Department of Environmental Science

Graduate

Program Overview

As environmental and resource problems are common to many countries (e.g., long-range transport of pollutants, waste management, deforestation of tropics, misuse of rangelands, conservation of wildlife species, growth management), it is expected that a significant international dimension of the program will develop.

Graduates of the program will have a special responsibility to address the complicated physical, biological, social and political issues of environmental and natural resource management. As the world’s human population continues to grow, the impacts on natural and modified environments and non-urban land uses will increase. It will take responsible, knowledgeable and committed people, backed by a strong ecological and cultural understanding, to integrate resource-oriented positions in policy and planning, and to communicate the principles necessary to resolve environmental and natural resource issues.

Master’s Degree

The Environmental Science degree is intended to provide students with an interdisciplinary, applications-oriented education in environmental science. It is designed to provide an instructional background that will enable graduates to utilize a scientific approach to study natural ecological processes and to address current and future regional and/or worldwide environmentally related issues.

To be considered for admission, a student must have:

  • A grade point average equivalent to a U.S. grade of “B” (3.0) or better
  • BA/BS degree in a related field (some prerequisite course work may be completed after admissions)
  • GRE scores
  • International applicants must have official TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB scores submitted directly to the Graduate School (school code 4705) from the testing services. Check English proficiency requirements for specific test score requirements and exceptions to this requirement

Admission into the graduate program is dependent upon a faculty member’s willingness to act as the student’s advisor in addition to basic academic requirements.

Program Requirements

Each student, in consultation with his/her graduate committee, will develop a plan of study. This plan outlines what courses will be required for completion of the degree. To develop a plan of study, students may choose from a variety of graduate and selected undergraduate courses offered in the area of emphasis. In addition, courses may be selected from a number of related courses in other programs of the University.

Each program may have its own required core courses (a list of these courses may be obtained from your faculty mentor).

Doctoral Degree

The Ph.D. in Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences is an interdepartmental degree program at Washington State University sponsored by the Natural Resource Sciences Department and the Program in Environmental Science and Regional Planning.

Environmental and natural resource sciences comprise an association of several areas of study at Washington State University. These sciences focus on factors related to the understanding and management of the environment and therefore have a commonality of interest.

The Ph.D. program in Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences provides opportunities for doctoral study that involve integration and interaction among these various fields of science. The cooperation of WSU’s faculties in environmental and natural resource sciences in this program foster important exchanges of knowledge that greatly enhance interdisciplinary education.

Application Requirements

To be considered for admission, a student must have:

  • A grade point average equivalent to a U.S. grade of “B” (3.0) or better
  • BA/BS degree in a related field (some prerequisite course work may be completed after admissions)
  • GRE scores
  • International applicants must have official TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB scores submitted directly to the Graduate School (school code 4705) from the testing services. Check English proficiency requirements for specific test score requirements and exceptions to this requirement

Admission into the graduate program is dependent upon a faculty member’s willingness to act as the student’s advisor in addition to basic academic requirements.

To apply, submit an application to the Graduate School.

General WSU Graduate School requirements for admission must be met, including:

A cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 for the most recent 60 semester hours of undergraduate academic coursework. Specific requirements for the Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Sciences include a TOEFL score of 600 (Paper-Based), 250 (Computer-Based), or 100 (Internet-Based) for students with English as a second language. Normally completion of a Master’s degree (or equivalent) is expected for admission to the doctoral program.

Admission to the program without subject matter deficiency requires at least 10 semester credits of completed coursework in basic biological and/or physical sciences (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics, geology, etc.). Students may be admitted with deficiency with the expectation that the deficiency will be met through completed coursework (for non-graduate program credit) within one year of admission.

Admission into the graduate program is dependent upon a faculty member’s willingness to act as the student’s advisor in addition to basic academic requirements.

Program Requirements

The Ph.D. dissertation should be a significant contribution to the Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences, worthy of publication in referred international journals. The objectives of the Ph.D. program in Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences are to:

  • Provide an atmosphere of scholarship coupled with research opportunities that will produce people capable of responding to the complicated issues of use, management and protection of the environment and its natural resources.
  • Foster the pursuit of interdisciplinary research in the environmental and natural resource sciences and to facilitate a better understanding of the ecological, social and economic relationships inherent in environmental and natural resource issues.
  • Produce scientists who will assume leadership roles in the research and management of natural resources and the environment.
  • Prepare students for working with, and within, public and private agencies responsible for the management or protection of natural resources and the environment.

Each student will develop a program of study in cooperation with a Supervisory Committee that includes his/her Faculty Advisor as Chair. As preparation for a Preliminary Examination, a core curriculum must be completed through preceding and/or new coursework that will yield competencies in five broad areas:

  • Advanced knowledge of ecosystems, including both biophysical structure and function, and roles of humans. This competency may be met by the equivalent of at least 6 semester hours of graded coursework.
  • Advanced knowledge in research methods; This competency may be met by the equivalent of 3 semester hours of graded coursework in each of the following two areas, Statistics and Modeling as applicable to dissertation research.
  • Advanced knowledge in environmental and natural resource issues and ethics
  • Advanced interdisciplinary cognizance/appreciation
  • A specialized subject area to be defined by the student and the student’s Supervisory Committee

Both preliminary and final exams will be required to test the candidate’s knowledge of Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences with emphasis on the work presented in the dissertation and general fields of knowledge pertinent to the degree.