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Preparing passionate leaders driving change in sustainability and stewardship of the environment.

  —Our Mission

Little Creek Stream

M.S. Environmental Sciences and Management

Project Proposals 2020-2021

The Master of Science degree program in Environment Sciences and Management (MSES) offers advanced study in a range of environmental science and management disciplines.

The purpose of the Masters of Science in Environmental Sciences and Management program is to provide advanced education in management of the environment and natural resources. Advanced study in environmental science, management of the environment, quantitative and qualitative analysis, and communication is the core of the degree. The degree allows an emphasis in a wide range of areas of study, listed below. Through the emphasis of study students have flexibility in creating elective coursework to suit their professional goals. The culminating experience of the degree is a professional project or traditional thesis that allows students to explore, seek solutions, or provide research on environmental challenges.

  • Students pursuing the professional project option should plan on one year of study, at a minimum, for completion.
  • Students pursuing the thesis option should plan on two academic years of study for completion.
 

Created by Erin Lucett, MS Candidate 2020

Areas of Study Emphasis

FOREST SCIENCE

The forest science emphasis in the Master of Science of Environmental Sciences and Management provides coursework, projects, or thesis in forest protection and diseases, silviculture, wildland fire, forest ecology, and forest measurement. Potential project work at the Swanton Pacific Ranch is a highlight of this emphasis.

 

Potential Forest Science Electives (number of units):
NR 474 - Forest Stewardship Practices (at Swanton Pacific Ranch) (8)
NR 402 - Forest Health (4)
NR 414 - Sustainable Forest Management (4)
NR 418 - Applied GIS (3) 
NR 455 - Wildland Urban Fire Protection (4) 
SS 440 - Forest and Range Soils (4)
STAT 419 - Applied Multivariate Statistics (4)        
STAT 523 - Design and Analysis of Experiments (4)    
STAT 524 - Applied Regression Analysis (4)        
STAT 531 - Statistical Computing with R (4)      

Some courses have prerequisites that not all students will meet; instructors can waive course prerequisites for qualified graduate students.

HYDROLOGY

The hydrology emphasis in the Master of Science of Environmental Sciences and Management provides coursework, projects, or thesis in watershed management, hydrologic change due to land use, groundwater resources, groundwater measurement or contamination.

 

Potential Hydrology Electives (number of units):
NR 420 - Watershed Assessment and Protection (4)
SS 440 - Forest and Range Soils (4)        
SS 424 - Soil Physics (5)    
SS 423 - Environmental Soil and Water Chemistry (    4)
SS 440 - Forest and Range Soils (4)
SS 422 - Soil Ecology (4)
SS 431 - Digital Soil Mapping (4)
ERSC 442 - Applied Env. Groundwater Hydrology (4)        
ERSC 443 - Applied Env. Contaminant Transport (4)    
NR 404 - Environmental Law (3)                
NR 408 - Water Law (3)                    
NR 418 - Applied GIS (3)                    
CE 536 - Computer Applications in Water Resources with GIS (4)    
CE 435 - Engineering Hydrology (4)            
CE 434 - Groundwater Hydraulics and Hydrology (4)    
BRAE 532 - Water, Wells, and Pumps (4)    
GEOL 420 - Applied Geophysics (3)            
STAT 419 - Applied Multivariate Statistics (4)        
STAT 523 - Design and Analysis of Experiments (4)    
STAT 524 - Applied Regression Analysis (4)        
STAT 531 - Statistical Computing with R (4)      

Some courses have prerequisites that not all students will meet; instructors can waive course prerequisites for qualified graduate students.

SOIL SCIENCE

The soil science emphasis in the Master of Science of Environmental Sciences and Management provides coursework, projects, or thesis in soil morphology, soil pedology, soil fertility, ecology, soil physics, or soil chemistry.

