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The Master of Science in Environmental Science

Course Requirements for the Master’s Degree: 30 units

Continuous enrollment is required. A maximum of 9 semester units of transfer credit may be applied toward the degree.
Graduate Time Limit: All requirements for the degree are to be completed within five years of the end of the semester of enrollment in the oldest course applied toward the degree. See “Graduate Education” in The University Catalog for complete details on general degree requirements.

The MS degree in Environmental Science is available for advanced study in biological, chemical, or geoscience aspects of environmental science, as well as environmental policy and planning. Prospective students should discuss their interests and goals with the Department of Geological and Environmental Studies Graduate Coordinator.

Prerequisites for Admission to Conditionally Classified Status:

1. Satisfactory grade point average as specified in “Admission to Master’s Degree Programs” in The University Catalog.

2. Approval by the department and the Office of Graduate Programs.

3. An acceptable baccalaureate in one of the natural sciences, engineering, or mathematics from an accredited institution, or an equivalent approved by the Office of Graduate Programs. The prospective student must have sufficient background to undertake a graduate program in Environmental Science: mathematics (one semester of statistics and one year of calculus), two semesters of college physics, two semesters of organic chemistry, and a semester of ecology.

Prerequisites for Admission to Classified Status:

In addition to any requirements listed above:

1. Completion of the Graduate Record Examination Aptitude Test with a minimum combined score of 1000 on the verbal and quantitative portions.
2. Formation of a graduate advisory committee.
3. Development of an approved program in consultation with the graduate advisory committee.

Advancement to Candidacy:

In addition to any requirements listed above:

Students must have classified graduate standing and must have completed at least 9 units of the proposed program at the university.

Requirements for the MS in Environmental Science:

Completion of all requirements as established by the graduate advisory committee, and the Office of Graduate Programs, to include:

1. Completion of an approved program consisting of 30 units of 200/300-level courses as follows:
(a) A core of 12-15 units in required courses to include GEOS 300, GEOS 301, GEOS 340, BIOL 360, a 200/300-level course in biological science or chemistry and GEOS 330 or GEOS 350. Substitutions for required courses must be taken at Chico and must be approved by the Graduate Coordinator.
(b) 9-17 units of course work selected from areas such as mathematics, plant science, chemistry, geosciences, geography, political science, engineering, or biological sciences. Selection must be approved by the graduate advisory committee.
(c) 1-6 units of BIOL 399 or CHEM 399 or GEOS 399. At least one unit of Master’s Thesis (399) is required.
(d) At least 18 of the units required for the degree in 300-level courses.
(e) Not more than 9 semester units of transfer and/or extension or Open University credit (correspondence courses and U.C. extension course work are not acceptable).
(f) Not more than 15 units taken before admission to classified status.
(g) At least 9 units completed after advancement to candidacy.
(h) Not more than 10 units of Independent Study (398) and Master’s Thesis (399); at least 1, but not more than 6, units of Master’s Thesis (399).
2. Completion and final approval of a thesis as specified by the student’s graduate advisory committee.
3. Satisfactory completion of a comprehensive final examination (written and/or oral) in the field of study.
4. Approval by the Departmental Graduate Committee and the Graduate Coordinators Committee on behalf of the faculty of the university.

Course Requirements for the MS in Environmental Science:

8 units required:

GEOS    300    Geosciences Seminar I    1.0    FA

GEOS    301    Geosciences Seminar II    1.0    SP

GEOS    340    Hydrogeochemistry    3.0    SP

Prerequisites: CHEM 037, CHEM 038.

GEOS    360    Numerical Analysis    3.0    SP

Prerequisites: MATH 007A.

2-4 units selected from:

One 200-or 300-level course in Biological Sciences or Chemistry.

2-3 units selected from:

GEOS    330    Geotectonic Development of Calif    3.0    FA

Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

GEOS    350    Environmental Monitoring    2.0    FA

Prerequisites: CHEM 255 is recommended.

1-6 units selected from:

BIOL    399    Master’s Study    1.0-6.0    FS

CHEM    399    Master’s Study    1.0-6.0    FS

GEOS    399    Master’s Study    1.0-6.0    FS

At least 1 unit of 399 is required.

Select 9-17 units from courses approved by the graduate committee OR from the Environmental Policy and Planning Emphasis below.

Environmental Policy and Planning Emphasis: 12 units

3 courses required:

GEOG    307    Environmental Planning    3.0    SP

Prerequisites: BIOL 134, GEOG 227, and faculty permission.

GEOG    308    Environmental Project Management    3.0    Inq

Prerequisites: GEOG 227 and faculty permission.

POLS    353    Environmental Policy & the Law    3.0    FS

1 course selected from:

ECON    266    Environmental & Resource Econ    3.0    FS

Prerequisites: ECON 101.

GEOG    226    Water Resource Development    3.0    FA

Prerequisites: GEOG 104 or equivalent.

Graduate Literacy Requirement:

Writing proficiency is a graduation requirement.

Environmental Science students will normally demonstrate their writing competence through successful completion of GEOS 300 and GEOS 301, Geosciences Seminar, or an approved substitute.

Graduate Grading Requirements:

All courses in the major (with the exceptions of Independent Study-398 and Master’s Study-399) must be taken for a letter grade, except those courses specified by the department as ABC/No Credit (200-level courses), AB/No Credit (300-level courses), or Credit/No Credit grading only. A maximum of 10 units combined of ABC/No Credit, AB/No Credit, and Credit/No Credit grades may be used on the approved program (including 398, 399, and courses outside the major). While grading standards are determined by individual programs and instructors, it is also the policy of the university that unsatisfactory grades may be given when work fails to reflect achievement of the high standards, including high writing standards, expected of students pursuing graduate study.

Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average in all course work on the approved master’s degree program as well as in all course work taken subsequent to admission to conditionally classified status.

Graduate Advising Requirement:

Advising is mandatory for new and readmitted students in the master’s program in Environmental Science. Consult the Graduate Coordinator for specifics.