College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences2013-2014

School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability

Environmental Sciences and Policy, Master of Science

  • Available Emphasis Areas:
  • Environmental Sciences and Policy - Emphasis
  • Paleoenvironmental Sciences - Emphasis

Students in this advanced degree program position themselves to not only understand the environment, but also to act on its behalf by influencing future policy. This thesis-oriented plan allows for the creation of an individualized program of study, as unique as the student's interests, guided by an engaged research committee.


What Can I Do with a Master of Science in Environmental Sciences and Policy?

Do you want to learn how to solve environmental problems?  Do you want a career in research, industry, education, government, or public service?  Do you want to increase your knowledge about how the Earth and environmental systems operate, and learn how to translate the science to appropriate decision-making processes?

If so, the Master of Science in Environmental Sciences and Policy program may be for you. This program offers you strong advising from accomplished faculty for an individualized experience that combines multidisciplinary study, research, and applied projects. These projects often reach across campus and into the greater community, allowing you to build relationships and skills outside of your department. The rigorous training in the natural and political sciences that you will receive in this program will prepare you for successful environmental careers in industry, government, and the non-profit sector.

Career opportunities that might be pursued:

With further education, one of these paths is possible:
  • Policy analyst
  • Research assistant
  • Climate change lobbyist
  • Environmental change specialist

University Requirements

  • To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. (Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.)

    You must additionally complete:

    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
    • All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
    • All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.
    The full policy can be viewed here.



In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 34 - 36
Additional Admission Requirements Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
Emphasis, Minor, or Certificate Required

An emphasis, minor, or certificate is required for this major. 

Thesis Thesis is required.
Oral Defense Oral Defense is required.
Research Individualized research is required.


Additional Admission Requirements
  • Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
    • NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent. 
    • Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
    • Transcripts
    • For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
    • International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy 

    Individual program admission requirements include:

    • GRE® revised General Test
    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • Prerequisites (may be completed concurrently with the program)
      • Science prerequisites include at least one undergraduate chemistry, biology, or ecology course with a lab, though it is possible to be admitted provisionally while completing foundational coursework
    • Resume or curriculum vitae
Master's Requirements
  • Take the following 34 - 36 units:

    Core (12 units)

  • In completing the thesis, you will work closely with your major professor and others to conduct an original research project, which generally requires maintaining close proximity to the Northern Arizona University - Flagstaff campus.

    Emphasis Requirements (Select One):
    • Environmental Science and Policy Emphasis (24 units)
      Select one course each from two of the following areas (6 units):
    • Select one course in environmental laws, regulations, and policy selected from (3 units):

      Select at least 15 units of specialty courses, at the 500 level or above, chosen in consultation with your Program Committee.

    • Paleoenvironmental  Sciences Emphasis (22-23 units)
      Select one course each from the following areas (12-13 units):

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.

Campus Availability

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