Jun 15, 2024  
2019-2020 APU Catalog 
2019-2020 APU Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental Science, M.S.

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The Master of Science in Environmental Science (MSES) is for students seeking deeper understanding of the role that field-based science plays in determining economic and political policies that shape northern regions. The science portion emphasizes both knowledge and practical field abilities in biology, chemistry, and geology. The policy portion emphasizes the historical development of current policies, agreements, laws, and regulations, as well as their use and effects. 

The program is designed for talented new and recent graduates of four-year programs as well as working adults seeking to advance in the natural sciences. Our MSES students represent a wide range of academic backgrounds and work experiences – and include successful candidates whose background may not be in science.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the degree, students will have:

  • Increased knowledge of environmental science and policy and apply this knowledge in field and laboratory settings
  • Developed skills in written and oral communication to the level of delivering professional presentations and crafting publishable papers
  • Applied analytic techniques including modeling, statistical inference, and database management
  • Designed, undertaken, analyzed, written and defended an original research project as a graduate thesis


The MSES program admits students for the Fall semester only. Applicants seeking to begin studies at any other time must submit a written request for exception, stating reasons for an alternative start date. This request must accompany other application materials. 

The application priority deadline for MSES is February 15.  Applicants who prefer to work with a specific faculty advisor are strongly encouraged to submit all application materials ahead of the priority deadline as faculty advisors will be assigned at this time and space may be limited. Late applicants, while admissible, may not be assigned to the advisor of their choice due to faculty load restrictions.

The general requirements for admission to graduate studies at APU are found in the Admissions section of the catalog.  In addition, there are supplemental requirements for MSES as follows:

  1. Three letters of recommendation dated within the past twelve months
  2. A current resume or CV
  3. Graduate Records Exam (GRE) scores dated within the past four years - APU reporting code: 4201
  4. A 500 word essay outlining the applicant’s motivations for seeking the MSES. Include professional interests, career goals, and the research topic(s) of most interest to be pursued in the thesis
  5. Completed Faculty Mentor Request form


MSES program expects incoming students to have basic quantitative and discipline-appropriate skills, as evidenced by at least two college-level courses in math/statistics and two foundational courses in the field of the student’s primary interest (e.g. biology or geology). A bachelor’s degree in one of the natural sciences will typically meet this requirement.  The program encourages students with a wide variety of undergraduates experiences to appl for admissions, and welcomes students from less traditional backgrounds.  If, however, a student’s undergraduate transcript does not demonstrate adequate preparation in natural sciences and quantitative skills, the student may be admitted and required to take prerequisite courses or studies.

MSES Format and Program Delivery

MSES courses run in APU’s block and session format, with intensive field-based courses in the 4-week block, and theory/lab courses in the 11-week session.  The program is designed to be completed in 4-5 semesters across 2 years of enrollment, with students at full-time status.

Each MSES graduate will:

  1. Successfully complete six required courses, two elective courses, and two research seminars.
  2. Successfully design a thesis proposal and complete an individually designed research thesis.
  3. Submit MSES thesis committee approval form to the Registrar’s Office prior to graduation. 

Required Courses

Minimum Graduation Credit Hour Requirement: 48


*Eight units of elective credit may include any combination of 600-level APU courses, graduate courses from other institutions, and upper division undergraduate coursework approved by the student’s advisor and MSES Program Director in advance of enrollment.

**Upon successful completion of a Thesis Proposal, every MSES student is guaranteed an eight (8) unit Masters Scholarship applicable to ES 69900. This guaranteed Scholarship waives (8) credits in graduate tuition cost.

Alaska Pacific University and Carroll University 3+2 program for Environmental Science

The 3+2 Environmental Science agreement between Alaska Pacific University (APU) and Carroll University (CU) is an exciting opportunity for both institutions allowing students to start at CU and end at APU. Three years of undergraduate coursework are completed at Carroll University followed by two years of graduate study at Alaska Pacific University. The first year of APU courses transfer back to Carroll to complete the Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science with a minor in biology or chemistry. The agreement with APU specifies that students should be able to complete the Master of Science degree after two years of study in Alaska.

As a prerequisite to entering the MSES portion at APU, Carroll students are required to have taken Calculus I, and are recommended to take Statistics and Environmental Ethics.

In preparation for this graduate program, students must complete a minimum of 104 credits at Carroll and 48 graduate credits at Alaska Pacific University. Students will be charged the graduate rate for all courses taken at Alaska Pacific University.

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