environments that will enable participants to pursue careers in research and natural resource management.
The primary purpose of the Master of Science in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science is to provide graduate training in conservation biology and environmental science to those with baccalaureate degrees and those currently working in related scientific fields. The program will utilize the extraordinary biological, physical, and cultural complexity of the island of Hawaiʻi as a focus of investigation and study. The program will prepare students for technical positions and for entry into Ph.D. programs in related fields.
I am writing from my experience in the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science masters program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. I participated in the internship track, although this program offers both internship and thesis routes. If you are thesis you need to have an advisor before you start the program and form a committee in your first... I am writing from my experience in the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science masters program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. I participated in the internship track, although this program offers both internship and thesis routes. If you are thesis you need to have an advisor before you start the program and form a committee in your first year. So if you are looking that route, I suggest you reach out to professors and labs as you turn in your application. The internship route gets appointed one advisor for the whole internship track and you gain mentors as you start working with your internship organization.
My first year in the internship program was the first year they revamped the requirements. You are required to take 10 internship credits of courses and complete a 600 hour professional internship experience alongside your course load totaling 36 credits. When you get accepted to the program, and in your first year, you work with the advisor to find an internship organization. Your internship can be on island, or abroad. I would start looking up organizations and make connections asap when you are applying, as some students found it harder than others to find an internship after their first semester.
Overall, I was happy with my experience. I got to learn about Hawaii's culture and ecosystems while earning my masters degree in two years. This track is great for people who want to be natural resource managers. If you want to be a researcher or professor, I suggest the thesis route.
At times this experience was frustrating being the first cohort to go through the new program. Now that this will be the 3rd year of the revamped program, some formatting and issues have been adjusted or brought to light to benefit the students. If you are looking to go this route, my advice would to be: 1. Be your own advocate, get your name out there, and be open to opportunities, 2. Respect Hawaiian culture and land, and do your best to educate yourself before coming to Hawaii, 3. Get funded, out of state tuition is CRAZY expensive (over 1,000 a credit) so search for scholarship and funding opportunities before hand.