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Updated 1/17/2014

Environmental Studies Program Admission Requirements

Why Choose the Environmental Studies Program at CSUF?

Our program offers a transdisciplinary perspective on Environmental Studies at an advanced level. Students have access to faculty expertise in the natural sciences, engineering, social and behavioral sciences, business and economics, the arts, and humanities. The Master of Science degree in Environmental Studies is an important qualification for environmental professionals, and signifies the skills to independently conduct and supervise environmental research and environmental impact assessment. Some graduates continue in academics, pursuing doctoral degrees. Still others are educators at the K-12 or community college level.

Requirements for admission to ENST Program:

Admission to the Environmental Studies Program is competitive. We accept students as a cohort, and we are limited in the number per cohort. The following are minimum requirements necessary to apply, but meeting these in no way guarantees admission to the program

  • A Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
  • Good standing at the last attended college
  • A minimum grade-point average of 3.0 in the last 60 units of attempted coursework
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation, and
  • Completion of one (1) course in ecology AND one (1) course in quantitative methods.
  • The GRE is not required.
  • For International students, a minimum score of 550 (TOEFL, paper-based), 80 iBT, or 6.5 (IELTS) is required.


Admissions Process
Letters of Recommendation
Conditional Admission Policies
ENST Program Pre-Requisites
Transfer Coursework from Other Schools
Fee Information and Graduate Funding Opportunities
California Residency Requirements
Open Secrets of Successful Applications
CSUF USDA MS ENST Fellowship 2014

Admissions Process

• The Environmental Studies Program only reviews applications for admission to enter the program during Fall semesters. In order to be competitive with the admissions decisions of comparable schools, we begin reviewing applications on 1 March. To ensure that your application receives full consideration, please apply by that date.

• All prospective students must apply DIRECTLY to the CSUF office of Admission and Records for admission prior to being evaluated by the Environmental Studies Program.

• Once prospective students start the application process, their applications are acknowledged by the university and each student is sent a letter with a student identification number and PIN number. These numbers allow students to track the progress of their applications online. Please allow 4-6 weeks for processing an application once all of the documents have been received. Please refrain from making enquiries regarding your application before then.

Students may reach the Titan Admissions Status office at (657) 278-7904 or on the web

• Please Note: Applicants must send copies of all application materials to both 1) the CSUF Applications and Records Office and 2) the Environmental Studies Program Office, with the exception of the two letters of recommendation (which only need to be sent to the Environmental Studies Program Office). If the required documents are not received by both the Admissions and Records Office and the Environmental Studies Program Office, the application will be rejected.


Letters of Recommendation

• Reference letters must be written on official letterhead. At least one of the two letters must be submitted from a past academic instructor or advisor. The other letter may come from an employer or someone who has had a close working relationship with the applicant (in a supervisory capacity).

• These letters must clearly indicate the nature of the relationship between the person writing the referral and the applicant to the ENST Program, and it must be indicated why it is believed that the applicant would be able to successfully undertake this degree. The ENST Program does not provide a special form, nor does it require a specific format for the reference letters to follow.

• Please have the 2 letters of reference sent to:

California State University, Fullerton
C/O Environmental Studies Program Office
Humanities H-420A
Fullerton, CA 92834-6850


Conditional Admission Policies

Upon acceptance to the ENST program, each student should receive a "Graduate Recommendation Sheet" from the Admissions and Records Office. This sheet lists any and all deficiencies of the prospective student. This means, for instance, if a student has not taken an ecology or quantitative methods course prior to applying to the program, he or she may be conditionally admitted to the Program; however, ALL deficiencies must be made up within one year of program admission.

Note: Should an applicant not receive a copy of the Graduate Recommendation Sheet, he or she should be sure to contact the ENST Graduate Advisor.

ENST Program Pre-Requisites

The program has two 'tracks' of emphasis, 'Environmental Sciences and Technology' and 'The Environment and Society.' Each track has slightly different prerequisite courses. In order for an applicant to be admitted to their track, they must demonstrate that they have fulfilled the prerequisite courses. If an applicant does not meet the ENST Program course pre-requisites upon admission to the program, the student is given a maximum of one year to meet the deficiency (ies).

Prerequisite coursework for the Environmental Sciences and Technology track is 9 semester equivalent units of upper division coursework in the natural and/or physical sciences, mathematics, and/or engineering. Prerequisite coursework for the Environment and Society track is 3 semester equivalent units (one course) in ecology and 3 semester equivalent units (one course) in quantitative methods (or statistics).

