Graduate Admissions

The MS program in Environmental Science and Policy meets 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. These professionals will also contribute to the analysis and resolution of global problems, such as deforestation, insufficient world food supplies, acid deposition, population growth and public health, global climate change/warming, and depletion of the stratospheric ozone. Areas of specific departmental focus include ecosystems, conservation, environmental biocomplexity, molecular ecology, sustainability science, environmental policy and management and human/environmental interactions.

The PhD program in Environmental Science and Public Policy is an interdisciplinary program that draws on faculty and expertise from the Environmental Science and Policy departmental core faculty, as well as faculty from across the university. This includes the Departments of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, School of Systems Biology, Public and International Affairs, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Economics, Geography and Geoinformation Science, Sociology and Anthropology, the School of Public Policy, the Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering, and the College of Education and Human Development.

Our graduates contribute to the solution of complex environmental problems, which require the development of 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.

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

Please contact the Graduate Programs Office for guidance regarding securing an advisor.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

All applicants should have a bachelor’s degree with an overall GPA of at least 3.00. They should have taken at least two semesters of chemistry, two semesters of biology, and a course in ecology. Applicants to the PhD program should have an advanced degree (e.g. MA, MS, veterinary, or law) in a relevant field or exceptional undergraduate academic and research accomplishments. In addition to the materials required of all applicants for graduate study at Mason, applicants should submit the following:

      • Bachelor’s degree in natural or earth sciences, engineering, environmental studies, political science, economics, or related fields from an accredited institution
        • Applicants to the PhD program should have an advanced degree (e.g. MA, MS, veterinary, or law) in a relevant field or exceptional undergraduate academic and research accomplishments.
      • GRE exam scores (the GRE general exam is required for applicants that do not hold an advanced (e.g. MA, MS, veterinary, or law) degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution in the USA)
      • TOEFL exam scores (for international students)
      • Three letters of recommendation (including at least one from a former professor or, if not available, from someone with a PhD)
      • Official, original University transcripts and any earned degree (sent directly to Mason’s Office of Admissions in a sealed envelope)
      • Recent resume (required if funding is desired)
      • International Students only: https://www2.gmu.edu/admissions-aid/how-apply/international . Please see the transcript translation requirements, verification of English Language proficiency, and other important information!
      • Statement of interest:
        • Include desired emphasis (policy or science)
        • Career Goals or Experience
        • Substantial explanation of proposed dissertation/thesis/project research topic
        • Research skills and goals
      • An email and Letter of Endorsement from your Prospective Advisor agreeing to serve as your primary advisor is required.
        • Finding an Advisor: To aid in finding an advisor, please review the faculty listed on our website at https://esp.gmu.edu/faculty-staff/faculty-bios/ and https://esp.gmu.edu/faculty-staff/other-faculty-graduate-program/ to determine a potential fit for your research interests. Contact him/her via email, including your research interests and resume. If they are available and receptive to becoming your advisor, you may want to schedule an interview with the faculty member to clarify mutual expectations.
        • Once the advisor has agreed to serve as your advisor, the advisor is asked to please send a letter of endorsement (not just a couple of sentences) to include why you would be a good fit for them and why your research topic would be suitable, to the Graduate Office. (This is an Executive Committee Requirement and could influence your chances of getting into our programs)!

PREREQUISITES FOR ADMISSION

Applicants who lack the prerequisite college level course work in biology and chemistry should complete a two semester sequence of introductory graduate level environmental chemistry (EVPP 506, Science of the Environment I) and biology (EVPP 507, Science of the Environment II) courses as a non-degree student to satisfy the biology and chemistry prerequisites for admission. Please visit the non-degree graduate program to apply. These introductory courses would be in addition to the degree requirements as listed in the University Catalog. In addition, you will need to take a general ecology course (EVPP 607, Fundamentals of Ecology) which can be counted as a natural science requirement if admitted to the program. Applicants who lack the prerequisite college level course work in social science need to take the course “Introduction to Environmental Social Science” (EVPP 608)

APPLICATION PROCESS

Potential graduate students should use Mason’s on-line application to apply for graduate admission. International students must complete the International Student Information Forms before applying online.  All applications for admission to the program are sent directly to the College of Science Graduate Admissions Office.  Once all of the required documents have completed your file, it will be sent to the Department for review by the Environmental Science and Policy Executive Graduate Committee.  An admission decision will be made and sent to the College of Science Graduate Admissions Office where they will process your application and send a detailed admission packet.

APPLICATION DEADLINES

Fall Admissions:

Priority deadline: January 15 (this deadline needs to be met in order to qualify for applying for funding)

Standard deadline: March 15

Final deadline: August 12

Spring Admissions:

Priority deadline: October 15 (this deadline needs to be met in order to qualify for applying for funding)

Final deadline: November 15

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES are available in the form of graduate student appointments (GTAs and GRAs), fellowships, and grants.