For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Master of Science in Environmental Science

The Master of Science in Environmental Science is a multidisciplinary program focused on understanding and developing solutions for environmental problems. Students can focus their studies in areas such as ecology, biodiversity, conservation, environmental assessment or paleoecology-geology.

Students can pursue the MS degree full-time or part-time. While the majority of students pursue a non-thesis option, a master's with thesis option is available. Students who pursue the master's with thesis complete their coursework requirements as well as an original research project mentored by a departmental faculty member. Students must be formally accepted into the research program of a faculty member to enroll in the master's with thesis program. In some instances, faculty members can act as co-mentors if students are able to perform master's thesis research in their place of employment.

Master of Science Non-Thesis Option

The MS in Environmental Science Non-Thesis Option is a coursework-based degree for those looking to advance in their fields, but not desiring direct research experience. Students will devise a plan of study suited to their individual needs in consultation with the Graduate Adviser. This is then submitted to the Graduate Program Committee. All courses must be approved by the Graduate Adviser. Annual meetings with the Graduate Adviser are required.

Master of Science Thesis Option

The Master’s in Environmental Science Thesis Option is for students interested in advanced graduate coursework and experience in completing an original research project. Admission is dependent upon identification of a specific faculty member to serve as adviser. Students should choose a research adviser during their first quarter, so they can begin their original research project in the first year. The findings of this work should be publishable in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Progress towards these degree requirements is overseen and guided by the selected Thesis Adviser, the Thesis Research Committee, and the Graduate Program Committee.


Students must devise a plan of study in consultation with the Graduate Adviser by the end of their first term. The plan of study is submitted to the Thesis Committee for final approval.

Key Components and Milestones of the MS Thesis Program

  • Research: Students must be accepted into the laboratory of their Thesis Adviser by the end of the first quarter.
  • Research Committee: The Thesis Research Committee must be formed by the end of the second quarter.
  • Thesis Proposal: Thesis Proposal acceptance by the Thesis Research Committee must be successfully completed by the end of the first year.
  • Coursework: Coursework should be completed in the first two years of study.
  • Thesis: Each master's student should complete his/her thesis defense within 2-3 years. Drexel University requires that the thesis be finished within 5 years.
  • Thesis Defense

Any student passing the master's thesis defense may apply to transfer to the departmental PhD program through the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. The application will be forwarded to the Graduate Committee for their recommendation to the Department Head.

Learn more about the degree in the Course Catalog