Environmental Studies

Master of Science in Environmental Studies (MSES)

The MSES is a two-year academic program for students who are interested in environmental studies. The program gives an interdisciplinary education that prepares graduates to work in a multitude of fields pertaining to environmental studies.

Incoming students have backgrounds in many disciplines such as humanities, social sciences, business, and biological sciences. The MSES program looks for dynamic students with a devotion to solving the world's environmental issues.

Structure of the Program and Degree Requirements

Upon entry, each student chooses an area of concentration: life sciences, physical and earth sciences, environmental archaeology, environmental policy and planning, or environmental monitoring. Students can also design an individual program based on their specific career or research interests and needs.

Ohio University requires a minimum of 30 semester hours to graduate. The MSES requires a minimum of 36 credit hours for thesis or non thesis students, and 40 credit hours for leadership practicum students. Students will choose the leadership practicum or thesis/non-thesis.

Year One:

In the first year, all students take 5 core classes.

  • ES 6800 -- Community-Based Environmental Studies (Seminar, 1 credit)
  • ES 6810 -- Environment and Society (Seminar, 3 credits)
  • ES 6820 -- Ecology and Environmental Issues (Seminar, 3 credits)
  • ES 6830 -- Concepts in Sustainability (3 credits)
  • ES 6900 -- Special Topics in Environmental Studies (1-3 credits)

Students also begin research (under the supervision of an interdisciplinary research advisory committee composed of three faculty members) and take elective courses.


Students must also take at least four of the following approved electives. Consult with your advisor about which courses are best for your degree option and field of interest.

  • PBIO 5150 -- Statistical Methods in Plant Bio (4 credits)
  • EDRE 5010-- Introduction to Research Methods (4 credits)
  • GEOG 5710 -- Quantitative Methods in Geography (4 credits)
  • GEOG 5712 -- Field Methods in Geography (4 credits)
  • MATH 5510 -- Applied Statistics (3 credits)
  • PSY 6111 -- Advanced Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences (3 credits)
  • PSY 6100 -- Data Management (1 credit)
  • SOC 6540 -- Social Research Methods (3 credits)
  • POLS 6010 -- Quantitative Research Methods (3 credits)
  • MPA 6010 -- Research Methods in Leadership and Public Affairs (3 credits)


Year Two:

Students may complete a research thesis, a leadership practicum, or a non-thesis research project. Regardless of capstone choice, all students must pass comprehensive examinations.

Research or Thesis Credits, Complete a minimum of 1 credit hour of the following: 

  • ES 6950 -- Environmental Studies Thesis (1-8 credits)
  • ES 6940 -- Environmental Studies Research (1-5 credits)

Leadership Practicum, Complete the following courses:

  • ES 6840 -- Seminar in Environmental Leadership (3 credits)
  • ES 6910 -- Environmetnal Studies Internship (1-12 credits)


Research Options

Research Thesis Option

If a student chooses to write a thesis, they will conduct research including collection of original data that addresses significant research questions. The student will analyze and interpret data, and present it in writing in the format required by Ohio University, explained here.

Research Report/Non-thesis Option 

A student may choose to complete a non-thesis research report in which one reviews and analyzes existing literature or data surrounding some problem related to the student's curriculum concentration. Whether a literature or data review, this report will involve the development and study of information of environmental significance.

Leadership Practicum Option

Instead of traditional research, the student may prefer to work in the field to explore and solve problems as an intern with an agency or organization involved in environmental leadership across a wide variety of disciplines. Upon completion of the internship, the student will write a thesis that describes the work and findings of the internship. Leadership Practicum theses have covered a broad range of subjects reflecting the diversity of students' backgrounds and interests.

Click here for more information on research, elective courses and degree requirements.

How to Apply:

Apply here, or refer to the Environmental Studies website for information about deadlines, requirements and testing.

Contact Geoff Dalbelko (dabelkog@ohio.edu) with any questions or for more information about the program.

Environmental Studies Graduate Certificate

Student's currently enrolled in a graduate degree program can add a certificate in environmental students by completing and Application for Update of Programs available at the Graduate Studies office. Students not currently enrolled in a graduate degree program must complete a non-degree application as described in the Graduate Catalog.

Certificate Requirements

The certificate requires 15 credit hours with 2 required courses

  • ES 6830: Concepts in Environmental Sustainability
  • ES 6830: Sustainability Assessment Course

Students then choose from a wide variety of courses to fulfill the rest of the hours. Click here for a listing of other courses.

Contact Geoff Dabelko (dabelkog@ohio.edu) with any questions or for more information about the program.