Environmental Studies Graduate Programs

Graduate School FAQ

Should I get a graduate degree after completing my work at UW Oshkosh?
This is an important question, and the answer depends on many factors. Some careers do not call for a graduate degree; for some you have to get a graduate degree; and in some cases a graduate degree is not necessary, but it will give you more options and help you land a better job. It is important to start thinking early about what possible careers you might want to enter. Then you can start thinking about whether graduate school might make sense and what courses you need in order to get into a good graduate program. The Director of the Environmental Studies program Jim Feldman is happy to talk with you about careers and graduate school, and you can talk to other faculty as well.

What kinds of graduate programs are there?
There are many different kinds, depending on the career you are considering. In fact, there are probably more kinds of graduate programs than you have ever thought of. So it is important to get informed on what is out there and how different kinds of programs can empower you to do what you would like to do and be effective in environmental work.

Are there different types of masters programs?
There are two general types of masters programs. One is “professional,” in which the programs are intended to be a terminal degree geared toward giving you what you need to enter a professional career. The other is “academic.” These are primarily geared toward preparing you for a Ph.D. program, but they can also serve to prepare you for a career in research (especially in the sciences).

What is the difference between masters and Ph.D. programs?
A Ph.D. degree gives you the credential as a true expert in your field. Ph.D. programs are much more demanding than masters programs not only in requirements and ability but also the time required to complete them. The culminating requirement is a dissertation (virtually a book), which can be very difficult to complete. They are also riskier – not a few students fail to complete a Ph.D. program. And they are more limited in terms of what they allow you to do. Most people with Ph.D.s try to become a professor – not a great job market. But some Ph.D.s, especially in the sciences, can enable you to be a top-flight researcher.

Environmental Studies Programs


UW Oshkosh Biology M.S.

  • Prerequisites:  Applicants are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related science, such as environmental science, including a course in statistics or calculus. 
  • Program emphases: The Department of Biology offers a graduate program leading to the Master of Science (M.S.) degree, with an emphasis in either biology or microbiology. The program combines coursework (30 credits) and original research leading to a thesis. The graduate program is designed to provide the advanced training appropriate for professional competitiveness in public and private job sectors, or for preparing students to pursue a Ph.D. degree or other advanced degree at another university.  Please see the following links for more information about the program, the process of admission, and available funding.  A detailed overview of the graduate program is also available in our Handbook for Graduate Students.
Wisconsin master's programs in ES

University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point

Natural Resources. M.S.

  • Prerequisites: You do not need an undergraduate major in one of the natural resource specialties. However, you may have to take additional courses to make up deficiencies in your undergraduate curriculum. If you have an undergraduate major in social sciences or humanities, you have more deficiencies than someone with a major in the sciences. You also must have a 3.00 grade point average during your last two years as an undergraduate.
  • Program emphases: environmental education/interpretation, fisheries, soil and waste resources, water resources, wildlife management, forest ecology and management, urban forestry, forest business, international resource management, environmental resources extension programming, land use planning, or youth programming.



Graduate Fellowship in Residential Environmental Education
The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources (UWSP-CNR) Graduate Fellowship in Residential Environmental Education is now accepting applicants for summer 2013. While studying in an intensive master’s degree program, UWSP graduate fellows work as graduate assistants and residential life staff at Conserve School, an independent boarding school, and Treehaven, a UWSP natural resources and environmental education center. Fellows supervise high school students and lead environmental education lessons, campus and community service programs, and outdoor activities. This 2-year residential learning and working experience culminates in an MS in Natural Resources and Environmental Education. The Graduate Fellowship is for self-motivated, flexible, team-oriented, creative and organized individuals interested in working hard in residential community, outdoor, and academic settings. Applicants should expect to participate in a wide variety of physical activities, some strenuous, in all sorts of weather. Strong academic record, outdoor skills, and experience leading students in outdoor activities preferred. The fellowship provides accepted students with:

  • A UWSP faculty-advised program
  • Opportunities for personal and professional growth
  • Tuition for up to 36 advisor approved UWSP credits
  • Monthly stipend
  • Room and board.

Apply now. Priority for applications received by November 1, 2012.  Contact Fran.McReynolds@uwsp.edu with questions.


Global Environmental Management Education Center
The Global Environmental Management Education Center (GEM) is a center for world class curricula and outreach education services in natural resources and environmental management. GEM’s purpose is pioneering and applying practical learning methods and technology to solve natural resource problems by linking faculty, students, and citizens worldwide. GEM serves students and stakeholders with curricula and outreach programs that are integrated and international using the tools of technology and communication to solve real world problems. GEM is building hope for the future through its work on sustainability, international programming and leadership development.


