About the Graduate Program

The Environmental Studies Program offers a master of science (M.S.) or master of arts (M.A.) degree in Environmental Studies and a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in Environmental Sciences, Studies, and Policy (ESSP) that includes Environmental Humanities.

Our graduate programs are interdisciplinary, drawing on resources and faculty throughout the university, including the Schools of Arts and Sciences; Architecture and Allied Arts; Journalism and Communication; and Law. Currently, more than 100 faculty members from thirty different departments and programs are officially affiliated with Environmental Studies. These faculty have research and teaching interests in environmental issues ranging from the global to the local, including climate change, conservation biology, ecocriticism, ecology, endangered species conservation, environmental economics, environmental ethics, environmental law, green architecture and design, land use planning, marine resources, political ecology, public land management, sustainability, transportation, urban growth, water resources, and many other areas.

Students and faculty often collaborate with the numerous environment-related research centers on campus, including the Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the Ecological Design Center, the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program, the Institute for a Sustainable Environment, and the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology.

Our graduate curriculum emphasizes flexible and individualized degree-planning. We encourage innovative and interdisciplinary work culminating in first-rate scholarship and creative projects in subjects ranging from biology, geography and psychology to environmental humanities and policy studies. Students design a course plan tailored to their individual goals and interests and select faculty mentors from across the university to advise them in developing and completing their projects and theses. Students may also take courses and work with faculty at our partner institutions, Oregon State University and Portland State University. Many of our students pursue concurrent degrees in law; planning, public policy, and management; landscape architecture, and other fields.

Our program attracts exceptionally strong students who excel academically, are self-motivated, and typically have a range of experiences beyond their academic training, such as environmentally-related internships, employment, or volunteer work. Students in the program enjoy a strong sense of community that fosters lifelong friendships and collaborations.

Most graduate students in Environmental Studies receive funding for all or part of their graduate study. Doctoral students are funded jointly by Environmental Studies and the student’s focal department for the length of time that is typical within the focal department.

Graduates of our program work in national, state, and local government as well as national and regional environmental organizations, and many have pursued careers in research and teaching at leading colleges and universities. See our alumni page to find out more about what our alumni are doing now.