- Program Requirements (Courses, Curricula, Etc.)
- Internships and Theses
- Program Tuition
- Current Students
To be considered for admission, students must complete an application packet. Prospective students may apply online through the Graduate School at the College of Charleston. For information about the MES Program, please fill out the online Information Request Form or contact the MES Program Coordinator at the following address:
The College of Charleston
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Phone: (843) 953-2000
Fax: (843) 953-2001
E-mail: Dr. Tim Callahan
I would like to apply to the Master of Environmental Studies program, but my Bachelors degree is not in Environmental Studies. Can I still apply to your program?
The MES Program is an interdisciplinary graduate program, designed to provide students with an appreciation of the interdisciplinary nature of environmental problems without sacrificing the training rigor of a specific academic discipline. Therefore, our students represent a wide variety of undergraduate disciplines such as Anthropology, Biology, Education, English, Finance, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Integrative Studies, Political Science, and Environmental Studies/Science.
When is my application due?
The applications deadlines are:
- November 1st for Spring semester
- March 1st for Fall semester
Is there an application fee?
An overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (on a scale of 4)
The Graduate Record Examination General Test (GRE) is required for admission. Scores from GRE tests taken through July 31, 2011 must have a combined score of at least 1100 on the quantitative and verbal sections, and of at least 4 (out of 6) on the writing assessment section. The minimum requirements for tests taken starting August 1, 2011 will be revised to reflect a new set of standards. As the new standards are determined, they will be available on The Graduate School's website.
Students must have undergraduate coursework in biology (two courses with labs), chemistry (two courses with labs), and statistics (one semester). One year of another physical or natural science may be substituted for either biology or chemistry. The admissions committee recognizes that some students with exceptional backgrounds and training in other areas – either another science or social science – may wish to enter the program. These students are encouraged to apply and will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but should understand that they may be required to take one or more additional science courses.
Three letters of recommendation
- A statement of personal goals to be achieved by the student during his/her time in the program.
Also, as a prerequisite to the core course EVSS 659: Environmental Statistics (offered in the Spring), students must either take MATH 250: Statistical Methods I (an undergraduate course offered by the College of Charleston) or an equivalent college level statistics course OR pass the MES entrance exam in Statistics (the core course EVSS 624: Biometry may be taken in the place of EVSS 659: Environmental Statistics in order to fufill the MES Program statistics requirement). More information can be found on the Statistics Prerequisites page.
I have heard that admission to the program is competitive. How many students do you accept each year?
Since the program is a relatively new one, it is still open in respect to numbers accepted each year. This, however, may not be the case in years to come as the popularity of the program increases.
If I have not met all the required undergraduate coursework, am I still eligible for the program?
Some applicants may not satisfy all requirements. Every effort will be made to accommodate such applicants through preparatory classes at the College of Charleston. Exceptions can be made on an individual basis, depending upon a candidate's background or experience.
How are the applications processed?
Application materials are sent to the Graduate School Office (GSO) at the College of Charleston. Once the GSO has received all of the application materials, your file is sent to the MES Office. The MES Admissions Committee then reviews the file and a decision is made. The MES Office will notify you of the decision as soon as possible.
How can I ensure that my application is processed successfully?
It is your responsibility as an applicant to make sure that all application materials (application form, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, statement of goals, GRE or MAT scores, TOEFL scores if applicable, and $45 application fee) are turned in to the Graduate School Office. It is best to send all materials in together. If you have questions as to the status of your application, contact the Graduate School Office at (843) 953-5614.
There is a non-degree option for those students who want to continue their education without actively pursuing an advanced degree. The application process is the same for non-degree students. No more than a total of nine (9) credit hours of work taken in non-degree status may be applied toward the MES degree requirements if the student is later admitted to the program. In order to accomplish reclassification as a regular degree student, the candidate must submit all materials prescribed by the Admissions Committee.
Can I transfer graduate credit from other institutions or programs to my Environmental Studies program?
Upon written request and with the approval of a student's Program of Study Advisory Committee, up to nine (9) semester hours of appropriate graduate level course work may be transferred into a student's Program of Study. See the MES Program Handbook for further details.
How do your required courses reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the MES program?
All students, regardless of their focus of study, are required to take 17 hours of Core classes. These classes incorporate disciplines pertaining to both science and policy.
Is there any flexibility within the core classes?
Each student must complete the core classes.
How long does it take to complete the program?
The MES Program’s coursework is designed to be completed within two years. However, students may require extra time in order to complete their research for their Internship or Thesis projects. In general, Thesis students take two to three years to complete their requirements. In most cases, the first year is dedicated to designing one’s Program of Study and choosing between either an Internship or Thesis, in addition to completing course work. The second year consists of submitting proposals and presenting the work done as it corresponds to either Thesis or Internship in conjunction with finishing classes. All MES students must fulfill the program requirements within five years of matriculating. The MES Steering Committee and the Dean of Graduate Studies will consider petitions for extensions in extenuating circumstances
Who are the MES program faculty?
