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 or throughout the University.

  • A natural systems ecology is required if student have not taken a biologically grounded ecology course(s) as an undergraduate.

Thesis Option:

Development of a substantive scholarly work that includes either the collection and analysis of data to answer a research question (as in original field or laboratory 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).

Professional Paper Option:

Development of a substantive report that targets a specific audience and demonstrates the student's ability to participate in professional discourse.

Portfolio Option:

In consultation with an Environmental Studies advisor, students select courses of classroom study, internship experience(s) and portfolio projects directed toward specific career goals. Portfolios include three discrete portfolio pieces, one of which usually involves an internship 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 of those credits in the semester that they defend. They must register for at least one of those credits in the semester that 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.


Required Courses


Additional Course Work


Total Hours


Course Requirements:

Students are required to take at least one 3-credit class from each of our core areas of study, but students are encouraged to take more than one in each area: Scientific Approaches, Policy Approaches, Thought & Writing, and Engagement.




Complete all of the following courses:

ENST 519

Foundations of Change


Complete one of the following courses:

ENSC 501

Scientific Approaches to Environmental Problems


ENSC 551

Environmental Field Study


ENST 555

Research Methods for Social Change


ENSC 594

Graduate Seminar: Environmental Health of Indigenous Communities


Complete one of the following courses:

ENST 510

Environmental Issues of Indigenous Peoples


ENST 560

Environmental Impact Analysis


ENST 580

The Politics of Food


Complete one of the following 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 courses:

ENSC 501

Scientific Approaches to Environmental Problems


ENST 502 ?Course ended 201550

(I took as a seminar, bring back permanent number?) Enviro law for non-lawyers

ENST 520

Environmental Organizing


ENST 531 ?course ended 201550

Citizen Particip Env Deci

ENST 535

Local Climate Solutions


ENST 542

Conservation Without Borders ? different title


*ENSC 590

Supervised Internship: Ethnobotany & Native Plant Stewardship


*ENST 590

ENST 590 Supervised Internship PEAS (Summer Only)


* Or other engagement-based course as approved by Advisor


Total Hours


Minimum Required Grade: C