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Master of Science in Environmental Studies

Timothy J. Callahan
Program Director

Mitchell Colgan
Geology Department Chair

Willem J. Hillenius
Biology Department Chair

Robert Mignone
Mathematics Department Chair

Narayanan Kuthirummal
Physics Department Chair

H. Gibbs Knotts
Political Science Department Chair

Victoria Vazquez

Program Coordinator


Program Description

The Master of Science in Environmental Studies program (MES) prepares students to deal with the complex nature of environmental issues through an interdisciplinary approach that capitalizes on the unique faculty and research strengths of The Graduate School of the College of Charleston. The faculty contributes through policy sciences, economics, law, mathematics and the natural and physical science areas of biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. In addition, we offer a dual program with the Master of Public Administration Program, and MES has a Peace Corps Master's International program which links the M.S. degree with specialized international service as a Peace Corps volunteer. You can find more information on these programs elsewhere in this catalogue.


The MES program provides students with an interdisciplinary approach to identify environmental problems without sacrificing the training rigor of a specific academic discipline. The interdisciplinary emphasis is established through a carefully designed set of required courses that provide students with an understanding of environmental issues. The curriculum addresses these issues by teaching students the principles of basic scientific research; by giving students the tools to evaluate the human dimensions of environmental problems and potential solutions; and by helping students examine the role of public policy in environmental decision-making.

Academic Advisor and Advisory Committee

A student’s program of study consists of a list of coursework and other requirements that the student must complete to graduate from the MES program. Upon entering the program, each student selects an academic advisor who works with the student to establish an applied research (academic internship) or thesis project and to plan coursework. The academic advisor develops the coursework program of study in consultation with the student, oversees student progress, and advises the student about his or her career and academic options. The academic advisor might or might not participate directly in the student’s independent research; at a minimum the advisor helps the student arrange his/her research committee led by a research advisor.


Admission to the MES program requires a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. Students with any major are encouraged to apply, but must have a sufficient background in either the natural, policy, and/or social sciences.

Minimum admissions requirements are listed below. Some applicants may not satisfy all requirements. Every effort will be made to accommodate such applicants through preparatory classes at the College of Charleston. Exceptions can be made on an individual basis, depending on a candidate’s background or experience.

The environmental studies program is governed by a Steering Committee comprised of members who represent the contributing departments.

Minimum Requirements

  • An overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (on a scale of 4)
  • Scores from GRE tests taken prior to July 31, 2011 must have a composite score of at least 1100 on the combined verbal and quantitative sections and a minimum of 4.0 on the writing assessment section. The minimum requirements for tests taken after July 31, 2011 require a minimum composite score of 305.
  • Students must have undergraduate coursework in biology (two courses with labs), chemistry (two courses with labs), and statistics (one semester). One year of another physical or natural science may be substituted for either biology or chemistry. The admissions committee recognizes that some students with exceptional backgrounds and training in other areas may wish to enter the program. These students are encouraged to apply and will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but should understand that they may be required to take one or more additional science courses.
  • Three letters of recommendation that specifically address the prospective student's academic qualifications and career potential in environmental studies.
  • A statement of personal goals to be achieved by the applicant during his/her time in the program.

To be considered for admission, students must complete an MES application packet. An application packet for the MES program can be obtained by written request to:

Program Coordinator
Graduate Program in Environmental Studies
The Graduate School of the College of Charleston
Charleston, S.C. 29424

Application Deadlines

Fall semester: March 1
Spring semester: November 1

Transfer Credit Policy

A student may request the approval from the program director to accept up to nine transfer credit hours. These courses require a grade of B or higher, or a grade of Satisfactory or Pass.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Science in Environmental Studies degree requires a minimum of 37 credit hours of coursework. Each student is required to complete a sequence of core courses. Students will then choose electives from a range of approved courses, according to their area of interest. Central to the student's activity is a research project (as either a thesis or applied research project) of which six credit hours are awarded upon successful completion of the project.