Environmental Science (MS)


The MS in Environmental Sciences is an interdisciplinary degree combining science and non-science courses from across the University. The degree provides applied, cross-disciplinary training preparing students to solve environmental problems using the scientific method combined with a knowledge of environmental regulations and policy. Students gain knowledge through research and coursework in quantitative research methods, natural sciences, and political science, planning or geography. 

Catalog Year



Master of Science

Major Credits


Total Credits




Career Cluster

Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources

Program Requirements

Common Core

The natural or human-induced change in climate and the effect on terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The human species' place in the biological world, effects on various communities and potential methods of correcting detrimental effects with economic and social implications.

Prerequisites: none

This lecture course introduces students to major federal environmental statutes, including the Clean Water Act; Clean Air Act; Safe Drinking Water Act; Resource, Conservation and Recovery Act; CERCLA (Superfund); Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act; Toxic Substances Control Act; Endangered Species Act; and Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. In addition, several state of Minnesota environmental statutes will be discussed.

Prerequisites: none

This is a lecture course focusing on the sources and control of pollutants in air, soil, water, and groundwater. Hazardous waste treatment and the effects of pollutants on human health are also discussed.

Prerequisites: none

The is a lecture/lab class designed to give students hands-on experience with various methods of environmental analysis coupled with the development of a research proposal. The class research project requires the collection and analysis of samples using methods approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Quality control and Quality Assurance methods are emphasized.

Prerequisites: none

This lecture course introduces students to the National Environmental Policy Act and requirements for Environmental Impact Statements and Environmental Assessment Worksheets at the federal and state Level. Phase I Environmental Assessment of land and buildings, an International Perspective on Environmental Assessments, and Economic and Social Impact Assessment are also discussed.

Prerequisites: none

Restricted Electives

Environmental Science - Choose 6 Credit(s).

This course is designed to give students a deeper understanding of GIScience. The course includes both lecture and lab components covering advanced applications in spatial analysis/modeling, routing/logistics, programming, as well as hands-on practice with computer-based software package and GIS program.

Prerequisites: none

This course surveys various environmental issues within the United States with an emphasis on state and federal legislation and policies. The forces prompting environmental legislation, its subsequent implementation and modification by the courts, and various perspectives about the problems, their possible solutions, and the assessment of current efforts are discussed.

Prerequisites: none

This course covers the role of law and its influence on the planning profession. Specifically, the course addresses the legal standards by which land use is regulated and controlled in the United States.

Prerequisites: none

Comprehensive planning process in urban areas, including basic studies, capital improvement programming, and exercises.

Prerequisites: none

Current planning, including zoning, subdivision regulations, annexations, and special projects.

Prerequisites: none

Unrestricted Electives

Choose 10 - 11 Credit(s). The remaining coursework will be drawn from other 600-level courses across the University, including ENVR 677, with advisor approval.

Capstone Course

Choose 3 - 6 Credit(s).


Prerequisites: none

Other Graduation Requirements

A maximum of 9 credits can be taken in 600-level courses such as independent study, internship, seminar, in-service, and thesis. All courses must be approved (in advance) by the student's advisor, and must be pertinent to the student's career goals. Independent study and internships from other programs cannot be used for electives in Environmental Sciences. Fifty percent of the coursework (14-16 credits) must be at the 600 level (excluding thesis).