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Master of Science in Ecology, Evolution and Earth Systems

Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science

Drexel students explore the biodiverse flora and fauna of Monteverde, Costa Rica during a research abroad course.

The Master of Science in Ecology, Evolution and Earth Systems (EEES) at Drexel University is a multidisciplinary program in which students can focus their studies in areas such as ecology, evolution and systematics, biodiversity, conservation, earth systems science, and environmental science and policy. Master’s degree programs in EEES —both the non-thesis option and the thesis option— provide an in-depth look at environmental systems, as well as the scientific skills needed to analyze and respond to them. Students with are trained in data collection and analysis, environmental planning, technical report writing, sampling, surveying and more. At Drexel, EEES master's students learn through a combination of fieldwork, research, historical analysis and mentorship from leading scientists in the field.

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Program Format

  • Choose between full-time or part-time plans of study for working students.
  • Students can pursue non-thesis or thesis options.


  • Deadlines:
    • August 1 — U.S. Applicants
    • June 1 — International Applicants

Program Overview

The Drexel University master’s degree in Ecology, Evolution and Earth Systems (EEES) offers full- and part-time plans of study to meet the needs and career goals of students, such as those who would like to gain work experience while in school. Applicants should have a bachelor of science degree in science, mathematics or engineering. They also should have completed a year each of general biology and general chemistry, as well as one semester of calculus. Experience in organic chemistry and physics may be useful, depending on student interest. These requirements are in addition to the general requirements for Drexel applicants. While the majority of students pursue a non-thesis option, a Master's program with thesis option is available.

Graduate Student Handbook (PDF)

Program Faculty

Department faculty are dedicated mentors who expertly guide graduate students in building programs of study to meet their academic and career interests. Faculty encourage students to immerse themselves in research opportunities, discover world-class facilities and explore essential field sites. In addition, faculty help prepare students to become effective communicators, advocates and leaders who confidently share research findings with their peers and make science more accessible to the public.

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Career Outcomes

Careers for graduates with a master's degree in Ecology, Evolution and Earth Systems (EEES) are found across many industries. For instance, candidates with a master's in EEES are especially sought after in sectors such as environmental research or policy. Though master’s degrees are research-focused, Drexel offers both thesis and non-thesis options. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030. Graduates with a master’s degree earn higher wages and have a competitive advantage for advanced technical positions.

People with careers in the public, private and nonprofit sectors can benefit from an advanced degree in EEES. With a master’s in EEES, graduates can find jobs in the public sector, including federal, state and local government agencies. Private companies and corporations also increasingly employ EEES master's degree graduates to improve sustainability practices, research government regulations, apply for government incentives and more. An EEES degree has many applications in nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations dedicated to protecting the environment. 

There are a variety of careers that fit each individual’s skill set, experiences and interests. Professionals in the EEES field include:

  • Environmental consultant
  • Environmental scientist
  • Ecologist
  • Natural resource scientist
  • Research technician
  • Wildlife biologist

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Non-Thesis Option

The Ecology, Evolution and Earth Systems (EEES) master's program 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 Advisor before submitting the plan to the Graduate Program Committee. The Graduate Advisor must approve all courses and annual meetings with the Graduate Adviser are required.

Thesis Option

The master’s in EEES thesis option is for students interested in advanced graduate coursework and experience in completing an original research project. Students who pursue the Master's with a thesis complete their coursework requirements as well as an original research project under the mentorship of a departmental faculty member. Admission is dependent upon the identification of a specific faculty member to serve as an adviser.

Students must be formally accepted into the research program of a faculty member to enroll in the master's with thesis program. They should contact potential advisers prior to enrolling in the program. In some instances, faculty members can act as co-mentors if students can perform master's thesis research in their place of employment. Students should contact potential advisers before enrolling in the program to begin their original research project in ecology, evolution, biodiversity, conservation, earth systems science, or environmental science during the first year. The findings of this work should be publishable in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The selected Thesis Adviser, the Thesis Research Committee and the Graduate Program Committee guide progress toward these degree requirements.


Students in an EEES graduate program 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

  • Research: Students must be accepted into the laboratory of their Thesis Advisor prior to enrolling in the program.
  • 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: Master's in EEES coursework should be completed in the first two years of study.
  • Thesis: The thesis should be developed in consultation with the Thesis Advisor.
  • Thesis Defense: Each student should complete his/her thesis defense within two to three years.

Drexel Library: Theses, Dissertations and Projects