ESM Graduate Program Details
Application Requirements and Deadlines
We only accept applications for fall quarter admission. Under special circumstances a faculty member may request admission of a new student beginning Winter or Spring quarters. The deadline for all graduate applications is January 1st at 9:00am. A decision will be made on your application by Spring term. Hydrology Certificate applications are accepted three times a year on October 1st (for a winter term start), April 1 (for a fall term start), and January 1 (for a spring term start).
1. Statement of Interest (In no more than 1,100 words describe your preparation for graduate school, research/professional interests, your intended sub-field of study, your career goals, and any other relevant information you would like the graduate admissions committee or your potential advisor to consider. Be as specific as possible; avoid vague and/or universal statements such as descriptions of your desire to learn environmental science and/or management.)
2. Current resume/CV (as a pdf file).
3. Transcripts of all college & university coursework (as a pdf file); unofficial transcripts are acceptable.
for the review process, but prior to being permitted to register, official transcripts must be submitted.
More information on transcript requirements can be found here.
4. Three letters of recommendation (no departmental format provided).
5. Graduate Record Examination (GRE); Verbal and quantitative scores.
6. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for international students.
7. Identification of Potential Advisor.
8. Identification of interest in a Teaching Assistantship position (optional).
Financial Aid and Teaching/Research Assistantships
We have a limited number of Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA) each year. These are very competitive and typically go to students with strong academic records. Individual faculty may also have Research Assistantships and should be contacted directly regarding the availability of support. In order to be considered for a GTA position, applicants must note their interest on their graduate application. There will be a GTA section provided for applicants to complete. Note, all graduate applications along with interest in being considered for a GTA position are due January 1st. Teaching assistantships are variable but include tuition that covers 9 credit hours of course work (some also include a small stipend). Pay for Research Assistantships vary by project. They typically include tuition.
Program Areas (MS, MEM, PSM)
MS students complete lab or field thesis research.
MEM students will complete a project with scope and effort similar to a thesis but with more flexibility of topic and design, including in-depth study of an appropriate problem. Typically, MEM students develop a project in consultation with an agency or organization outside the university. All graduate applicants must arrange to work with a major professor (advisor) before being admitted.
PSM students will have the depth of scientific and environmental management content and skills of the MEM degree, but requires 12 additional credits in “PSM Plus Courses.” These PSM “Plus Courses” give students knowledge in the discipline of professional management and practices. A key feature of this degree is the experience garnered by the student while participating in a high quality internship program.
Students should have academic training sufficient for them to be successful in graduate courses. An adequate background varies widely by degree and area of concentration. PhD applicants should consult with the School of the Environment. (Program course entry requirements do not have an expiration date.)
Typical preparation for the MS degree would include the following:
One year of biology (2 semesters or 3 quarters)
One year of chemistry
One course in physics
Courses in differential and integral calculus
At least one course in statistics
Typical preparation for the MEM and PSM degrees would include the following:
One year of biology (2 semesters or 3 quarters)
One year of Environmental Management
One year of Ecology, particularly related to your study system
At least one course in statistics and one calculus course
Students with the coursework background outlined above will receive first consideration. Students that lack some of the coursework are advised to take courses as post-baccalaureate students prior to admission. ESM may admit students with deficiencies in some of the background coursework if the application otherwise indicates preparation that will allow the student to succeed in graduate school. (This would be considered a conditional admit. Note, with a conditional admittance, you are not eligible for a teaching assistantship.)
Graduate Courses at the Post-Baccalaureate Level
No more than one-third of the required graduate course credits (15 credits in the case of the MS, MEM and PSM programs) taken by post-baccalaureate students may be taken prior to admission and transferred into the graduate program.
GPA and GRE Scores
A 3.0 in science courses taken prior to application is required. While not a strict requirement, most successful applicants have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.
We have no strict requirement for minimum GRE scores, however, most successful applicants have combined verbal and quantitative scores of at least 300 and an analytical score of at least 3.7. The Portland State University code for GRE and TOEFL scores is 4610. There is no specific GRE test required, the general GRE test is acceptable.
Identifying a Prospective Graduate Advisor
The best way to identify a major professor is to communicate directly with faculty that may share your research interests. When contacting a potential advisor, it is advisable to send them an email with a brief introduction of yourself and your research interests, accompanied by a resume/cv. You can communicate directly with your prospective graduate advisor to learn more about the graduate student experience in ESM at PSU.