Master's Degree

Earning Your Master's in Environmental Science

The Master of Science in Environmental Science program is designed with flexibility in mind for both full‑time students and working professionals. The program requires that students complete 30 semester hours generally equivalent to 10 three semester hour courses. While most students take 1.5 to three years to complete the program, it can be completed in as fast as one year if four classes are taken in the fall and spring terms and two classes in the summer term. Typically, however, students take one to three courses per term including the summer. Students may earn a Masters in Environmental Science by satisfying the below requirements, or by satisfying the requirements in Civil Engineering emphases (Water Resources Engineering or Environmental Engineering).

Four graduate students in cap and gown

Degree Requirements

Students enrolled in this program must successfully complete the following:

  • 30 semester hours with a cumulative grade point average of 3.00
  • Comprehensive Oral Examination (CIVL 690) or Master's Thesis Defense (CIVL 695)
  • Completion of 500 level courses with grade of B or higher
  • All core and elective requirements for the Environmental Science program or one of the Civil Engineering emphases (Water Resources Engineering or Environmental Engineering).


View our full program course catalog in the Environmental Science Program graduate bulletin.

Required Core Courses

Elective Courses

Optional Thesis

Preparation of a master's thesis is optional in both the Environmental Science and Civil Engineering Master’s programs. Students electing to perform a master's thesis on a topic under the guidance of a faculty member must pass ENVS 696 or CIVL 696 Master's Thesis Defense (0 semester hours) in the semester they expect to complete their thesis. The defense is in the form of a written thesis and an oral presentation. A thesis committee determined by the student and primary research advisor determine if the student has mastered the subject matter of the thesis, understands the work done by others, and can critically assess that work and his/her own work. No later than two weeks prior to the thesis defense presentation, the student must provide their written thesis to their thesis committee for review. Formal requirements may be obtained from the program director. Please see our research page for further information on research opportunities.

Thesis students also have the option to enroll in a 3-semester-hour master's thesis independent studies (ENVS 695 or CIVL 695 Master Thesis) in any term. The master's thesis independent studies can satisfy an Elective requirement, may be taken a maximum of two times, and may be taken only once in a semester.

Change of Program

Students with non-engineering undergraduate or postgraduate degrees can change into the Civil Engineering Master’s Program (Environmental Engineering or Water Resources Engineering) at any time provided that they 1) meet all Civil Engineering admissions requirements and 2) are in good academic standing (3.00 GPA or better). Such students are also required to pass the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying Fundamentals of Engineering exam before their degree is awarded.


Student Learning Outcomes

The Environmental Science graduate program has established the following student outcomes:

  1. Apply scientific, mathematical, and sustainability principles to identify problems and analyze solutions in environmental science;
  2. Critically assess, evaluate, and understand sustainability, ethics, and social justice in environmental science; and
  3. Effectively communicate scientific principles related to the environment and sustainability.