Master of Science (MS Degree) | Environmental Science

Master of Science (MS Degree)


The MS degree is designed to help students develop an interdisciplinary perspective on environmental science research, taking classes ranging from biology to philosophy to geography. By the end of their degree program, students are expected to become independent researchers through the writing of a MS thesis guided by a major professor and thesis committee. The program consists of 36 graduate hours, including 30 hours of organized course work, special problems classes, and seminars at the 5000 and 6000 levels, plus a 6-hour scholarly thesis based on original research. Remaining classes may be selected from the core groups as electives or from non-core options as agreed upon by the student's advising committee. Here is a flow chart/diagram that illustrates the requirements. See the Environmental Sciences Curriculum page for further information.

For further information concerning the MS application process, please visit here.

Master's Degree

The MS degree is a research degree that includes the requirement of a scholarly thesis based upon original research. The program consists of 36 hours of graduate-level coursework. The MS degree requires that students take the entire Foundation Core (4 hours) and at least one class from three of the four distribution groups (9 hours) in addition to 6 hours of Thesis (e.g., BIOL5950). Remaining classes may be selected from the distribution groups as electives or from other classes as agreed upon by the student's advising committee.

  • Students must assemble a thesis committee and submit a degree plan by the end of their second semester.
  • Students must defend a thesis research proposal by the end of their third semester.
  • The proposal defense and thesis defense cannot occur in the same semester.
  • Failure to meet these requirements may result in probation and/or expulsion from the ES program by the ES Executive Committee (EC).

At the end of each Spring Semester the ES graduate review committee will meet with students to assess their progress through the program. Review information will be used to guide progress and to make recommendations regarding teaching assistant funding (which is ultimately determined through the Department of Biological Science).


The core and distribution requirements are describe under environmental science curriculum. The remaining hours in the curriculum can come from one of the cores or from diverse perspectives across non-core electives at the direction of the student's graduate advising committee in addition to thesis/dissertation research hours.


These guidelines generally follow the requirements published in the Graduate Catalog for Biological Sciences (