The master’s project (MP) requirements and expectations outlined below are intended for only MEM/MF-MBA students who matriculated in the Nicholas School beginning fall 2019 or later.

The Master’s Project (MP) is an integral, culminating part of the Master of Environmental Management (MEM) and Master of Forestry (MF) degrees, for which students are given the opportunity to apply the skills they’ve acquired in the classroom to address real-world environmental problems.

Students completing a dual Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program, with either Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, also participate in several applied projects while completing their MBA degree. Thus, MEM/MBA and MF/MBA students will fulfill their MP requirement by either reporting out on an applied project or expanding on a project that they have already completed during their MBA degree, by diving deeper into an environmental component. The report could, for example, be based on a detailed analysis which resulted in a slide deck as a deliverable for a client. The slide deck could be repurposed into a final project. Applied projects could be one completed for a class or a part of an independent study to fulfill the MP requirement. We expect the student’s MP to be tied to a credit bearing course in the MBA program.

Project and Credit Options

MEM-MBA students have the option to pursue one of the following three types of projects to fulfill their MP requirements.

  1. Extension of an MBA project for which the student(s) received course credit. In this situation, the student(s) may not receive MP credit under ENV 899.
  2. Extension of an MBA project completed without course credit or financial compensation. In this situation, student(s) may request MP credit under ENV 899, but the MBA project supervisor must provide a letter including the information listed in the document.
  3. Completion of a new client study of the student’s (or students’) own design without financial compensation. In this situation, students may request MP credit under ENV 899 but will not receive regular advising from Nicholas School faculty even though this is an original project.

MEM/MBA and MF/MBA students will not participate in the recently redesigned MP process. Thus, they are not required to prepare a MP proposal, give a MP proposal presentation in September or register for MP credits i.e. ENVIRON 899. We expect the MP to be closely tied to a project completed in an MBA course where the student has already earned credit towards the dual degree. In this situation, the student will not receive MP credit under ENV 899. However, if students wish to register for MP credits (no more than 3) to be used to fulfill the 36-credit requirement, they will need a permission number from their academic coursework advisor or program chair in order to enroll in ENVIRON 899. Students who do not enroll in MP credits must still earn a total of 36 graduate credits in order to satisfy the requirements for the dual MEM/MF-MBA degree.

One-Page Project Summary

  1. Project title.
  2. Project description. Please describe the completed project. Include information on the course, case competition, or other origin for the work; the number of credits already received for the work; and a list of group members. If work was undertaken as a member of a group, the student must clearly describe their contribution to the project.
  3. Approach. Provide a short overview of how you plan to turn the existing product into an MP.


The academic coursework advisor at Nicholas will serve as both the coursework and MP advisor. The academic coursework advisor or program chair will sign-off on the one-page project summary and final master’s project.

Solo/Group Projects

Dual MEM/MF-MBA degree students are strongly encouraged to work collaboratively with their cohort to complete their MP as a group, but this is not required. Students may fulfill their MP requirement by completing a project of their own design for a client without financial compensation. In this situation, students may request MP credit under ENV 899 but will not receive regular advising from Nicholas School faculty even though this is an original project.

Request MP Credits (ENVIRON 899)

Students may request to enroll in up to 3 MP credits (under their advisor’s section of ENVIRON 899) if they have not already earned academic credit for the original project nor received compensation. To receive MP credits for participation in an MBA project, the student must request an official letter to be sent to the advisor from the MBA project supervisor, on MBA school letterhead, that includes:

  • the project supervisor (name and signature)
  • the student’s name
  • the project name, description and outcome
  • the student’s role
  • the date range of the project over the time that the student participated
  • the student’s compensation status (paid or unpaid position and/or financial awards received )A copy of the letter should also be sent to Student Services to be kept in the student’s permanent file.*IMPORTANT* students may only request to receive academic credit if they have not already earned credit for the original project completed in the MBA program and have not (or will not) be compensated in any way for the project work, which includes but not limited to regular pay, stipends, awards, etc.

Project Completion & Presentation:

In the fall and spring, MPs culminate in a public presentation to the Nicholas School community, clients and guests at an end-of-semester symposium and a written report that becomes part of the Duke Library electronic archives. Students will produce a written report and present the result of the project at the MP Symposium in April or December for fall graduates. On the final program worksheet, the student should indicate that master’s project requirement has been satisfied once they have received approval from their advisor and presented during the Nicholas School’s MP Symposium. The final program worksheet must be signed by the advisor and submitted to Student Services.


  • Submit one-page project summary by the start of the first semester in year three
  • Submit 10-line abstract to Student Services in the second semester in year three bya predetermined deadline
  • Submit final MP, which must be uploaded in the by a predetermined deadline in the second semester of year three; upload instructions are here
  • Submit final executive summary to Student Services signed by the MP advisor
  • Enroll in MP credits in year three (if applicable)