The MES program faculty members come from a wide variety of disciplines at the College of Charleston, and from organizations such as NOAA, the USDA Forest Service, SC Sea Grant, and many others. Information about the faculty can be found on the MES Program Faculty page.
Are there any specializations available within the MES program?
Some students, in conjunction with their advisors, may wish to create their own areas of specialization within the program. Some examples of these specializations are: Coastal and Wetlands Management, Environmental Hazards, or Environmental Planning. All students are able to have concentrations in either Environmental Science or Environmental Policy.
What is a Program of Study?
A student’s Program of Study contains a list of courses and other requirements that the student must complete, as well as courses which are accepted for transfer credit. It necessitates the selection between the thesis or internship options, as well as outlining the classes that one anticipates completing.
The Fall 2012/Spring 2013 tuition is $4,110 per semester for full-time (9 credit hours), in-state students and $10,455 per semester for full-time (9 credit hours), out-of-state students. Part-time cost per credit hour is $455 for in-state students and $1,160 per credit hour for out-of-state students. For more information, visit the College of Charleston's Tuition and Fees page.
- There are approximately 85 students in the MES Program.
- The MES students are approximately 60% Female and 40% Male.
- About 60% of the MES students are considered in-state residents, 40% are out-of-state.
- There is continued student interest in both Environmental Policy and Science, with the majority of students focusing on science.
- Approximately 60% of the MES students choose the Thesis option and 40% choose the Internship option to complete their degree.
What internships are available? Where is this information posted?
There are a variety of internships available through local private and government agencies. Students may also choose to seek an internship opportunity nationally or internationally to better suit their interest.
Can outside community members be incorporated into/be used for my internship/thesis?
If you find someone who is not currently an MES faculty member, and would like them to serve as an advisor or committee member, you can fill out forms available in the MES office that would allow them to be considered by the MES Faculty Review Committee for adjunct faculty status. These individuals will be informed of this decision in writing.
Who aids the student in establishing/selecting a program of study? (i.e. advisors, professors, mentors)?
MES students must select an Academic Advisor who will help them establish an appropriate program of study. A Program of Study will take into account all the necessary coursework a student must complete in order to earn their degree and also satisfy their personal and career interests.
The student must complete a Program of Study form outlining these requirements, which the Academic Advisor will then sign and verify.
What is the difference between an Academic Advisor and the Thesis or Internship Committee?
A student's Academic Advisor may serve on a Thesis or Internship Committee, but this is not required. In many cases, however, a student will choose someone as an Academic Advisor who is anticipated to serve on the Research Advisory Committee (for a Thesis) or a Internship Committee (the student's supervisor from the sponsoring institution will serve on the Internship Committee). Any changes in a student's Academic Advisor, Research Advisory Committee, or Internship Committee may be made with the Change in Advisor form.
MES students are considered full time when enrolled in nine (9) graduate credit hours.
What is a typical schedule like?
For first year, full-time students schedules typically include two or three core classes and one elective for a total of 9-10 credits per semester. It is recommended that the student not exceed 12 credit hours of graduate classes. Many classes are held during the day; however, classes are also available in the evening. Core coursework is generally offered at or after 4:00 p.m. to allow individuals who are working full-time to complete the degree.
Is job placement information available?
The MES Program offers assistance on a one on one basis for those students who are about to enter the job market. This may consist of help in constructing resumes that are appropriate for the jobs that the individual is seeking or interview strategy advice. Also, while enrolled in the program, students are encouraged to take part in workshops and seminars that are geared toward preparing them for the job market. Finally, all students are informed on a daily basis of internships and jobs that are available both in the community and worldwide via e-mail. These positions are posted on the MES Job Opportunities page.
Does the school offer housing for graduate students?
Unfortunately, as an urban campus, the College is unable to offer on-campus housing to graduate students.
Where can I find information about off-campus housing?
The Office of Residence Life and Housing provides information regarding off-campus housing.
Parking is severely limited at the College of Charleston, and in the downtown Charleston area. There are spaces available for CofC students through Auxiliary Services. For more information, visit the Parking Services web site. Other options include parking on the street or one of the many public garages. Walking, biking or carpooling are all highly recommended!
The Master of Environmental Studies Student Association (MESSA) is a graduate student organization of the College of Charleston. The goal of MESSA is to enhance the graduate experience of those in the MES program through community and campus outreach projects that integrate the special interests of students with community needs and through interaction between students, faculty, and friends of the program. All graduate students enrolled in the Master of Environmental Studies program are members of MESSA. Activities and upcoming events sponsored by MESSA can be found on the MES Calendar.