Master's Project Examples

Graduate students must produce a work of journalism suitable for publication or broadcast at reputable, credible organizations. The work must represent an original and in-depth contribution to the public knowledge of environmental science and natural resource issues, subject to the approval of a faculty project committee.

Students may choose to produce one large, documentary-style project, known as the Professional Project option, or three shorter but thematically related pieces, called the Portfolio option.

For more information, please access the professional project proposal outline.

* Project committees must include a chair and a reviewer chosen from the School of Journalism faculty and a faculty member from another school or department.


Picking coffeeStephanie Parker's master’s project on the impacts of coffee rust on farmers in Nicaragua was published in two parts, as a photo essay in the online edition of Modern Farmer and a feature piece in Fresh Cup. The project can be viewed in its entirety on Medium, an online publication.
Tom Kuglin shows two men searching for wolverines in the snowTom Kuglin has published work related to his master’s project on citizen science for the print publication he is currently working for, the Helena Independent Record. 
Old Mines Die Hard one the cover of the Missoula Independent With her master’s project, Kindra McQuillan took a deep-dive into the convoluted world of Superfund sites. The work was featured in two publications, the Missoula Independent and High Country News.
Missouri RiverKate Walker's master’s project, the Missouri Compromised, explores the river’s contested future as various interests compete for the resource.  It aired on PBS in Montana and South Dakota.
Will Freihofer Student Project

Will Freihofer's multimedia master's project on a group of paddlers working to make kayaking legal on the rivers of Yellowstone National Park appeared in High County News and the Missoula Independent in November 2013.

Montana Hodges' Student ProjectMontana Hodges' master's project, "Dinosaur Wars," was published in High Country News and the Missoula Independent in the fall of 2013.
Emily Wendler Student ProjectEmily Wendler's graduate project titled, "Only from Montana: A Family's Experience Eating Only Local Food," aired on Montana Public Radio. She was interviewed about her project for the Montana Journalism Review's 2013 magazine.
Jason Belts Kauffman Student ProjectJason Belts Kauffman's graduate project, "A Season of Predators," was an hour-long documentary examining the challenges of living with large predators in the Blackfoot and Wood River valleys and the collaborative efforts that attempt to address those issues.

lighthouseKevin Dupzyk's masters project, called "How To Move A Lighthouse", was published in Popular Mechanics magazine in April 2016. It's a print feature about a lighthouse in Massachusetts that was in danger of falling into the ocean because of coastal erosion.

BisonKris Heitkamp published her project in the Winter 2016 issue of Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies. You can read her piece called "Earning Their Keep: Bison Ranching Fights The Battle For Conservation" and check out her visual essay here.

The Damage DoneKelly Conde's graduate project, called "The Damage Done", tells the story of a community in eastern Montana bracing for the oil boom in the Bakken while still recovering from the devastating effects on their water supply from the last one. It was published in the Missoula Independent in February 2014.

Streets of VietnamShanti Johnson traveled to the Mekong Delta for her master's project. She published a piece called "Deep-rooted Migration Cycles Challenge Green Growth in Vietnam" on Monga Bay in September 2016.


woodland caribouNate Hegyi's master's portfolio focused on climate change and the way it is altering the people and landscapes of the American West. His script explaining megadroughts was used in an episode of Sci Show (you can watch it here) in May 2015. He also published a print feature called "'Necessary Evil': Saving The Endangered Caribou Might Mean Killing Wolves" in The Guardian in May 2016.

invasive speciesKen Rand's graduate portfolio centered on the theme of conservation genetics and their use as a frontline tool to protect biodiversity. His piece on using environmental DNA to track invasive species in Flathead Lake was published in the Daily Inter Lake in January 2016. It's called "Underwater Invaders: Many Invasive Species Pose Threats To Lake". A different version of the story, titled "Finding The Invisible: A New Way To Look For Invasive Species Using eDNA", was published in The Solutions Journal in March 2016.

Northern CheyenneNicky Ouellet's master's portfolio examined different strategies Native American communities have taken to maintain or gain control over natural resources on their land. Her print story called "Legalization: Cannabis Instills Fear and Hope On The Northern Cheyenne" was published on WyoFile in May 2015. She also created an audio piece about a tribal member in North Dakota fighting for clean-up of a fracking wastewater spill that was aired by a radio station in Washington. It's called "When Public Comment Fails, Bakken Woman Turns To Tribal Conditions" and you can listen to it on the Public Radio Exchange.