Oct 02, 2023  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental Science and Policy, M.S.

Priority Admission Application Deadlines:  http://www.grad.usf.edu/majors

Contact Information

College: Arts and Sciences
Department: Geography, Environment and Planning

Contact Information: http://www.grad.usf.edu/majors

The Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy is designed to provide students the discipline-specific knowledge and transferable skills to understand the socio-cultural and political context in which environmental problems are created and ameliorated, as well as the scientific expertise to explore and analyze the consequences of ongoing environmental change. Students can specialize in wetlands and water, natural environments, climate and hazards, geographic information systems, or human-environment interaction. The program offers both thesis and professional tracks as courses of study.

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • Personal statement describing career goals, degree track (thesis or professional), and interest in the graduate program. Thesis track students should clearly identify both research interests and preferred major professor(s).
  • Writing sample (a substantial term paper or other evidence of academic or professional writing ability).
  • Three letters of recommendation from people qualified to assess the applicant’s potential for graduate study.
  • Applicants must submit current scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  • Graduate Assistant application form, if applying for an assistantship.

Curriculum Requirements

Total Minimum Hours:  36 Credit Hours

  • Core – 10 Credit Hours
  • Additional required courses - 6 Credit Hours Minimum
  • Electives – 12 Credit Hours
  • Non-Thesis/Thesis – 8 Credit Hours

Additional Required Courses (6 Credit Hours)

Choose one Methods and Techniques course from the following list:

Elective Requirements (12 Credit Hours)

Students must complete 12 credit hours of graduate level (5000 or higher) elective courses with EVR, GEO, GIS, or GLY prefixes, of which at least 6 credit hours must be EVR-prefixed courses. Courses are selected in consultation with their major professor. Courses from outside programs require approval by the Environmental Science and Policy Graduate Director. No more than 3 credit hours of EVR 6908  Independent Study may be applied to the major.

Non-Thesis (8 Credit Hours)

In lieu of a thesis, professional track students complete an additional 8 credit hours of coursework. This includes six hours of elective coursework (courses with EVR, GEO, GIS, or GLY prefixes) and 2 credit hours of EVR 6908  Independent Study, in which the student completes an additional professional track requirement of completing a comprehensive examination. At the discretion of the student’s examining committee, an internship or special project may be substituted for the non-thesis exam.

Thesis Option (9 Credit Hours)

The thesis track consists of 8 credit hours. Thesis track students complete a master’s thesis that constitutes an original scholarly contribution and is conducted under the direction of a major professor and a three-member Faculty Supervisory Committee. Students complete a Thesis Proposal, subject to approval of the Faculty Supervisory Committee, typically during their second semester while enrolled in 2 credit hours of EVR 6908  Independent Study. Students defend their thesis in an oral presentation and submit the written thesis for the approval of the Faculty Supervisory Committee, which is then submitted to the University as a requirement for earning the degree. Students must complete 6 thesis hours (EVR 6971  Thesis: Master’s) while working on their thesis.

  • Directed Research - 3 Credit Hours

  • Credit Hours: 3
  • Thesis Preparation (3 Credit Hours)


  • Students complete at least 6 credit hours of thesis research under the direct supervision of their major professor, typically during the second year of studies. After completion of all Core and Elective requirements, students remain enrolled in at least two (2) credit hours per semester of EVR 6934 Thesis Prep until the completion and submittal of the Thesis, which completes the requirements for the degree. Throughout this period students must work in close cooperation with their major professor and Supervisory Committee, and provide the Committee a summary of progress at least once per semester.


  • Research Methods/Design Preparation- 3 credit hours

  • Credit Hours: 3
  • All students selecting the Thesis option will complete a research methods/design course. Other courses may be substituted for this requirement with the permission of the student’s advisor and the Graduate Director.


  • Research Colloquium - 1 Credit Hour

  • Credit Hours: 1

  • Thesis - 2 Credit Hours Minimum

  • Credit Hours: 2-19

Comprehensive Examination

Thesis Option:

The thesis defense serves in lieu of the Comprehensive Exam. 

Non-Thesis Option:

Non-Thesis students complete a written comprehensive exam.