Degree Requirements & Courses 


The ENST Graduate Advisor will help you put together and file your official Study Plan before you have completed 13 units. To write your study plan, you should review the guidelines that the graduate advisor distributes at the start of each fall semester, then discuss your educational and career goals with the Graduate Advisor, your ENST 500 professor, and/or your other professors.


The CSUF University Catalog description of the ENST program is the official guideline to this program. In case of discrepancy between this website and the official catalog, the catalog is the authority.


Students are required to complete  a minimum of thirty-six (36) units with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 to graduate. Please see the course list below. To be included in the Master's degree, courses must be a 400- or 500-level and available for graduate credit. Students may take 300-level courses, but these are not counted towards meeting degree requirements nor are they added into the student's cumulative grade point average.

Environmental Studies Core Courses (9 units)

  • ENST 500 Environmental Issues and Approaches
    All new students must register for the ENST 500 class during the first semester in program.
  • ENST 510 Environmental Evaluation and Protection
    All new students must register for the ENST 510 class during the first semester in program.
  • ENST 520 Environmental Research and Analysis
    All new students must register for ENST 520 during their second semester in the program.

Environmental Studies Electives (9 – 15 units)

  • ENST 595T Selected Topics in Environmental Problems. These topics vary by semester, including:
    • Atmospheric Pollution
    • Environmental Economics & Policy
    • Environmental Education
    • Environmental Inequality
    • Environmental Law
    • Environmental Organizations & Activism
    • Environmental Photography
    • Environmental Planning
    • Environmental Politics and Policy
    • Endangered Habitats
    • Food and Environment
    • Habitat Restoration
    • Sustainable Southern California
    • Urban Ecology
    • Wetlands
  • ENST 596 Internship in Environmental Studies
  • ENST 599 Independent Graduate Research
    • To set up an independent research  assignment, click on the "Forms" tab on this website

Cross Disciplinary Electives (CDE) (9 – 12 units; may be 15 units if planning course is included here)

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the ENST Program, ENST students are given a great deal of choice in terms of the breadth and variety of cross-disciplinary courses that may be added to the ENST study plan. The graduate advisor maintains an up-to-date list of suggested courses, including graduate-level courses in 

  • African-American Studies
  • American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Chicana and Chicano Studies
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Economics
  • English
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • History
  • Liberal Studies
  • Political Science and Public Administration
  • Philosophy
  • Public Health

No more than 12 units can be taken from the undergraduate major department.

Courses not on the list may be included if the student is able to establish the relevancy of the course to his or her specific study plan. Students are encouraged to seek counsel from the ENST Graduate Advisor before registering for courses that have not been included on this list.


Other departments often have prerequisites for graduate-level coursework. ENST graduate students may be permitted to register for courses even if they do not meet the prerequisites listed for a particular course, at the discretion of individual instructors. Students should email the course instructor before the registration deadline to introduce themselves and request a permit to bypass prerequisites. If an instructor does decide to waive prerequisites, it is up to the student to take the initiative to learn the required prerequisite material on their own.

One Planning Course must be included (either ENST or CDE Elective)

Regardless of concentration, all ENST students are required to complete one planning course of three units. The ENST Program offers ENST 595T Environmental Planning and ENST 595T Environmental Impact Assessment, either of which may meet the planning requirement. Students may also choose to take a course from an other department to meet this requirement. Acceptable courses that meet the planning requirement from CSUF include:

  • ENST 595T Environmental Planning
  • ENST 595T Environmental Impact Assessment
  • GEOG/POSC 478 Urban Planning Principles
  • GEOG/POSC 484 Urban Planning Methods
  • GEOG 488 Land Use Analysis

Culminating Experience (0-3 units)

All Environmental Studies students are required to complete a thesis, project or comprehensive exam. For the thesis or project options, students must register in ENST 597 Project or ENST 598 Thesis. Students may only register for the course once. If they do not complete their project or thesis within this semester, they will be assigned a grade of RP for the course until a letter grade can be assigned. Students choosing the comprehensive exam must take an additional section of ENST 595T. Since students are required to maintain continuous enrollment, they must register in GRAD 700, either through University Extended Education (UEE) or CSUF. Students may only enroll in GRAD 700 through UEE for one semester if they are working on a project, and for two semesters if they are working on a thesis. 

NOTE: Culminating Experience
ENST Exit Research Option - ENST 597 Project / ENST 598 Thesis / Comprehensive Exam

Students selecting the comprehensive exam will not register for ENST 597 or 598, but must take an additinal 3 units of ENST 595T. The comprehensive exam is taken in the final semester.

Students selecting ENST 597 Project or ENST 598 Thesis may not register without first obtaining an electronic permit from the ENST office. In order to be eligible for a permit to register for the exit research option students must have:

1. Completed at least a minimum of nine graduate units
2. Filed an approved Study Plan (classified standing)
3. Submitted an ENST 597 Project / ENST 598 Thesis Enrollment Form that includes the signature of the primary faculty advisor (and a list of committee members - only for thesis) to the ENST office.

Project and Thesis Presentations—Effective beginning Fall 2009 semester, all ENST students who are completing ENST 597 or ENST 598 will be required to present a professional presentation of their research that is open to the public with attendees from the Environmental Studies Program Council, alumni of the program, current ENST students, family members, and friends of the students.