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How to Apply

Our program requires application materials be submitted online.

Read these instructions carefully, and follow the steps detailed below.

Applications for fall 2018 admission must be received

no later than December 1, 2017.

The online system will be open for applications beginning

September 1.

We accept applications for fall admission only.


  • We admit students for fall term only.
  • The deadline for submitting doctoral application materials is December 1 for the following fall.
  • Late or incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
  • Follow this link for a description of the Doctoral Program in Environmental Sciences, Studies, and Policy.

  • See our Visitor Information page for useful details about locating us on campus, scheduling a campus tour, and getting around Eugene.
  • To make your visit as informative as possible, contact graduate students and faculty with similar interests prior to your arrival on campus.
  • You may also wish to arrange an appointment with Gayla WardWell, Graduate Programs Coordinator. Gayla can be reached at (541) 346-5057 or by e-mail at


About the Doctoral Application Process

To receive the Doctoral degree in Environmental Sciences, Studies, and Policy (ESSP), students must complete the degree requirements for a “focal” department in addition to meeting degree requirements of the Environmental Studies Program (for more information, see About the Doctoral Program and Focal Departments). Applicants to the doctoral program must identify a focal department and must meet the admissions requirements for that department’s doctoral program (in addition to those of the Environmental Studies Program). Different departments have different admission requirements and require different admission materials. For example, some focal departments require a Master’s degree prior to admission, while others do not. Some require that a writing sample be submitted with the application, while others do not.

Research your chosen focal department’s web site in order to learn about any additional requirements or application materials that may be needed. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Graduate Studies Director and potential advisors in their planned focal department before submitting an application.

Admission to the Ph.D. program must be approved by both the Environmental Studies Program and the focal department. Complete applications are first reviewed by the Environmental Studies admissions committee, which determines whether to allow the focal department access to the application. Only candidates approved by both committees are eligible for admission. Final admissions decisions are made by the Environmental Studies Program Director.

Do not send application materials to focal departments, and do not submit an application to the focal department. The Environmental Studies Program will provide focal departments with access to online ESSP applications we have approved for review by the focal departments. The following application requirements list only those materials required by the Environmental Studies Program. It is the prospective student’s responsibility to identify focal department application requirements, and to include any needed materials in the online application under “Additional Required Materials”.

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Application Requirements and Deadlines

Our doctoral application deadline is December 1.  We strongly recommend early submission. Late or incomplete applications will not be reviewed. We do not make exceptions to this rule. It is the applicant’s responsibility to make sure that all application materials are submitted online by the deadline, including transcripts, reference letters, and GRE scores.

If your chosen focal department has an earlier deadline than ours, you must have submitted all of your application materials to the Environmental Studies Program online application by the earlier deadline.

We admit students for fall term only.

To Apply

You will need to complete the secure online application for the University of Oregon Environmental Studies Program.  When choosing your major from the drop-down menu, make sure you click on the correct major name for the degree you want. Our Doctoral major is Environmental Sciences, Studies, and Policy.  A $70 non-refundable fee (credit card or e-check) for domestic students and a $90 non-refundable fee for international students is required by the Office of Admissions for the Graduate Admissions Application; payment is the last step for the applicant in filling out the online application.  You may edit your application until you have paid the fee; after that time you have access only to monitor the application to ensure it is complete by the deadline.  For this reason, be sure to keep your login credentials (user name and password) in a safe place.

In the course of completing the application, you will upload your resume or CV, statement of purpose, and transcripts, and will enter general information.  In order to complete the online application, you will need the following information:

  • Personal information (input)
  • Residency information (input)
  • Applicant course plan information (input)
  • GRE information (self-report by input; only if admitted, have official scores sent to the Environmental Studies Program)
  • TOEFL or IELTS information (international applicants only)
  • Resume and Statement of Purpose (upload PDFs)
  • Transcripts (self-report by uploading; have official hard copy degree transcripts sent to the Office of Admissions)
  • Referees (input names, positions, institutions, and email addresses for 3 – 5 people who are writing letters of recommendation for you)
  • Additional Required Materials  (upload any application material your chosen focal department requires that we don’t (e.g. writing samples, subject GRE scores, Biology or Psychology departmental application)


