Degrees and Requirements

Please note that in addition to specific ESE course requirements, there may be some specific course requirements imposed by the student's associated academic department. Regardless, all these course credits fall within the minimum total course requirements.

Degree Options

  • 24 credits minimum in coursework
  • 6 credits minimum thesis research
  • 32 credits minimum in coursework
  • A total of 90 credits is required by the graduate school. The distribution between formal course credits and research credits varies across academic departments.
  • In addition, up to 30 credits from a previous Master's degree can be transferred upon review by the Program Head to meet your PhD requirement.
  • Minimum of 15 credits in thesis research (additional research may be taken)

Course Requirements

  • ESE Colloquium/Seminar I and II
    • A minimum of 3 credits of the ESE Colloquium/Seminar.
    • Preferentially in sequence, fall and spring semesters of the first year.
  • Ecology and Biology - minimum of 3 credits.
  • Environmental Policy, Economics, Human Dimensions, and/or Institutional Analysis - minimum of 3 credits.
  • Responsible Conduct in Research GRAD 61200 (or a comparable course) - 1 credit.
    • Should be taken within the first year in the graduate program.
  • One course from two different ESE Core Areas for a minimum of 6 credits.
  • Maymester course or Summer Internship experience.
    • Recommended for all students and required of all Non-thesis MS.
    • Recommended during the first Maymester or summer opportunity and preferentially immediately following the one-year of ESE seminar for incoming students starting (exceptions to this requirement may be considered upon petition from the major advisor to the ESE Program Head).

If a previous degree was not at Purdue University, transcripts will be reviewed by Program Head to identify if any previous courses (passed with a B or better) qualify to replace the required courses listed above.


Professional Development is not required, but strongly encouraged. There are several professional development courses that may be of interest and relevant to your unique research area. Additional options include planning the annual ESE Symposium, grant writing, teaching certifications, and experiential field trips. Such courses can be identified with the help of your advisory committee.