Dec 10, 2023  
USC Catalogue 2021-2022 
USC Catalogue 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Environmental Risk Analysis (MS)

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The focus of the MS, Environmental Risk Analysis degree is on advanced training for students with an existing science background. Students will enter the MS program with a BS degree in a core natural science field or in engineering, environmental science and certain fields of geography. Students take a core curriculum in science, engineering and finance, which is supplemented by important tools courses in risk assessment, statistics and computer modeling. Students learn about the basics of environmental science in a two-semester combination of courses and seminars (ENST 501 , ENST 502 , ENST 503 , ENST 504 ). An advanced environmental science seminar (ENST 505a , ENST 505b ) is offered in a two-semester sequence and ties together science, technology and finance with risk assessment and policy. The first semester of the course is devoted to analyzing case studies taken from business, industry and government. During the second semester students work on a project that employs the tools they have acquired in linking science, policy, technology and finance.

A master’s thesis is not required for the MS degree. The MS degree in environmental risk analysis will give students the quantitative skills needed to understand and assess environmental risks and to use that information in business, industry, government and society.

Required Courses

A minimum of 48 units is required.

Environmental Risk Analysis


*ENST 502  and ENST 504  are corequisites for ENST 501  and ENST 503 , respectively, and ENST 501  is a prerequisite for ENST 503 .

Natural Science

One graduate-level science course from outside undergraduate major and two graduate-level science courses

Technical Skills

Additional Requirements

Admission Requirements

Students who wish to enter the Master of Science program in environmental risk analysis are expected to have a GPA of at least 3.0 (A = 4.0). Students with a baccalaureate degree in the natural sciences, mathematics, environmental science, geography and engineering will be admitted into the program. It is recommended that students have completed an introductory human environment, social ecology or environmental studies course in the social sciences as well as a course in economics and/or environmental policy. The director of the Environmental Studies 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, the student’s previous academic record, the Graduate Record Examinations and a statement of purpose of graduate study.

Application Procedure

Applicants should contact the Environmental Studies Program office for an admission package. All applicants should return their applications by March 1 for full consideration. The following components of the application are required: (1) a completed USC Application for Admission to Graduate Studies; (2) official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work taken to date; (3) the results of the General Test of the GRE or notification of when it will be taken and that a request has been made to send the results to USC; and (4) at least three 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 Program on devising a plan for completing his or her course work.

Degree Requirements

The master’s degree in environmental risk analysis 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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