University of California, Riverside

Environmental Sciences



Environmental Sciences Graduate Program


equiThe Environmental Sciences Graduate Program offers the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Sciences.


Advanced training in Environmental Sciences is becoming increasingly necessary to address complex problems involving natural resources and environmental quality. Although this task frequently requires specialized knowledge in various fields of science, it also requires understanding and integration of a wide variety of interacting physical, chemical, biological, and societal influences. This interaction makes graduate study in environmental sciences distinct from many other scientific fields. We have designed our program to offer graduate training in a number of specialized focus areas within environmental sciences, operating within a single graduate degree program administered by the Department of Environmental Sciences. Students trained in the Environmental Sciences Graduate Program can fill many areas of expertise needed in the state and nation. Potential career opportunities exist at regulatory agencies, consulting firms, government and academic research institutions, and industrial research facilities.


The Environmental Sciences Graduate Program priority submission deadline is December 1st, 2014. Applications that are submitted after December 1st are reviewed as they become complete.

The Environmental Sciences Graduate Program offers graduate training in:

Master‘s Degree

The Department of Environmental Sciences offers the M.S. degree in Environmental Sciences under the Plan I (Thesis) and Plan II (Comprehensive Examination) options. The general requirements for the M.S. degree are found in the Announcement of the Graduate Division.

Plan I (Thesis)

Students must complete a minimum of 36 quarter units of graduate and upper-division undergraduate courses in, or significantly related to, environmental sciences. At least 24 of the 36 units must be in graduate courses. A maximum of 12 of these units may be in graduate research for the thesis. No more than 4 units of ENSC 290 and 2 units of graduate seminar courses may be applied toward the degree. A thesis must be written and accepted by the M.S. thesis committee members, and a final oral defense of the thesis must be passed. Students also will be required to give a presentation annually at the Environmental Sciences Graduate Program Student Symposium.

Plan II (Comprehensive Examination)

Students must complete a minimum of 36 quarter units of graduate and upper-division undergraduate courses in, or significantly related to, environmental sciences. At least 18 units must be in graduate courses. Students may count no more than 2 units of graduate seminar courses and 6 units of graduate internship courses toward the required 18 units and no units from graduate research for thesis or dissertation.

Students must take a comprehensive written examination that covers fundamental topics in environmental sciences. The written examination, which is three to four hours long, is prepared and evaluated by a committee appointed by the field director. The examination is taken during the latter part of the final quarter in the M.S. program. Students must wait at least eight weeks before retaking a failed examination. Students failing the examination twice are dismissed from the program.

Normative Time to Degree

2 years

Doctoral Degree

The Department of Environmental Sciences offers the Ph.D. degree in Environmental Sciences. The general requirements for the Ph.D. degree are found in the Announcement of the Graduate Division.

Course Work

Students must complete the course requirements and will be required to give a presentation annually at the Environmental Sciences Graduate Program Student Symposium.

Comprehensive Written Examination

Following completion of all coursework prescribed by the student's Advisory Committee, a written qualifying examination will be prepared and administered to the student by a Written Qualifying Examination Committee. The Written Qualifying Examination Committee will consist of at least three faculty members with interests in the student‘s line of research. The purpose of the written qualifying examination is to determine that the student has gained sufficient knowledge in the chosen field to perform professionally and competently. The written exam may be attempted only twice. If the written qualifying exam is failed twice, the student will be redirected to the M.S. degree or terminated from the program.

Oral Examination

A student who satisfactorily passes the written qualifying examination may proceed with the oral qualifying examination, which will focus on the dissertation proposal. The oral examination is conducted before the Oral Qualifying Examination Committee, consisting of five faculty members, one of whom must be from outside the ESGP. The oral examination may be attempted only twice. If the oral qualifying exam is failed twice, the student will be redirected to the M.S. degree or terminated from the program. The written and oral comprehensive examinations will normally be taken at the end of the second year of graduate study and before the start of the third year.

Dissertation

All Ph.D. students must write a doctoral dissertation, which must be read and accepted by all members of the Doctoral Dissertation Committee, comprised of at least three faculty members from the ESGP. A final oral thesis defense in front of the three committee members must be passed.

Relationship between Master‘s and Doctoral Programs The M.S. and Ph.D. programs are separate. Students who enter the Ph.D. program do not need to acquire a M.S. degree first, although students may elect to take both.

Normative Time to Degree

5 years

Other Information

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Environmental Sciences
Geology 2258

Tel: (951) 827-5116
Fax: (951) 827-3993

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