Students must complete at least 108 graduate credits from the following areas:

To encourage the development of interdisciplinary graduate study programs, guidelines for course selection are flexible. In addition to the ES Graduate core courses, students must complete courses that constitute an area of concentration (or track).

  Download a program of study template (.docx)

  Learn about the program requirements and how to apply

Environmental Sciences Core Courses

The graduate core consists of four courses, totaling 9 credits. The purpose of the core is to introduce new students to faculty, to give students a sense of programmatic identity, to foster interdisciplinary thinking among students and faculty, to expose students to the breadth of existing environmental science courses, to expose students to a specific area in environmental science, to give students the opportunity for academic exploration, and to teach research skills.

The four courses are:

  • Environmental Perspectives and Methods ENSC 515 (3 credits, winter quarter)
  • Environmental Analysis ENSC 520 (3 credits, winter quarter)
  • Joint-Campus Environmental Science Workshop ENSC 508 (2 credits, spring quarter)
  • Responsible Conduct of Research GRAD 520 (1 credit)

Methods and Numerical Skills Courses

Courses in research methods, experimental design, statistical analysis, and modeling ensure students have sufficient skills for environmental research. Nine credits of course work is required for the PhD degree.

Areas of Concentration (Tracks)

Sets of courses that constitute an area of concentration have been established to give focus to study and research. Seven areas of concentration have been defined. New areas of concentration can be developed by groups of faculty and students. Areas of concentration consist of at least 30 credits for PhD students. See the list of concentrations.

Elective Courses

Elective courses are listed in the student's program of study, and agreed upon by the student and the advising committee. Courses may be selected to provide additional background, to explore new areas, and to add depth to a program.

Thesis or Project

A central purpose of the PhD degree is to teach students the process of environmental research. A minimum of 36 credits are required for original research leading to a thesis, or project, that complies with standards established by the Graduate School and the Environmental Sciences Graduate Program.

PhD Degree Flowchart
PhD Degree Flowchart