University of Wisconsin – Green Bay

Environmental Science and Policy. M. S.
Each student’s prior academic background is evaluated by a program admissions committee when he or she applies. Admission to the Environmental Science and Policy graduate program requires a student to have completed the equivalent of a basic undergraduate course in statistics and submitted current GRE general test scores. Students with a background in both policy and science will be given preference in admission decisions. Each area of emphasis requires different skills and preparation; therefore, additional prerequisites vary. Students who pursue the Ecosystems Studies area of emphasis are expected to have completed biology courses beyond introductory courses, typically the equivalent to a minor or major in biology. These courses should include an ecology course.

Students who pursue Resource Management come from a variety of undergraduate disciplines including biology, chemistry, earth science, economics, engineering, environmental planning, environmental policy, mathematics, physics, political science, public administration, and resource management. The appropriate undergraduate course preparation is dictated by the requisites to the courses to be included in a program of study and the thesis topic area.

Students who pursue Environmental Policy and Administration come from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds such as economics, engineering, environmental planning, environmental policy, political science, public administration, sociology, or more traditional science disciplines. The appropriate undergraduate course preparation is dictated by the requisites to the courses to be included in a program of study and the thesis topic area. It would normally be expected that students would have the equivalent of one year of undergraduate course work in political science, public administration, or economics.

Applicants who do not meet these requirements may be admitted if their academic record, letters of reference, and GRE scores indicate potential for successful completion of the program. However, these students will have additional requirements placed upon them as part of their academic plan to make up any deficiencies.


University of Wisconsin – Madison

Agricultural and Applied Economics. M.S. M.A.
(Includes environmental and natural resource economics.)

  • Prerequisites: Students with undergraduate degrees in a variety of areas are welcome to apply; however, training in economics and quantitative methods is needed to enroll in the first-year required courses. Students should have taken intermediate level micro- and macroeconomics, intermediate level statistics or econometrics, 2 semesters of calculus, and some linear algebra.


Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development. M.S.

  • Prerequisites: Two courses in physical sciences (chemistry, physics, geology, physical geography, meteorology); one course in statistics; one course in economics; one year of basic biology; one course in genetics or evolution: one course in general ecology



Environmental Engineering. M.S.

  • Prerequisites: The program is offered to students with bachelors’ degrees in engineering and science.  Special requirements are established for students with a bachelors degree in sciences such as chemistry, biology, physics, geology, or microbiology who wish to earn MS or PhD degrees in engineering.



Environmental Monitoring. M.S., Ph.D.

  • Prerequisites: Students are expected to enter the Environmental Monitoring Program with depth in at least one academic discipline. Those entering the M.S. “professional” option should have at least an introductory background in statistics and be proficient in computer operations and applications. One semester of college-level calculus, two semesters of college-level statistics, and one semester of computer science are among the analytical and research prerequisites for the “research” option. Additional statistics and computer science courses are prerequisites for a doctorate. Students are strongly advised to take these courses before entering the program but may, if necessary, complete the requirements while enrolled in the program.


Forestry and Wildlife Ecology

  • Prerequisites: An individualized program without set prerequisites for admission or a common core of required courses. Students come from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds, have their own set of courses, and pursue a variety of careers. Students need to have the skills and knowledge appropriate for their course of study and demonstrated motivation for success. Admission depends on a previously established a relationship with one of the faculty members.


Geography or Cartography/G.I.S. M.S.

  • Prerequisites Geography: Many students admitted to the MS Geography program at UW-Madison have earned an undergraduate degree in a discipline other than geography. Course work can be completed at the Master’s level which provides students with breadth in the five major areas of geographical concentration: physical geography, human geography or regional geography, people-environment interaction or regional geography, cartography, and statistical methods.
  • Prerequisites Cartography/G.I.S.: Incoming master’s candidates are expected to have taken a course in quantitative methods, introductory cartography, remote sensing (equivalent of Civil Engineering 301, 302, and 303), computer programming (equivalent of Computer Science 302), and eight college credits in mathematics.


Environment & Resources. M.S., Ph.D. Institute of Environmental Studies

  • Prerequisites: The Land Resources Program is appropriate for people with a broad variety of natural and social science educations, including resource planning and management, earth sciences, biological sciences, engineering and design, landscape architecture, geography, economics, sociology, and many other fields. We also seek applicants with “real world” experience in aspects of land resources. Applicants with a background in another area but strong interest in land resource problems may be admitted if a compelling application is presented.


Water Resources Management. M.S. Institute of Environmental Studies

  • Prerequisites: Any person with an undergraduate degree in the biological sciences, earth sciences, economics, education, engineering, history, journalism, landscape architecture, law, mathematics, physical sciences, political science, urban and regional planning, or another suitable field may apply for admission to the Water Resources Management Program (WRM).


