Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences (BGES)

M.S. in Biology

Master of Science in Environmental Science

Master of Science Degree - Thesis Option
Master of Science Degree - Nonthesis Option

The Department of BGES houses and administered a Master of Science in Environmental Science degree program. Degree quality, committee formation and other aspects of oversight are carried out by the Department's Graduate Committee on Curriculum and Academic Standards (GCCAS), which oversees all graduate programs in the department. The MS in Environmental Sciences is part of the Environmental Academic Studies Program, coordinated by the Center for Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy (CESTP).

Admission Requirements

Application to the MS in Environmental Science degree program, like all graduate programs at CSU, will be made to the Graduate Admissions Office. Here are links to official Cleveland State University information on graduate student admissionand specifically for international graduate student admission. An on-line admission application is available.

Successful applicants to the MS in Environmental Science degree program must:

  • have a Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0 or equivalent. A BS degree is preferred in a science appropriate to the student's area of concentration (Biology, Chemistry, or Geology). Students will be allowed to "make-up" deficiencies in undergraduate training by taking additional undergraduate courses.
  • have a minimum course work equivalent to two terms of calculus; one year of physics; one year of either biology, geology or chemistry; and one term of a computer course or demonstrated proficiency in computer usage.
  • take the General portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and rank, on average, in the 50th percentile or higher across all components; and
  • submit two letters of recommendation and a statement of career goals and objectives.

Non-native English speakers must demonstrate language proficiency. Proficiency can be demonstrated by a minimum score of 525 on TOEFL; a minimum score of 85 on the Michigan Test; successful completion of the English as a Second Language (ESL) program level 109 of the ESL Language Centers; or an earned bachelors degree or higher from an accredited US institution.


Master of Science in Environmental Science - Thesis Track

Besides course work, the degree requires a written thesis based on original scientific research of sufficient quality for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Advisory Committee

Within one year of admission to the program, the student will choose a research advisor and form an Advisory Committee. Typically, this is done in conjunction with the student's research advisor, who serves as Chair of the Committee. This individual must be a member of the BGES Graduate Faculty. Those students who do not have a research focus will work with academic advisors in CESTP and the Graduate Program Director in the Department of BGES to select a committee. The Advisory Committee must consist of no fewer than two BGES faculty, and a faculty member from another Department, to promote an interdisciplinary approach to the student's research. Ex-officio members from outside the University may serve on the Committee in addition to the three required faculty members.

Degree Requirements and Program of Study

Program of Study: A study plan will be developed by the student in conjunction with the student's Advisory Committee. A minimum of 32 semester credit hours must be completed. The program must meet the requirements specified below, and must be approved by the GCCAS.

Core Competency Requirements: In keeping with the overall Environmental Academic Studies Program at CSU, students seeking the proposed MS in Environmental Science will be required to meet a set of "core competencies" before graduation. These competencies could be met either by taking courses as part of the graduate program or by having already taken equivalent courses before entering the program. However, these core competencies are not to be considered prerequisites for admission to the program.

The three core competency areas required for the MS in Environmental Science and the approved courses to fulfill the requirement (representing a total of eight (8) semester credit hours) are shown in Table 1. The core competency courses are to introduce the students to areas outside their major area of study and to promote an interdisciplinary approach.

Table 1: Core Competency Requirements
Competency Area Credits Approved Course(s) for Area
Technology 3 CVE 450 Environmental Technology
Law/Policy 3 LAW 671 Environmental Law, or
UST 652 Enironmental Policy
Technical Writing 2 ENG 509 Technical Writing

Required Core Curriculum: All students in the Master of Science in Environmental Science program must successfully complete the 11 semester credit hours of course work shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Required Core Curriculum
Course Credits
Environmental Seminar (BIO/UST/CVE 595) 1
Graduate Orientation (BIO 500) 1
Biostatistics (BIO 540) 3
Environmental Field Exposure 1 6

1 The Environmental field experience must provide substantial and rigorous experience in field methods in biology and geology. This requirement may be met by (a) course work emphasizing field methods, such as BIO 652 or BIO 653 (Advanced Research in Field Biology), and/or (b) research (EVS 691/695) conducted in field settings. Course or research activities used to meet this requirement must be approved by the student's Advisory Committee

Research: Every student must complete and defend an independent thesis research project, publicly present and defend that thesis/project, and take at least 8 credits of Research (EVS 691/695).

Additional Course Work and Concentration Areas: In addition to the above 11 credit-hours of required course work, the student must take at least 11 semester credits of elective course work, at least nine (9) credits of which must be in the student's area of concentration as approved by the Advisory Committee and included in the Program of Study Plan. (Click here for an example of possible concentration areas and potential courses within the concentrations and an a list of possible interdisciplinary electives that may be appropriate within a given concentration depending on the student's specific background and academic goals.) Actual courses taken in a concentration area shall be determined by the student's Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee will ensure that a program of study for the area of concentration is consistent with the student's academic background and appropriate to individual requirements.

Complete, current program requirements and any changes are described in the BGES Graduate Program Handbook available from the BGES Graduate Program Office.


Master of Science in Environmental Science - Non-Thesis Track

Students in the non-thesis option may earn the M.S. degree in Environmental Science by completing a minimum of 32 hours of course work and passing a comprehensive examination based on a Library Research Paper containing a critical review of original scientific literature on a topic chosen by the student. The Graduate Program Director serves as the Advisor.

Requirements for the non-thesis option

Program of Study: A study plan will be developed by the student in conjunction with the student's Advisor. A minimum of 32 semester credit hours must be completed. The program must meet the requirements specified below, and must be approved by the GCCAS.

Core Competency Requirements: As for the Thesis Track

Required Core Curriculum, Additional Course Work and Concentration Areas: As for the Thesis Track, except that one credit of EVS 690 is taken to complete the Library Research Paper.

Library Research Paper: The student demonstrates the ability to read and critique modern scientific literature by writing the library research paper. The student selects an Examining Committee to supervise the Library Research Paper and completes the comprehensive examination (BIO 690) by presenting and defending the Library Research Paper before the committee.

Complete, current program requirements and any changes are described in the BGES Graduate Program Handbook available from the BGES Graduate Program Office.


Copyright © 2000 - 2005
Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences
College of Science, Cleveland State University
All rights reserved.

Update: 3 January, 2005

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Mailing Address
Cleveland State University
Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences
2121 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115-2214
Campus Locations
Main / Undergraduate Office
Basic Science Building
2399 Euclid Avenue
Room SI-219
(216) 687-2440
bges@csuohio.edu

Graduate Office
Basic Science Building
2399 Euclid Avenue
Room SI-219
(216) 687-2440
gpd.bges@csuohio.edu

Fax Numbers
(216) 687-6972 (Main)

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