M.S. in Environmental Science

Program Faculty and Application

Graduate Program Coordinator: Ed Weber

Program Adviser: Dr. David Shull

Applications are done through the WWU Graduate School.

Program Mission

The Environmental Sciences (ES) and ES Marine and Estuarine Studies Program (ES-MESP) Graduate Program Mission is to educate future professionals who are prepared to deal with the complex array of environmental problems, by bringing together various disciplinary insights and skills. We will develop scientists who can analyze environmental changes and participate in management decisions. Our scientists will be able to respond to public demands for greater protection of environmental quality by developing and using state-of the-art tools and techniques for evaluation, management, remediation and restoration.

Graduate Program Student Learning Goals

The goals of the ES and ES-MESP MS degree are to support student learning and improvement in:

  1. Foundational knowledge and skills
  2. Quantitative skills
  3. Critical thinking.

It is our expectation that our graduates will apply these as professionals who can integrate chemical, physical, biological, and other specialized knowledge in order to understand, predict, and/or manage environmental responses brought about by natural and man-made events.


  • One year of general chemistry, one year of general biology, and one course in statistics or data analysis, or;
  • One year of general chemistry, one year of physics, two courses in calculus, one course in statistics and one additional physical science or engineering course, or;
  • Commensurate coursework as approved by proposed faculty mentor. 

AS OF 18 Sep 2020, the GRE Exam is NO LONGER REQUIRED for our MS, ES Applications.   

Program Requirements (45 credits minimum)

Core Requirements (15 credits)

  • ESCI 501 (3)
  • ESCI 690 (12) - Comprehensive written thesis (includes a public presentation and an oral defense)

Specialization Courses

  • Courses selected under advisement from within one area of specialization (12 cr. minimum) (See Below)
  • Electives selected under faculty advisement (to total 45 cr. minimum)


Program Specializations

Freshwater and Terrestrial Ecology

The program prepares students to describe, predict and/or manage natural systems and to assess human impacts on those systems.

See the Institute of Watershed Studies home page.

Primary research advisers are Professors BaumanBodensteiner, Helfield, Rybczyk, Andy Bunn, McLaughlin, Rebecca Bunn, Strecker, Sobocinski, Khan, Kodner, and Wallin.

Specialization courses:


Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Focuses on the transport, fate and toxic effects of chemicals in the environment; laboratory testing and field work; chemical analytical measurement of pollutants and the influence of nutritional factors on pollutant toxicity; studies of chemical fate and toxicity at the biochemical, organismal, population and ecosystem levels.

Primary research advisers are Professors Khan, Montano, Sofield, and Landis.

For more information about the Institute for Environmental Toxicology see the Environmental Toxicology homepage.

Specialization courses:


Energy-Environmental Systems

This program gives students knowledge and analytic skills in the science and technology of today’s diverse energy systems, the environmental effects of these systems, and the technology, policy and management options for a transition to sustainable energy supply and use.

Primary research advisers are Professors Barnhart, Shiekh, and Sifuentes.


Marine and Estuarine Science

Focuses on the study of coastal and estuarine ecosystems.

See the MESP page for more information. Primary research advisers are Professors Bingham, Hatch, Kastner, Kodner, Love, McPhee-Shaw, Rybczyk, Sobocinski and Shull.

Specialization courses:


Additional Requirement in MES option: