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Master of Arts in Environmental Studies

Cleveland State University's Master of Arts in Environmental Studies, housed in the Department of Urban Studies, prepares students for careers in environmental policy and management through a broad, interdisciplinary course of study.

The task at the core of the graduate Environmental Studies program is the development of human institutions, organizations, and behaviors that restore and protect the environment, requiring careful study of both natural and human systems and their interdependence. This program seeks to equip students with a core foundation in environmental science,  policy, law, and management for professional careers that will “bridge the gap” between environmental scientists and public policy and management professionals, in order to protect the integrity, diversity, and resilience of existing social-ecological systems and to shape them into sustainable human settlements.

Students may choose to specialize in the following areas: policy and administration, environmental planning, geographic information systems (GIS), environmental nonprofit management, or sustainable economic development.

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Admission Requirements

  • Application Form
  • Application Fee
  • Undergraduate Transcripts
    • Minimum 3.0 Undergraduate GPA
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • GRE Test Scores
    • Average Verbal & Quantitative Test Scores at 40th percentile and an Analytical Writing Score of 4.0
    • Students with a graduate degree from an accredited U.S. college or university are exempted from this requirement. 

*Admission to the program is based on a combination of a candidate’s undergraduate GPA and the GRE score.  

-International students are required to have met at least one of the following English language proficiency requirements:

  • TOEFL iBT (Internet-Based): 78 & at least 17 in each section
  • TOEFL PBT (Paper-Based): 550
  • IELTS: 6.0 and at least 5.0 in each section
  • PTE (Pearson’s Test of English): 50
  • iTEP: 3.8

Admission Deadlines

All applications must be submitted and complete on the following application deadline dates:

  • Domestic Students
    • Rolling
  • International Students
    • Fall Semester – May 15th
    • Spring Semester - October 15th
    • Summer Semester - March 15th



Program Requirements


  • CVE 450: Environmental Technology
  • PHY 570: Environmental Physics
  • EVS 506: Ecosystem Science
  • UST 584: Environmental Practicum
  • UST 601: Applied Quantitative Reasoning I
  • UST 603: Public Finance and Economics
  • UST 652: Environmental Policy & Administration
  • LAW 671: Environmental Law, Policy & Regulation

Students can choose to specialize in one of the following areas:

Policy and Administration

  • UST 542 - Environmental Finance and Capital Budgeting

  • UST 600 - Foundations in Public Administration

  • UST 604 - Leadership, Management, & Organizational Behavior

  • UST 616 - Systems and Processes of Policy Development

  • LAW 808 Environmental Law Clinic (with instructor permission)

Environmental Planning

  • UST 553 - Environmental & Sustainability Planning

  • UST 653 - Environmental Planning II

  • UST 585 - GIS Principles

  • UST 540 - Environment and Human Affairs

  • LAW 608 Land Use (with instructor permission) OR

  • UST 609 - Planning Law

*One of these courses is required for the specialization.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

  • UST 585 - GIS Principles

  • UST 586 - GIS Methods

  • UST 587 - GIS Applications

* Students completing the GIS specialization are eligible to receive the Urban GIS Certificate

Environmental Nonprofit Management

  • UST 550 - Fundamentals of Nonprofit Administration and Leadership

  • UST 510 - Proposal Writing

  • UST 604 - Leadership, Management, & Organizational Behavior

  • UST 651 - Fundraising and Revenue Generation

  • UST 650 - Financial Administration and Control of Nonprofit Organizations

Sustainable Economic Development

  • UST 542 - Environmental Finance and Capital Budgeting

  • UST 553 - Environmental & Sustainability Planning

  • UST 605 - Regional Theory and Analysis

  • UST 629 - Economic Development Finance

  • UST 622 - Economic Development Policy

Additional Electives to be Selected with Advisement from Program Director

  • UST 606 - Evolution of Human Settlements
  • EVS 523 - GIS Applications to the Field Sciences

  • EVS 550 - Applied Ecology

  • EVS 560 - Geomorphology (EVS 523 or permission)

  • Every student must register for four credits of exit-project course work (UST 698) and successfully complete an applied research report, an original project design, a policy-analysis and evaluation paper, or a related project. Before registering for exit-project credit, the student and his or her advisor select a proposed exit project. The student must complete a Permission Form and obtain the required signatures prior to registering for the project

Did You Know?

Employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026

Bureau of Labor Statistics


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Career Outcomes

  • Students in the environmental studies program develop skills that are in high demand. These skills are particularly well suited to bridging the gap between science and policy. Students will become leaders in their communities' efforts to protect and/or restore environmental quality. 
  • Environmental studies graduates work in organizations such as environmental protection agencies; nonprofit environmental advocacy organizations; environmental education organizations; municipal governments; regional planning and resource agencies; and state and national parks and recreation areas.
  • These are some of the local companies that are hiring CSU grads: Nestle, State of Ohio, Progressive, InterTek, Tetra Tech, DiGeronimo Companies, and OhioGuidestone.