 

Potential Soil Science Electives (number of units):
SS 440 - Forest and Range Soils (4)        
SS 422 - Soil Ecology (4)
SS 423 - Environmental Soil and Water Chemistry (    4)     SS 424     Soil Physics (5)
SS 431 - Digital Soil Mapping (4)
SS 440 - Forest and Range Soils (4)
SS 522 - Advanced Soil Fertility (3)
GEOL 401 - Field-Geology Methods (4)
GEOL 402 - Geologic Mapping (4)
GEOL 415 - Structural Geology (4)
GEOL 420 - Applied Geophysics (3)    
ERSC 442 - Applied Env. Groundwater Hydrology (4)        
ERSC 443 - Applied Env. Contaminant Transport (4)    
NR 404 - Environmental Law (3)                            
NR 418 - Applied GIS (3)                                
STAT 419 - Applied Multivariate Statistics (4)        
STAT 523 - Design and Analysis of Experiments (4)    
STAT 524 - Applied Regression Analysis (4)        
STAT 531 - Statistical Computing with R (4)

Some courses have prerequisites that not all students will meet; instructors can waive course prerequisites for qualified graduate students.

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY

The policy emphasis in the Master of Science of Environmental Sciences and Management provides coursework, projects, or thesis in Environmental governance, regulations, and policies on environmental topics at the local, regional, and national levels.

 

Potential Environmental Policy Electives (number of units):
CRP 420 - Land Use Law (4)                        
CRP 428 - International Planning and Development (4)        
CRP 440 - Climate Action Planning (4)                
CRP 457 - GIS Applications in Planning (4)                
CRP 518 - Policy Development (4)                    
CRP 535 - Land Use and Planning Law (4)                
CRP 412 - Plan Implementation (4)
CRP 428 - International Planning and Development (4)
CRP 436 - Collaborative Planning (4)
CRP 438 - Pollution Prevention and Control (4)
CRP 445 - Planning and Urban Ecology (4)
CRP 504 - Sustainable Communities (4)
CRP 545 - Principles of Environmental Planning.
POLS 435 - Political Communication (4)                
POLS 471 - Urban Politics (4)                     
POLS 427 - Politics of the Global Economy (4)
POLS 452 - Technology and International Development (4)
POLS 515 - Public Policy (4)
POLS 518 - Public Policy Analysis (5)
POLS 540 - Leadership and Management in Public Policy (2)
POLS 550 - Regulatory and Economic Policy (4)
AGB 412 - Advanced Agricultural Policy (4)                
NR 404 - Environmental Law (3)                    
NR 406 - Indigenous Peoples and International Law and Policy (4)    
NR 408 - Water Resource Law and Policy (3)                
NR 413 - Agricultural Law (4)                    
NR 416 - Environmental Impact Analysis and Management (4)
NR 425 - Applied Resource Analysis and Assessment (4)
NR 435 - Environmental Policy Analysis (4)                
ECON 431 - Environmental Economics (4)
ECON 432 - Economics of Energy and Resources(4)
ECON 435 - Economics of Land and Water (4)
BUS/COMS458 - Solving Big World Challenges (4)
COMS 435 - American Political Rhetoric (4)
COMS 422 - Rhetorics of Science, Technology, and Medicine (4)
GSB 513 - Organizational Behavior (4)
JOUR 412 - Public Relations and Crisis Management (4)
JOUR 413 - Public Relations Campaigns (4)
JOUR 415 - Advanced Public Relations Practice: CCPR. (4)
MSCI 428 - Marine Conservation and Policy (4)
MSCI 440 - Communicating Ocean Sciences to Informal Audiences (4)

Some courses have prerequisites that not all students will meet; instructors can waive course prerequisites for qualified graduate students.

SUSTAINABILITY

The sustainability emphasis in the Master of Science of Environmental Sciences and Management provides coursework, projects, or thesis in life-cycle assessment, sustainability analysis, promoting sustainable agriculture, and land and urban principles of sustainability.

