Environmental Studies - Master of Science (M.S.)

Master of Science (M.S.) - Environmental Studies

College of Humanities and Sciences

Degree Specific Credits:

  • Thesis: 33 semester hours              

  • Professional Paper: 33 semester hours                        

  • Portfolio: 36 hours

Required Cumulative GPA: 3.0

Catalog Year: 2022-23


  • The M.S. in Environmental Studies is flexible; students, with their academic advisors, design their own study programs by choosing from courses within Environmental Studies and throughout the University.

  • An approved natural systems ecology is required if a student has not taken a biologically-grounded ecology course(s) as an undergraduate equivalent to ENSC 360 Applied Ecology.

Thesis Option:

Development of a substantive, original scholarly work that includes either the collection and analysis of data to answer a research question (as in original field research in the natural sciences or survey research in the social sciences) or the production of an innovative, interpretive or critical work (as in the humanities or fine arts). Upon completion of the thesis, students are given a one-hour oral examination.

Professional Paper Option:

Development of a substantive report directed to a specific audience that demonstrates the student's ability to participate in professional discourse. Upon completion of the professional paper, students are given a one-hour oral examination.

Portfolio Option:

In consultation with an Environmental Studies advisor, students select courses, internship experience(s) and portfolio project(s) directed toward specific career goals. Portfolios include three discrete elements, one of which is an internship or work experience, and demonstrated coherence between these pieces, the student's course of study, and the student's goals. Upon completion of the portfolio, students are given a one-hour oral examination that focuses upon the integrity of each portfolio piece and coherence between the pieces.


Environmental Studies graduate students who do either a thesis or a professional paper must register for at least one credit of ENST/ENSC 599 or ENST 597, respectively, in the semester during which they defend.  The minimum number of credits required for graduation with a thesis or professional paper is 33.

Portfolio-option students must take a total of 36 credits, but there are no semester specific credit requirements nor any portfolio credits per se. Their only requirement, which applies to all students, is that they must abide by the continuous registration rule of the Graduate School, registering for at least three credits each semester.

The UM Graduate Student Advising Guidelines, designed to help both students and faculty and to offer best advising practice resources, are available for review and reference at Graduate Student Advising Guidelines.


Course Requirements


Additional Course Work


Total Hours


Course Requirements:

Students are required to take at least one 3-credit class from each of four distributional area requirements (our core areas of study): Scientific Approaches, Policy Approaches, Thought & Writing, and Engagement. Additional courses meeting the distribution requirements are offered periodically – see the EVST website for “Current Areas Offerings”.




Complete the following course:

ENST 594

Foundations of Change


Complete one of the following Scientific Approaches courses:

ENSC 501

Scientific Approaches to Environmental Problems


ENSC 508

Indigenous Health


ENSC 540

Watershed Conservation


ENST 555

Research Methods for Social Change


Complete one of the following Policy Approaches courses:

ENST 510

Environmental Issues of Indigenous Peoples


ENST 580

The Politics of Food


ENST 594

Seminar: Environmental Policy Analysis


ENST 595

SpTp: Environmental Politics and Policy


Complete one of the following Thought and Writing courses:

ENST 505

Literature of Nature Writing


ENST 530

The Greening of Religion


ENST 570

Ethics & Restoration


ENST 573

Environmental Writing


Complete one of the following Engagement courses:

ENST 580

The Politics of Food


ENST 589

Environmental Justice


Total Hours


Minimum Required Grade: C