List of appropriate examples of courses that will meet the Ecology and Quantitative Methods/Statistics course pre-requisites for the Environment and Society track (Suggested CSUF Pre-requisites).

Applicants will work with an academic advisor to determine suitability of coursework to satisfy the prerequisite coursework for the Environmental Sciences and Technology track.

Suitable pre-requisite courses may be taken at another university or community college.


Transferring Coursework from Other Schools (also see catalog)

If approved by the Graduate Advisor, ENST graduate students may transfer up to fifteen (15) units worth of coursework from other universities to their Study Plans. Special Note: only nine (9) units worth of graduate level coursework that has been earned through CSUF’s Extended Education University may be transferred to the ENST study plan. See the “Graduate Regulations” section of the CSUF catalog for more information regarding transfer requirements.

Students wishing to enter the ENST Program should recognize that completing ENST courses prior to acceptance into the Program does not guarantee University or program admission nor acceptance of these (or other post-graduate) courses on any future ENST study plan. In order to transfer coursework to your ENST study plan, applicants are required to provide a copy of their transcripts, a course description from the University’s Catalog and speak with the ENST Graduate Advisor. Past coursework may NOT be transferred if it meets any of the following criteria:

(1) The courses have been used to complete:
     (a) General education requirements
     (b) Bachelor’s degree requirements
     (c) Graduate degree requirements

(2) It has been more than 5 years since the course(s) was taken.

(3) The course(s) is not graduate level, upper division, or

(4) A grade below “C” was earned for the course(s)


Fee Information

For information regarding university fees and estimates for cost of living in Southern California, please refer to the following website for more information:

For information specifically regarding International students, please refer to:


Graduate Funding Opportunities

At this time, the ENST office does not support graduate assistantships or other kinds of subsidized funding opportunities for students in the program. If you are interested in information regarding financial aid opportunities offered through the university, please go to the following link:

The Interclub Council (ICC) at CSUF offers some funding for conferences and research. Check with the ENST ICC Representative for information on the proposal/funding request process. Also be sure to check postings on the bulletin board outside the ENST office (H-420A).


Open Secrets of Successful Applications

Many applicants call to ask me what makes an application stand out. I figured that I might as well stave off all of the calls and post an 'Open Secrets' list for all to see.

* First, tell us how you think our specific program will help you attain your professional or academic goals. This is best located in your letter of intent. Do your research on the program, contact potential faculty advisors, talk to alumni, contact us via email, and do whatever else necessary to figure out how we can help you get to where you want to go. We routinely reject high quality applicants who haven't made the link between their interests, our capabilities, and how they fit our program. We don't want to waste your time and our resources if we can't help you achieve your goals.

* Second, in parallel to my first point, find a faculty advisor at CSUF. We give preference to applicants who have already identified an advisor and have a note from the advisor that they are willing to work with the student. Look through our list of affiliated faculty, identify those with interests that overlap with yours, and start contacting them. You could set up an appointment with them to ask them about your research interests and what they look for in students to advise. Any efforts in identifying a potential advisor pay significant dividends when we look at your application.

* Third, good letters of reference really make a difference. Wisely choose the people who will write these letters and make sure that they arrive on time (see next point). These people should be able to point to concrete examples of what you have done or how you have performed. Prior to them writing a letter for you, you should meet with them or otherwise discuss why you want to go to graduate school and what you want to achieve with this additional schooling. Give them a sufficient amount of lead time (before the deadline) to write a solid letter.

* Fourth, complete your application prior to March 1st. When I say complete, that is what I mean. Check your application status online via the student portal. We start reviewing applications during the first week of March. In the past we have made a 'first cut' list and started notifying students almost immediately. The final deadline for applications is April 1st and we make a final cut around that time. If we are waiting on documents, you are likely to be cut.

*Fifth, you have to send all of the application materials we request, but feel free to send a resume, an additional letter of reference, or other documents that help us understand who you are. Just don't swamp us with loads of unimportant materials.

* Finally, if you are accepted into the program and you have competing offers, let us know. Space in the program is limited, so we may ask you to tell us if it is likely you will attend. Please don't lie. The best thing you could do for us is to give us a couple of minutes of your time over the phone to discuss your options. Sometimes we will be able to help you sort out your options, even when that suggestion is to take a better offer somewhere else.



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