Unity College’s Conservation Law Enforcement program has achieved a lot since it graduated its first student more than 40 years ago. It’s played a key role in educating thousands of conservation officers who have gone to work all across the country, raised thousands of dollars for charities through fundraisers put on by students, and even gained national attention with several Unity College graduates being featured on the show “North Woods Law.”

Now, through Unity College Distance Education, the Conservation Law Enforcement program is blazing a new trail, introducing an online Master’s in Conservation Law Enforcement that is the first of its kind in the nation. This master’s is distinctly focused on working conservation officers looking to advance their careers. Unity’s experienced Con Law faculty recognize conservation law enforcement is unique, requiring all the skills of law enforcement in addition to the skills needed to carry out these duties in the fields, forests, and on the waters of the United States of America.

As officers progress in their careers, or want to gain extra experience for management positions, an online master’s degree from Unity College will help them get the educational insight they need to be successful administrators.

The program’s online platform is affordable and flexible for professionals seeking to advance their careers while working full-time. Students will benefit from small classes, world-class teachers, and flexible class schedules, creating a dynamic and personalized learning community.

“We have a robust undergraduate Conservation Law Enforcement program at Unity College, and over the years we’ve seen some incredible outcomes from our graduates,” said Dr. Melik Peter Khoury, Unity College President. “This Master’s program is a natural progression that offers our graduates, or graduates from other programs, an opportunity to continue advancing in their field, while they’re still able to serve in their current position.”  

Each course within the new Conservation Law Enforcement track has the elements necessary for any criminal justice graduate degrees: organizational structure, management, public policy, ethics, leadership. But Unity’s coursework was specifically developed by experienced conservation law enforcement professionals and vetted against the scope of work of senior management officials in conservation enforcement agencies.

“These new tracks really allow us to take what we’re decidedly good at, what the College is known for, and expand it to adult learners,” Chief Distance Education Officer Dr. Amy Arnett said. “We’re expanding our sustainability science mission to a broader audience.”

Tim Peabody, Deputy Commissioner for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, helped design the program, based on his more than 30 years of experience.

“There are a number of people in conservation law who want to advance their career through further education and earning a master’s degree, but also want to continue working in the field without interruption,” said Peabody, who is also a Unity College graduate and retired faculty member. “This program is unique because you now have the flexibility to do both.”