Jan 27, 2023  
USC Catalogue 2020-2021 
USC Catalogue 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Environmental Studies (MA)

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The master’s degree program in environmental studies focuses on issues and problems concerning environmental policy. A main goal of the graduate program is to educate students who already have a good grounding in the natural sciences about central theories, concepts and principles in environmental policy. A minimum of 41 units is required to receive an MA in environmental studies.

A master’s thesis is not required for the MA degree.

Required Courses and Concentrations

A minimum of 41 units is required. All courses are 4 units unless otherwise noted.

Core Courses (28 Units):

Core Introductory Course (4 units):

Environmental Regulation and Policy Course (4 units):

Skills Courses (8 Units):

Electives (13 units):

Electives will be chosen by student in consultation with an adviser.

Additional Requirements

Admission Requirements

Students who wish to enter the Master of Arts program in environmental studies are expected to have a GPA of at least 3.2 (A = 4.0). Students with a baccalaureate degree in any major are eligible the program. It is recommended that students have a semester of biology, a semester of chemistry, a course in earth sciences and a course in each of the following areas: a course in either earth, life, or physical sciences or engineering; a course in statistics (or calculus); and an introductory human environment, social ecology or environmental studies course in the social sciences at the undergraduate level prior to applying for admission. The director of the Environmental Studies Graduate Program will consider relevant course work and work experience as a possible substitute for the required and recommended course work.

Selection Criteria

Selection for graduate study is based on letters of reference and the student’s previous academic record.

Application Procedure

Applicants should contact the Environmental Studies Program office for an admission package. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The following components of the application are required: (1) a completed USC Progressive Degree Application, (2) STARS report of all undergraduate and graduate course work taken to date, (3) at least two letters of recommendation from persons directly familiar with the student’s academic work and potential for successful graduate study.


Advisement for the graduate program in environmental studies is viewed as an ongoing process. Before entering graduate school and during the first months of graduate school, each student should work with the director of the Environmental Studies Graduate Program on devising a plan for completing his or her course work.

Degree Requirements

The master’s degree in environmental studies is under the jurisdiction of the Graduate School. Refer to the Requirements for Graduation  section and the Graduate School  section of this catalogue for general regulations. All courses applied toward the degree must be courses accepted by the Graduate School.

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