The Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy program emphasizes a broadly interdisciplinary and synthetic approach that integrates knowledge in the environmental sciences with the social sciences.
Northeastern’s new MS in Environmental Science and Policy, a joint program between the College of Science and the College of Social Sciences and Humanities’ School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, provides interdisciplinary training and environmental problem-solving expertise to the next generation of environmental professionals.
Many critical challenges of our time relate to the complex and multi-layered interactions between humans and our environment. Human society is becoming increasingly aware of its reliance on natural ecosystems and the services they provide—such as food production, carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling—and yet human activities continue to compromise the delivery of these services at an accelerating rate. Striving toward sustainability and resilience of coupled human-natural ecosystems is among the greatest challenges confronting our society because it mandates a major shift in the prevailing way of life, reaching into the institutional systems that involve production, transportation, urban and suburban development, and governmental regulation.
The program emphasizes a broadly interdisciplinary and synthetic approach that integrates knowledge in environmental science (conservation biology, climate change, fisheries science, ecosystem function, biodiversity, and restoration ecology) with social sciences (environmental sociology, economics, public policy, and development) and humanities (environmental history, philosophy, and ethics). The goal is to equip professionals with the substantive breadth in knowledge and skills necessary for integrated analysis in this era of global change, and to empower environmental professionals to think critically about the underlying causes of environmental problems, the reciprocal relationship between coupled human-natural ecosystems, and the range of potential policy approaches available to decision-makers to address these critical challenges.
The Environmental Science and Policy program is a 36-semester-hour master’s degree whose curriculum includes the requirements listed below. There are two required courses that focus on the intersection of environmental science and policy, and the acquisition of practical professional skills will occur with three required skills courses in areas such as GIS, statistics, spatial planning, and experimental design. The emphasis on practical problem solving will be addressed by enabling students to tap into the problems facing organizations and practitioners in the field of environmental science and public policy.
Environmental Science and Policy Seminar: Two courses to be taken in the fall and spring of the first year, one each semester, thus creating a unifying cohort experience for students while providing background information of central importance for the program as a whole. These courses will provide foundational content in environmental science and policy including natural science, social science, and policy. Students will be introduced to coupled social-ecological systems, with a focus on the complex interactions among human systems, natural ecosystems, and technological systems.
Skills courses: Students will select three skills courses from variety of skills-based offerings including statistics, GIS, spatial planning, and experimental design.
Electives: The remaining credits (typically four additional courses) will include elective courses that students will select based on their area of interest. Current and prospective students should refer to the 2019-2020 Graduate Catalog for a description of the curriculum.
- Can be completed within three semesters
- Flexible course offerings to meet specific student interests and supplement current skill sets
- Internship opportunities to enhance academic course offering
The MS in Environmental Science and Policy equips professionals with the substantive breadth in knowledge and skills necessary for integrated analysis in this era of global change, and empowers environmental professionals to think critically about the underlying causes of environmental problems, the reciprocal relationship between coupled human-natural ecosystems, and the range of potential policy approaches available to decision-makers to address these critical challenges.
Students graduating from Northeastern’s interdisciplinary MS in Environmental Science and Policy will be prepared for a growing number of environmental careers that require integration of science and policy. This program trains students to be resourceful environmental professionals who will be competitive applicants for jobs in the private sector (such as environmental consultants), nonprofits (i.e. The Nature Conservancy, Envioronmental Defense Fund, and World Wildlife Fund), and the public sector (including local, state, federal, and international government bodies, such as serving as environmental science and policy experts within environmental conservation and natural resources angencies).
Jennie Stephens, Dean’s Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy
Jonathan Grabowski, Associate Professor of Marine and Environmental Science
- An online application form
- A one- to two-page personal statement describing relevant academic and professional experiences and interest in the program
- Unofficial transcripts for all institutions attended. Official transcripts for all institutions attended are required of all enrolled students by the first day of the entry term.
- Three letters of recommendation (at least two of which must be academic references)
- Proof of English proficiency for all applicants (from one of the following):
- Degree earned or in progress at a U.S. institution – or –
- Degree earned or in progress at an institution where English is the only medium of instruction – or –
- Official exam scores from either the TOEFL iBT, IELTS, or PTE exam. (Recommended scores for TOEFL, IELTS or PTE: 100 iBT, 250 CBT, 600 PBT TOEFL score; 7.0 IELTS score; 68 PTE score)
- Standardized test scores such as the GRE are not required for master's degree applicants to the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. However, such test scores may be helpful for applicants with little or no experience beyond undergraduate school.
Complete 2 courses from the following. At least one course needs to be taken from the College of Science Skills Course List and one course from the College of Social Sciences and Humanities Skills Course List.
College of Science Skills Course List
College of Social Sciences and Humanities Skills Course List
Complete five courses from the following list. At least two courses must be taken from the College of Science Elective Course List and two courses from the College of Social Sciences and Humanities Elective Course List. Any skills course not taken to fulfill the skills courses requirement can be taken as an elective. Students may petition to enroll in other relevant graduate courses offered by other schools at Northeastern University.
College of Science Elective List
College of Social Sciences and Humanities Elective List
- Students can complete internships at the Marine Science Center.
Our faculty represents a wide cross-section of professional practices and in fields ranging from finance to education to biomedical science to management to the U.S. military. They serve as mentors and advisors and collaborate alongside students to solve the most pressing global challenges facing established and emerging markets.
By enrolling in Northeastern, you gain access to a network of more than 255,000 alumni and 3,300+ employer partners, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and global NGOs. Our current students and faculty across strategically located regional locations further foster that lifelong, global community of learning and mentoring.
Students graduating from this program will have unique practical professional experience related to environment, sustainability and resilience. Students will also gain professional skills that are complementary to their prior backgrounds and experiences, i.e. students who enter the program with science undergraduate degrees will gain more policy and social science skills, while students who enter the program with more policy or social science backgrounds will gain more environmental science skills. All students will also gain knowledge about cutting-edge environmental science and policy research.