2020-2021 Academic Catalog 
    Oct 24, 2021  
2020-2021 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental Science and Policy, BA/MS


The Environmental Science and Policy (ES&P) Master of Science Program at Clark University prepares students for exciting careers at the intersection of environment, technology, policy, society, economy and development. ES&P continues a long tradition: the current program has evolved from one of the first environmental programs in the country to explore this multi-faceted intersection. The Accelerated BA/MS Program provides more intensive graduate study of ES&P in combination with a liberal arts BA degree.

Environmental challenges are inherently complex and dynamic. ES&P teaches students to: apply knowledge and methods from both the natural and social sciences; to integrate quantitative, spatial, qualitative and narrative data; and to understand interconnections among environment, technology, policy, society, economy and development. The ES&P student becomes equipped with knowledge, skills and perspectives to work collaboratively with a wide array of stakeholders - communities, governmental agencies, NGOs, businesses, researchers, and donors - in ways that are sensitive to cultural, institutional, socio-political, and economic contexts. Our approach to scholarship and practice is constructively critical, engaged with diverse people and places, and strongly integrative.

ES&P students participate in research/practice collaborations that tackle a wide range of pressing issues, including health risks associated with toxic chemicals, climate change impacts and adaptation, natural resource governance, and capacity building for sustainable development in both domestic and international settings. ES&P students are educated to recognize, characterize, frame, understand and collaboratively respond to the challenging environmental issues of the 21st Century. As member of a closely knit family of graduate programs - including International Development, Community Development & Planning, Geographic Information Science for Environment & Development, and Community & Global Health - ES&P is an academically rigorous, professionally oriented program. Faculty academic advisors work closely with ES&P students to co-create a course of study that best-prepares each student to be successful in meeting her/his professional and academic goals.

Eligibility Requirements

Students in any undergraduate field are eligible to apply for the BA/MS degree, though Environmental Science (ES) undergraduate majors have a significant advantage in preparation. Majors in other disciplines are required to take the preparatory courses listed below:

Requirements for non-ES, non-science majors:

  • One introductory ES&P course: e.g. EN 101  or EN 120  
  • One semester of statistics: e.g. GEOG 110  or BIOL 106  
  • One introductory science course from the following list: BIOL 101  ; BIOL 102  ; CHEM 101  ; CHEM 102  ;PHYS 110  ; PHYS 111  
  • Two elective science courses, chosen from the list of Science electives for the ES&P track in the undergraduate ES major or from the list of Natural Science electives for the undergraduate GES major.

Requirements for non-ES, science majors:

  • Two social science courses from the list of social science electives for the  ES&P track in the undergraduate ES major.

Students are required to meet with the ES&P Accelerated Degree Program advisor as a formal part of the admissions process. This meeting is intended to assist prospective students in assessing the appropriateness of the degree to their professional aspirations. The student applies to the MS program by completing the Online Application no later than May 1 of the junior year. Please note that application deadlines differ for students who are graduating off cycle (either a semester early or late) or who have advanced standing; such students should contact Graduate Admissions for alternative dates.

Program of Study

The master’s degree in ES&P requires 10 graduate course units. These include three Core Courses (3 units), two Method/Skill Courses (2 units), and four Elective Courses in an IDCE Concentration Area (4 units) to provide breadth and depth, and one Final Project/10th unit (1 unit). For the Final Project/10th unit students can complete either a research paper, professional project, thesis (subject to approval), designated Collaborative Final Project (CFP) course, or a 3rd Method/Skill course.  The three research-based options are:

  1. Research Paper (one Reader) - Exploring a topic in an original way, typically based on secondary data analysis and/or case study analysis, and involving a literature review.
  2. Professional Project (one Reader) - Based on a student’s professional relationship with a host institution, producing something of value to the host and informed by academic research.
  3. Thesis (after approval of a proposal, with two Faculty Readers) - An in-depth research experience, including collection and analysis of primary data, typically for those considering a doctoral degree or other professional research path.

Senior Year: 

Students can take up to three graduate 300-level courses of relevance to ES&P during their senior year, taken in IDCE, GEOG, BIO, PHYS, CHEM, GSOM and/or ECON programs. 

In the second semester of the senior year, just before the summer preceding their MS year, students choosing either a research paper, professional project or thesis as their 10th unit begin conducting their research, supervised by their faculty reader(s).

Graduate MS Year:

Students continue the MS program of study that they began in Senior Year, with 7 units remaining.

Students in the BA/MS program may take longer than their MS year to complete a research-based 10th unit (research paper, professional project, or thesis). If so, they must register as a non-resident in time for August degree conferral. Students have up to one year of non-residency status (Fall and Spring) to complete the 10th unit.


Students will pay a one-time program fee of $1,000 in the first semester of graduate study (the MS Year). Students also pay a $20 Clark graduate activity fee and a $25 IDCE student activity fee in the Fall and Spring semesters, plus a one-time enrollment fee of $100. Students are responsible for paying for housing, food, books, and other personal items.

For those working to complete their research-based 10th unit beyond the MS year, there is a $200 fee (per semester) for non-residency status registration.

Program Advisor

In the Junior year, students applying to the BA/MS Program are required to meet with the designated program advisor and have them sign the Accelerated Degree Program Advisor Form. The signed form confirms the student and program advisor have discussed the requirements of the program. This form is also available on the Graduate Admissions website. 

The designated program advisor is:

Professor Timothy J. Downs
IDCE Department

*Once you have started your MS year, you may be assigned a different faculty advisor.

Any students considering applying to the Accelerated Degree Program should read and understand the Accelerated Degree Program Policies and Procedures  .