University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Geography, emphasis in physical geography and environmental studies. M.A. or M.S.

  • Prerequisites: Evidence of general intellectual ability and compelling interest in geography. An undergraduate major in geography is desirable as evidence of such ability and interest but is not required. Past coursework will be compared to the core requirements of the UWM Geography bachelor’s degree in order to determine any deficiencies that need to be satisfied as a condition of acceptance.
Wisconsin graduate programs relevant to environmental issues
Here are graduate programs in Wisconsin on the related fields of public administration, non-profit management, mediation and conflict resolution, and communication.

Public Administration/Affairs. Non-Profit Management

University of Wisconsin – Madison

Public Affairs. M.P.A. and International Public Affairs. M.I.P.A.

  • Many La Follette students come with undergraduate degrees in political science and economics, but some have come from such fields as business, history, English, or communications. Some come directly from college, while others arrive with several years of experience in government or the private sector. Diversity of the student body is an attractive feature of La Follette public affairs education. The La Follette School actively seeks students with exceptional backgrounds and experience.
  • M.P.A. Specific course prerequisites: an introductory course in microeconomics, an American government course, and an introductory course in statistics and/or a course in calculus.
  • M.I.P.A. Specific course prerequisites: a course in international relations or comparative politics, an introductory course in statistics, two courses in economics: one in microeconomics and one in macroeconomics, twelve additional credits drawn from economics, political science, business, or non-American history . Students from English-speaking countries must have taken four semesters of a foreign language or demonstrate competence in a language other than English. It is highly recommended that an applicant from an English-speaking country have had two additional courses in the social sciences or humanities of a country or area in which the student has language proficiency; or have had extensive work experience or study abroad in the region.


University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

  • Public Administration. M.P.A. and Public Administration/Urban Planning. M.P.A./M.U.P.
    There are no fixed prerequisites in terms of prior academic training; but background in public administration, American governmental institutions, economics, statistics, and computer applications in social science is beneficial. Each student’s academic preparation is evaluated at the time of application. Applicants may be admitted with specific program-defined course deficiencies provided that the deficiencies amount to no more than two courses.
  • Non-Profit Management, Graduate Certificate
    Those students who wish to earn the Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management can be admitted for the certificate program as non-degree graduate students provided they possess a bachelor’s or higher degree with a minimum overall undergraduate grade point average of 2.75.


University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh

  • Public Administration. M.P.A.
    The MPA program is designed for people with work experience in public and not-for-profit agencies and requires that applicants have work experience in agencies fitting these categories. What constitutes sufficient work experience for admission is determined on a case-by-case basis, but, generally, work experience refers to first-hand involvement in an agency that is sufficient to provide knowledge of the structure and operating procedures of a complex organization. It may include volunteer work. Questions about eligibility should be addressed to the MPA Coordinator. Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. Applicants must meet the UW Oshkosh Graduate School requirement of a 2.75 overall grade point average or a 2.9 grade point average for the last half of the baccalaureate program. Admission on probation may be considered if applicants have a 2.25 overall G.P.A. and a 2.5 G.P.A. for the last half of their college work. Knowledge of descriptive statistics and basic social science concepts is desirable but not required.


Mediation and Conflict Resolution

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

  • Mediation and Negotiation, Certificate
    Students applying for the Certificate Program in Mediation and Negotiation must hold a bachelor’s degree and must have earned a 2.75 GPA overall or must furnish substantial evidence of ability to succeed in graduate level work.



University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

  • Communication. M.A.
    Emphases: Organizational/Professional Communication, Intercultural/International Communication, Interpersonal Communication/Mediation, and Rhetoric/Public Communication
    Applicants should have an equivalent of an undergraduate major in speech, speech communication, or related areas.


University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point

  • Communication. M.A.
    Emphases: Organizational Communication, Public Relations, Interpersonal Communication, Mass Communication.
    Organizational Communication: People who pursue a graduate degree in organizational communication have Bachelor’s degrees in such areas as organizational communication, psychology, sociology, and business and/or have extensive work experience.
    Public Relations: people with a Bachelor’s degree in PR should obtain at least several years of job experience in PR before pursuing an graduate degree in PR.  Also, any student pursuing PR at the graduate level should already have a Bachelor’s degree in PR (and/or significant experience in PR) which taught them the fundamentals of such issues as campaigns, desktop publishing, etc.
    Mass Communication: the students in mass communication who have done well in our program have entered the degree with extensive undergraduate coursework in mass communication and significant media experience.

Environmental Studies

UW Oshkosh | Oshkosh Campus
835 High Ave. Oshkosh, WI
Sage 3003 and 3464

Jim Feldman, Director

Sage Hall 3451