Earth and Environmental Sciences (ERTH)

Admissions to Graduate Program

Please note that the application process begins by contacting potential faculty research mentors by e-mail. You should discuss possible thesis projects with your prospective mentor. If the faculty member has space and is willing to accept you into his/her research group, please ask him/her to notify the graduate coordinator that you would become a member of his/her research group if accepted into the program.

Please see the Funding opportunities for Graduate Students page for information about teaching assistant fellowships.

Requirements for admission to the ERTH MS programs (Conditionally Classified Status)

  1. GPA of at least 3.0 in the last 30 semester (45 quarter) units attempted and at least 2.75 in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted.
  2. Approval by the department and the Office of Graduate Studies.
  3. An acceptable baccalaureate in one of the natural sciences, engineering, mathematics or an allied field from an accredited institution, or an equivalent approved by the Office of Graduate Studies. The prospective student must have sufficient background to undertake this graduate program. For Environmental Sciences this includes: one year of mathematics (either one semester of statistics and one semester of calculus or one year of calculus), two semesters of college physics, two semesters of chemistry, and a semester of ecology. Hydrology/Hydrogeology requires a year each of college chemistry, calculus, and physics.). Applicants without a sufficient background may be conditionally admitted pending the correction of deficiencies as specified by the department.
  4. A one-page "Statement of Purpose" that addresses the following questions:
    1. The area of study in which you wish to specialize and why.
    2. The faculty members with whom you would like to conduct research.
    3. Your career goals and plans for the future.
    4. Your special preparation in and fitness for your proposed area of study.
    5. Explanations of any problems or inconsistencies in your records or scores.
  5. Optional completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  6. Submission of two letters of recommendation from individuals who have had a working or academic relationship with you. Letters should address your personal characteristics, performance, experience, strengths, weaknesses, capabilities, and professional promise.
  7. Applicants for the PSM option will be interviewed before selection. Admittance in the program requires a pre-defined project that is approved by the PSM coordinator. Students from varied academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply. It is strongly recommended that applicants have at least one year of professional experience in some discipline of science. Dedicated non-scientists will be required to complete adequate remedial coursework, as specified by the department, before admittance into the program.
  8. Acceptance by a faculty mentor in the program who will serve as the thesis advisor.

To apply to the program, submit an application through Cal State Apply(opens in new window). The application will ask you to provide:

  1. Letter of Intent (see above)
  2. Two letters of recommendation – provide contact information for your two recommenders, who will be emailed instructions on submitting the letter electronically.
  3. A current CV
  4. All transcripts from accredited institutions attended since high school (community colleges and universities).
  5. Optional: Test Scores for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Aptitude Test. Test scores must be sent directly from the testing agency to the Graduate School using institution code #4048. Allow at least six weeks for processing.


Admitted students should consult with their prospective thesis advisor regarding classes to take during the first semester. All graduate students must take ERTH 600 their first fall semester.