Admissions: Master’s Degree Programs

The Yale School of the Environment offers four two-year master’s degrees: the professionally oriented Master of Environmental Management (M.E.M.) and Master of Forestry (M.F.), and the research-oriented Master of Environmental Science (M.E.Sc.) and Master of Forest Science (M.F.S.). For individuals with seven or more years of professional experience related to the environment or forestry, a one-year midcareer option is available for the Master of Environmental Management and Master of Forestry degrees.

Learning about YSE

The best way to learn about the School is to visit YSE virtually or in person before submitting an application. The Office of Admissions offers both a virtual and formal campus visit program throughout the year, and we encourage prospective students to visit during one of these events for the most comprehensive view of YSE. Offered every other Monday throughout the fall term and monthly in the spring term, these visits are a great option to make the most of your visit. Programming begins at both 9:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. and runs approximately two hours. Participants will meet students and staff to become familiar with the School’s mission and goals, degree requirements and courses, opportunities for research and applied projects, career development, and life at Yale. Registration is required at https://apply.environment.yale.edu/portal/main-event-page. YSE faculty and staff also conduct outreach events online, around the United States and abroad, including at graduate school fairs, hosting virtual and off-campus information sessions, and visiting schools and universities. To learn if a representative will be coming to your area, please visit the admissions event schedule at https://apply.environment.yale.edu/portal/main-event-page.

Individual appointments are also available based on staff availability. Please note that for individual campus visits, it is best to visit Monday through Thursday, as few classes are held on Fridays, which are generally reserved for field trips and research. Weekend visits are not available. Visitors are welcome to sit in on classes of interest with no advance notice; the class schedule each term is posted at http://environment.yale.edu/courses. You can also connect with our admissions assistant directors online by scheduling a one-on-one meeting on the appointment page: https://apply.environment.yale.edu/portal/schedule_appointment. Feel free to contact directly faculty members whose work is of interest to you; e-mail is best. We do not conduct formal interviews as part of the admissions process. To schedule a visit, please contact us at admissions.yse@yale.edu.

The Admissions website, http://environment.yale.edu/admissions, has extensive information about the School. Should you have additional questions, we are pleased to correspond with you by e-mail, or you may schedule a telephone conversation with our Admissions staff. The Admissions office can be reached by e-mail at admissions.yse@yale.edu or telephone at 800.825.0330.

Application Procedures

The application form for admission to the YSE professional and research master’s degrees (M.E.M., M.E.Sc., M.F., or M.F.S.) may be acquired online at https://apply.environment.yale.edu/apply. This form includes complete instructions for the application requirements.

Questions concerning admission or the application process should be directed to admissions.yse@yale.edu, or 800.825.0330. Admissions offers for YSE enable students to begin their study in the fall term only. The priority deadline for master’s application consideration is December 15. Completed individual admissions files submitted by midnight EST on this date are guaranteed to receive a review by the Admissions Committee.

Previous applicants planning to reapply to YSE must submit a new application form and current application fee, an updated résumé/curriculum vitae, and transcripts depicting all academic work not included in the previous application. We also recommend that applicants consider submitting an updated personal or research statement. Admissions records including application forms and supplemental materials are held for two years by the Office of Admissions. Provided reapplication occurs within two admissions cycles, all required materials previously submitted to the Office of Admissions will be incorporated into the new application as requested. Documents submitted prior to the admissions cycle for a fall 2019 entry are no longer available.

Preparation for Admission

All M.E.M. students are expected to be conversant in four Basic Knowledge areas in order to excel in their program of study and their careers in environmental management. While students are encouraged to take all four Basic Knowledge courses, students can waive out of each Basic Knowledge requirement by fulfilling one of two possible pathways:

  1. Transcript review: Below is a list of courses in each subject area that can be used to qualify for a waiver. An academic committee will make waiver determinations based on transcript review. Students who are concerned that a course might have been missed can e-mail academicaffairs.yse@yale.edu.
    Students must have earned a grade of “B” or higher for a course to count toward a Basic Knowledge waiver. AP exams do not count, nor do courses taken from unaccredited institutions. Students must have received a transcript with a letter grade for a course to be considered for a waiver; certificates of completion will not be accepted.
  2. Basic Knowledge waiver exam: During the summer before beginning at YSE, students have the option to take online waiver exams for each of the four Basic Knowledge subject areas. For each exam passed, students will be waived out of that Basic Knowledge requirement. Incoming students will be provided more information about these exams during the summer before their first term.

Students will be auto-enrolled by the registrar to complete their required Basic Knowledge course(s) should they not receive a waiver from either of the two options above. All Basic Knowledge courses must be completed during a student’s first term.

