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Prospective Grad Students


The Environmental Science and Management (ESM) program at Portland State University offers a Master of Science degree, a Master of Environmental Management degree, a Professional Science Master in Environmental Management, and a School of the Environment ESR PhD degree. In addition, the program offers a Graduate Certificate of Hydrology.

Thinking of Applying to Graduate School in Environmental Science? If you are considering getting a graduate degree in environmental science, this is a great guide to read before making your final decision.

For general information regarding Graduate Assistantships, please click here. Please consult with your potential advisor for information regarding specific assistantships available through the ESM department.

For more information about the application process, please review the Frequently Asked Questions.


Admission Requirements


Prospective doctoral applicants click here for application deadline and requirements.


ESM Masters Degree applicants: 


The application deadline for the ESM Masters degree program is January 15, 2017 for Fall 2017. Applications will be accepted beginning on September 1, 2016. (Note: The Environmental Science & Management department only offers one application and admit cycle per year with a fall term start.) All materials (including reference letters) must be received no later than 11:59 pm on January 15, 2017.  

Admission requirements for the ESM Masters degree program includes a science-based baccalaureate degree or equivalent training and evidence of course work in biology, ecology, data analysis, and similar science courses. Admission is competitive (typically around 25% acceptance) and every student is evaluated based on their full application. Specific requirements are detailed on our on FAQ page. All applicants must pre-identify a major advisor (see info regarding this below).  

 All students must apply using the online application system. (Paper applications will not be accepted.)


Link to online application: Will not open for Fall 2017 unitl 9/1/16

If you have questions regarding the online application, please contact Graduate Admissions in the Office of Graduate Studies at 503-725-8410 or

Do not mail any materials to the department.  Reference letters should be requested via the online application.


If you have questions regarding how to apply or general program information, please contact the ESM department. If you have more specific questions you may contact Dr. Max Nielsen-Pincus, Chair ESM Graduate Admissions. 

For the on-line application, you will need the following:

1.    A statement of interest (including professional interests and career goals). 

2.    Current resume or CV (as PDF).

3.    PDF copies of transcripts of college and university work. (Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the review process. Before you receive an official acceptance letter you will need to provide official transcripts.) For information on what an acceptable unofficial transcript is see the Office of Graduate Studies requirements

 4. Three letters of recommendation from persons qualified to assess your promise as a grad student. The on-line application includes a section for you to provide the emails of these three individuals.  These individuals will then be sent an email with a link to upload their letter of recommendation.  

5.    Graduate Record Examination (GRE) aptitude test scores (general GRE test acceptable).  The GRE scores must be no more than 6 years old at the time of application.

6.    A satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for international students.

7.    Identification of a potential advisor (see "Finding a Major Professor" listed below).  No student is admitted without an advisor.


**Those interested in a Teaching Assistantship with the ESM department may apply for open positions with their general application for the Masters program. There will be a section which addresses department Teaching Assistantships.  


For more information about the application process, please review the Frequently Asked Questions.


International Student Admissions:

For more information regarding international student admissions, please visit International Student Services.


Post-baccalaureate or Conditional Admits

Students with deficiencies in particular areas can be admitted as post-baccalaureate students or with departmental conditions which must be satisfied within the first one or two quarters after admission. (Please note, if you are admitted conditionally, you are not eligible for a graduate assistantship.)


Finding a Major Professor

Selecting a major professor to mentor you through your studies at PSU is one of the most vital steps in the graduate school process. Your major professor will help you plan your courses, guide you with your research, and serve as one of your committee members. Please note that you cannot be admitted without having found a major professor, so we recommend you begin the search as soon as possible.

You can find a list of ESM faculty and their interest areas under the About Us tab on our website. After reviewing the list and identifying who has interest areas similar to your own, you should contact them via email. Let them know what you are interested in studying and how your interests and their research are related. It is also good to ask if they know other professors working in your area of interest that you might contact.

When making an initial contact with a prospective advisor, it is recommended that you email him/her a copy of your CV and include a paragraph or two about your interest areas and how you see them aligning with those of the faculty member.  If you do not receive a response within a week or so, try emailing again or calling. If you still don't hear a response, it is likely because the faculty member does not feel it is a good match.

When you find professors that you would like to work with, you will probably discuss funding sources. The ESM Graduate Program has limited funding and very few Teaching Assistantships (TA) or Graduate Assistantships (GA) available. Most students have funding through their major professor or through private sources. The Financial Aid office is a good source of information for funding your graduate studies.

Questions to Consider before Choosing a Major Professor