Degree Requirements

M.S. Thesis

  • 24 credits minimum in coursework
  • 6 credits minimum thesis research

M.S. Non-Thesis

  • 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)

*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.

Basic Course Requirements

All students must take:

  • A minimum of 3 credits of the ESE Seminar (preferentially in sequence). Incoming students starting with Fall 2008 must enroll in the seminar course their first and second semesters. The course abbreviation may vary between years depending on the lead instructor(s) and will often be co-listed with more than one other department including GRAD for grad school.
  • Recommended for all students but required of all Non-thesis MS only: 2-credit integrating Maymester course or Summer Internship experience - recommended during the first Maymester or summer opportunity and preferentially immediately following the one-year of ESE seminar for incoming students starting Fall 2009 (exceptions to this requirement may be considered upon petition from the major advisor to the ESE Program Head).

All students must take during their degree program or have taken in their previous degree program* the following courses:

  • Biology 59500 (Ecology) 3 credits
  • One course (3 credits) in the area of Environmental Policy, Economics, Human Dimensions, and/or Institutional Analysis
  • GRAD 61200 (Responsible Conduct in Research) 1 credit or comparable course - Should be taken within the first year in the graduate program.
  • One course each from two of the following four ESE course cluster cores: * 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.

    At least one professional development activity is required - Students are strongly encouraged to participate in professional development activities, such as planning the annual ESE Symposium, grant writing, teaching certifications, and experiential field trips.

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