Resume or CV and Statement of Purpose

Upload a current résumé or CV in the CV upload window. Be sure to include any environmentally-related employment or projects you have completed. In addition, upload in the Statement of Purpose window a narrative of three to five double-spaced, typewritten pages that clearly expresses your reasons for applying to this program. Show how past achievements make you a good candidate and how your experience will complement your ambitions. This and the applicant course plan information is the heart of your application —your opportunity to make your case to the admissions committee.

Avoid the obvious:  assume every applicant is dedicated to making the world a better place, has nurtured these tendencies since childhood, and thinks the Pacific Northwest is beautiful and environmentally-friendly.

Needless to say, typographical, spelling, and grammatical errors do not have a place in the statement of purpose.

Applicant Course Plan

Input information into the applicant course plan areas in the online application. You will name three or four faculty members with whom you share research interests and with whom you would like to work.  While it is not required that you select, or be accepted by, an advisor in order to be admitted, it is wise to contact focal department faculty to determine whether they do, indeed, share your research interests. They may also be able to give you advice about whether they are likely to be taking on new students soon.  Name your two areas of concentration, which must be outside of the focal department and outside of Environmental Studies, and list courses that fit into those concentration areas. The information from the applicant course plan should map your course of action for achieving the goals outlined in the statement of purpose (these two documents should strongly support each other). To create the applicant course plan, access the listing of graduate-level courses in the University of Oregon Catalog. Your concentration areas may be composed of any 500-600 level classes offered at the University that are listed in the Catalog.  Ideally, the concentration areas complement each other and your focal department coursework, and form a coherent, cohesive plan for your studies.

Letters of Recommendation (3-5)

Identify three to five people familiar with your academic record, intellectual ability, and environmental experience who can attest to your chances of success in a rigorous, interdisciplinary doctoral program.  Recommendations from faculty members who have taught or advised you carry the most weight.  Letters from professionals who have supervised you in environmental work may be submitted in a supplemental capacity, but academic letters are highly preferable.

The online application requests contact information (name, position, institution, and email address) for each referee.  Upon your submission of their contact information, each referee will be notified via email and provided with instructions on how to submit their recommendations.

Official Transcripts

1.  Upload your transcripts from all institutions you have attended into the online application.  You will also enter your degree GPA (or your current GPA, if you are still an undergraduate student) in the online departmental application.

2.  You will need to have the institution(s) from which you earned a degree snail-mail one official transcript to:  Office of Admissions, 1217 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR  97403-1217.

3.  If you are offered admission to our program, we will require you to have official hard copy transcripts sent from each institution where you took classes to this address:  Graduate Programs Coordinator, Environmental Studies Program, 5223 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR  97403-5223.  Do not send hard copy transcripts to ENVS until we request them or you are offered admission.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores

The GRE General Test is required for all applicants.  The GRE Subject Test is not required unless your chosen focal department requires it.  We do not have a minimum score requirement, but our admitted students typically have scored in the top 25th percentile of the test.

Applicants should take the general test in time for the official results to arrive before the December 1 application deadline.  We strongly recommend you take the test by October 15, as it can take up to 6 weeks for us to receive the scores.

Official GRE test scores must be self-reported in the Program portion of the online application. ONLY IF YOU ARE ADMITTED, the official score report of your test scores must be sent directly from ETS to the Environmental Studies Program (see address above).  The code for the University of Oregon is 4846, and the code for the Environmental Studies Program is 0502 (Environmental Sciences; there is no code for Environmental Studies).  Both codes must be used in order for the test scores to be sent to the appropriate destination.

When self-reporting your scores, if you have taken the test more than once, use your highest combined score from one date; do not mix and match scores.

Official TOEFL or IELTS Scores (international students only)

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required of all international students.  If you graduated from an English-speaking university within the past 7 years, this requirement may be waived.