Requirements for a Waiver by Transcript Review

Social Sciences

Two upper-level courses in any of the following areas:

Environmental Governance

Environmental Anthropology

Environmental History

Environmental Justice

Environmental Sociology

Human Geography

Political Ecology

Religion and Ecology

Physical Science Foundations for Environmental Managers

A course that satisfies one of the following:

Earth science course covering geosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere

Two of the following: hydrology, soil science, environmental chemistry, and climate science

Ecological Patterns and Processes

A course in at least one of the following areas:

General Ecology

Biodiversity Science

Population or Community Ecology

Ecosystem Science or Ecosystems Ecology

Microeconomics

Either of the following:

A course in Principles of Microeconomics within the past five years

An undergraduate major in an Economics field (regardless of when course work was completed)

Application Requirements

Candidates for admission must hold a four-year baccalaureate degree or an equivalent international degree, and are required to provide the following materials:

  1. A completed online application form.
  2. A résumé/curriculum vitae. Indicate full- or part-time for each job/internship/volunteer position.
  3. A combination of short essays and longer statements that illustrate fit, skills, and overall experience.
  4. One transcript or mark sheet from each college and/or university attended. Official transcripts are not required; however, all transcripts submitted must include the applicant’s name and institution (not to be added by the applicant). Applicants who have completed a degree outside of the United States or Canada are strongly encouraged to submit a transcript evaluation.
    If submitting a transcript evaluation, applicants should use EducationUSA advisers (https://educationusa.state.gov/find-advising-center), World Education Services (www.wes.org), or Educational Credential Evaluators (http://ece.org) for course-by-course or ICAP evaluation of all transcripts (undergraduate and graduate). Those who secure WES or ECE evaluations should submit their official transcripts directly to WES or ECE, not to the Office of Admissions. An additional copy of the transcript beyond the official evaluation is not required. Evaluations must be received in the Office of Admissions by the December 15 deadline for an application to be considered complete. The applicant is strongly encouraged to begin this process early, as evaluations can take more than a month to complete.
    Admitted students submitting transcripts and degree certificates from Chinese universities must arrange for a verification report of their university transcript with the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC; www.chinadegrees.cn/cn). Do not request your verification report from the CDGDC until your degree has been awarded. Verification reports should only be sent after accepting an offer of admission. The report must be mailed directly to the Office of Admissions by the CDGDC, rather than by the admitted student or any third party. Any transcript not mailed by the CDGDC will not be considered as a final official transcript.
  5. Three letters of reference (academic and/or professional). Submission of the recommendation form and a one- to two-page letter is expected. Please note that we are unable to accept any additional recommendations beyond the required three. It is strongly recommended that the applicant submit at least one academic letter of reference.
  6. Standardized test score reports:
    The submission of GRE, GMAT, or LSAT scores is optional at this time.
    An official TOEFL or IELTS score report if English is not a native or customary language of instruction (copies will not be accepted). Applicants must achieve at least a 100 on the iBT version of the TOEFL or a 7.0 on the IELTS examination (minimum of 6.5 in each section) to be given full consideration for admission. See additional information on requirements related to English as a second language below.
  7. The $80 application fee (a need-based fee waiver is available online).
  8. If applying to the M.E.Sc. or M.F.S. program, please be sure to include a list of three potential advisers on the application form. Please also attach as an addendum to the personal statement a short paragraph for each of the listed advisers describing why you would like them to serve as your adviser on your intended research. Please be sure to link your research interests with theirs to help connect how they may be able to best advise you on your project.

Note: Additional documents beyond those listed above will not be reviewed and may be discarded at the end of the admissions cycle.

All application materials should be uploaded to the electronic application form. Materials cannot be returned, copied, or forwarded to third parties.

All applicants must hold a bachelor’s-level degree and demonstrate satisfactory academic achievement, but there are no arbitrary standards or cutoffs for test scores or grade-point averages, with the exception of English language ability (TOEFL and IELTS). Letters of reference from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s scholarship, professional activities, leadership skills, and career goals are especially valuable. Letters from undergraduate professors and/or professional supervisors are preferred. The School looks for students capable of making effective contributions to scientific knowledge or to professional service in addressing environmental problems. Special weight is given to relevant experiences obtained subsequent to graduation from college. Clarity regarding professional career goals is a critically important part of the applicant’s personal statement. Faculty review teams read the applications submitted to the master’s degree programs. Final admissions decisions rest on an integrated assessment of the components described above.

English as a Second Language Training Requirement

Applicants for whom English is not a native or customary language of university instruction must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). We require a minimum TOEFL score of 100 on the Internet test. A minimum overall score of band 7.0 is required on the IELTS, with a minimum of 6.5 in each section. Please note that we will only accept the iBT version of the TOEFL examination. When taking either test, applicants should indicate the School’s Institution Code Number 3996; no department code is necessary. Additional information about TOEFL can be found at www.ets.org/toefl. Information about IELTS can be found at www.ielts.org. Official test results will be sent directly to the School by the testing service and generally take two to three weeks to arrive.

Applicants who are required to submit the TOEFL or IELTS must also submit a supplemental essay (300 words maximum) detailing all educational, research, and/or work and internship experience related to the English language. The Admissions Committee may follow up with a phone interview to assist in determining English proficiency. As a condition of acceptance, it may be required that applicants for whom English is a second language, whose undergraduate degree work has not been conducted in English, or whose application suggests such a need, complete a six-week instructional program in written and spoken English conducted by Yale Summer Session. More information will be provided to those students who may qualify for this requirement.