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.). The one-year midcareer Master of Environmental Management and Master of Forestry degree programs are designed for individuals with seven or more years of professional experience related to the environment or forestry. Students are currently enrolled in both programs; however, new student enrollment into the midcareer programs has been suspended until further notice.

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. 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. 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. If you are interested in sitting in on a class, directly contact faculty members whose course is of interest to you; email is best. The class schedule for each term is posted at http://environment.yale.edu/courses. 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 email, or you may schedule a telephone conversation with our Admissions staff. The Admissions office can be reached at admissions.yse@yale.edu or by 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 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, an updated résumé/curriculum vitae, and transcripts depicting all academic work not included in the previous application. We also recommend that applicants consider submitting updated research or personal statements. 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 2020 entry are no longer available.

Preparation for Admission

In order to excel in their program of study at YSE as well as a career in environmental management, all M.E.M. students are expected to be conversant in four foundational knowledge areas. These areas are Physical Science, Social Science, Ecology, and Microeconomics.

Each fall term, four thoughtfully designed courses—tailored specifically for incoming M.E.M. students—are offered for students to learn, refresh, and deepen their understanding in each of these knowledge areas. In the process, students form a strong foundation to engage with the rigorous M.E.M. curriculum and approach complex problems through an interdisciplinary lens.

For incoming students with substantial academic or professional experience in any of the four areas, waiver exams will be made available each spring and summer preceding enrollment at YSE. Students may make two attempts to pass a waiver exam. Students who are able to demonstrate sufficient proficiency in a foundational knowledge area through passing an exam will receive a waiver.

Students who do not take or pass a waiver exam will be auto-enrolled by the registrar to complete the required foundational knowledge course(s). These courses must be completed during a student’s first fall term:

Ecological Foundations for Environmental Managers
Microeconomic Foundations for Environmental Managers
Physical Science Foundations for Environmental Managers
Social Science Foundations for Environmental Managers

Foundational Knowledge Preparation

The following are some examples of recommended undergraduate courses that will help prepare incoming students for the MEM curriculum: 

Physical Science

  • Earth science course covering geosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere
  • Hydrology
  • Soil science
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Climate science

Social Science

  • Environmental Governance
  • Environmental Anthropology
  • Environmental History
  • Environmental Justice
  • Environmental Sociology
  • Human Geography
  • Political Ecology
  • Religion and Ecology

Ecology

  • General Ecology
  • Biodiversity Science
  • Population or Community Ecology
  • Ecosystem Science or Ecosystems Ecology

Microeconomics

  • A course in Principles of Microeconomics

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 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.