Master of Arts in Environmental Studies

A group of students looking over a canyon

Program Information

The MA degree in Environmental Studies prepares students to address complex environmental problems using a highly interdisciplinary approach and significant student-faculty design of the course of study. Students gain proficiency in critical analysis, development, conservation, and management frameworks of environmental studies for careers in business, government, planning, consulting, teaching, and research. 


Environmental Policy

Emphasizes environmental policy and especially the ecological, economic, political, and social factors that affect environmental governance processes.

Faculty advisors include Troy D. AbelKate DarbySteve HollenhorstMark NeffRebekah Paci-Green, and Grace Wang.


Focuses on the science of place and space and links the social and natural sciences together, studying the relationships between human activity and natural systems.

Faculty advisors include Andy BachGigi BerardiPatrick BuckleyAquila FlowerMichael Medler, and David Rossiter.

Urban Planning and Sustainable Development

Concentrates studies in processes of urban planning and decision making with a combination of sustainable design, law, and policy.

Faculty advisors include Nabil KamelSteve HollenhorstTammi LaningaJames MillerGigi BerardiRebekah Paci-GreenPaul Stangl, and Nicholas Zaferatos.

Energy Policy

Emphasizes coursework in energy system transitions, stakeholder engagement, advanced energy policy, and environmental politics/policy.

Faculty advisors include Steve HollenhorstTammi LaningaImran SheikhCharles BarnhartFroylan Sifuentes, and Xi Wang.

Student Designed

Coursework will be developed in conjunction with your specific faculty advisor.

Faculty advisors must be tenure-track graduate faculty in the College of the Environment or listed as members of the Environmental Studies, MA Graduate Faculty and often serve as the chair of your committee.


Students who graduate from the Environmental Studies Graduate Program will be able to:

  • Critically understand an environmental issue using appropriate knowledge
  • Investigate that environmental issue using an interdisciplinary framework
  • Effectively communicate through written, visual, and oral means
  • Independently design, implement, and complete a research project

Environmental Studies Graduate Student Research

Application Requirements

  • All applicants must complete the Graduate School's ApplyWeb application and pay the $100 application fee.
  • Within the application you will be prompted to upload an unofficial transcript from each institution attended. If admitted, you will be asked to provide official transcripts.
  • Additional application materials are specified below. Applications will not be forwarded to the department for review until all required materials have been received by the Graduate School.
  • International Applicants: Please review the requirements for information regarding Degree Equivalency, English Language Proficiency and student VISA requirements.
  • Additional Application Requirements

  • Three (3) Letters of Reference
  • Statement of Purpose: 1‐2 pages addressing the following:
    1. Which emphasis (Environmental Policy, Geography/GIS, Urban Planning and Sustainable Development, Energy Policy, or Student Designed) are you interested in pursuing and why? 
    2. How has your prior experience prepared you to work in that area?
    3. Why do you wish to pursue graduate studies in Environmental Studies at College of the Environment?
    4. A plan for coursework you are interested in taking at WWU (see university catalog) for your specialization and a tentative proposed research topic.