Environment and Society

Our Program

The Department of Environment and Society considers natural and human systems to be equally important in natural and environmental science and management. Formed in 2002, the department is the first of its kind in a college of natural resources in this country and has served as a model for the development of similar departments at other institutions of higher learning.

Our Ph.D. degree involves coursework and a research dissertation, and strongly emphasizes theory, research methods, writing research proposals, and publishing research in peer reviewed outlets. We offer two doctoral degrees:

To learn more, review graduate program requirements and find faculty with current graduate programs.

Open PhD Research Assistantships

Social & Geospatial Dimensions of Hydroclimatic Extremes and Water Resources in the US West
The successful applicant will join Dr. Courtney Flint’s team working on two large NSF-funded projects: I-Guide and The Transformation Network.

Project Themes:

  • Geospatial capacities and needs of water managers and watershed organizations
  • Social dimensions of water resource vulnerability and resilience in the US West
  • Tracking vulnerabilities associated with aging dam infrastructure
  • Integrating data to better understand the social ecology of rivers and watersheds
  • Integrating knowledges for guided transformations toward sustainable regional systems in the US West


  • Completion of a Bachelor’s degree (Masters for PhD) in a related field prior to August 22
  • Social science background as part of educational training or professional experience
  • Background and experience working with diverse datasets and GIS software
  • Working knowledge of programs and platforms such as SPSS, R, Qualtrics, etc.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills

Preference will be given to applicants who can demonstrate ability to work with diverse data types and have a strong interest in applied social science research related to water resources. Contact Dr. Courtney Flint at courtney.flint@usu.edu to express interest, and send a description of your background and interests relevant to this position in the initial request for information.

PDRF Perks
  • Four-year fellowship
  • $10,000 scholarship (each year for four years)
  • Full-tuition award (each year for four years)
  • Departmental Assistantship
  • Health insurance
  • Enrollment in Research Certification
  • Exclusive socials, special guests, and trainings
  • One-on-one support from the Associate Vice President

Application Requirements
  • Meet all School of Graduate Studies requirements for general admission to USU
  • Have at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA
  • Apply to the Ph.D. program by February 15, 2022 to be eligible for PDRF; apply by March 15 for final consideration

Please contact Becky Hirst at becky.hirst@usu.edu with your questions.

Our Facilities

The S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources has a robust research presence at USU, encompassing numerous research labs and interdisciplinary centers.