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).

  Learn about the program requirements and how to apply

Environmental Sciences Core Courses

The graduate core consists of three courses, totaling 6 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 two courses are:

  • Environmental Perspectives and Methods ENSC 515 (3 credits, Fall term)
  • Environmental Analysis ENSC 520 (3 credits, Winter term)

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 minimum of course work are required for the Ph.D. degree.

Areas of Concentration (Tracks)

Sets of courses that constitute an area of concentration have been established to give focus to study and research. Eight 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 Ph.D. 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.

Ph.D. Thesis or Manuscript Model 

A central purpose of the Ph.D. degree is to teach students the process of environmental research. A minimum of 36 credits are required for original research leading to a Ph.D. thesis, or manuscript model, that complies with standards established by the Graduate School and the Environmental Sciences Graduate Program. Consult the ESGP handbook, the Graduate School website, and your committee for Ph.D. thesis guidelines.

Example guidelines for the manuscript model are found here and may be modified by your committee (2 or 3 papers) as relevant.

PhD Degree Flowchart
PhD Degree Flowchart

Preliminary Exam

Students are required to take a preliminary exam when working towards a doctor degree. Please review the preliminary exam guidelines.