 

Potential Sustainability Electives (number of units):
CRP 440 - Climate Action Planning (4)                
CRP 504 - Sustainable Communities (4)                
CRP 545 - Principles of Environmental Planning
AGED 404 - Agricultural Leadership (3)                
EDES 406 - Sustainable Environments (4)                
RPTA 413 - Tourism and Protected Area Management (4)
BUS/COMS 458 - Solving Big World Challenges (4)
NR 418 - Applied GIS (3)                        
NR 445 - Systems Thinking in Environmental Management (4)
NR 465 - Ecosystem Management (4)
BIO 446 - Ecosystem Ecology (4)
CE 527 - Sustainable Mobility (4)
CM 425 - Sustainability and Environment (1-6 units)
ECON 431 - Environmental Economics (4)
ECON 432 - Economics of Energy and Resources (4)
EDES 408 - Implementing Sustainable Principles (4)
EDES 410 - Advanced Implementation of Sustainable Principles (4)
EE 420 - Sustainable Electric Energy Conversion (4)
ENVE 450 - Industrial Pollution Prevention (4)
LA 432 - Landscape Ecology Applications (4)
MATE 485 - Materials and the Environment (4)

Some courses have prerequisites that not all students will meet; instructors can waive course prerequisites for qualified graduate students.

Program Overview

The  Master of Science in Environmental Sciences and Management (MSES) degree is an interdisciplinary degree designed to provide core knowledge in research methods, environmental science, and environmental management, while providing for environmental specialization through directed electives. The program prepares students for a broad range of careers in science, research, and environmental management.The MSES program: (1) provides core knowledge in research skills and scientific literacy; (2) provides advanced knowledge in both environmental sciences and environmental management; (3) allows students to specialize in an environmental science or management sub-discipline through choice of electives, (4) is flexible, providing options for student to apply their knowledge through both a traditional thesis or a professional project. 

The program is open to students from any undergraduate major who have demonstrated high academic achievement. The program requires completion of a core curriculum (research skills, sciences, management) and directed electives for a total of 45 units. Students admitted to the program are expected to begin their studies in the fall quarter as a cohort, but students with prerequisite coursework deficiencies may be admitted in other quarters.


Admissions

Admission requirements for this program require that students have at least a 3.0 GPA in the final 90 quarter units of their undergraduate degree and completion of the following undergraduate coursework:  

Sciences— three quarters or two semesters of any combination of chemistry, biology, ecology, physics, earth science, or atmospheric science 
Statistics—one quarter or one semester 
Calculus—one quarter or one semester

An applicant who lacks prerequisite coursework may be admitted as a conditionally classified student and must make up any deficiencies (12 unit limit) before advancement to classified graduate standing. 

Students must take the GRE exam and have at least 3 letters of reference that can attest to the academic capabilities of the applicant. All applicants who do not speak and write English as their primary language are required to complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), taken within the last 2 years with a minimum score of 550 (paper version), 213 (computerized version), or 80 (internet based).

The deadline for fall 2020 applications has been extended to June 1, 2020. Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis through this date.  Only complete applications will be reviewed (all letters of recommendation, official transcripts and official test scores submitted).  Cal Poly admissions office determines when an application is complete, then forwards the application to us.

Cost to attend Cal Poly


Degree Requirements

Catalog number

Course title

Units

Prerequisites

Research skills core

ESCI 501

Research Planning

4

Graduate standing or consent of instructor

ESCI 502

Research Methods and Data Analysis

4

Graduate standing or consent of instructor

ESCI 581

Graduate Seminar in Environmental Sciences

2

Graduate standing or consent of instructor

ESCI 599 
or 
ESCI 596 + 500 level course

Thesis
or
Professional project

9
or
5 + 4

 

Environmental Sciences core

ESCI 550

Advanced Environmental Sciences

4

Graduate standing or consent of instructor

Environmental Management core

ESCI 590

Advanced Environmental Management

4

Graduate standing or consent of instructor

Total required coursework

27

 

Directed electives (must be 400 or 500 level)*

18

 

Total units

45

 

*Elective course selections will depend on students’ interests and sub-discipline emphasis. Students in the research thesis option will consult with their research supervisor to ensure appropriate alignment of student learning objectives with selected courses. Students in the professional project option will consult with the graduate program coordinator for the selection of electives.

