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The M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy and the Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Public Policy are offered by the Department of Environmental Science and Policy in the College of Science. The Department is headquartered at the Fairfax Campus with offices and labs in David King Hall near the Johnson Center.

In addition, the department has a strong presence (the Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center or PEREC) at Potomac Science Center, a 45,000 sf facility located on the tidal Potomac River in Woodbridge, Virginia, about 30 minutes south of the Fairfax campus. PEREC occupies much of the space in the new waterfront building with wet labs for teaching and research, lecture rooms, offices for faculty, graduate students, and other researchers, a spatial analysis laboratory, and a library/resource center. PEREC is led by Dr. R. Christian Jones and four other ESP faculty (DeMutsert, Fowler, Glaberman, and Smith) are resident fellows along with two chemists (Foster, Huff) and one geologist (McBride), making PEREC a truly interdisciplinary nexus of research on the Potomac River and its watershed.

The Department has partnered with the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation to offer graduate level, professional courses covering a diverse selection of topics focusing on biodiversity conservation, ranging from adaptive management to statistics in ecology and conservation, to non-invasive genetic techniques.  While these courses are set up on a non-traditional compressed format schedule, graduate students have the unique opportunity to learn alongside conservation professionals currently working in the field.  The unparalleled resources at the Front Royal, VA facility draw researchers from around the world.

Both the master’s and doctoral programs meet the increasing need for trained environmental professionals who can address the problems of land and water management, land use and urbanization, wetland loss, microbial ecology, bioremediation, conservation biology, and ecosystem preservation. Graduates from this program will have developed knowledge and skills in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of scientific data, as well as in the integration of scientific understanding into the public policy process. Areas of specific departmental focus include ecosystems, conservation, environmental biocomplexity, molecular ecology, sustainability science, environmental policy and management, and human/environmental interactions.

These programs have been designated Green Leaf programs. For further information, please go to Green Leaf Programs and Courses.

Links in this section:

Forms and Policies

This section contains forms, guidelines, and important dates.

Graduate Admissions

Contains general admission information pertaining to the ESP department.

Graduate Courses

Excel and PDF lists of all graduate courses offered by the department (including those jointly offered).

Graduate Programs

Links to the University Catalog entries for each ESP graduate program listed.