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Environmental Science | MS

Environmental Science (MS)

Offered by the Department of Environmental Science, College of Arts and Sciences.

Admission to the Program

In addition to meeting the minimum university requirements for graduate study, students must have completed one year of calculus and one year of laboratory science (biology, chemistry, geology, or physics). A semester or more of economics is recommended. Admission is based on academic record, personal statement, and two letters of recommendation.

The Program offers two tracks to the MS degree, a thesis option and a coursework option with internship. During the first semester of academic study, the student choosing the MS with thesis option should identify the professor to work with and notify the graduate advisor, in writing, of their decision. Students who choose the coursework and internship option should identify and secure their position during their first year in the program.

Degree Requirements

  • 36 credit hours of approved graduate work.
  • Completion of 6 credit hours from either thesis or nonthesis option.
    • Thesis option: A research proposal must be accepted by the student's advisor, the graduate studies committee, and the department chair, at least one semester prior to the oral defense of the thesis.
  • One comprehensive examination; a maximum of two attempts is permitted.

Course Requirements

Core (12 credit hours)

Nonthesis or Thesis Option (6 credit hours)

Complete one of the following options:

Nonthesis Option

Thesis Option


Complete 3 credit hours from the following:

Electives (18 credit hours)

Complete 18 credit hours chosen in consultation with the graduate advisor from each of the two clusters below. A statistics course (STAT-516, STAT-520STAT-615 or STAT-627) may be substituted for one of the courses; other courses may be substituted with permission of the graduate advisor.

Combined Bachelor's Degree and Environmental Science (MS)

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its combined bachelor's/master's programs. See Combined Bachelor's and Master's Degreesfor more information.

In addition to meeting the minimum university requirements for combined bachelor's/master's programs:

  • At a minimum, students must have an overall grade point average of 3.00 or higher, and have taken a year of laboratory science (BIO-110/BIO-210, CHEM-110/CHEM-210, PHYS-105/PHYS-205, or PHYS-110/PHYS-210) and a year of calculus (MATH-211 or MATH-221, and MATH-222). Applications must be accompanied by two letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores may be required for admission to the combined program. Students should discuss their interest in the program with the Environmental Studies coordinator before submitting an application.
  • Undergraduate students may apply up to 9 credit hours of approved graduate-level coursework to satisfy the requirements of both degrees; ENVS-610 and ENVS-615 are recommended.