The Dual Student Experience

Today we have a guest post from SPEA first-year MPA/MSES student, Rebecca Ciciretti.

Going into my senior year of college, I was still uncertain about the direction I wanted my life to head after college was over.  After deciding that graduate school was the best option for furthering my studies, I began researching graduate programs in the environmental policy field.  I quickly found that not many schools had what I was looking for.  A lot of the schools I considered had strong public health or public affairs programs, but no tie to environmental issues.  Other schools had strong environmental science programs that focused on research, which is an area in which I knew I had no interest.  I understood from the beginning that to make effective policy changes in the environmental field, you must understand the science behind the issues.  The dual MPA/MSES program at SPEA was the only program I found that fit the criteria for which I was looking.

The MPA/MSES program is, in my mind, the best of both worlds.  Not only do you leave Indiana University in two and a half years with two Master’s degrees (only a semester longer than getting one degree), but you get to take classes in both the MPA and the MSES fields.  The core requirements for the dual program are a combination of the MPA and MSES cores, with classes such as statistics, economics, and environmental chemistry.  Beyond the core classes, you are able to take MPA and MSES classes and choose concentrations in either of those fields, or other concentrations designed especially for dual students.  The variety of options available to dual students is incredible and really allows a student to choose exactly the right fit that will allow them to thrive.

Although I am only in my first semester at SPEA, I knew from the first day I got here that I had made the right decision.  The other first-year students in the dual program with me are eager to learn from one another and are always willing to help.  Everyone has their own strengths and within our dual cohort, we play to those strengths when completing homework assignments and studying for tests.  The MPA/MSES program will allow me to get a high quality, well-rounded education and leave SPEA with a better understanding of the world and a holistic approach about how to improve it.