Official TOEFL or IELTS scores must be self-reported in the Program portion of the online application, and the official score report of your test scores must be sent directly from ETS to the Environmental Studies Program (see address above).  See below for more information.

Additional Required Materials

Your chosen focal department may have application material requirements that we do not require.  These can include writing samples, subject GRE scores, or departmental applications (Both Biology and Psychology each require a lengthy application in addition to ours, for instance).  It is every applicant’s responsibility to include any additional focal department required documents in the ESSP application.  Upload them in the “Additional Required Materials” upload window before submitting your application.  Do not submit any materials that are not specifically required by either our program or the focal department.  Unsolicited hard copy materials will not be seen by the admissions committee.

Application Status

The applicant is responsible for ensuring all documents required to complete the application are submitted by the December 1 deadline.  You may view the status of your application through the self-monitoring portion (checklist) of your online application.  Therefore, do not contact the Environmental Studies Program to check on the status of your application.

Admission Decisions

Admission decisions will be made by mid-March.  Applicants accepted into the Program will be notified by both phone and email.  All other applicants will be notified via email.

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Additional Information for International Applicants

  1. International applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL or the IELTS. The Graduate School and the Program require a score of at least 575 on the paper-based exam, 88 on the internet-based exam, or 7 on the IELTS. Applicants with scores below the minimums required will not be considered for graduate admission. Official copies of the TOEFL scores must be sent to the University of Oregon Environmental Studies Program. Use institution code 4846 and department code 46.
  2. International students offered a Graduate Teaching Fellowship (GTF) appointment are required to have a Test of Spoken English (TSE) score or a Speaking Proficiency English Assessment (SPEAK) score on file with the Graduate School before their GTF appointment will be approved. The SPEAK test is offered on campus.
  3. All international students enter the United States with “F-1″ visa classification (non-immigrant student status). In order to get F-1 status, an applicant must present the I-20 form issued from the University to the US Consulate in his or her country. The University of Oregon will not mail the I-20 form until the applicant has been judged admissible on academic grounds, has shown language proficiency to succeed in the program, and has certified adequate financial resources for support. International applicants must have proof that adequate financial resources are available to cover expenses while completing the graduate program. The Financial Statement form must be sent to the Office of Admissions. Further information is available from International Affairs, phone 541-346-3206.

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Financial Support

Students admitted to the program usually receive support with a graduate teaching fellowship (GTF), which includes a salary, tuition waiver, and health insurance. Applicants do not need to fill out a separate application to be considered for a graduate teaching fellowship, as all students admitted to the program are considered for the available fellowships. The Environmental Studies Program and the student’s chosen focal department share funding for each doctoral student, and the amount of funding is dictated by the focal department funding culture.  For example, a focal department that typically offers four years of funding for their own doctoral students would be expected to fund an ESSP student for at least two years; Environmental Studies would in that scenario fund for an additional two years.  Each focal department has their own funding policies.  For more information about graduate teaching fellowships, please consult Graduate Student Funding and our Graduate Program FAQ.

The Environmental Studies Program does not administer financial aid, loans, grants, or scholarships. Students may wish to contact the Office of Student Financial Aid, 800-760-6953, to find out about scholarship or other funding opportunities.

Occasionally students in our programs are supported by individual grants to specific faculty, but this is rare and very difficult to arrange until students are involved in the program.

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Ready to apply? Graduate Admission Application

The secure online application requires the use of Netscape Navigator® versions 4.06 and greater or Microsoft® Internet Explorer versions 4.0 and greater that support JavaScript, Cookies, and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). Macintosh® users require Microsoft® Internet Explorer version 4.51 or greater. Your application will not be processed without an online credit card or e-Check payment.

Direct any questions concerning the application process to Gayla WardWell, Graduate Programs Coordinator for the Environmental Studies Program. Gayla can be reached at (541) 346-5057 or by e-mail at Her hours are 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM (Pacific Time), Mondays through Thursdays. The ENVS office is closed every day from noon to 1 PM for lunch and on Fridays throughout the summer.

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