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Change your world, earn your degree.

‘I was very fortunate to work on a cooperative study with the National Park Service on Denali.  MSES offers a great platform to conduct unique environmental studies.’ – Katelyn Goodwin, MSES’11, environmental scientist/hydrologist

Your MSES degree is project-based learning for deeper understanding of field-based science and the role it plays in policies that shape northern regions. Expect to work closely with faculty who share your research interests and double as mentors.

MSES attracts students from a range of fields, not all of them in science. It’s right for recent graduates or working adults seeking to apply research, writing and the scientific method to answer novel questions.

Following coursework that includes developing a research proposal, look forward to your Master’s Fellowship – a guaranteed tuition waiver covering eight units of your thesis research credits.

You’ll graduate with relevant knowledge for doctoral studies as well as careers in public and private agencies, and advocacy and consulting firms.

MSES is your next step as a scientist

Intentionally small class sizes are perfect for students seeking to work with faculty on real-world projects. MSES partnerships position you for interdisciplinary thesis topics that can lead to internships and career advancement.

Our graduates form a network that spans Alaska and beyond. They include

  • a watershed scientist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game
  • a glaciologist with the U.S. Geological Survey
  • successful doctorates from programs like Lehigh University and Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research

Kelly Melillo tells about her dolphin research off Bimini

‘MSES allowed me to pursue my thesis while developing strong field work, data analysis and scientific writing skills.’ – Kelly Melillo, MSES ’08, Bimini research manager, Dolphin Communication Project

Required Courses

Science Requirement

Policy Requirement

  • Research Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Thesis Proposal
  • Two semesters of Graduate Seminar
  • Thesis Research
  • Two elective courses
  • Four menu courses, with at least one each from the science and policy menus
  • Tropical Ecology
  • Environmental Geology Geomorphology
  • Earth Materials
  • Conservation Biology
  • Coastal Ecosystems
  • Coral Reef Ecology
  • Climate Change
  • Introduction to Remote Sensing Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Water Resources Management
  • Global Resources and International Conservation
  • Environmental Assessment: Case Studies
  • Environmental Justice: Politics and Poetics
  • Environmental Law
  • Marine Policy
  • Human Impacts in Marine Systems


Application Date Requirements

June 1st for Fall, November 1st for Spring