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.).

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 virtual and on-campus programs throughout the year. We encourage prospective students to attend our events for the most comprehensive view of YSE. Participants will meet students, faculty, 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. 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 and to complete the required registration for our events, please visit the Admissions Events page at

Campus visits are pre-scheduled events that you can register for on our Admissions Events page. You can also connect with our admissions staff online by scheduling a one-on-one meeting on the appointment page: Individual appointments and campus visits outside of the scheduled times may be possible, subject to staff availability. Please note that weekend visits are not available. If you are interested in observing a class, please get in touch with faculty members directly via email. The class schedule for each term is posted at

The admissions website,, has extensive information about the School. Should you have additional questions, our admissions staff is happy to assist you by email, phone, and virtual/in-person appointment. The admissions office can be reached at 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 found at This form includes complete instructions for the application requirements. Learn more about our master’s degree application requirements at

Questions concerning admission or the application process should be directed to or 800.825.0330. Students may enter YSE and begin their studies in the fall term only. The deadline for master’s application consideration is December 8. Completed individual admissions files submitted by midnight EST on this date are guaranteed to receive a review by the Admissions Committee.

Previous applicants 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 before the admissions cycle for a fall 2021 entry are no longer available.

Preparation for Admission

To excel in their program of study at YSE and a career in environmental management, all M.E.M. students must be conversant in four foundational knowledge areas. These areas are physical science, human 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 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 are available each summer preceding enrollment at YSE. Students may make two attempts to pass a waiver exam. Students who can demonstrate sufficient proficiency in a foundational knowledge area by passing an exam will receive a waiver for that course.

The registrar will auto-enroll students who do not take or pass a waiver exam 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
Human 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

Human Science

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


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


  • 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 with grades for each course, including study abroad and transfer institutions. 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 the United States or Canada are strongly encouraged to submit a transcript evaluation.
    If submitting a transcript evaluation, applicants should use EducationUSA advisers (, World Education Services (, or Educational Credential Evaluators ( 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 8 deadline for an application to be considered complete. The applicant is strongly encouraged to begin this process early, as evaluations can take over 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; 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 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 for each reference. Please note that we cannot 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. There is no application fee at this time.
  8. If applying to the M.E.Sc. or M.F.S. program, please include a list of three potential advisers on the application form. As an addendum to the personal statement, please provide a short paragraph for each listed adviser describing why you would like them to serve as your intended research adviser. Please include how your research interests align and how they may subsequently advise you on your project.

Note: Additional documents beyond those aforementioned 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. There are no arbitrary standards or cutoffs for test scores or grade-point averages, except for 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 after graduation from college. Clarity regarding professional career goals is critically important in the applicant’s personal statement. Faculty review teams read the applications submitted to the master’s degree programs, and 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 exam. 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 Information about IELTS can be found at The testing service will send official test results directly to the School and generally take two to three weeks to arrive.

Applicants 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. 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.

Three Cairns Climate Program for the Global South

With the mission of training those who will lead the world toward a sustainable future, the Three Cairns Climate Scholarship for the Global South is offered by the YSE to full-time master's students who demonstrate strong potential to advance climate solutions in the Global South. This transformative program is aimed at expanding the corps of outstanding environmental leaders throughout the Global South by reducing the barriers to advanced environmental education and training, supporting them to return to their home regions with the comprehensive training needed for success, and fostering a network of these alumni leaders to advance the climate solutions necessary to safeguard local natural resources, advance their economies, and secure a sustainable future.

Application Requirements

Eligible candidates must possess primary citizenship from a country in the Global South, possess professional and/or academic experience relevant to climate solutions, and have substantive lived, academic, and/or professional experience. In addition to completing the regular application for all potential YSE master’s students, candidates must also complete a supplemental application and participate in a virtual interview if requested. 

Required supplemental materials:

  • Two short-essay questions (450 words per question)
  1. Please describe your goals for your time at YSE and how realizing these goals will prepare you to advance climate solutions in the Global South.
  2. Given that advancing climate change solutions in the Global South is a complex and multidisciplinary challenge, what aspect(s) are you most interested in working on and why?
  • Sector, area, and job interest(s)
  • One additional letter of recommendation specifically for the Three Cairns program

Application Deadline

December 8

Program Benefits and Resources

The program provides scholars with tuition and non-tuition resources. The program enables YSE to meet 100 percent of the demonstrated tuition need for qualified students from the Global South admitted as master’s degree students through the Three Cairns Scholars Program. As Three Cairns Scholars, students also will have access to non-tuition resources, such as English-language support before arrival on campus, funding to support summer internships in their home countries, mentoring partnerships with YSE alumni, and career development opportunities and counseling that are designed to help ensure their success while at Yale and when they return to their home countries and regions.

Upon graduation from YSE, Three Cairns Scholars will also be eligible to receive $10,000-per-year stipends for two years to help support their return to their home countries and regions to engage in environmental work.

Graduation Requirements

Award recipients will be required to:

  • complete a traditional two-year or joint degree M.E.M., M.F., M.E.Sc., or M.F.S. program (students completing the fifth-year M.E.M. program are not eligible),
  • complete internships or research projects focused on building practical experience in climate solutions,
  • contribute to fostering inter-cohort community by helping to recruit prospective students, including participating in admission events and engaging with potential candidates, and
  • articulate a plan for returning to their home region upon successfully completing the full-time master’s program to work in a field related to climate solutions.