 

Suggested Courses (1 Year)

Fall 

Winter 

Spring 

Summer 

ESCI 5011 (4)

ESCI 550 (4)

Electives2 (4-8)

ESCI 5011 (4)

ESCI 502 (4)

ESCI 590 (4)

Electives2 (4-8)

ESCI 581 (2)

Electives2,4 (6-14)

ESCI 5963 (5)

  1. Offered fall and winter terms. 
  2. At least 27 units of the 45 units must be at 500 level; Project students much have at least one 4 unit 500 level course to count in this core set of units. 
  3. Thesis students arrange ESCI 599 credit with their advisers. 
  4. Consider using ESCI 500 (Individual Study) in spring (or other term) to capture 2 units needed for degree. 

Current Students

Created by Jazlyn Guerrero, MS Candidate 2020

Read about some of our current students and graduates ›


Project and Thesis Examples

Projects consists of an advanced learning experience in environmental sciences or management.  The project option is meant to be completed within 1 calendar year, along with all coursework, assuming a full time summer effort. Projects are developed from proposals from faculty and outside organizations.  Students choose a project from a list of approved project options.  Students can also propose alternative project ideas for approval.  The final project completion and grade will be determined through a summer project course (ESCI 596) with advisement from the faculty adviser and/or the outside organization associated with the project.

A thesis consists of an advanced learning experience under the advisement of a major professor adviser and thesis committee.  Typically a 2+ year educational experience. The student’s thesis committee determines if the thesis meets the requirements of awarded an MS degree.

Thesis committee comprises of 3 individuals:  1) major adviser, 2) NRES faculty member, 3) faculty member or professional with interest or intimate knowledge of the project. 

All culminating experiences (theses and projects) require a written report.  The report will follow the University guidelines for preparation of a thesis located on the Graduate Education web site.

Follow Some Student Projects in Progress

Brian Whetsler, Hydraulic Conductivity for Low Permeability Soil

Erin Lucett, Disaster Mitigation

Jazlyn Guerrero, Sustainable Agriculture

 

Recent Thesis Examples

Julia Ridgeway, 2019, An analysis of changes in stream temperature due to forest harvest practices using DHSVM-RBM (adviser: Dr. Surfleet)
https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/theses/2093/

Devin Pritchard-Peterson, 2018, Field Investigation of Stream-Aquifer Interactions: A Case Study in Coastal California (adviser: Dr. Malama)
https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/theses/1870/ 

Cody Morse, 2018, Quantifying the Environmental Performance of a Stream Habitat Improvement Project (adviser: Dr. Chiu)
https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/theses/1972/ 


Financial Aid and Scholarships

Financial Aid Information

Potential research assistant, teaching assistant, tuition waiver awards through Graduate Education


Graduate Studies Information at Cal Poly

Please visit the University's Graduate webpage for information on financial resources and graduate studies information at Cal Poly Graduate Information or our College's webpage at CAFES Graduate Information


Applying

Application and supporting materials are submitted through Cal State Apply. Specific instructions and the link to Cal State Apply can be found on the Cal Poly Graduate Education website.

There are additional requirements for foreign students. Questions concerning applications from foreign students should be directed to the Cal Poly Admissions Office.

Program specific requirements: 

  • 3.0 GPA in final 90 quarter units 
  • Transcripts from degree granting institution (other transcripts optional) 
  • GRE required 
  • Three letters of reference 
  • Statement of Purpose*

*Statement of Purpose: Please use this to tell the review committee about your education and professional background, professional and personal goals, intention of study emphasis, and if applying for a thesis option the name of your potential adviser and project.

Some limited applications will be accepted for Winter 2021 with a deadline for applications of November 1, 2020. Applications for fall 2021 will be accepted until April 1, 2021.  Applications will be reviewed on February 24, 2022 and April 2, 2021. Only complete applications will be reviewed (all letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, official transcripts, and official test scores submitted). Cal Poly admissions office determines when an application is complete, then forwards the application to us. The February 24, 2021 review is to provide recommendations on admission for students interested in financial aid consideration. Financial aid requests, FAFSA forms, are evaluated on March 2, 2021 to students offered admission. Financial aid can be applied for later, however later applications are subject to funds remaining after the March 2 consideration.

For more information contact:

Dr. SurfleetDr. Chris Surfleet

Phone: (805) 756-2743
Office: 180-518

See Schedule

Employment Growth

 

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