Jul 18, 2024  
2009-2011 Graduate Catalog 

Environmental Science M.S. & Ph.D


Description and Objectives of the Program

The graduate program in Environmental Science fosters an understanding of interrelationships between disciplines in addition to requiring depth of study in specialized areas. It emphasizes the need to understand the social context and environmental consequences of using science and technology to serve human needs. We require all students to take two core courses: Environmental Problem Solving (ENV 702 ), and Environmental Law and Policy Seminar (ENV 703 ). Other course work in support of a student’s specialization generally includes courses from several departments and student research often crosses disciplinary lines.

The general objectives of offering Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Environmental Science at UNLV are to:

  1. Promote the understanding of environmental systems, the relationship among science, environmental management and the human condition, and the effective management of that relationship.
  2. Respond to local, state, regional, national and international needs for environmental professionals with advanced degrees.
  3. Assist in the process of shifting toward more sustainable practices in our local community, state and throughout the world.
  4. Encourage graduate students, undergraduate students, and faculty from various departments, colleges and NSHE institutions to collaborate in an effort to find new and creative solutions to environmental problems.
  5. Assist in the development of expertise that will both support excellence in Environmental Science at UNLV and lead to the enhancement of disciplinary graduate programs of each department.
  6. Provide opportunities and encouragement for both disciplinary and interdisciplinary student and faculty interactions that will promote team-building; undergraduate, graduate, faculty mentoring activities; community problem-solving; and enhance instructional programs at UNLV.
  7. Support graduate student research with grants and contracts from extramural sources.
  8. Encourage faculty and graduate student research on environmental projects developed in cooperation with the UNLV International Programs Office and institutions abroad.

Admission Requirements

Applications are reviewed twice per year: February 15 and November 15. Requirements 1-5 below must be met before applying to the program. Items 7 and 8 must be submitted directly to the Environmental Studies Department Office prior to the application review dates.

  1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. Minimum of three credits of calculus or three credits of statistics and at least 12 credit hours in physical and/or biological sciences with grades of B or better.
  3. A GPA of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale is required for admission.
  4. Scores at or above the 50th percentile in all three areas of the Graduate Record Exam.
  5. International students must take and obtain a score of at least 550 on the TOEFL exam.
  6. Application to the Graduate College, submitted using the on-line application system.
  7. Three letters of recommendation from professors, employers and/or professional colleagues.
  8. A 1-2 page “ Statement of Objectives.”

The Graduate Coordinating Committee uses the Statement of Objectives to determine whether the necessary physical and intellectual resources exist at UNLV to allow the applicant to achieve her/his objectives. The statement will be used to identify and appoint an appropriate advisor for the first year of graduate study, and make other decisions regarding admissibility.

Degree Requirements for all Environmental Science Graduate Students

Each student admitted to the Ph.D. or the M.S. degree program in Environmental Science will be appointed an initial advisor. The initial advisor will help the student design an appropriate curriculum, evaluate possible research directions or opportunities, identify an advisor, and become aware of personnel and resources available in Environmental Science at UNLV. By the end of the first (M.S.) semester or second (Ph.D.) semester the student will select a chair of her/ his Advisory Committee and, in consultation with that chair recommend membership on the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee and the chair are subject to approval by the Graduate Coordinating Committee. The Advisory Committee will assist the student in course selection and definition of a research topic for the thesis or dissertation. A minimum of 33 credits (of which at least 21 will be in 700-level courses) beyond the baccalaureate, including a minimum of six credits for thesis, is required for the M.S. degree. A minimum of 72 credits (of which at least 36 will be in 700-level courses) beyond the baccalaureate is required for the Ph.D. degree. Requirements for completion of each of the fields in these degree programs will frequently make it necessary for students to exceed these minimum credit requirements.

Students must make satisfactory progress each semester to remain in the program. Satisfactory progress is defined as filing an approved program before the completion of nine credits of course work, completion of the minimum required credits in the approved program per calendar year, maintenance of a GPA of at least 3.00, no grades below a C, and compliance with the Graduate Catalog. Any student whose GPA falls below 3.00 will be placed on probation and will have one semester to raise the GPA to a 3.00 or above. The program of study will be developed by the student and advisor and filed with the Graduate College. Prior to filing, the student’s graduate committee must approve the program. The program of study must be submitted by the second semester of study. Students must also fulfill the requirements specific to their field of study as described below.

Successful completion and oral defense of a dissertation is required for the Ph.D. degree. Successful completion and oral defense of a thesis is required for the M.S. degree. The student is advised to examine the specific information for each field of study for additional requirements.